It’s easy to sign up for a virtual event. Perhaps even a little too easy. 80% of online events are free, with only a few personal details and simple clicks standing between you and registering. Once you have, you can then completely forget about it until that reminder email a day or two before the event. And when that’s the case, it should come as no surprise that almost half of events’ registrants end up not showing up.
Complicating the registration process or charging money for virtual events might get more people to show but will undoubtedly prevent many more from signing up. Ideally, there’d be a way to keep registration free and undemanding while increasing attendance so that all that hard work put into the event doesn’t go to waste. Luckily, virtual event platforms are designed to keep people leaning forward.
But first, we have to stop thinking of events as single moments in time and instead view them as high points in an ongoing relationship between brands and their stakeholders. In practical terms, it means connecting and communicating with audiences long before the actual event starts (think of it as part of the preparation efforts) and keeping it up plenty of time after it ends. If done right and consistently, the event’s audience becomes part of thebrand’s community. Like communities, the secret is providing exciting and relevant information at all times – before, during, and after the event.
Start Your Events Sooner
Video teasers are a great way to pique registrants’ interest. Rather than sending the same old confirmation email immediately after signing up, you send a video message from the keynote speaker or a celebrity host, for example. This strong opening will set the tone for ensuing communication with registrants in the time leading up to the event. Next on that list could be snippets of pre-recorded lectures and even long-form videos ready to be viewed on-demand.
Speakers’ bios could also have an engaging, video-based version. They can either introduce themselves for that touch of personal vibe or use something more produced and trailer-like. While you’re at it, ask your speakers to upload existing videos pertinent to their future talks and even record new materials. It might be worth reminding them that the contents must focus on what audiences want to know and not what speakers wish to say.
Share Your Events
While a good deal of your attendance–boosting activity should use your event platform, most of your demand-generation one will probably take place outside it to bring in relevant audiences. Unsurprisingly, 60% of virtual event organizers state that they use social media to drive significant event registrations. So, after creating dedicated hashtags and encouraging vibrant discussions on the event’s page and appropriate groups, don’t forget to embed these social feeds within the platform.
By the same token, you can broadcast all or just parts of the event on social media. In case you do, try to get prominent community members and social influencers to share their thoughts to drive further attendance and engagement. Even if their answer is no, attendees will still receive relevant notifications and invitations for different mailing lists and various off-platform activities during and after the event. This omnichannel experience will simultaneously promote the event and your brand’s external channels.
Make Your Events Personal
Personalization is another effective way to increase attendance (and sign-ups). Make sure you use any data you already have on attendants to send them videos that are likely to get their undivided attention. In case that’s not possible for whatever reason, do something based on interactive video features and let them pave their way to what interests them the most. Localized, audience-specific content should also be on the agenda (see what we did there?).
Did you know that prepaid events have a much lower no-show rate? Money is a sure way to get our devotion and commitment. Bur before you reconsider charging people, think about other forms of “investments” that can prove much more beneficial in the long run, such as inviting registrants to submit session topics and questions in advance. Easy video creation features will allow them to record their these and spark a lively conversation with speakers and other attendants.
Keep Your Events Going
Use deep video analytics to understand where registered attendees came from, what audiences were more engaged than others, and which sessions were most popular. These insights allow organizers to plan future events but also help form business strategies.
And remember, just because someone didn’t attend your virtual event in real-time doesn’t mean they can’t still watch it. In fact, on-demand content can have a considerable impact, and some no-shows turn out to be active community members.
Planning a Virtual Event?