How to Use Virtual Events to Break Down Barriers


Table of contents
How to Use Virtual Events to Break Down Barriers

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July 26, 2023



July 26, 2023


Table of contents
How to Use Virtual Events to Break Down Barriers
July 26, 2023


July 26, 2023

The events industry has undergone a massive shift in the past few years. While in-person events are starting to come back post-pandemic, virtual and hybrid events are here to stay. For event managers, this represents an enormous opportunity to use technology to expand access and break down barriers to attendance.

In this post, we’ll explore how virtual events can help you reach wider audiences, be more inclusive, lower costs for attendees, and bring people together across geographies and time zones. We’ll also provide tips on choosing the right virtual platform, designing an engaging program, promoting your events, and measuring success.

Whether you’re new to virtual events or looking to improve your existing ones, read on for strategies that will help you connect with more people more meaningfully.

Expand Your Audience and Increase Access

One of the most significant advantages of virtual events is quickly expanding your audience beyond just local attendees. By removing geographic restrictions, you can open up your event globally and bring in viewers from anywhere with an internet connection.

This makes it possible to attract more niche audiences that may not have the means or ability to travel to in-person events. It also allows you to scale up access to more significant events. Rather than being limited by venue capacity, you can accommodate as many live attendees as your platform can handle.

According to a survey by Cvent, 87% of event planners said that virtual events allow them to attract a more geographically diverse audience. So virtual is the way to go if you want to grow your reach.

Lower Barriers to Attendance

In addition to geographic barriers, virtual events can help remove many other obstacles that prevent people from attending in-person events.


Attending virtual events is typically much cheaper than in-person ones. You avoid the costs of travel, accommodation, and higher registration fees needed to cover a physical venue and catering. This makes your events more accessible to those with tighter budgets – students, non-profit organizations, individuals in developing countries, etc.


Multi-day conferences are a big time commitment with travel factored in. Virtual events allow people to attend without taking multiple days off work and being away from family. Sessions can be scheduled flexibly to accommodate different time zones.


Those with disabilities or mobility issues that make travel difficult can also fully participate in virtual events. Platforms should provide captions, alt text, and other accessibility features.


For parents, not having to arrange childcare during an event can make a difference in being able to attend. Virtual events are more parent-friendly.

Bring People Together Across Differences

Virtual events can also help unite people across lines of difference—from location and language to ethnicity, religion, and more.

Platforms like Remo allow attendees to move between virtual tables, opening up informal networking opportunities. This makes connecting with those outside one’s normal circle easier and more natural.

Organizers can foster an inclusive environment through attendee codes of conduct, moderated Q&As, private chat channels for affinity groups, and designated community spaces.

According to the 2021 Community Experience Study by Community Brands, 67% of respondents said virtual events made them feel more connected to people outside their usual circles.

So while virtual interaction differs from in-person, thoughtfully designed virtual and hybrid events can enable meaningful exchanges between diverse groups.

Choose the Right Virtual Event Platform

The virtual platform you select can make or break your event’s success. Here are key factors to consider when choosing one:


First, identify your goals and who you want to serve. Is it live-streaming a conference? Hosting a networking event? Running a fundraising gala? The platform should enable your specific purpose.


Look for platforms that actively engage attendees through polls, Q&As, chat, gamification, and interactive spaces like expo halls and cocktail lounges.


Consider expected attendance numbers and future growth. Can the platform easily scale up as your event expands?


Platform costs can vary widely based on features. Make sure to balance your budget with the features you’ll need.


See what technical support and resources are offered to help you set up, run, and troubleshoot the event.

Metrics & Analytics

Select a platform that provides robust data and analytics on attendee engagement, traffic, conversions, etc., so you can keep improving.

Some top platforms to consider include Hopin, Cvent, vFairs, Run the World, and Pheedloop. Take time to evaluate your options properly. This upfront investment will pay dividends in better audience experiences.

Design an Engaging Virtual Program

With people juggling many browser tabs and distractions at home, it can be tough to keep virtual attendees engaged. Follow these best practices when designing your event program:

Offer Bite-Sized Content

Attention spans are shorter online. Aim for shorter sessions, panels, and presentations, around 45 minutes or less.

