3 ways to get your virtual event attendees to clear their calendar for the entire day

Three ways to get your virtual event attendees to clear their calendar for the entire day

Topic: Insight, Virtual /

We always tell our clients to take their pre-event campaign seriously. If you don’t put the work in up front, you won’t see the results on the day.

But for virtual events, this is even more important than usual. Why?

Because virtual attendees aren’t like physical attendees. They’re less focused, more distractible and they’ve made less of a commitment to be there. 

All of which makes it much easier for you to lose them. 

An urgent email from a client... An unexpected phone call... A knock at the door… Their child spills a glass of water on their iPad...

And that’s it - they’re gone. And once they’re gone, it’s really hard to get them back.

So what’s the answer?

Getting people to commit and stay committed is all about what you do before the event. People need to make the decision ahead of time to be there and stay there. It’s much harder to get people to fully commit at the last minute or even on the day itself.

Here are three ways you can build a pre-event campaign that will get people to clear their calendars and commit to your virtual event.

Be specific about what is happening and when

The more real and tangible you can make your virtual event feel, the more likely people are to make time for it. It will also make it easier for attendees to plan their day accordingly.

Physical event organisers will usually share a schedule of some sort in advance so that attendees can plan their days. This helps attendees decide what they really want to see and when they’re going to have spare time to meet up with people.

Try to think the same way about your virtual event. Telling someone that you have a “full day of great speakers” is much less useful than a detailed timetable that they can plan around.

Show how you will help them achieve their goals

As we discussed in a recent post, the best way to create an experience that your users will enjoy is to put yourself in their shoes: 

  • Who are they? 
  • Why are they attending? 
  • What are their goals?
  • How can you make the experience as rich and rewarding as possible?

By understanding their reasons for being there, you can be much more targeted in terms of how you shape your event and how you promote it.

People aren’t going to show up and stick around out of a sense of curiosity. They need to be told what’s going on, how they can get involved and why they should want to.

Here are a few good questions to ask yourself:

  • What new knowledge or skills will they gain?
  • What problems will you solve?
  • Who will they be able to meet?
  • If they didn’t attend, what are they going to miss out on?

Be really specific about how you’re targeting their goals and try to create a tangible sense of purpose. Also, don’t be afraid to create a sense of FOMO!

Encourage live interaction and participation

A great way to keep people engaged is to make your guest speakers available for people to chat to. There are a few ways to do this…

Before the event

Most speakers will finish their talk with a Q&A session. You can do this in real-time, or ask people to submit their questions in advance.

There are a few advantages to getting people to submit their questions in advance.

  1. It gives your speaker a chance to think of an awesome answer
  2. It gives everyone who submits a question a good reason to turn up and see if their question gets answered
After the event

Another option is to make your speaker accessible to guests after their talk by joining one of your live chats. You could also create a live chat just for this purpose.

As we’ve mentioned in a previous post, try to give your social spaces specific goals as opposed to an open remit. Giving the space a sense of purpose and direction will make people more likely to get involved and will generate a more focused and interesting discussion.

One of the great strengths of the internet is real-time interactivity. When you tune into a livestream, you become part of the moment. In fact, this is one of the main reasons people tune in to livestreams. 

In your pre-event campaign, make sure you draw attention to the interactivity on offer on the day. The more ‘live’ you can make things feel, the greater the sense of FOMO you will create.

It’s all about the pre-event campaign

When you’re planning a virtual event, make sure that you set plenty of time aside for planning your pre-event campaign. As we’ve mentioned, if you want to hold people’s attention you need them to commit to the time. It will be almost impossible to get them to do this at the last minute.

By making sure that your pre-event comms are specific about what is happening and when, you will make it easier for people to plan around your schedule. And by encouraging interaction and targeting their specific goals, you will give them more of a reason to turn up and stay engaged.

Virtual Events Masterclass

If you’re wondering how to overcome some of the challenges raised in this guide, check out our Virtual Events Masterclass. You’ll find out how to: 

  • Have total confidence that your virtual event will run without a hitch
  • Avoid common mistakes that first-timers make
  • Create a seamless user experience for all attendees
  • See what a best-in-class virtual event looks like

Virtual Events Masterclass

If you’re wondering how to overcome some of the challenges raised in this guide, check out our Virtual Events Masterclass. You’ll find out how to: 

  • Have total confidence that your virtual event will run without a hitch
  • Avoid common mistakes that first-timers make
  • Create a seamless user experience for all attendees
  • See what a best-in-class virtual event looks like

Are you running a virtual event and looking for advice? Use the form below to book a free one-hour conversation with our team.

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