Virtual events are an established part of most companies’ marketing plans, offering many benefits including the ability to communicate one-to-one with a mass audience across distance. But unlike physical events, which can always be altered to provide a different experience simply by changing the location, virtual events are always delivered over the internet and consumed on your preferred device.
That doesn’t mean you can’t change them up and find new ways to blend the virtual with the physical so you can surprise and delight your audience and add an element of fun.
Here are some ways you might consider injecting a little creativity to bring your online event to life.
- Let’s do lunch!
Planning a virtual conference? Invite your audience to lunch.
Particularly if you have a willing sponsor, a Lunch ’n’ Learn session or sponsored lunchtime speaker is a great way to add value to your event both for sponsors and attendees — especially if you’re providing the lunch.
In a virtual world, this is easy enough: you can provide your attendees with a food delivery voucher or pre-send a snack pack courtesy of your sponsor.
And while your sponsor may wish to share their own educational content in a Lunch ’n’ Learn, you might also consider offering a meditation or stretching session or an inspirational speaker to help provide a break from the formalities and a change of pace.
- Interactive polls, quizzes and competitions
It’s standard practice in most online events to include a poll or two to increase audience engagement with your topic and presenter.
But the interactive polling features that come with most webinar platforms can be used in other ways to ramp up the energy level of your online events.
It’s very easy to create short online quizzes or turn them into a competition by offering a prize for the best response.
Reward your winner with an instant prize that can be redeemed online or one that can be delivered in person.
- Virtual drinks
The organisers of a recent virtual awards night we attended asked registrants before the event what their favourite style of wine was.
On the afternoon of the awards night, we received a parcel containing a bottle of our favourite sauvignon blanc, along with some very welcome chocolates, biscuits and fudge.
This lovely hamper set the scene for a luxurious evening of indulgence and an entertaining awards evening we enjoyed over a wine or two — much like any other!
Afternoon networking sessions can also be approximated online with an invitation to BYO drinks or a matched wine and cheese delivery from an online provider.
- Video Q&A
Q&A sessions are an important element of any virtual event, and essential for ensuring your audience gets all the information they need.
But when the audience can’t see the person asking the questions, they miss the physical and neuro-linguistic cues you get in a face-to-face situation.
Never fear. Ask your audience to record their question on video using their laptop or computer webcam — or even their mobile phone. Television programs such as Q&A have been doing it for years.
Your attendees can send the video file to you by email, and your webinar provider can play the clips at the appropriate time.
Not only will you truly bring your audience into your multimedia event, but you’ll have time to prepare your presenters to answer the submitted questions.
- Virtual delegate bags
Some events get the delegate-bag swag right, don’t they? We’ve all pocketed that phone charger, kept those headphones, or found ourselves using those branded water bottles for months in our gym workouts.
With a little forethought, you can still create a great delegate bag for a virtual event. Consider your audience and what will be most attractive to them and find out what’s available online or for mobile download. Online gift cards, online vouchers, streaming service subscriptions and even non-profit donations can make great corporate gifts.
Create a section on your event webinar platform where sponsors can list or link to special offers, or registrants can redeem them or obtain codes for fulfilment on other sites.
While it’s sometimes hard to know what gets used in a physical delegate bag, it’s much easier to track the effectiveness of an online offer.
Redback Connect runs more than 2500 digital events a year. Get in touch with one of our consultants if we can help you manage your next online event.