Social distancing is here to stay for the time being. Businesses have adapted to survive and even thrive, people have mastered the art of working from home, and your inbox is full of invites to yet another virtual event. You’ve been to a several of them, hoping to feel just like you’re there in person at the event.
In reality, they simply don’t feel that way, and we shouldn’t expect them to if we don’t want to get discouraged. So, the question is: How do you create a virtual event that people actually want to attend?
Embrace digital. You are hosting an online virtual event, plain and simple. If you want me to come check out your event, I need to be sold on it. Instead of masking the fact that the event is digital, embrace it and brag about it. The live sessions offer real time language translation so an international audience can tune in to learn in their own language? That’s truly amazing, when you think about it. Translating at a live event can be very difficult. Much easier virtually. You provide on-demand video playback of your guest speakers so if I miss part of their talk, I can tune in later to catch the whole thing? This is a value add for your busy attendees.
Look professional but be informal. Design is crucial. These virtual events have been around for a while now, so look is everything. Attendees will have a better experience in clean platforms that are easy to navigate. With that in mind, the event should also be unique and fun. Get creative with the features and come up with new naming schemes. Create a casual atmosphere that is inviting for your audience and gets them excited. When given the choice between “Virtual Networking Event” and “Cocktails & Conversations,” I bet the majority will choose the latter.
Play up the interactive. Get your people engaged. The best take-away from a successful virtual event is audience interaction and engagement with the platform. Incentivize attendance and create an interactive leaderboard that reward your most engaged attendees. Generate alerts or notifications that remind people to visit other features of the platform that don’t see as much traffic. Utilize games to get the audience involved and participating.
People already have a choice of many virtual events to take part in, so it is up to you to motivate them to attend yours.