How to Host Virtual B2B Networking Events: Tips for Success

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, where digital transformation is not just an option but a necessity, virtual B2B networking events have emerged as a critical platform for fostering professional connections, exploring business opportunities, and sharing industry insights.

However, mastering the skill of hosting a successful virtual networking event requires careful planning and strategic execution. Learn how to host virtual events with this all-in-one guide and see how this innovative platform can establish your business event networks!

What are virtual B2B networking events?

Virtual B2B networking events are online gatherings that facilitate business interactions, knowledge sharing, and collaborative opportunities across digital platforms. These events leverage technology to connect businesses from various locations, enabling them to engage in discussions, presentations, and networking without physical boundaries.

Notably, the global virtual events market was valued at USD 234,058.83 million in 2022. It is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 24.37%, reaching USD 866,200.44 million by 2028, reflecting the significant adoption and expanding scope of virtual business interactions.

The importance of virtual networking events according to C-suite executives

Growth, innovation, and strategic networking are pillars of your company’s success. Virtual networking events stand out as a pivotal tool in your arsenal for achieving these goals. Here’s why these events are indispensable from your perspective:

Roundtable event attendees are often leaders in their respective fields, looking to share knowledge, debate issues, and collaborate on solutions. The inclusive format encourages active participation from all attendees, making it a valuable opportunity for networking, learning, and influencing decision-making in their areas of expertise.

Growth through learning

Continuous learning and adaptation are vital for staying ahead. Virtual networking events offer you and your team access to a wealth of knowledge from industry leaders and innovators. Participating lets you absorb new strategies, trends, and operational insights that propel your company forward.

Broadening perspectives

Virtual events connect you with thought leaders and experts from across the globe, each bringing unique insights and experiences. This exposure broadens your perspective, enabling you to make more informed decisions and identify emerging opportunities in different markets.

Innovating solutions

Innovation is at the heart of your company’s competitive edge. Virtual networking events often serve as breeding grounds for innovation, where collaborative discussions can spark new ideas for products, services, or business models. Engaging with others in your field allows you to explore innovative solutions to industry challenges.

Diverse discussions

The diversity of discussions at virtual networking events allows you to delve into niche topics relevant to your specific business challenges or explore broader industry trends. This diversity enriches your knowledge base and provides a comprehensive understanding of the ecosystem in which your business operates.

Meeting peers and expanding networks

Networking is not just about exchanging business cards; it’s about building meaningful relationships. Virtual networking events offer the unique opportunity to meet peers worldwide, many of whom face similar challenges and goals. These connections can evolve into valuable partnerships, mentorships, or collaborative ventures, further expanding your professional network.

Collaborating for growth

Collaboration is a crucial driver of growth. Through virtual networking events, you find opportunities to collaborate with other organisations through joint ventures, partnerships, or shared initiatives. These collaborations can lead to shared growth, access to new markets, and combined resources for tackling more extensive projects or entering new industries.

How to plan a virtual networking event for B2B

A report emphasised that spending for brand events is expected to rise by 83% within the corporate sector, suggesting increasing investments in virtual events for maximising business strategies. However, planning a successful virtual networking event for B2B interactions involves several strategic steps.

As you embark on this journey, it’s essential to approach each phase with a clear plan and purpose. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can ensure your B2B networking event not only meets but exceeds expectations:

Before the event

Understand your goals

Begin by defining what you aim to achieve with your virtual networking event. Whether it is generating leads, fostering industry partnerships, or sharing knowledge, having clear objectives will guide your planning process and help you measure success.

The 2024 Event Marketer’s Playbook discusses that with the emerging popularity of virtual events, there has been a noticeable shift in measuring an event’s success. Read more about it below:

event marketer's playbook

Strengthen your virtual event strategies by learning executive insights from industry leaders from the APAC and North American regions with The 2024 Event Marketer's Playbook!

Research your target audience

Knowing who your event is for is crucial for ensuring event relevance to your guests. Understand the needs, interests, and challenges of your target audience. This insight will inform your event’s theme, content, and structure, making it more relevant and engaging for participants.

Choose the right virtual networking event platform

Select a platform that aligns with your B2B event goals and audience needs. Consider features like breakout rooms and interactive tools to maximise your networking event engagement. The right technology will enhance the attendee experience and facilitate meaningful connections.

Create a realistic timeline

Planning and executing a virtual event takes time. Develop a timeline that includes all critical milestones, from initial planning to post-event follow-up, and allocate sufficient time for each task to avoid last-minute rushes.

Start event promotions early

Promote your networking event well in advance to build anticipation and ensure a good turnout. Tailor your messaging to highlight your event’s value and unique opportunities, such as executive guest lists and premier venues.

Use a mix of channels, such as an event website, email, social media, and industry forums, to reach your target audience. Julia Faria of Statista discusses that an event website is the most used channel by B2B marketers to drive registrations to their virtual events with 80%, while email and social media followed.

During the event

Prepare your content

Curate event content that is informative, engaging, and relevant to your audience. Include a mix of formats, such as presentations, panels, and interactive workshops, to keep the networking event discussion flowing and your attendees engaged.

