One of the ways many of our customers are still providing value to their members is by moving their events into a virtual platform. If you haven't done this before, it can be overwhelming - especially when you're trying to pull it together with little time to spare.
As a company with customers all over the continent, we have some experience with virtual meetings and events, and we've put together this blog post to help you navigate the waters. Click the link below to see answers to many of the questions you may have running through your head, in particular thinking through whether virtualizing or postponing is the best option and downloading our Guide to Planning a Virtual Conference:
If you have made the decision to go virtual, have the webinar/content delivery technology ready to go, and want to implement this technology in conjunction with your MC Trade registration tools, here are some helpful tips:
First, determine whether your webinar provider allows you to upload a registrant list, or if registrants have to register directly through the provider's registration form. If you want to continue offering registration through MC Trade and can easily upload a list after registration is complete but prior to the webinar, you can set up your event similarly to how you set up any other MC Trade event, with a couple of suggested changes:
- In the Event Description, clearly indicate the technology you will be using so that registrants can make sure they're familiar with it and ready to go. Provide an email or venue to ask questions if the registrant isn't sure whether they'll have the technology to attend on their end.
- In your Registration Fields settings, require Email Address for all attendees. Whereas this may not be as important for group registrations at in-person events, group registrations for virtual events will need to be treated as individuals and it will be difficult for you to communicate if you're not getting email information up front.
- Update your Confirmation Message Text for the event to let the attendees know to be looking out for the webinar link in a separate email, and be sure to provide contact information for anyone who does not get that follow-up link.
Finally, once registration is complete for the webinar, you'll need to export your list of attendees. You may need to manipulate the list of attendees in Excel depending on the required format for your webinar provider's import capabilities. There are two options for getting this export out of MC Trade:
- In the Attendees grid, choose Export All Attendees to CSV (or Excel). You'll likely have many more columns here than you'll need for your import, so you can delete whatever you don't need.
- Or in the Desktop version, go to Reports > Data Export/Reporting Tool. Create a new query using the "Events" data group, choosing only the Attendee information that you need for your import. Set a filter to search for your specific Event ID, and then export/save that query to use for your import. Click here for a sample export template you can use in the Data Export/Reporting Tool (scroll down to "Events.")
If you want to put the event on your online calendar but take registrations directly through your webinar provider, you can set up the event details with a link to the webinar as your registration link. The registrations will not be in MC Trade unless you add them manually, and you may not be able to charge for the event (that will depend on the webinar provider), but your registrants will have a simple, direct source for the registration and confirmation emails/webinar links.
- In the Event Registration Settings for the event, scroll down to the Use Special Registration URL field. Check the checkbox, then enter the URL where the user can register for the webinar. Ideally you want to link directly to the registration form, and not a landing page, to eliminate too many clicks for your registrants.
- Be sure you do NOT click "Disable Registration" for the event: the Register button will still appear, but will redirect the user to the URL that you entered in your settings.
After the event, you can manually enter registrants into the event by creating an event item and choosing NOT to email confirmation messages as you enter the data. You also could set up an Affiliation Code and assign the code to all attendees, as an alternative way to track who attended in MC Trade without needing to manually create all registrations after the fact.