How to Host Virtual Events that Attract High Turnouts and Engagement

Live events, whether small, intimate gatherings, or large-scale conventions, have been laid to rest effectively since the outbreak of COVID-19. This has led to numerous events to be cancelled or delayed indefinitely, causing millions of dollars in losses.

However, the show must still go on. Events are crucial in the operations and growth of many companies and brands, so we must find a way to adapt to the current restrictions. Here are ways how you can successfully bring your events to the virtual world.

Top 3 virtual events your brand can host

Product Demos & Launches

Yes, you can launch a new product or service through online means. Just because people don’t get to experience the product firsthand doesn’t mean that it takes away from their experience. Online launches and demos can be a good thing as people get a more in-depth look at the products or services. In fact, Apple has been doing it for many years now every time they release a new version of their Macbooks, iPhones, and iPads. Other technology companies have also followed suit such as Lenovo and Samsung.

Virtual Product Launch Case Study

It’s not just technology industries that are killing it with these product launches. A Canadian snack brand, Hippie Snacks has executed a virtual sampling of its new line of crisps, making it a sensory experience for the customers.

Virtual trade shows

Gone are the days of bustling trade shows filled with different exhibitors and attendees. These days, trade shows have gone virtual. It may be a bit more technically complicated as you need to ensure that the virtual event is as interactive as it would be in person. You can find several online trade show tools that foster the same in-person interactivity with features such as chat rooms, live chats, webinars, Q&As, webcasts, and more.

Virtual Trade Show Case Study

Earlier this year, Alibaba.com (a global B2B online marketplace) launched a Global Online Trade Show that aimed to connect struggling traditional trade businesses and customers during the pandemic. 20 online trade show exhibitions from small to medium-sized enterprises participated during this two-week trade show. To enhance interactivity, cross-border B2B livestreaming was introduced with a whopping 1,000+ B2B live streaming sessions held during the event. It was so successful that it “attracted more than 1 million business buyers and many hundreds of sellers over the course of two weeks,” according to Alibaba.

Virtual conferences

It is important now more than ever to make the switch to virtual conferences. You may find that virtual conferences are just as good if not even better than the real thing. There are plenty of online tools that replicate the different aspects of conferences. You can host more breakout sessions, reach a wider audience, and invite speakers wherever they are in the world at a lesser expense and coordination.

Virtual Conference Case Study

The sales engagement platform Outreach has turned digital this year with their annual summit of sales, marketing, and operations leaders. Their event was streamed for a whole week, from May 4-7. During the summit, they utilised a Slack channel to allow everyone to connect and network with each other. Since it is a commonly used tool for most remote employees today, it made it easier for participants to stay engaged even while they’re working from home.

Virtual events tips:

1. Plan your event well

Whether it’s a small or large-scale event, you need to have a finely tailored event to maintain cohesiveness and audience interest. While it is now easier for people to attend your events as they can do it in the comfort of their homes, it is also a caveat as they can easily leave your event if they are not engaged throughout. Make sure that you deliver the experience and content that they are looking for.

2. Promotion is key

The good thing about hosting virtual events is that it’s a lot easier to promote them online. Pique people’s interest by highlighting the key event features and promising an incentive for their attendance, whether they’re giveaways, famous speakers, networking opportunities and more. Don’t forget to run social media ads and target them appropriately.

The speakers who will be participating are effective influencers that can build your event’s reach. Make sure to tap into their audience by asking them to promote their upcoming participation in your event.

Just like before, you can also deliver goodie bags to the attendees. These are effective promotional tools as branded merchandise resonates more than any other advertising tool.

3. Expect the technical difficulties

As these events rely heavily on technology, it is better to expect that you’ll run into a problem or two. First, prepare for backups of everything and a contingency plan if something goes wrong. Second, ensure that your internet connection is running smoothly. Lastly, run a rehearsal before the actual event and have tech support on standby to help any of the speakers or facilitators when they run into technical troubles.

4. Keep them engaged from the beginning to the end

Making a personal connection to the attendance is key to driving engagement up. Facilitate an open discussion by allowing Q&A sessions through the comments or a chat tool. Here are other ways you can keep engagement up:

Live-tweeting about the event using your event hashtag
Holding contests or quizzes throughout the event
Ask for their feedback once the event has ended

As we mentioned, giving them incentives will keep them around until the end of the event. Now’s the time to use up your branded event giveaways from your cancelled events in the previous months (if there are any).

Host a successful virtual event with these tips and tricks!

Virtual events are the new future of the pandemic. For recommendations on branded event giveaways, you can book a free consultation with our Account Managers through this link.