In 2021 and even with a very good event topic, the main metric of success or failure of an event in distance remains the participation rate (and secondly, satisfaction...).
Some techniques exist in order to boost your participation rate, and it is obviously before the event that this is played:
- The adequacy between the proposed contents and your audiences
- The relay of information by all stakeholders
- The different strategies of "gifts" and promotional codes, to the "FOMO" strategies inherited from digital marketing
- Digital advertising on targeted audiences
- A/B testing, emailing and continuous optimization
- The timing of virtual events
- Put some fun in your virtual and hybrid events: SURPRISE your participants
- The design of the event site
- Networking: one of the best ways to make your participants active
- Preparing for the post-event - feedback and next steps
The adequacy between the proposed contents and your audiences
Just as a whole is the sum of its parts, your potential audience is the sum of several smaller audiences (called segments).
These segments naturally focus on different topics (and even, more specifically, on different points within those topics). During your events, whether they are physical or completely virtual, never forget the correlation between your content and your audience.
For this reason, your event should be the sum of different smaller topics. The more an event is defined, with a structure and a plan, the more your participants will be reassured and confident that they will get useful information out of it.
You can also (and this is the advantage of virtual webinars) involve experts from all over the world, to organize video conferences of exceptional quality and increase your notoriety.
In fact, if you really want to make sure your audience is interested, design a survey form to ask your participants directly about the topics and themes they would like to see you address.
The relaying of information by all stakeholders
Your social networks and those of your speakers and sponsors represent a lot of potential visibility - still an interest in sponsoring! If you have a blog or a company intranet, don't hesitate to communicate all relevant information (what interest for your participants to attend your virtual/hybrid event? - when to attend, where to register, which themes are addressed, which speakers?).
You will also need to take advantage of the notoriety of your external stakeholders: the more your sponsors or speakers are known, the stronger the potential exposure of your event will be and the more effective the co-branding will be.
Start by fine-tuning the description of your event announcement communication on social networks: visual (ask your graphic designer or use software such as Adobe Illustrator or Canva, Figma...).
Then write a description that should be in keeping with the tone of your company, while making the reader want to know more. We recommend that you write your text using the AIDA structure, which is well known in marketing:
- The A for Attention - capture your reader's attention in the first few lines (often by talking about a recurring problem they may encounter)
- The I of Interest - Show how your event will help solve his problem, and what interest your reader would have in registering.
- The D of Desire - Write with a touch of originality, something emotional or unusual about your subject, in order to create a differentiation in your communication.
- The A for Action - End by encouraging your reader to take action: often by providing a link to your event site.
This logical path, which builds on your attendees' problems while providing a solution (your event), helps convert more of your readers into attendees.
Once your post is written and published, don't hesitate to ask your sponsors and speakers to relay your message. They will usually be happy to do so without any compensation, as it also gives them good publicity at a lower cost.
The different strategies of "gifts" and the "FOMO"
Marketing and behavioural psychology are useful in many areas, especially when it comes to convincing people to take action.
One such marketing strategy is to offer gifts in the form of contests, to multiply the diffusion of your communication. If you have a small budget, don't hesitate to offer attractive gifts or even coupons for discounts on your products and services.
Hold a draw at your event to boost participation and retention of attendees at your event.
FOMO, inherited from "Fear Of Missing Out" or "The Fear of Missing Out" is the act of creating an emergency - such as a promotional code expiration date, a deadline for registration to your event, etc. - to make your event a success.
This technique can stimulate your prospects to take action and reserve their seats at your event (by the way, you only have until February 28th to subscribe to our newsletter).
Digital advertising on targeted audiences
If you have a communication budget around a major event, one way to attract new prospects is simply to sponsor keywords related to your event during an advertising campaign.
- For example, Google Ads proposes to highlight advertisements in search engines, depending on your budget.
This technique will undoubtedly bring you audience and will eventually generate leads, but it is up to you to choose the right keywords to ensure the quality of the audience that will see your ads.
- You can also tap into professional networks such as LinkedIn, which can be more relevant if your event deals with a professional topic.
Even on LinkedIn, you have ways to create a sponsored post about your event: you can set this post to reach only certain people in certain positions of responsibility, in certain sectors.
- Possibilities also exist on Facebook and Instagram (which offer a rather precise choice of audiences).
Don't hesitate to explore the track on which your audience is most connected, but don't disperse yourself, wanting to "be everywhere".
A/B testing, emailing and continuous optimization
A/B testing is a way of optimizing your communications to try two approaches (A and B) and keep only the one that is the most efficient.
