Virtual events have been around for years. So it may come as a surprise to learn that immersive virtual worlds seem to be stagnating while virtual events for the B2B world are experiencing a boom.

Part of the reason may be that you don't need to download software or create complex avatars, or learn how to navigate a complex 3-D environment when leveraging virtual events.

There is another trend worth noting, though. Short-lived virtual events, initially designed to help even out a lack of attendance at physical conferences, are rapidly turning into virtual business centers with different venues hosting multiple virtual events.

1. Have a virtual-engagement strategy in place

Companies have discovered that a virtual-engagement strategy provides them with a new channel to reach their target audiences. Their virtual-engagement platforms remain open 24/365 for connecting with prospects, customers, and employees around the globe.

Accordingly, virtual engagement is on its way to becoming a key component of some innovative companies' marketing mix.

For those who have not yet taken part in a virtual event, here is what it can do:

  • Participants who have signed up on the registration site meet in a virtual venue (on the Web) to learn, collaborate, and network.
  • Attendees have control over the environment hosted by the trusted organizer. They can navigate to different locations, engage with vendors, and network with peers who share similar interests and objectives.
  • They can view conference sessions, chat with presenters and attendees, view collateral or videos, and build their networks. Automatic live-chat translation helps them bridge language barriers.
  • Because the virtual environment is always on, attendees can participate in all those activities whenever it fits into their schedules, without having to travel or leave the office.

However, the recent boom of virtual events is showing that any event—physical or virtual—needs a strong, relevant audience to make it a success. Although content is still king, you can increase the chances of reaching your attendance targets by following best-practices.

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Joerg Rathenberg is senior director of marketing at Unisfair (, a provider of virtual-event solutions.