Convincing people to register for a virtual event is one thing, keeping their focus once they’ve logged in is another. After investing a tremendous amount of time, money and effort into planning a virtual event and attracting attendees, you don’t want that effort to be wasted, so you need to take steps to drive engagement during the event.
This lifecycle of a successful virtual event can make or break how effectively you convert event attendees into viable leads. People often find issues with uninviting virtual events. Boring content, disorganized hosts/moderators, lack of opportunities for interaction, and uncharismatic speakers top the list main problems associated with virtual events.
According to Zachary Bosin, vice president of product marketing and growth at BlueJeans by Verizon — mastering virtual events matters more than ever. While virtual events aren’t going anywhere, they’re no longer the only option. “The world will never go back to a pre-pandemic experience,” Bosin noted. “With some trade shows and conferences returning, we’re really going to have to continue to evolve our approach to creating digital engagement.”
Let’s look at a few ways marketers can make their next virtual event more engaging, giving them a better return on investment.
The beauty of any type of event is the ability to interact with others, even if it’s happening digitally. Interaction comes with variability, and predicting exactly how a virtual event will unfold can be challenging. That’s why adaptability remains a vital skill that every marketer should have at their fingertips.
To drive engagement, you may need to pivot in the middle of the event to adjust the conversation to what the audience finds compelling. With chat features, polls, and other engagement tools, you can learn what’s motivating your audience in real time, allowing you to shape content throughout the event.
The host can’t do all the heavy lifting here. You’ll likely need an on-site community manager to participate in chat, help guide the host to new topics of conversation, and manage those fun features like polls.
To stay adaptable, you can also keep up to date with the latest trends during the planning phase in the virtual event space. “As a marketer, you’re always looking at trends and trying to understand what’s happening in the wider world and from a business perspective,” Bosin explained. “Understanding what is happening in the world of consumption and how these technological changes and these changes in media consumption are going to have a dramatic impact when you speak to buyers and decision makers is essential because you want to reflect these same trends. .
Use the right technology
Virtual events are here to stay, which is why many companies are now looking for the right technology to make their virtual events a success. In 2021, 85% of respondents indicated that their organization is under pressure from employees and customers to improve event technology. An equal number of respondents cited plans to evaluate new virtual event technology in the same year.
How can the right technology take a virtual event to the next level and encourage engagement? With BlueJeans Events, you can enhance your brand by using your logos, background and colors. Branding a virtual event is one of the best ways to improve the professionalism of the event from minute one.
With your virtual event booming, you can highlight multiple presenters with dynamic on-screen layouts, add ticker banners, enable bottom-third captions, and take advantage of other features that make the event more easier to navigate and more engaging for attendees.
Interact directly with the public
Digital marketers can benefit from trying to mirror in-person engagement tactics by adapting them to the virtual world. For example, when someone attends a conference, they can often raise their hand at the end of the session to ask the speaker a question. With BlueJeans Eventsyou can use the Q&A, chat, polling, and hand-raising tools to give event attendees the ability to engage with presenters and moderators and contribute to the conversation at any time during the event .
Bosin explained how to use some of these tools to your advantage during a virtual event. For example, Bosin advises incorporating polls at various stages throughout the event. “Everyone is warming up – it’s kind of like an icebreaker,” Bosin observed, “Let’s take a poll out there and see what people think about a certain topic.”
Event moderators can allow attendees to ask questions, and the most popular questions can then appear on screen for everyone to see. Not only do these features give attendees a chance to engage more and make them less likely to disconnect early, they also give them the chance to be heard.
Key points to remember
Big brands are finding virtual success by hosting their events using BlueJeans Events. A success story includes the Phoenix Suns – a basketball team placed in a difficult situation when fans could no longer attend games in 2020. How could the Phoenix Suns find new ways to bring the arena experience to fans and make them hire after a hiatus of several months in the NBA season? They relied on additional streaming video content that enabled real-time participation. This work has allowed the Phoenix Suns to deliver unique experiences, and they have engaged fans around the world through contests, giveaways, discussions, polls and Q&As.
think also found they couldn’t hold in-person race events in 2020 and turned to BlueJeans Events to make its Indy 500 events virtual and host the driver meeting and a partnership event. With the help of BlueJeans Events, Penske delivered best-in-class entertainment experiences to more than 25,000 fans who saw all 33 Indy 500 drivers virtually.
With a willingness to adapt, the right technology at their fingertips, and a desire to engage directly with audiences, marketers can keep their audience engaged virtually.