Be honest, how many times have you been in a virtual event and started looking at another device or website? Maybe, with good intention, you went to Google something the presenter mentioned, and the next thing you know you were on Facebook or Instagram. We’ve all been there, and it speaks to one of the biggest struggles for hosts of virtual meetings and events. As an industry, we have continued to learn and hone our approach.
AV Chicago is no different. One thing that became clear early on was we must think about every aspect of the event, and that goes well beyond the technology. We need to take into consideration the entire attendee experience just as we would an in-person meeting. Start at registration and don’t stop until well after the event is over. Just because the attendee is at home doesn’t mean the event isn’t an experience. Here are a few ways to make your next virtual event more engaging for your attendees.
Simplify Online Event Registration
Registration shouldn’t be complicated. Yes, we’ve seen examples where registration is on one site and the event is on another. The attendee should only have to go to one site for the event. During the registration process, question how long it takes to register. Should attendees really need to make a user account for a one-time event? There are many ways to collect attendee information and simplify the pre-event attendee experience.
Stream Early and Often
Start your stream early. Let your attendees know they are in the right place. When the event starts, don’t just jump right into the live stream. Provide a meaningful welcome to the event. Share photos and stories of the people your foundation supports and let people know what your organization is all about. Give sponsors a chance to share who they are. Prepare the attendees for what they are about to experience. A countdown timer is a great way to ease into the event itself.
Keep Everyone on the Same Page
Centralize the event into a single web page and brand it with your event. With high-end, full-service platforms like AV Chicago for Virtual Events, your attendees will be able to access everything they need right on the event page. If your event involves fundraising, for example, platforms such as OneCause can be integrated right into your virtual event. Chat, polling, and Q&A should be easily accessible throughout the event as well. Never give the attendee a reason to leave your event page or let the livestream be out of sight when the attendee scrolls down the page.
Provide Access to Relevant Content
Provide additional content and make it easily accessible for your virtual event attendees. Educational resources, reference materials, pictures, and other items on your event site extend the event narrative. An attendee arriving early to the event should have something to do. We don’t want them looking at email or another website. The same is true of a viewer losing interest in the live stream. Think of what materials you can post to add value and keep users on the event website.
Don’t Disappear Post-Event
After the event, the attendee experience is not over. Make sure your event site doesn’t go away. You will want to give your attendees a reasonable period of time (we recommend 30 days) to go back and reference the content or rewatch the event you provided. Highly engaging content will make attendees want to share the event with colleagues and friends. Coupled with a proper attendee contact capture form you can extend the reach of your brand and marketing efforts, bringing in additional individuals.
Choosing the right AV partner for your next virtual event is easy once you know what questions to ask. Ask them what they are doing to carry the experience beyond the live stream. What tools are they using to connect the attendee with the event? How will they help you make a holistic event experience? Working with a full-service AV Event company like AV Chicago can lead to a spectacular and engaging virtual event for your audience. As we gear up for the fall event season, let’s not let the virtual world make us forget about the attendee experience.