With the third layer of COVID-19 spreading rapidly, 2021 seems to be the promising year for virtual and hybrid events.
But, the biggest challenge is to make your virtual events successful.
Though it involves a lot of factors to make your event successful, the key player is your event management platform. That’s because having the right platform for your virtual event can sky-rocket the event’s success.
However, with hundreds of event management platforms available, it may overwhelm you to pick the right one.
But, no worries.
We have prepared a list of 14 MUST-to-ask questions before choosing your event management platform. They will ease your final selection and help you choose the right fit for your virtual events.
1. Is the Virtual Platform According to My Events’ Needs?
In the world of event management platforms, the best bet is to choose the one aligned with your needs precisely.
Some platforms offer extensive features while others only confine to the basic ones. Yet, both are suitable for different markets.
So, the groundwork is to enlist your needs and usage.
For instance, if you want a platform to conduct external events, then the one with extensive marketing features will be good.
Likewise, if your events hold a primary position in drafting marketing campaigns, then a platform showing granular data reports will work best.
2. What are the Users Saying About this Platform?
It is always a wise decision to have the opinion of the ones who are already using the platform.
In this regard, start with your immediate network. Their recommendations are often the best ones.
Afterward, skim through third-party websites to know the opinion of other users.
But, while doing research remember these two things.
- Pay special attention to the pain points of the reviewers. We often only go through the 5-start reviews. However, the real problems are mostly addressed by the users stating 3 or 2-star ratings. If you think that the discussed issues aren’t a big deal for your business, you are good to go. Otherwise, dig deeper or move to another software analysis.
- Event management software keeps evolving with time. Companies improve their features and roll out new functionalities. Therefore, put special attention to the most recent reviews to make an informed decision.
3. What is the Scope of the Free Trial of the Platform?
Free trial by event management software gives you a chance to analyze its features properly. Hence, we recommend considering only the software featuring a free trial period.
However, having the tag of “free trial” isn’t enough. You must ask for the scope of features and the number of members allowed in it.
In case you find a few features, you can question the other ones. Likewise, if the free version is confined to a few members only, then asking about an extension can help.
4. Does the Software Under Question Support Branding?
Today, branding is the backbone of businesses. Whether it is a corporate-level organization or start-up, every business needs adequate branding to communicate the brand’s identity.
“Brands are essentially patterns of familiarity, meaning, fondness, and reassurance that exist in the minds of people.” – Tom Goodwin
So, don’t forget to analyze the branding features of the event management platform.
Remember, you aren’t paying to get the logo of your event management software in your campaigns or events.
Hence, go for the software that allows “white-label” branding.
Make sure that the software under question provides plenty of features to promote your brand – from pre-event marketing campaigns to post-event live hangouts. It includes branding on your marketing campaigns, registration pages, tickets, sessions, and whatnot!
5. Does the Software Allow Customization?
After branding, customization should be your main concern when looking for an event management platform.
It should offer customization from pre-event to post-event activities.
For instance, in the marketing phase, customizable email templates can lead to a higher ROI. Likewise, for a segregated audience, it is recommended to only provide the relevant information on the registration page – for the best user experience.
Customization features put back off an extra burden on your shoulders.
6. What is the Platform’s Report Generation or Analytics Depth?
It is not only about marketing and sessions. Your event management platform should be able to generate data reports.
Because the times when businesses used to run mostly on hit and trial methods are gone.
Now, data acts as the roadmap for making informed decisions.
In a survey, 64% of respondents stated that data analysis helped them in improving efficiency and productivity. A huge ratio indeed.
However, remember to question the depth of analytics that software provides.
Because, you don’t only need the superficial stats – number of attendees, and number of people who quit, etc. Contrarily, having granular event analytics can level up the game.
It may include:
- Highlighting the most engaging segment of your event
- Identifying the interests of attendees, etc.
Detailed stats like these can boost your marketing and give the right direction to your event strategy.
