Like many organizations, Christian Music Broadcasters (CMB) was planning a four-day conference 700 attendees, but when COVID-19 hit, we all had to self-isolate and work from home. After months of hard work preparing for the in-person event, the CMB team was looking for a way to restructure Momentum 2020 in the virtual sphere. Our team at Taoti partnered with them by providing our virtual event platform, tailoring it to their needs, and bringing the flare and community of an in-person event.
When CMB decided to turn Momentum 2020 into a digital conference, the team was concerned it would not accomplish its mission of connecting people and creating a memorable experience. Like most conferences, the in-person event consisted of large auditorium sessions, workshops, breakouts, networking, and a sponsor expo hall. Now the challenge was – how could the conference maintain a similar structure while everyone was remote? CMB had already sold attendee registrations and sponsorship opportunities, but without the usual event activities and an exhibit hall, how could they ensure the return on investment for everyone involved?
Our team custom-created the overall look and feel for the virtual conference, and all design elements perfectly aligned with Momentum 2020’s brand they had already created for their physical event. Just like an in-person conference, the platform featured a “lobby” homepage where attendees could always find real-time information on what was currently happening and how to access the content. The content consisted of a live stream broadcast, workshops, breakouts, virtual networking, and more. The lobby also included spaces allocated for sponsorship opportunities and a link to the Exhibit Hall, highlighting the sponsors who make the event possible.
Engaging Attendees and Networking
We wanted to encourage attendees to engage in real-time, so all main event video streams included a live chat window right on the page. We also implemented pop-up notifications to immediately grab the user’s attention and present them with a message or call to action. Now let’s be real; one of the main reasons most of us travel for conferences is the opportunity for in-person networking. So, we had to find a way to get attendees to interact with each other without having hors d’oeuvres or refreshments. Our solution – guide them to an interactive “networking lounge”. Feedback from attendees on the virtual networking platform was incredibly positive, so much so that the CMB team added additional networking sessions at the end of their agenda each day, by popular demand.
What about sponsors?
We know that sponsors are a big part of every event. Not only do they bring a lot of revenue, but also make the conference more interesting for attendees. Our team wanted to make sure that sponsors could easily see the return of their investment and engage with attendees at a higher rate than if this was an in-person event. To do so, the event platform includes access to the Exhibit Hall throughout the site, which consisted of a “hall” page with small thumbnails for each booth sponsor which link to individual “booth” pages for each sponsor.
Each booth was an individual page with customized content for each sponsor to communicate with attendees about their brand, products, and services. The sponsored booths also included their logo, text, and a call to action button linked to a URL or document. Each sponsor had an individual email contact button, encouraging attendees to contact sponsors directly. The event had approximately 500 attendees, and sponsors received over 1,000 email submissions total.
Making it easy for the event management team
Our platform is powered by a highly customized WordPress content management system (CMS), allowing all the components and content of the platform to be easily changed for the unique needs of each event. The CMS is very intuitive and user-friendly, so CMB’s event management team utilized their existing WordPress experience to directly edit and manage their site before, during, and after the event.
On top of that, our virtual events team – which includes project managers, designers, and developers – was working directly with the CMB team throughout the whole project to support every part of the process.