Virtual events can provide greater customization and flexibility to attendees. In fact, registration and attendance rates are higher for virtual events than in-person ones.
Virtual events can also produce greater ROI and be more cost-effective for businesses and attendees. It’s no wonder virtual events have become increasingly popular in recent years. In fact, half of B2B companies host 20-30 virtual events each year. It’s clear that virtual options are here to stay, so we have five ideas on how to make your next virtual event a soaring success.
Make a good first impression
First impressions are a big deal. Research shows it only takes seven seconds to make a first impression, so get a head start. Play background music as attendees join the virtual event. Welcome each person by name, either via online chat or voice-over. This type of warm welcome makes each attendee feel recognized, which increases the likelihood that they’ll be engaged in the event.
Provide attendees with a welcome gift as well. For instance, a virtual gift card emailed the morning of the event. Or mail a physical gift along with a note instructing attendees not to open until the day of the event. A ceramic mug along with a coaster set is the perfect way to fuel them up for the event.
Interaction is crucial. Audience engagement can be the difference between virtual event success and a flop. Boost audience interaction with gamification, from online trivia to a virtual scavenger hunt. Both options can be highly interactive and fun. Trivia encourages your audience to pay close attention to what you say about your company, products and services, or the information you’re presenting, while a scavenger hunt can keep people engaged throughout the event. Make a list of things for attendees to find, whether in a presentation or on stage. Use rewards to incentivize engagement. Virtual event giveaways like a beanie, a vacuum bottle or a T-shirt make fantastic prizes.
Provide a clear agenda
A clear agenda lets attendees know what to expect at your virtual event. And including speakers, topics, timeframes and breakout sessions showcases your event’s goals as well.
Clearly list the key things you want attendees to remember. This helps listeners approach the event with that perspective in mind, making it more likely they’ll retain the most important details. At the end, ask each attendee to note three things they learned that they could apply today. Have them share verbally, via your chat function or in an email.
Make breakouts fun
Breakout rooms help attendees stay engaged, as they get to talk with speakers and colleagues. Adding an element of fun can break the ice, helping attendees get the most out of breakout sessions. Show and tell can be a fun opener. Simply ask people to grab something from their desk or office and relate it to the event’s agenda or a certain session. This exercise can bring a few laughs too.
Or, tell a riddle and have people work together to try and solve it. It’s a fun, no-pressure, brainstorming session that helps attendees get to know each other. Reward teams that solve the riddle with an entry into a prize drawing for a higher-end gift, like a stylish cotton canvas backpack or a wine gift set.
Ensure your event hits the mark by following up in a timely manner.
For each day that passes without a follow up, there’s about a 20% drop in engagement.
To help garner a strong reputation, encourage word-of-mouth praise and get high attendance for next time, send a thank-you email to each attendee. Include a short survey asking for feedback, like what their favorite part was and what they’d change for next time.
Create a post-event webpage that highlights key points and includes links to speakers, presentations and other helpful resources. Send a small virtual event appreciation giveaway, like an iridescent pop-up phone grip or a wireless charging pad.
Make your event a smashing success
With ideas like interactive games, fun breakouts and timely follow up, your virtual event will soar. Good luck!
- Make an impressive first impression
- Use gamification to boost engagement
- Clearly lay out goals and agenda
- Create fun breakouts
- Follow up