Get your participants on-board, educated, and excited.
By this point, most audience members are familiar with virtual events … the format, many of the platforms, and how to join meetings. But that doesn’t mean they’re excited for them.
Many folks see virtual events as an accessible and inventive new way to meet with folks while others see them as a stop-gap until we are able to fully return to large, in-person meetings.
Whether attendance for your event is required, such as among employees, or features open registration, you want attendees to be filled with excitement and anticipation in the months and weeks leading up to the event.
We’ve put together some tips and tricks around building hype for virtual events so that you can boost your registration numbers and engage your participants before the meeting event begins.
Remind attendees early and often.
One surefire way to boost attendance and excite participants is to get on their calendar early, and frequently remind them of the event.
By sending out initial save the dates or pre-registration links, you’re ensuring most audience members won’t have prior commitments that conflict with the event.
Sending out frequent reminders – whether they be registration countdowns, event teasers, reminders for specific sessions, or VIP meetings – will keep the event on everybody’s radar, while building up gravitas and enthusiasm.
By the time the time the event rolls around, your participants will be thinking, “It’s finally here!” and not, “That really came up quickly.”
Tease segments and speakers.
Consider what the most exciting experiences of your event will be and build hype specifically around them.
Perhaps there is a brand-new award being given away – introduce the award with a short (:90 or less) video teaser, outlining the purpose of the award and the criteria. The teaser will then end with a question – who will be honored on (the date of the event)?
If you have a high-profile keynote speaker or a thought leader in your field, make sure audience members are aware early on in the registration process. Knowing they’ll have the once in a lifetime opportunity to hear a personal hero or industry giant speak will have them hitting the “register now” button as quickly as they can.
Even though the event is virtual doesn’t mean all opportunities for networking and social engagement are disappearing. Be sure to highlight social activities or virtual games that will allow participants to meet and network in a more casual virtual setting.
This may feel counterintuitive with teasing your best surprises – but you don’t need to give away all of your secrets just yet!
While you’ll want to brag about the most exciting and unexpected aspects of the event, it’s okay (and even recommended!) to leave your participants guessing about what else they’ll experience. Tell them about your highest profile speaker – but tease that there’s more surprises that will be unveiled at the event.
Record promotional materials.
Because virtual events are unique in their ability to utilize pre-recorded content, we find that video footage, graphics, and branding elements are often finalized earlier – leading to great opportunities for promotional use. Using social media, direct emails, and web placement, your event can utilize footage and graphics that are more than just teasers, but relevant event content.
Additionally, many production partners are utilizing studios for virtual events, meaning there is flexibility in both timing and budget to record material specifically intended for promotional use. Encompass’s studio, THE CUBE, is a great example of this. Easily accessible from the airport, clients are able to quickly and easily fly in to record promotional content with the same professional polish that they’ve come to expect from Encompass!
For speakers who may not be available to record in-person, virtual recording options, such as our AWS-based 100% virtual workflow, will help deliver exceptional recording quality while remaining easy to use.
Everybody loves swag. Send physical perks to participants immediately prior to the event, such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, or event items they can use in connection with the meeting. This will show audience members that you value them as participants and that you’re just as excited as they are.
While participants are becoming increasingly comfortable with virtual event technology, there are often still many questions leading up to virtual events.
In order to help your participants feel more comfortable, send out a tutorial video or guide on how to use the event platform, as well as any additional phone applications, survey platforms, or technology they may be using. This will not only ease the nerves of audience members who may be feeling apprehensive, but will eliminate confusion regarding accessing the event – allowing it to start on time and with maximum engagement.
Building hype for virtual events may seem like an uphill battle – but it doesn’t have to be! To learn more about how to successfully promote your event, check out Relish Podcast – Remain Relevant by running online events, featuring Encompass Event Group’s CEO Dave Jensen!
At Encompass, we have unique backgrounds that situate us perfectly to produce high end and complex offerings. We’ve worked in broadcast television, touring entertainment, live sporting events, and countless convention facilities across the country.
We have technical design experience and a disciplined process in place that allows us to easily scale events and shift from in-person to virtual without angst. There isn’t much that’s beyond our scope and we love the intensity of putting on events!
If you’re a planner working to create an event, seeking help with virtual event technology, or simply want to learn more … we can help! Sign up for our newsletter (we promise to keep your contact information secure and won’t “overshare”).