7. Does This Platform Allow Networking?
One of the main reasons that drive people to attend events is networking. So, make sure that the platform is equipped with networking features.
It includes chat, messaging, polls, Q&A, and feedback, etc.
Likewise, leveraging artificial intelligence in this regard can be extremely helpful. Pro artificial intelligence platforms can group members based on their interaction pattern and interest, etc.
By having this feature on your event management platform, you will be providing an amazing networking experience to your audience.
8. What are the Platform’s Promotion Features?
“Event marketing can help promote a specific product or feature and increase overall customer satisfaction, retention, and engagement.” – Marketo
How amazing it will be to market your event through the platform instead of going for separate event promotions?
Handling all event activities from a single platform makes things much easier.
Yet, it is beneficial to enlist your marketing needs realistically.
You don’t need to have giant marketing features to conduct smaller events. Likewise, the basic marketing features will not suffice for reaching out to larger audiences.
9. Does the Platform Offer Automation?
In this fast-paced era, software’s automation feature can save you a lot of time.
Basically, such event management software triggers the specified response against the specific event.
For example, automated messages and auto-generated email replies are part of it.
By having these at hand, you don’t have to handle all tasks manually. It results in lesser human resources, ultimately leading to reduced costs in the long run.
Thus, choose an event management platform equipped with automation features.
10. Does the Event Management Software Offer Integration with Other Platforms?
Software integration plays an important role in managing an event smoothly.
Thus, choose the event management platform that can be synced with your other software perfectly.
You can know this by skimming through their website. Or, communicating with their representative will be more helpful.
Instead of asking generic questions, you should be specific here.
For instance, the software can be integrated with several other software. Yet, it will be of no use to you if it can’t be integrated with the software under your usage.
So, ask explicitly about its integration possibilities with all the other relevant software you are using.
11. Does the Platform Offer Live Troubleshooting?
More or less, all the event management platforms provide customer service. Yet, your concern should be to settle for the one offering live troubleshooting.
You can’t risk your event’s success by having an unexpected error. Otherwise, it can put your reputation down or even get you a severe backlash from your audience.
So, only instant support can save your day.
Yet, don’t rely on the company’s statements. You must research their customer support reviews beforehand. In this regard, Q&A forums and third-party review sites are your friends.
12. What are the Company’s Plans for the Near Future?
At first, this question may seem ridiculous to you. But believe me, it is important to know.
“Why?” You may ask.
It isn’t only about your current requirements about the event management software. Your needs may extend in the near future. In that scenario, changing software can result in time-consuming staff training or additional costs.
So, stick with the one that seems to stay longer with your business.
In this regard, asking the company’s representatives about the expected advancements in the platform will clear the air.
If their “expected to be rolled out sooner” features are aligned with your business’s near future requirements then it is a good sign.
13. Is the Event Management Platform Secure?
“In 2020, the number of data breaches in the United States came in at a total of 1001 cases. Meanwhile, over the course of the same year, over 155.8 million individuals were affected by data exposures – that is, an accidental revelation of sensitive information due to less-than-adequate information security.” – Statistica
Due to increased data breaches, user privacy has become the major concern of companies today. You should be concerned about your audience’s privacy as well.
So, choosing the GDPR complaint event management platform is a beneficial move.
Otherwise, risking your attendees’ personal data can cost you hefty penalties and severe repercussions.
Moving ahead, you should also ask …
14. Where will your event information be saved?
In all possible mediums, saving information on the cloud is safest. So, go with the platforms saving your event data on the cloud.
By having this feature, you will be able to fetch information anytime. Moreover, encryption makes it extremely challenging for hackers to unlock your event’s data.
Investing in the right event management platform shouldn’t be neglected if you want to run your virtual events successfully. Your choice of platform will have a huge impact on how your event runs.
Hence, choose the optimal event management platform that fulfills your event’s needs precisely and provides a unique event experience to your audience.