Mix-Up Session Types

Incorporate various session formats like keynotes, workshops, demos, case studies, and interactive panels. This provides variety and sustains interest.

Add Engagement Opportunities

Poll attendees, use Q&As, facilitate breakout discussions, encourage social sharing, and insert quick interactive activities.

Limit Long Speeches/Lectures

Those can come off dull and one-directional online. Have multiple speakers and panellists for more diversity and dialogue.

Insert Breaks

Allow time between sessions for people to refresh and recharge before resuming the program.

Test Technologies Ahead of Time

Ensure presenters are comfortable with their platforms so the program runs smoothly. Provide tech support as needed.

Plan Rehearsals

Conduct end-to-end rehearsals before the live event to catch any issues in advance.

Make it Visual

Include relevant images, videos, slides, or graphics to reinforce messages and engage people.

Offer Yoga, Stretch Breaks, or Wellness Activities

This promotes healthy movement and focus amid prolonged sitting.

These strategies will ensure your attendees stay tuned in, retain more, and enjoy the event experience.

Promote Far and Wide

One promotion strategy does not fit all when it comes to virtual events. Use diverse channels and customize messaging to reach and resonate with your target audiences.

  • Email: Segment lists for targeted campaigns. Craft compelling subject lines that speak to specific attendee interests.
  • Social Media: Employ organic social posts, paid ads, and user-generated content. Share speaker spotlights, agenda highlights, and branded graphics.
  • Website: Highlight the event prominently with value propositions for different personas. Use pop-ups or banner ads to announce new speaker additions.
  • Press Releases: Craft releases emphasizing the event’s unique programming, speakers, or interactive elements to pique media interest.
  • Influencer Marketing: Partner with relevant influencers to expand your reach to niche networks and loyal followers.
  • Affiliate Partners: Recruit industry associations, nonprofits, community groups, and other partners to help get the word out. Offer custom affiliate codes or discounts.
  • Paid Ads: Geo-target ads on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to reach qualified audiences. Test different creatives, offers, and messages.
  • Retargeting: Remarket the event to those who’ve previously visited your website or expressed interest.

As you promote, continuously track registration conversions and engagement to see which channels and strategies convert best. Adapt your efforts accordingly.

Measure the Impact and Grow

While virtual events offer great opportunities, organizers should also develop measurement plans to track performance and demonstrate value. Some key metrics to assess include:

  • Registration and attendance rates
  • Attendee acquisition costs
  • Session participation and completion rates
  • Engagement metrics like chat interactions, Q&A responses, downloads, etc.
  • Net Promoter or satisfaction scores from surveys
  • Website traffic during the event
  • Social media reach and impressions
  • Lead generation and sales pipeline impact
  • Return on investment

Platform analytics, post-event surveys, and online listening tools can all provide data to benchmark results and highlight areas of success or improvement. These insights will allow you to refine and evolve your virtual events to meet audience needs better.

As you track KPIs over time, also gather feedback through polls and interviews on the attendee experience and what value they gained. Case studies on meaningful engagement, learning, or connections can powerfully convey your events’ human impact.

While the in-person experience offers some irreplaceable elements, virtual and hybrid events are rapidly improving and unlocking new opportunities.

As an event organizer, embrace this shift. Apply the strategies and best practices outlined here to deliver more accessible, engaging, and inclusive event experiences for the future.


Virtual events enable organizers to achieve what was once nearly impossible—expanding access and breaking down barriers to create truly global event experiences. Virtual platforms open up tremendous potential by reaching wider audiences, lowering costs and other obstacles, and fostering inclusion across differences.

Yet with this opportunity also comes responsibility. Event managers must intentionally design programs and promote and measure results with accessibility, diversity, and engagement in mind.

Adopting the best practices around platforms, promotion, programming, and measurement highlighted here will enable organizations to create higher-impact events that forge meaningful connections across boundaries.

While the in-person experience retains unique benefits, thoughtfully leveraged virtual and hybrid events can drive more significant equity, reach, and business success.

As technology matures and audiences increasingly expect unrestricted access, diversity, and immersive digital experiences, virtual events will become even more transformative.

Organizations that lead the way have an unprecedented chance to advance their missions and transform their events for the better as they reach out across the virtual sphere.


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