Test your event technology

Technical glitches can detract from the attendee experience and decrease audience engagement. Conduct thorough tests of your networking event platform and any other technology you will be using. Ensure your team is comfortable with the tools and prepared to address any issues that may arise before and after the event.

Plan breaks in between sessions

Virtual event fatigue is real—and it’s the last thing you want your virtual event guests to experience. Schedule short breaks between sessions to give attendees time to rest, reflect, and network. These pauses are essential for maintaining energy and engagement throughout the B2B event effort.

Facilitate networking opportunities

Create structured opportunities for attendees to connect, such as virtual networking lounges, speed networking sessions, or topic-based discussion groups. Consider leveraging AI matchmaking tools to suggest potential connections based on attendees’ interests and business needs to further personalise the networking event experience.

Collect real-time feedback

Gathering feedback during the event can provide insights into what’s working well and what could be improved. Use polls, surveys, and open forums to collect attendees’ opinions and adjust your event in real time if necessary.

After the event

Follow up with attendees

Follow up efforts keep the conversation going and strengthen the connections made during the event. Send thank-you emails, share key takeaways, and provide access to session recordings. Offering exclusive post-event resources or access to a dedicated online community can encourage ongoing participant interaction and collaboration.

Repurpose your content

Maximise the value of your event by repurposing content created before, during, and after the event for other channels. Turn presentations into blog posts, create highlight reels for social media, or package insights into downloadable resources. Doing so not only boosts your brand retention but also drives collaborations for your networking event guests.

Measure and analyse KPIs

Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your event goals. Analyse attendance, engagement, and feedback data to assess the event’s success and identify areas for improvement. Below is a list of some KPIs to consider:

    • Event registrations
    • Attendance
    • Attendee retention
    • Social media engagement
    • Audience engagement
    • Feedback score

Generate reports

Compile your findings into comprehensive reports, including analytics, attendee feedback, and personal observations. These reports are valuable for understanding the impact of your event and planning future initiatives.

Feed learnings back into your strategy

Continuous learning and adaptation are crucial to hosting successful virtual networking events. Use the insights gained from your event to refine your overall strategy. Identify what worked, what didn’t, and how you can improve future events.

How to ensure engagement during virtual B2B networking events

When planning a virtual networking event for B2B interactions, your aim is to create an engaging, valuable, and memorable experience for all attendees. Here’s how to ensure event engagements to add to the success of your virtual networking event:

Organise pre-virtual events activities

Kick off your event with momentum by organising pre-event activities, such as teaser videos, networking sessions, or interactive webinars. Such activities help build anticipation, foster initial connections among attendees, and provide a taste of what’s to come, ensuring participants are engaged from the outset.

Choose an enthusiastic moderator

The role of a moderator cannot be overstated. Select someone who is not only knowledgeable but also enthusiastic and capable of keeping the energy high throughout the event. A good moderator seamlessly facilitates discussions, engages the audience, and keeps the event on track, ensuring all attendees feel included and valued.

Leverage platform tools

To maximise engagement and interaction during your event, fully utilise the tools offered by your chosen virtual event platform. Doing so achieves your business objectives and provides all participants with a memorable and engaging experience. The key is to understand the capabilities of your event platform and use them creatively to foster interaction, learning, and networking among attendees.

Polls

Polls are a fantastic way to gather instant feedback, keep the audience engaged, and tailor the discussion in real-time based on participant input. They can serve as icebreakers, help decision-making, or provide valuable insights into the audience’s preferences and opinions.

Breakout rooms

Breakout rooms offer more personalised and focused discussions, allowing participants to delve deeper into specific topics in smaller groups. This feature mimics the intimate networking opportunities of in-person events, facilitating meaningful connections and detailed conversations among attendees.

Gamify content

Gamification encourages networking as participants discuss strategies, share scores, and collaborate in team challenges. Incorporate gamification into your networking event by creating competitions, quizzes, or challenges related to your content. Rewards, even digital ones, can motivate participation and keep attendees engaged throughout the event.

Post virtual event gifts

Sending post-event gifts or digital tokens of appreciation can leave a lasting impression on your attendees. Such gestures reinforce the connection between your brand and the attendees, encouraging them to look forward to and participate in future networking events. Here’s a list of post-event gift ideas you can consider:

    • Digital certificates or badges
    • Exclusive access to premium content
    • Discount vouchers
    • E-books or industry reports
    • Virtual gift cards
    • Customised digital wallpaper or artwork
    • Membership to professional platforms

 

Securing Success with The Ortus Club Virtual Events

The Ortus Club is a leader in B2B marketing, creating unique events for top executives and business leaders worldwide. Our mix of virtual and in-person events makes it easy for companies to meet potential partners and industry experts. Event marketing is crucial today, and our events are an excellent way for businesses to connect with others.

Our events are held globally, so finding one that fits your needs is easy. If you’re looking to take your B2B marketing efforts, such as knowledge-sharing events, globally, The Ortus Club can help. Hosting an event with us could be a big step for your business. Contact us to learn more about this opportunity!