When the pandemic started causing conferences to cancel at the last minute, those that quickly went virtual saw a high number of attendees. In fact, even at Blue Sky eLearn, our webinar attendance for our own educational webinars shot up. But as the months of the pandemic have worn on, we’ve started to hear the phrase “Zoom fatigue” more and more.
We’re all getting it. Some of us sit on video conference calls the better part of the day. And even for those of us that don’t, the amount of personal Zoom and FaceTime calls we’re having outside of the workday has us tired of staring at the screen.
As we head into the second half of 2020, it doesn’t look like much will be changing when it comes to working remotely and attending virtual conferences. In order to continue attracting people to large virtual events throughout the year, we’ve come up with some tips to help attract attendees:
One of the things we’ve heard is that virtual meetings are getting A LOT of last-minute sign ups. This has always been true in the webinar world and isn’t surprising. However, if you’re bringing your conference into a virtual format, and your conference had tiered pricing based on when you registered, why not use the same pricing model for your virtual event? This will give you a better grasp on the number of registrants and if you need to step up your marketing efforts as you get closer to the event.
Encourage registrants to share on social media that they’re registered for your event. It could be as simple as #AttendingABCEvent2020. Tag new registrants who are going. These are also great ways to get networking going before the event.
If they don’t go, what happens? Do they miss out on continuing education credits? Is this their only shot at viewing the educational content? Is the on-demand content more expensive? Make sure to highlight the benefits of registering and attending the live virtual conference in all of your marketing materials.
While your first thought may be to bring your entire conference schedule – as is – online, this might be a deal breaker for some registrants. Shorten some sessions, and make sure there are adequate breaks and shorter days. You can even think about getting creative and shortening the event overall and having events 1-2 days a week over the course of a month, or events a couple of times a year instead of one large event over a few days.
While the educational content is very important, you’ll still have people looking for that interaction and networking. Hold morning yoga and workout sessions online. Have a musical guest at the end of the day. Have open Zoom rooms for networking during breaks throughout the day and at the conclusion of each day. There are so many ways to get creative and bring small groups of people together throughout an event, even from their own homes.
Of course, this comes after you get people to register and attend your event – but if they are coming, make sure they leave satisfied with the program. Having someone to emcee the entire event can help the program feel cohesive and keep engagement levels up in between sessions. However, it’s also important that your presenters are ready to present virtually. Utilizing items like polling questions, chat boxes and Q&A throughout each event can help keep the audience engaged, but it’s also important that your presenters do a good job of engaging the audience during their presentation – which can feel a bit different than presenting to a room full of people whose energy you can feed off of.
Have some other tips that have worked to drive up your virtual conference attendance? Drop them in the comments below!