Maximising Virtual Event Attendance
How to encourage sign ups and maximise attendance for your virtual event
Chances are you’ve seen advertising for or attended a virtual event these past few months. Unsurprisingly these were the first major ‘pivot’ we saw from the events and entertainment industry. Initially those first to market virtual events received a lot of buzz and decent attendance figures, but as more brands join the scene it becomes harder to stand out.
In this article we look at how to attract sign ups for your event and then maximise attendance.
If you’d like more information on how to programme an event and maximise online engagement, then check out our piece on Hybrid Events
Consumers are now confronted with a wealth of choice when it comes to online events. It’s important to interrogate your event offering and ask yourself why people would choose yours over others. If these answers aren’t obvious then you’ll want to strengthen your offering.
Rather than trying to please everyone, decide on a core audience or ‘bullseye.’ By narrowing your scope you can use insights to get to know your audience- their needs, interests and what will engage them.
Ensure your budget includes room for investment in branding and promotional asset creation to help your event stand out online.
SIGN UP EXPERIENCE
Simplicity is key! As marketers there is a temptation to use a signup form to gather extremely detailed data about our event attendees. Whilst this data is helpful you need to weigh this up against the time it will take potential attendees to register. The more hoops they have to jump through the higher the percentage of uncompleted registrations.
Only capture the data you need and ensure the process requires as few clicks as possible. Creating password protected accounts will be essential for B2B or paid events but if security isn’t an issue consider simply asking for an email address to send the live event link to.
Including an ‘add to calendar’ function is advantageous, as is a box to opt in for updates and event reminders.
You should see the event registration as the first step on the long journey towards your event. By their nature virtual events are low commitment and can be easily forgotten if not kept top of mind.
Build a comms plan that works backwards from the event date and engages your audience with key information at the right time. It’s important not to endlessly bombard people unnecessarily so plot out each touchpoint and make sure you have the balance right.
Each contact needs to have a reason and a context, here are some ideas-
- Teasing programme details
- Behind the scenes content
- Tasks or competitions to start pre event engagement
- Announcing headline hosts or performers
- Reminders at key points e.g. 1 week to go, 1 day to go
REWARDS AND INCENTIVES
Consider the value exchange between brand and attendees, what’s the tipping point that takes an event from interesting to a ‘must attend.’
There are lots of creative ways to manage rewards and they need to be tailored to your audience but here are a few examples
- Virtual Goodie Bags- this classic event staple can live online! Redemption codes make it possible to gift attendees products that they can choose, customise, and order to their door
- Sponsor Offers or discounts- create bespoke offers or discounts for attendees that can only be unlocked from within your event. A great way for sponsors to track engagement and ROI
- Prizes- promote a major prize that is drawn live during your event
- Talent- Consider a well-known host that relates to your audience, or entertainment from special guests
Accept that not all registrants will attend the live event or stay for the entire duration. But we don’t need to write those users off! Instead create an engaging archive of bite-sized content that they can discover in their own time post-event.
Use your live event data to understand what had the most engagement, this will guide the event highlights that you focus on.
You can also layer audience analytics gained through the event signup process to tailor your follow up emails. Create audience groups and ensue the copy and content they received post event is highly relevant.
If you’d like to chat more about virtual events, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org