How can we as marketers incentivise virtual event interaction and avoid passive attendance of our virtual events?

Over the past year or so, we have all been an attendee of a virtual meeting where our mind is not completely focused on what is being said. Many of us are guilty of multitasking while “attending” a meeting. We need to find ways to ensure maximum audience engagement as opposed to simply logging on.

You have done tons of work to get to the point of presenting the virtual event and activating your brand; so you cannot let the event flop because of low audience interaction.  You have to find ways to make your audience as excited as you are.

At a live event, networking happens naturally, and it is a large part of the brand activation. People enjoy the opportunity of meeting the real people behind your company logo. Is it possible to recreate that in a virtual setting? 

Of course, it is not as easy but incentivising interaction is the key.

Giveaways Can Be A Great Incentive

Virtual conferences, even more so than their live counterparts, need to encourage participation. Marketers know that swag bags are often draw cards for event attendance and participation and that does not need to change when switching to a virtual platform. Swag bags can be delivered to your key attendees.

These build anticipation for the event if they’re delivered ahead of time and also go a long way to making your audience feel connected to the event, even though it is happening remotely. Now, more than ever, people need to feel connected to the real world, and what better way than delivering something tangible?

We also need to ensure engagement throughout the event, so consider leaving clues during the presentation that could earn additional rewards for attendees. Build anticipation by alluding to this on your event website and in your social media campaign and allow people to know that this will be happening.

Live polls are also a great way to keep your audience engaged. Share the feedback in real time or afterwards to give your event more longevity.

Virtual Cocktail Hours

Live conferences, trade shows and launches often have a large social and networking element. Attendees enjoy the chance to  gather and chat, either discussing the event or making connections. When you include a virtual cocktail hour into your event, this experience can be recreated. 

Innovative marketers are including premixed cocktails or mocktails as well as branded glasses in the event swag box. Some are delivering snack platters too. Although this sounds costly, think of the cost savings you are making on other logistics that come with hosting a live event, like travel, accommodation, venue hire and all those high cost expenses.

Virtual Award Ceremonies

Hosting a virtual awards ceremony can be a lucrative business opportunity. Recognition is still important in these times, and it is important for your staff to feel connected and motivated without being micromanaged. Feeling like part of a team and being present online to receive accolades or watch their peers receiving accolades will go a long way towards keeping them engaged and keeping team spirit alive while working remotely.

Why not take it a step further and encourage your attendees to dress up and have a virtual red carpet. This builds anticipation in a world of Zoom meetings in pyjama pants.

You could enhance the excitement by delivering prizes which winners can be instructed to open live. Why not get an event sponsor to co-brand and supply the prizes or prize money?

The bottom line is that this is a brave new world of marketing, and we can be innovative as we find ways to make the experience engaging and meaningful. Contact Tara Slevin Group for ideas on how to incentivise virtual event interaction.