You've made the decision to host a virtual event or a hybrid one.
You have spent weeks preparing details. From booking entertainment to marketing the event to creating an easy registration process, you've done a lot of work. You and your team have spent a lot of time and effort planning this event. It is not something you want guests to “check out” after only 15 minutes.
Handbid has helped over 250 charities host charity auctions and raised more than $250 million since 2010. We have witnessed firsthand how these events moved to the hybrid and virtual spheres. It can be more difficult to keep a virtual audience interested, after all, “Zoom Fatigue”, after years of communicating via computers, is real. However, we have also witnessed how organizations have come up with innovative ways to capture and retain their online audience's attention.
These tips will help you keep your audience online engaged at your next event. Let's get started!
It's easy to join and enjoy the event
Are you ever unsure of what to do at an event? Maybe you weren't sure where to sign in or which conference room to attend. This is a stressful feeling you don't want your virtual guests to experience.
It is not a good idea for guests to struggle with their technology and miss the event's start. It should be easy for guests to register and take part in the event.
We provide guests with the ability for them to share an online link to their auction when they host online charity auctions. The link will be shared to allow guests to join the auction. You could either share the direct link to your event or create a resource or invitation email that guides guests through the steps.
Guests will be able to concentrate less on how they can engage with the event and more on the actual engagement.
Online supporters are invited back to the event
Here's the deal:
Even if the content is interesting and aligns with your interests, it's easy for you to lose focus when staring at a screen. You're probably familiar with the feeling of losing focus when you binge-watch a new movie and get a somewhat shameful “Are you still viewing?” message from Netflix.
You will lose some attention along the way, and this is not your fault. That's fine! This just means that you will need to include a few strategies in order to re-engage supporters – your “Are you still looking?” message.
These are some ideas to keep your mind occupied:
- Push notifications or text messages. We use push notifications and texts to notify guests when they are outbid. Guests can then “hop” back into an event to make their counterbid. This idea could be used outside of a fundraising event to give your guests an overview before entertainment or event sessions begin.
- Surveys and polls. This allows you to re-engage guests while also learning a little bit about those who are attending your event. Ask guests to share their opinions on a topic, answer trivia questions or answer general questions about why they are attending your event.
- Competitions. A healthy competition is one of the most engaging things you can do. It can be used in many ways throughout your event. You could also have a trivia contest at your event. Participants would be asked trivia questions randomly and kept track of who answered correctly. The winner receives a prize You could also break guests into teams and ask them to complete engagement-related tasks during the event. The team with the most completed tasks wins!
These ideas should not be used as the core of your engagement strategy. These are quick and eye-catching strategies you can sprinkle around the event. If a guest finds themselves staring at a wall instead of paying attention to the events, they can be quickly redirected back into the main event.
Driving the Event to the Finish
Did you ever attend an event without a clear conclusion? Perhaps the excitement slowed down as the evening progressed and people started to leave the event.
It is important to make a good first impression at your event. You also need to ensure that the event is moving at a good pace, with engaging moments throughout the event.
These tips will help you drive your event, from the opening to its conclusion, while maintaining steady engagement.
- Keep guests updated throughout the event. You might use a fundraising thermometer to show how much money has been raised so far and how much more you need to raise to meet your goal. You could use any of the competition suggestions from the previous section to provide updates at various intervals on who is “winning”.
- Use a live presenter if applicable. This is where an auctioneer can step in to perform appeals or chant through the auction items. It's also a good idea to have a charismatic emcee for entertainment during other events.
- Make the event more interactive by mailing a meal or snacks to your guests. You could also include a tutorial in which guests create something with a presenter and mail the items to them in advance. These ideas will draw people to the event, making it more personal and less like guests are communicating with you via a computer screen.
It can feel as though you are speaking into the void when you livestream an event. These ideas will allow you to keep the event moving from start-to-finish, and decrease the “space” between you and your guests.
It can be difficult to engage online audiences in hybrid and virtual events. However, there are some strategies you can use to keep them interested from beginning to end. These strategies will help you make your next event a success. We wish you all the best!
Jeff Porter has been a founder and CEO of Handbid for 18 years. He founded the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Colorado in 2004. He is still its board chair. Jeff quickly realized that nonprofits needed more cost-effective fundraising options. He leveraged his software skills to create most of the tools used by his charities. In 2011, he founded Handbid at a fundraising event. It was designed to enhance the guest experience, decrease administration, and increase revenue. Handbid achieved all those goals and doubled its revenue within its first year. Nine years later, Handbid has entertained over half a million people, generated millions of biddings and helped thousands raise over $100 million for charities.
Marketing Insider Group published the article Engaging Online Audiences at Events: Three Strategies.
By: Guest Author
Title: Engaging Online Audiences at Events: 3 Strategies
Sourced From: marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/engaging-online-audiences-at-events-3-strategies/
Published Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2022 09:00:15 +0000
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