There are several ways to use A/B testing in your event actions: prepare several groups of audiences and send a different email to each one (the subject can be different, the approach can be different, the image can be different...). You will then have to observe the results, then send the email with the best statistics to your entire segment.
This technique allows you to test your communications on smaller portions of the audience, thus limiting the risk of "flopping".
As you go through the different events you will do, you will naturally develop the ability to be more and more effective in your communications, which will have a significant impact on your participation rate.
Your announcement emailing must follow an A/B testing plan, as we have seen. But how do you write a good invitation email to maximize your participation rate?
Imagine that every email you send is a little salesman promoting your event: what would his catchphrase be? The subject line of your email should correspond to this catchphrase: it should make you want to click on the email.
Test the subject line on your colleagues and on some small segments of your audience. Do the same for the illustration image (if you don't have one, try to create one - with Canva for example, it's always better).
For the body text, it is essential that it contains the purpose of the event, the problem your virtual event will solve for your participants, the program, the speakers, and a call to action (a registration button for example). Sometimes add a few touches of mystery, such as a surprise guest that you will only reveal during the event, to arouse your reader's curiosity.
If you're worried about making mistakes in your email, check your email for any of the 14 emailing errors we've listed for you.
Remember: the more your email is worked on, the more your visitors will sign up.
The timing of virtual events
On which day and during which time slot should I make my virtual event?
This is a major problem that every event organizer knows.
To answer this question that can totally change your participation rate, we have several recommendations:
- Survey your audience by asking them which time slot they would prefer, and give them two or three options.
- You should also think about the availability of the populations you are addressing: experienced entrepreneurs do not have the same availability as young parents, for example. So think "like" your audience and always do things in their best interest.
- Think about the time difference, and prioritize the end-of-day schedule of the audience you want to address first.
- If possible, organize your events at the beginning or end of the week, to avoid being in a day where files are piling up for your clients, and where your event will be secondary to the emergencies to be dealt with.
Mettez du fun dans votre événement virtuel ou hybride : SURPRENEZ.
We can't say it often enough: putting fun into a virtual or hybrid event ensures that participants will be more attentive and invested.
Here are a few tips, but you can find the complete list to keep your attendees engaged at your events.
- Attract speakers who are out of the usual prism: Never hesitate to invite a speaker who has nothing to do with your company's field. They can bring their own vision of the topic addressed in your virtual event.
- Organize role-playing games, even virtual: Don't hesitate to use interaction solutions, games and quizzes on the content of your event. The advantage is twofold: your participants feel invested and don't want to be "left on the sidelines" while everyone is participating. Nobody likes to finish last! On your side, you will be able to check live the attention of your participants and their understanding of your content, in addition to building a better reputation for the quality of your events.
- Invite an actor for a quick sketch (even in video, good comedians are funny and can laugh at anything) around your theme. There are even Anglo-Saxon comedians who specialize in energizing corporate events.
The design of the event site
Your event site is the last step in the process. It will be used to host your event, but also to talk about it. The site is the real virtual showcase of your event, the catalyst of information.
You must therefore pay particular attention to applying a well thought-out design to it (often by an artistic direction, graphic designers...). You must also make sure that it is fully compatible with different screen sizes: from smartphones to large 15-inch screens.
Using Digitevent will allow you to make sure of all these aspects, but in any case, have your website tested by colleagues to make sure that the experience is pleasant and that the background information is useful.
Your website should also contain a menu with clear and useful headings, such as the program, speakers, link to the registration form or practical information.
If you are not technically comfortable, we have developed an intuitive site creation tool to allow you to easily create the event site of your dreams.
Networking: one of the best ways to make your participants active
Your visitors register for your event for one of two reasons:
- They think they will gain something, relevant content, a new approach, tools that will help them to solve their problems.
- They can expand their network and make new professional relationships, which can bring them business opportunities.
This second point is quite crucial for your event. If your event is designed to address this second issue, you should plan a matchmaking solution between your participants.
By doing so, you allow them to no longer be mere spectators of your event - but to take an active role in it!
Useful in dozens of different types of events, this appointment scheduling module makes your participant autonomous and multiplies the added value of your digital event.
Preparing for the post-event: feedback and next dates
Even before your virtual or hybrid event, you can already think about how you will get feedback and data.
You can schedule an email a few hours after the event, to let you know what your guests thought, what they would like to see at future events....
It is also customary (if you have enough visibility) to communicate your next event dates or your company's next news.
We hope that this guide will help you see more clearly the good practices to apply in your next events.
We sincerely hope that it will help you turn more visitors into participants at your virtual and hybrid events.