There is no denying that the pandemic has changed the event industry forever, and there is a lot to consider for event organizers to adapt their approach in line with emerging trends surrounding virtual and hybrid events.
One of the main priorities of event planners is the attendee experience. Audience engagement is key to your virtual event success and improving the attendee experience. In fact, engagement can make or break an event. Virtual events offer a broader reach and flexibility to interact with audiences anywhere, any time—which are not possible with in-person events. However, there are a few challenges that Marketers face when hosting virtual events. One of them is keeping their attendees engaged.
The Importance of Attendee Engagement
Engagement is a great tool to collect genuine, real-time feedback from your audiences. Keeping track of what happens when your online participants attend, click, or vote provides you with quite valuable information such as your audience interests, event needs and other preferences. Each year, across every major marketing channel, companies are spending billions of dollars acquiring and retrieving this type of information.
How to Stay Connected with your Virtual Audiences
The question facing so many event professionals is how to replicate that invaluable energy of a face-to-face event for virtual events. Let’s all raise our hands and admit that the simple truth is, well, that you can’t. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of options in getting your attendees excited, engaged and interacting with you in your virtual & hybrid events.
Here are just a few ideas to consider for driving attendee engagement for your virtual events:
- Interactive Sessions – Using interactive tools not only boosts engagement with your event but allows attendees to give feedback. Certain’s Event Management Platform gathers insights from live polls, surveys and attendee engagement to better understand and report on your attendees’ needs and behaviors. Polling, chat boxes, quizzes, Q&As, and surveys connect presentations to attendees, making remote guests feel a part of the discussion.
- Event Booths – Virtual event booths are essentially online trade shows. Registered attendees can explore a digitally created environment where they can interact with virtual expo meeting rooms. Build these booths with Certain’s Event Management Platform to:
- Promote attendee-to-attendee or host-to-attendee engagement via direct messaging and interactive discussion boards
- Add polls, surveys, gamification, video and activity feeds to your virtual events
- Personalize the attendee experience by recommending sessions and content unique to how each individual is attending
- Use of Mobile Apps – Mobile event apps can be used for online events to boost participation, facilitate networking, and connect with participants. With the Certain Touchpoint App
- Notify your guests about upcoming sessions and promote relevant content to them at any time
- Encourage attendee-to-attendee interactivity with photo sharing, discussion boards, live polls, social feeds and gamification
- Allow your guests to access your webcasts or on-demand content from directly within the app
- Collect intelligence on your attendees based on their mobile engagement behaviors
- Leverage real-time reporting to easily view how your attendees are engaging with you
- Gamification – Gamification refers to the use of gaming elements to non-game situations. This usually includes awarding guests the ability to gain points, levels, and medals based on their involvement levels. Creating virtual scavenger hunts are a great way to implement gamification. Gamification provides a competitive and exciting aspect to your events, and it’s a proven approach to increase virtual participation.
Tips and Best Practices
- Personalize your ContentCreating personalized and relevant content results in engaged prospects and a higher rate of lead conversation. The personalization of content partially has to do with timing and where your prospect is in the buyer’s journey, but also, with the specific needs of your company.
- Focus on Attendee ExperiencesThink of how you can deliver the digital event experience to your customers in the most enjoyable way to increase engagement. There’s more than one way to share information and an effective presenter can set the tone for the entire conference.
- Use Creative Ways to Engage AttendeesIncrease engagement through online networking opportunities or virtual happy hours that connect attendees with one another and with your business. Design themes based on information collected from your registration forms, then offer your attendees choices for their best fit.
- Stay Connected with Audiences After an EventPower real-time sales & marketing follow up — collect engagement data and move it anywhere, anytime throughout the technology stack to trigger intelligent, immediate action from your sales and marketing teams.
Use an Event Management Platform with Engagement
With the right technology for virtual and hybrid marketing events, companies can have a global presence and expand their audiences and relationships. By taking a step back from large-scale events and focusing on smaller, hyper-personalized events, organizations have an opportunity to stand out and deliver their message. Virtual, Hybrid or In-Person – Certain has the flexible solution to fit the unique needs of your events – allowing you to seamlessly manage every stage of your global events, engage attendees anywhere, anytime and boost your ROI.