Today’s consumers are infatuated with the idea of connection. They aren’t interested in the traditional modes of business and sales; they want to feel something, they want to develop an emotional connection with brands and brand owners, to feel like by becoming a customer, they are creating a partnership.
Creating this sense of connection is dependent upon customer engagement. When your customers are more engaged, the connection that they feel with your brand is deepening, creating loyalty and causing them to take the various CTAs that you offer.
While you can create customer engagement using a number of tools such as a great social media presence and relevant digital content, one of the more difficult, yet essential areas for engagement, is events. Businesses that offer events have a distinct advantage over those who don’t.
They provide an incredible opportunity for brands to offer a ton of useful, relevant information, as well as to share their products or services, network with others, and work on building professional relationships. The shared focus of events allows businesses to dive deep into marketing, showcasing their business as an industry expert.
More and more these days, events are being held online instead of in-person. There are a number of benefits that online events provide businesses, including the ability to reach many more people, increase visibility, and have lower costs.
However, learning to navigate the world of online events can be difficult, especially for those who are only used to events that happen in-person. One of the hardest parts of hosting an online event is that keyword: engagement.
Engagement is essential, it’s part of the reason for holding events, and yet, it’s difficult to keep the audience engaged. It’s hard to keep them engaged during a physical event, which means it can seem practically impossible to keep them engaged during an online one. The good news is, it’s not impossible.
Customer Engagement During Online Events
You can absolutely host an online event that is successful and keeps your customers engaged. You just need to learn how. These 10 tips will give you some top ideas on keeping your customer engaged during online events:
1. Use influencers for marketing purposes
Your online event doesn’t start when the event does. Your online event begins when you start marketing it to your target audience. There are many great digital marketing tools that you can utilize in order to reach your intended audience, gain visibility, and ensure that you have a wide reach.
Influencer marketing is a simple and effective marketing tool that allows you to partner with social media leaders in order to promote your event. Discover the influencers whose audience lines up with your target market and look into collaborating with them. If they decide to promote your event, you’ll have an instant megaphone directly to the people that you want to register for your event.
2. Connect with your audience before the event
The really neat thing about digital tools such as social media is that you are able to talk with and connect with your target market. Develop a social media presence by regularly posting useful, informative, and relevant content for your audience. Use your accounts to engage with followers by responding to comments, sharing posts when you are tagged, and answering messages.
By using your accounts on the various platforms to build connections, you are beginning to build professional relationships with much of your event audience. When it’s time for your event, your audience will be excited to engage with you in a different setting, especially because they’ll feel like they already know you.
3. Provide clarity and ease in ticket buying, registration, and joining the event
4. Ensure high-quality audio and video
The success of your online event will be judged by your audience and will depend, in part, on the quality. Frankly, anyone can host an event by gathering a bunch of people together on Zoom and sharing a message with them. But you don’t want to be just anyone.
You want your online event to be top quality and stand out from any old event. You want people to enjoy it, to feel like you put millions of dollars into it, and to believe that the investment was well worth the time and the money. The quality of your event can really make or break your brand in the eyes of your audience; they will come away viewing you as unprofessional and cheap, or they’ll come away in awe of your brand and the effort you put into the event.
Make sure you’re using high-quality audio and video for your presentation. Use top platforms with great features, and don’t forget to test everything before you go live.
5. Use pauses in your presentation to encourage participation
In-person events have opportunities for participants to connect with one another, ask questions of speakers, and even offer feedback. You don’t want to lose that component just because your event is online.
You can ask speakers to leave pauses in their presentations, leave room for q&a, or even take breaks after speakers, so that audience members can participate in the event. Provide time for event-goers to talk with one another, to comment on material, and to ask questions.
6. Make the event interactive
Most platforms have features that allow you to make an interactive experience for your audience. By using chat, polls, virtual vending booths, and live q&a, you can create an enjoyable and engaging event for all involved.
You can also use features that allow speakers to share videos, pictures, graphics, and more with the audience.
7. Use an entertaining host and great speakers
Make the most of your online event by providing a fun and entertaining MC to lead things, as well as booking some inspiring, passionate, and knowledgeable speakers. You want your event to be as encouraging, motivating, and useful as possible in order to engage your audience and create loyal customers. By ensuring that your event’s content is high-quality and exciting, you’re helping to do so.
8. Keep your speakers’ sessions under 45 minutes
You don’t want your sessions to be too long during your event. The longer the sessions, the more likely your audience is to stop paying attention and stop engaging. Keep each session short and sweet, with small breaks in between.
45 minutes tends to be the max amount of time someone will give their full attention to an online session, so try not to go over that time. Provide those opportunities for participation between each session, breaking up times of learning with bits of fun and connection.
9. Test your equipment and connection
One of the worst things that can happen during your event is that your equipment fails or your internet connection goes out, causing the event to freeze. Failures are a sure way to lose your audience quickly, so take the time to get everything set up properly. Make sure your internet connection is secure and will last throughout the event.
10. Utilize contests and giveaways throughout the event
You can make your event even more engaging by holding contests and giveaways throughout the entire thing. Everyone loves winning things, so keep your audience engaged and on their toes by letting them participate in contests as the event goes on.
You can even create one big giveaway that will happen at the end of the event to encourage your audience to stick around until it's over. By offering prizes and fun games, you’re sure to keep your audience engaged.