While in-person events are back in full swing, virtual and hybrid events are not going anywhere. According to a vFairs survey in 2022, 77% of people said that they prefer virtual events because of the ease of attending, and 1 in every 2 event professionals is inclined towards both virtual and in-person events for future strategies.
The question is, how do you make a virtual event that stands out from the crowd? The short answer is, get your attendees involved! Strides in virtual event technology over the past few years have made it easier than ever to make your event interactive and engaging. With a little pre-planning, you can make your virtual event memorable to your attendees.
Here are a few tips on how to accomplish that:
1. Explore what your audience wants
‘Know thy audience’ is the first commandment in any event endeavor! You want your show to be audience-centric, so it is important to do a deep dive to understand what they really want. Maybe that’s a survey or some focus group client interviews. Any data you do get will be key to putting a great event together.
2. Start your marketing early
While a virtual event doesn’t take the same level of pre-planning and booking that a live event does, it still pays to start nailing things down early so you can start marketing. At minimum, start promoting your event hard at least six weeks beforehand. Explore traditional channels like digital ads and email as well as social influencers, if it makes sense for your brand.
3. Send out swag
Even in a virtual event, you want to create an “experience” – and one of the best part about attending shows is the free stuff! Consider sending event swag to VIPs before the show to create excitement and draw your audience in. Or, if you have a specific breakout event in mind – let’s say, for instance, a mocktail making class – send the ingredients beforehand for a fun interactive experience.
4. Book excellent speakers
A memorable event for attendees is one where they learn a lot through engaging speakers. One area to invest in is great speakers to talk about subjects relevant to your industry. It’s also worth hiring a professional moderator or MC to help steer the event and keep the audience ‘tuned in’.
5. Include participatory entertainment
Just because your event is virtual doesn’t mean you can’t have entertainment to pump up the mood! Consider booking a band for a virtual concert, hiring a comedian for a set, or hosting a trivia game complete with prizes. The goal is to pull the audience in, and giving them something fun to do accomplishes that.
6. Have collaborative breakout sessions
One of the main reasons people go to shows is to network and learn from their peers. Host virtual breakout sessions centered around collaborating and solving problems. What are some common industry pain points? Invite your attendees to discuss with their peers in themed, timed breakout sessions.
7. Pump up the presentations
Captivating presentations can go a long way in making your virtual event stand out. If necessary, help your speakers pump up their presentations to make them both functional and visually interesting.
8. Focus on audience engagement
Q&A sessions, surveys, polls – these are all audience engagement tool that can help you! The more centered around your audience your event is, the better. Plus, you can use questions and polls to help you make the experience even better next time.
9. Use video
Video helps people remember. According to Hubspot, 62% of people pay close attention to videos. Use video during your virtual event to break information up, and while you are at it, take footage of your event for a marketing video for next year!
That’s it! Now you are ready to host a memorable virtual event. For more info on how audience engagement and video can help your virtual event, check out our Digital Joy product suite.