Virtual events have been around for a while. However, the lockdowns really gave them mass appeal. Low attendance can seem puzzling for event organizers since virtual events are affordable and accessible. Additionally, they are much less time-consuming than their in-person counterparts. Although the public has started to warm up to online events, attendance can still struggle at times. Let’s right that wrong and take a look at 6 ways to boost attendance at a virtual event you are hosting.
Promote your Virtual Event
In order for people to attend your event, you’ll first need to let them know it exists. Thankfully, there’s a bunch of cool ways to promote your virtual event. Whatever strategy you plan to go with, don’t think of it as mere advertising. Your goal is to generate buzz and hype; people need to be genuinely excited about the event you’re hosting.
Create attractive, eye-catching images and put together video trailers. Most importantly, don’t forget to harness the power of social media. If your promo content is exciting, social networks are the place people will share it for you.
Your website and landing pages should also prominently feature the event. Add a countdown timer to build anticipation and create a sense of urgency.
Choose the right time
Finding the perfect time to schedule your event is probably the most crucial aspect of planning. One of the best ways to boost attendance at a virtual event is to make sure that people can actually attend it. Make the most of your online event and use its full potential by planning not just the event but the entire promotional and marketing timelines. A lot goes into choosing the right time, but it will mostly depend on the type of event you are hosting. Here is what to look out for:
- Weekends. If your event is short, relaxing, and has a lot of entertainment value – weekends can be a good option. That’s when people want to relax and have some leisure time for themselves. On the other hand, if your event is demanding and requires a lot of focus and concentration, you might want to reconsider if hosting on the weekend is right for you – for most people, that will be family time.
- During work hours. This can be a good option if you are hosting an internal employee-only event. They are best put to use for training or showcasing new software or methodologies you will be using. Be mindful of your employees and avoid cutting into breaks or mealtime.
- Outside of work hours – afternoons and evenings. Although you practically have the entire afternoon, you still need to remember that long events will require breaks. If you have attendees from multiple time zones, you might need to finish earlier.
Have a detailed itinerary
A detailed timeline can help you in every stage of the planning process. Besides using a timeline for planning, you can also use it to get people excited for your virtual event. However, it is imperative that you have an itinerary ready to go along with your promotion of the event.
Add a spectacular event timeline on your website so even casual visitors can know when things are happening. Use info-graphics to grab people’s attention, and once you’ve piqued their interest, get them hooked by stating the topics you will discuss. Clearly state the benefits and skills they will gain by attending.
If your virtual event features guest speakers, make sure they are included in the itinerary. Try to get industry experts and popular influencers from adjacent spheres involved in your event. Include them in your promotional material since popular names are good ways to boost attendance at a virtual event. Depending on the type of collaboration you’ve agreed on, guest speakers can also have a personal interest to promote your event – which will further boost your reach.
Get familiar with the platform you’ll be using
This goes for both you and your attendees. Don’t have people waiting during the event itself while you browse through menus trying to find which button you need to click. Test everything out, and make sure you know your way around the platform well before the event takes place. Streamline the experience for everyone and do everything you can to ensure things are running smoothly.
If attendees and guests need to have accounts and install specialized software – have handy guides available to them in advance. Be realistic that you will most likely require customer support for your event. Consider hiring someone to help you or outsource that part of the work. One thing is for sure; you’ll need a way to handle tickets, bookings, and cancellations.
Have Q & A form available before the event
A Questions section of the event can generate interest and foster user engagement. However, it comes with an additional benefit. Having the questions from the attendees in advance will allow you and your guest speakers to prepare. Read through the list of questions, and veto some if you have to. That’s definitely better than getting caught off guard.
On the day of the event, you can start early and let people chat in the event lobby. Have a chatbot or moderator help you keep track of the discussion between attendees. After the event is over, you should give attendees a survey with questions. Any feedback will be valuable, as it can go a long way to help you plan future events.
Use emails to your advantage
Send interested parties links to your virtual event. Include graphics and guides which explain the setup steps for registering and logging in. Have all the relevant information in the invitation email so that it’s all they need in order to attend. You can also use follow-up emails as reminders for the event. Build an exciting landing page for your RSVP so that even those who didn’t plan to attend will have second thoughts after seeing it.
Online events are facing a lot of competition, and it’s essential to make yours stand out. If you follow these 6 ways to boost attendance at a virtual event, you will not only see a higher number of visitors, but you will also generate more excitement and engagement. By impressing and engaging your audience, you are building a solid basis for future events as well.