7 Ways to Engage Attendees Before Your Virtual Event
Throughout 2020, marketers and event planners raced to transform their in-person events to a digital format as a result of the pandemic. The adjustment was understandably difficult. But virtual events benefited from the much-needed growth period. Now that organizations have adapted to virtual environments, it is clear the future of events is hybrid – that is, a mix of in-person and virtual experiences to maximize potential value and ease of accessibility for attendees worldwide.
Events are no longer confined to 2-3 days of physical presence at a location because of the use of emerging event technology. Today, event organizers have many options for engaging with attendees outside the event space. Engaging participants in advance of an event is key to ensuring a successful outcome of any event. High levels of event engagement build anticipation, encourage registrants to become active participants and show stakeholders that you, the event organizer, are committed to delivering a transformative experience. It presents you with information on your audience’s interest levels, target audience, and no-show rate, as well as what will keep them engaged before the show starts. Taking advantage of lead-up time will ensure the event’s relevance will be extended significantly.
In this round-up, we share 7 ways to engage attendees before your virtual event.
1. Select Event Platform With Top-notch Engagement Features
Consider a virtual event platform with interactive features that will engage your audience in a meaningful way. You need a platform that supports the creation of unique user profiles and customized event agendas. These provide each attendee with a unique experience on the platform. An online platform should have a directory of users to facilitate networking between attendees, speakers, and exhibitors.
In addition, to live streaming, there should be tools for Q&A, live polls, and comments from the audience. Attendees should also be able to network via tools such as:
- A public discussion forum
- Meeting scheduling
- 1:1 video chats.
Additionally, you need a platform with instant communication features, such as emailing and sending push notifications to inform attendees about each upcoming event listed on their custom agenda.
2. Host Pre-event Polls and Surveys
Creating hype for an event before it happens is the purpose of pre-event marketing. You can easily find out who your target audience is using this method. Let your audience know they are valued at your event. Additionally, you could estimate the return on your investment. Surveys and polls can be very effective and quick. A survey shows that about 80% of event managers use polls and questionnaires to create excitement about the event among the audience.
Polls can be as simple as choosing a topic, a preferred theme, etc. Live polling and questionnaires can also be incorporated into the pre-event, live event, and post-event stages. For virtual events, you can choose from a wide range of polling apps visible to the attendees as well as the host.
3. Introduce Leaderboard Challenge
You can award participants an additional 100 points if they register early and stay throughout. stay till the end. You can also offer points for certain activities such as visiting a booth or attending a seminar. This will help participants earn more points by navigating the entire event. As a result, they will stay engaged before and during the entire event. Offer discount coupons based on the points earned by participants that make it onto the list. It is certain to increase attendance as well as participation.
4. Conduct Social Media Contests
Social media is one of the easiest ways for event planners to create buzz. Use the power of social media to reach your audience. Keep your attendees updated through Facebook or Instagram, and create a Whatsapp group to give tasks and other essential messages. The most common way to reach your audience is through giveaways and hashtags. It makes a great way of networking. Ensure attendees, speakers, and sponsors receive social media marketing kits. The marketing kits should include the event’s branding, logo, and dates, along with accompanying text, social handles, and hashtags. Allow your audience to ask you questions through social media. By using reels, videos and other social features, social media gets maximum engagement from virtual events.
5. Solicit Attendee Input On The Event’s Agenda
During the registration process, ask attendees what they’re most interested in experiencing at your event: networking, learning, sourcing suppliers, advocating for a cause, or some other goal that relates specifically to your program. If your event includes a conference, ask what topics they are most interested in learning about. You’ll get valuable insight into what your attendees really want, and you’ll get a chance to demonstrate your commitment to creating a meaningful experience for your participants.
Invite key participants to provide input on the event program. You could also ask the influencers in your community if they would be interested in participating in a focus group. When you invite your industry’s “big fish”, they’re more likely to attend and bring their network.
6. Use Mobile Event App
Give attendees access to your event app before your event starts. Encourage participants to fill out their profiles and get in touch with peers. Events are no longer a single, time-bound experience. One benefit of the pivot to virtual is that organizers now recognize that their digital influence can – and should – extend before and after their events. Networking doesn’t have to be something that only happens during an event’s scheduled days; event engagement can happen in an extended time frame. Through the platform or app, attendees should be able to directly message each other and have real conversations.
Consider AI matchmaking technology for events with a strong networking component. It will help participants establish meaningful connections with what could be thousands of other participants.
7. Leverage Your Speakers
It would be good if you could solicit some help from the speakers that will deliver a keynote presentation or attend a brief intro meeting before the event. Ask your speakers, for instance, to contribute a guest blog post to your event website or to take part in a live Twitter chat. This allows the speaker to engage with prospective attendees before the event and find out what they hope to gain from them. If you’re promoting speakers or instructors or leaders in your industry, ask them to do the same for you.
With pre-event planning, you can be certain your participants will be more engaged and have a more memorable event. Platforms like FLOOR offer integrated event marketing tools that help you prioritize engagement at scale. Contact us today. We’d be happy to discuss how to enhance your upcoming virtual or hybrid event, ensuring that your attendees are getting the maximum value.