Virtual events

13 virtual event best practices to drive attendance and engagement

With the virtual event market expanding by 21% each year until 2030, it’s clear that virtual events are here for the long haul.

And with good reason! 

Virtual events offer accessible and sustainable alternatives to some of the most popular event formats, without cutting back on the opportunities to deliver those all important event messages to your target attendees. 

Take a look at the 13 best practices we swear by when it comes to creating a virtual event with both high attendance and high engagement. 

  1. Select an engaging event format 

Whether you’re hosting a virtual networking session or a virtual team building event, understand what the key features of each event format are, and ensure you’ve got access to the tools and expertise that will deliver your virtual event concept. Need a creative boost when it comes to finding a core event concept? Take a look at these 15 virtual event ideas that will engage attendees.

  1. It’s all about timing!

In order to ensure both attendance and engagement from your target audience, you need to plan your events at a time that works best for them. Research indicates that hosting a virtual event at either 9am or lunchtime is your best bet for securing high attendance, whilst opting for an evening time slot will promise higher attendee engagement. Looking to attract a global audience? Try and pinpoint the major locations of your audience and establish which time works best across all time zones. 

  1. Spread the word: encourage speakers and acts to promote their involvement

If you’ve packed your speaker line up full of influential leaders in their field, utilise this influence by asking your speakers to promote their appearance at your event on their own platforms and social media channels. Not only will this drum up interest around your event within their follower base, registered attendees will also be engaged and invested in hearing what their favourite speaker has to say. 

  1. Create a unique experience with a bespoke platform 

In order to both secure new attendees and keep delegates engaged, you need to create a unique virtual experience they can’t find elsewhere. By creating a bespoke and immersive event platform, you can transport your attendees to a virtual world created around the key messages and goals of your event. Whether a custom built website or native event app, we have the tools and expertise to create a truly immersive world for your attendees. 

  1. Create some social media hype with a unique event 

Use your bespoke event hashtag to reach new audiences on social media, and ask your event attendees to share their key highlights of their event experience using the hashtag, adding to the online conversation. By searching for the hashtag after the event itself, attendees can relive their favourite pieces of event content and community discussion. 

  1. Send the right message with an e-shot campaign

Email marketing is one of the best kept secrets when it comes to driving both event attendance and engagement. When following a clear strategy, an e-shot campaign allows you to speak directly to different groups within your audience, meaning you can engage and excite attendees with tailored content and virtual event sneak previews. 

  1. Virtual doesn’t have to mean isolated: don’t forget those final touches! 

Drive that pre-event excitement in the lead up to your event by sending a goodie bag to your attendees. Whether it’s a physical swag bag of event branded merch, some drinks and snacks for them to enjoy during event breaks, or virtual gift cards and vouchers, there are plenty of ways to show your audience how valued they are, even from afar. 

  1. Remember to plan in breaks! 

Whether in person or online, we can only absorb new information for 15-20 minutes before we need to take a break. To prevent your attendees from getting virtual fatigue, make sure to factor in plenty of breaks throughout your virtual events. 

  1. Add in gamification elements

Just because your attendees aren’t in the same room, doesn’t mean they can’t all participate in some healthy competition! Using the latest interactive tools and technologies, virtual events can now offer the latest games and incentives to keep your attendees occupied and engaged from start to finish. 

  1. Take your virtual event to the next level with professional AV 

Attendees can immediately tell the difference between a bog standard zoom call and a professionally produced, slick and seamless virtual event. The difference? AV and production. By using professional live streaming capabilities and cutting edge visual tools, having a watertight AV production plan will not only drive attendance, but keep your audience engaged from the moment they log on. 

  1. Use interactive tools!

When your attendees aren’t in the same room, a virtual event needs to provide attendees with the platforms and tools to share their opinions. Using tools like polls, Q&As and live surveys, you can encourage your attendees to share their experiences and feedback, and drive their engagement with the event. 

  1. Mix it up with live and pre-recorded content

Having a healthy mix of live speaker sessions and pre-recorded content will keep virtual audiences on their toes and engaged with key messages. Not only does adding some pre-recorded content into your virtual event add some variety and excitement, it’s also an opportunity to get really creative in how you choose to deliver your key event messages. 

  1. Offer content on demand

Looking to keep driving engagement after your virtual event has ended? By offering your event content on demand on your bespoke online platform, your attendees can log in and access their favourite moments over and over. 
If you want to find out more about how we can use our virtual event know-how to create an immersive experience that will drive high attendance and even higher engagement, get in touch with the team at First Event.