If it’s already quite a challenge to engage your in-person audience, you’re probably thinking about how to shift the experience to an online setting and still keep your attendees engaged. Despite all the countless possibilities of browsing the web that will wander your attendees’ attention, there’s always some great advice that can help you improve your attendee experience & engagement. Let’s go through the top 8 tips to host a virtual event with high engagement levels.
Virtual events have seen a massive growth throughout the year of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted the entire world. A lot of industry leaders and event organizers had no other choice but to shift their massive events towards virtual and hybrid scenarios as restricted capacity in social contexts and confinement measures became mandatory.
How to compete with the endless tabs of distractions, such as full inboxes, social feeds, or online shopping pop-ups that are all just one click away?
Before answering this question and getting down to business, there’s an important fact you need to know to feel more confident from now on:
Studies have found that 47% of attendees are more likely to ask a question at a virtual event and 37% are more likely to take action in a virtual event than on a live one.
Now that you’re aware that improving attendee participation can be quite workable, let’s run across actionable opportunities:
1. Offer attractive content
Going virtual means arranging compelling content for your attendees, that draws their attention to what really matters during your virtual event, and capable of cutting other internet distractions.
2. Invest on production quality
Well…you never had the least intention to neglect your venue’s look & feel, right? Why would you do it for your online event? It’s important to rely on your production quality for any event scenario. If you don’t have real stands, you should guarantee a fully branded experience within your virtual ones. If you don’t have the possibility to connect face-to-face, power your virtual experience through appealing meeting rooms. And of course, choose a virtual events platform that can offer you great video quality and innovative networking tools.
3. Promote real-time interactions
Let attendees ask questions and provide answers during your event. If you’re offering great content, attendees will have questions and want answers from your exhibitors. Include live Q&A sessions just like you would at an in-person meeting.
With the beamian exhibitor & visitor app, you’ll be able to manage live interactions during your event, such as live polling sessions. Having a mobile event app is essential to engage powerfully and to collect data on participation rate and session engagement. Are you taking advantage of the best lead capture tools for live, hybrid and virtual events?
Another idea could be to get survey responses after each session or to measure the likelihood of your audience referring your exhibitors – through an NPS survey. Besides being a great event engagement tool, it will also allow you to gather relevant event data.
4. Create a knowledge base for your virtual event
Just like you’re not being used to organize virtual events, your attendees could also have their own questions and worries about how to get the most out of online events. So, it’s not a bad idea to have a specific page for FAQs, centralizing relevant information and guiding your attendee experience.
Premium tip: Go a step further and think beyond the normal written guide by making a video instead.
5. Capitalize on online networking tools
Measuring virtual event ROI is going to be essential and the willingness to provide information within online registration processes makes online events an effective way to enhance your event success. Likewise, it’s essential to have engaging chat & video tools, giving attendees the opportunity to connect with other peers and exhibitors in the most effective way. And the best part is that the results of those interactions will be converted into event insights.
6. Offer sessions that can be attended at any time
Sitting on a chair all day watching webinars can get boring, right? Since it became easier for attendees to watch specific sessions on their own terms, rather than at their scheduled air time, on-demand sessions can be a viable option. Furthermore, with globalization, when you host a webinar or other real time session, there’s no time zone that will fit all geographic areas. So, if your strategy includes covering a broader audience, you should act on this advice.
7. Keep your sessions shorter
Engaging people at virtual events or live stream sessions happens in a completely different way than on live events. Attending an in-person event that integrates music, performance and inspiring speeches is completely different than sitting on a chair in your house. Virtual events feel longer and attendees are more tempted to drop out during an online event. That’s why your session length should also change – by getting shorter, dynamic and straight to the point.
8. Get the most out of gamification
Use a digital event gamification app in your virtual event to engage attendees, change participant behavior, and accomplish your event goals. You could have them reach out to exhibitors, network with other peers, or take polls to get them involved and earn points. After all, everyone likes to win.
Gaining the ability to keep attendees engaged during virtual events means thinking outside the box, and you shouldn’t think of it as a stripped-version of your live events. In short, different event scenarios ask for completely different engagement strategies and for you to put yourself in your attendees’ shoes.
Are you looking for an ultimate guide to host a virtual career fair? Get to know the 4 essential steps to host a perfect virtual job fair.