You have probably come across many virtual events since last year. From local events to workshops, local businesses to sports leagues, school conferences to lectures--all sectors have organized virtual events. Why are businesses so focused on virtual events? The answer to this question is simple. Pre-pandemic, in-person events dominated the marketing and the event industry; however, there were many prohibitive barriers to these events such as financial, geographical, health constraints, etc. But with the smooth entry of virtual events, all these barriers were eliminated. With numerous benefits, virtual events changed the face of the event industry.
Even though mass inoculation drives have started around the globe, it will still take some time for you to meet your attendees in person. And with virtual events being an easy solution, they are here to stay. Most of us will even prefer virtual event platforms to host our events online.
1. Why Did the World Pivot to Virtual Events?
We can probably all agree that we have looked forward to in-person events before, but with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our personalities, choices and preferences were altered. It is a common understanding that these elements are shaped by our social interactions and other experiences. Because the pandemic reduced social interactions and experiences to a bare minimum, this may have caused a drastic personality change in some people.
3. Should Virtual Events be a Part of your Year-Round Marketing Strategy?
When we hear that the future is digital it is actually true. Be it media, tech, sales, operations, HR, marketing, reporting, design, etc.--everything has a digital aspect to it now. Therefore, in some cases, we may prefer “old school,” but here, if your business does not adapt to the agile tech environment, it may have to go through some serious bumps in the road ahead.
Virtual events are a great way to streamline your priorities, businesses, products and ideas. Once you decide what you want to work on, you can chalk out the rest of your agenda within a specified time frame before the day of your virtual event.
The rise of virtual events has proven that businesses can continue to make profits, generate leads, increase their reach and venture into new industries even during the pandemic. Thus, as a business, you should definitely incorporate virtual events as a part of your year-round marketing strategy.
Hosting a one-time event will only help you in making short-term profits and leads. In order to get your target audience hooked on your idea and your business, you need to keep making comebacks with trending concepts. Every time a new person shows up for your virtual event, it means you have one new potential customer.
4. Engagement in Virtual Events
According to statistics presented by Bizzabo, in 2020, 80.2% of event organizers have said that they were able to reach a wider audience with the help of virtual events. Also, 60% of leadership believe that events are an essential marketing channel to achieve respective business goals.
At first, audiences were skeptical about attending virtual events, conferences and workshops, but with time, people became more comfortable with the virtual environment and screen time. This added comfort level increased the number of attendees to virtual events. Now, the real challenge is to not bore the audience with business mumbo jumbo. It is important to be transparent and innovative with your respective audience. Successful virtual events are those which exceed in keeping the audience hooked on an idea and an event for a long period of time.
4.1 Ways in Which You Can Keep Your Audience Engaged in Your Virtual Event
The only advantage in-person events hold over virtual events is that audience engagement is easier in in-person events. This is because, at a venue, there are fewer sources of distraction in the surroundings. However, in virtual events, the attendee is in the comfort of their own space and has countless things to distract them from the virtual event. So, in order to make your virtual event a success, you need to keep your audience glued to their screen. We have included here some exclusive tips to keep your audience engaged:
1. Pre-event and Live Polls - Especially in B2B events, crafting creative and customized polls will definitely increase your audience engagement and understanding
2. Hiring Experts for Audience Engagement - You can hire an expert in the field of your business and keep a small interactive session with the expert. This can also be the key takeaway from your virtual event.
3. Presenting Virtual Event Goodie Bags - Well, in a digital time, you can offer virtual goodie bags to your attendees by offering them coupons or discounts on your products or some other products by partnering with e-commerce sites or sponsors.
4. Social Media Contests or Discussion Forums - You can form a group for people who are going to attend your event and create a pre-event hype by initiating discussions and contests related to the topic of your event so that the audience actively participates in discussions and looks forward to your event.
5. Virtual Networking Opportunities - By enabling chat and break rooms for your attendees, you can propagate interpersonal and intrapersonal interaction which will provide the audience with multiple opportunities to network with people from all around the globe.