Even with some pandemic restrictions lifting across the globe, there’s no arguing that virtual events and meetings are here to stay. Connections across the digital landscape have allowed us to stay connected when we couldn’t meet in-person as well as open up events to participants around the world. And while those opportunities have largely been beneficial, they’ve also come with a few pitfalls, including screen fatigue.
Anyone who has spent even a small amount of time staring at a screen for work, school, or even for fun, knows that staying focused and engaged can be hard. For many people, the novelty and convenience of virtual gatherings has worn off and the fatigue is real. But given that many organizations will continue to host virtual events, how can you combat this phenomenon and keep your attendees engaged and interested?
Keep reading for six tips to help keep virtual attendees interested, alert, and motivated for your next event.
- Participation counts. It’s easy to zone out on a screen during a series of talking heads and slideshows. To keep people interested and engaged, consider building in participatory activities. Just because everyone is in a different room doesn’t mean you can’t foster connection and dialogue. Games, polls and surveys, Q&A sessions, and live entertainment are just a few ways you can liven up a virtual event and get attendees talking (and maybe even moving). These activities can also be great ways for attendees to get to know each other and feel like they’re together in the same room.
- Content is king. This tip applies to any event, whether it’s in-person, virtual, or hybrid. Your event’s content – from messaging to information to the purpose – is what makes it meaningful for your audience. After all, your audience is there because they believe you have something that will help or improve their life in some way so be sure to deliver on that. Ask yourself what problem or challenge your content can solve or how you want attendees to feel when they close their screen. As the event organizer, it’s on you to present this information in an interesting and engaging manner so your attendees get the most out of the event. In addition to the actual content, think about how you’re delivering it. Consider formats such as open discussions, breakout groups, and guided conversations, rather than lectures, to keep attendees engaged.
- Surprise! Events don’t have to be formal or stuffy. You can include elements to surprise, delight, and entertain attendees. Keeping attendees guessing or building anticipation can be great methods for ensuring they stay for the entire event and don’t miss a thing. Perhaps you can invite a surprise guest that will wow the audience or make a big announcement about your latest product, service, or company milestone. Not only will you lift spirits and keep the energy level strong, attendees will feel like they were part of something special.
- Choose your platform carefully. When planning a virtual event, it can be easy to gloss over your choice of platform or think options are limited. But the truth is, there is a variety of digital platforms to choose from that could take your event to the next level. Each platform has its own features, functionality, interfaces, and restrictions that could make it the perfect fit for your event so be sure to do your research. Consider your event’s needs and characteristics such as the number of attendees, the tone you want to set, and whether your account is hybrid or strictly virtual.
- Collaborate with sponsors. Involving sponsors in your event (beyond just their dollars) can be a great way to keep your audience interested and make your sponsors happy – a real win-win! Think about ways your sponsors could offer ideas or resources to increase audience interest while also getting the word out about their products and services.
- Don’t be a stranger. Just because the event is over doesn’t mean you can’t keep your audience engaged. Reach out to attendees with a recording of the event and a fun recap or highlight reel for anyone who missed a session or wants to reflect on what they learned. This is also a good opportunity to get email or website sign-ups and remind them of any upcoming events they don’t want to miss. Demonstrating gratitude for their time and attention can be a great way to make sure they come back for future events.
You can fight fatigue
It’s not easy keeping anyone’s interest in a time of 24/7 news and entertainment and access to information a swipe or tap away. But it can be even harder when we’re all feeling overwhelmed by video meetings and events. But with a little creativity and intention, you can find ways to combat the screen fatigue so many of us are suffering from, and keep your virtual events interesting and engaging.
Once you’ve figured out how to keep attendees engaged, reach out to InGo to help solve your event marketing challenges. We can help drive engagement and skyrocket attendance using our #1 tool for scalable enterprise referral marketing.