Webinars are a key content strategy for modern business, and respondents to a recent survey say webinars are critical to their sales, marketing and lead generation strategy. Yet, audiences are experiencing video fatigue and burnout at a far higher rate today with webinars than they have previously.
Getting back to in-person events is an easy answer to solve the burnout; however, taking this route means you should be smart about your investment and formulate a strategic approach. From cutting-edge innovation and diversity and inclusion efforts to broadening your brand’s global reach, hybrid and virtual events have exploding potential for engaging audiences. In an era where marketing dollars have to cut through a lot of noise and short attention spans, digital event solutions can be impactful, efficient and economical.
My company, a virtual and hybrid event platform, works hand-in-hand with event professionals to reimagine events in the virtual and hybrid world. Through this experience, I’m seeing that by replacing one-way conversations and boring presentations with a few key strategies, you can keep your attendees’ attention where you want it: on you.
No one wants another webinar.
From my perspective, the problem with virtual events isn’t the venue. Audiences, no matter where they are, want connection. People find love online. They exercise online. They cook online. Now, they can even dance, sing, play bingo and network face-to-face online.
By engaging audiences with next-generation interactivity, you’ll learn what your audiences are interested in. You can see what they do rather than what they say or think they’ll do. The past year and a half have digitally transformed audiences. Your events should recognize that shift.
Foster engagement and inclusivity.
Start by really understanding your audience, their motivation for attending the event and the calls to action you want them to answer. From there, the event begins to take shape.
With more focus than ever on work-life balance, remote workplaces, safety and flexibility are a high priority. Offering a virtual attendance option includes those who may not be able to travel or feel comfortable traveling. Providing opportunities to be included in an event virtually means event organizers can create more diverse, immersive and inclusive gatherings.
It’ll take creativity to blend virtual and in-person audiences. To get started, identify if you’ll have a host or a behind-the-scenes technical assistant who reminds people to participate in the chat, react to speakers and prepare for upcoming activities or sessions. Much like a good party, marketing teams should act as hosts for their attendees, calling their attention to where it should be.
To aid in hosting a hybrid event, consider including gamification features such as participant leader boards, chats, Q&As and contests. These tactics give virtual and in-person attendees a common interactive experience that bypasses everything they want to avoid: impersonal, repetitive and generic content.
Focus on responsiveness.
Audiences want responsiveness from the services they interact with. This is how Amazon managed to topple other cookie-cutter approaches that were outdated. With personalized features, two-day delivery and a lack of shipping fees, the company reimagined how products should be sold, the experience that should come with it and now how many purchases are made around the world.
Events are no different. People have been showing us what they want from events for a long time. They want to feel like part of a group, learn relevant information and receive memorable experiences.
Even without having segmented, in-depth data on attendees, marketing and event teams can create the illusion of personal recommendations by pushing email reminders for sessions, reacting to social posts from attendees (and including reminders or links) and requesting survey responses and feedback during the event.
Look toward the future.
Events will have to continue to be innovative as the world becomes increasingly more dynamic. Like every industry, the pandemic has upended standard operating procedures for event organizers. When you start reimagining your events and strategy, you can deliver events at a fraction of the cost while engaging more diverse audiences and delivering personalized content at scale.