Users are very different from attendees. People on the internet have a very low threshold for inconvenience. If something is clunky or confusing, we tend to close our browser window right away.
Keeping people engaged at your virtual event is about removing friction, providing support and giving people as much flexibility as possible.
Here are a few tips to help you create a seamless user experience.
Run a pre-event campaign
The level of commitment for a virtual event is much lower than a physical event, this makes your pre-event campaign even more important. This campaign is how you get someone excited about the events and committed to being there.
Some of the key things to communicate in your campaign are:
- What’s in it for the user - what will they gain?
- Who are the speakers?
- What other content is available?
- Are there other activities planned?
- How many people have signed up so far?
Another good way to get buy-in is to give users the opportunity to shape the content. One of the advantages of digital is that it is interactive.
Inviting your audience to make suggestions and ask questions in advance gives you an opportunity to tailor the event to the audience and solve their specific problems. It also gives another reason to make sure they attend.
Have a welcome video that sets the scene
After users have logged in, make them feel welcome with an intro video that addresses the key questions they may have and where they can go for more information.
Those first moments after a user arrives are important, so tailor your video to your audience’s tastes and expectations as much as you can. If you want to make sure that people watch it when they arrive, then you can set it to autoplay, but make sure that you have a ‘skip intro’ option for returning visitors.
Make it quick and easy to get around
Users need to be able to quickly and easily navigate around the event interface. At a physical event, attendees will be happy to roam around. Users are different. They want to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
Here are a few quick tips to help:
- Only ask your users to log in once (some platforms ask users to log in to separate areas each time)
- Make it easy for users to see where they are, where they came from and how to get back there. One of the best ways to do this is with a clear header navigation bar
- Keep your navigational copy clear and to the point
- Map out the user journey and minimise the ‘clicks’ required to get users between the areas they will want to visit
Provide technical support
Your users may have questions or technical issues. Chatbots are a great way to provide technical support so you can solve problems for users in real-time and reassure people that help is there if they need it.
Reassure users that the content will be available on-demand
You want to give your users as much flexibility and choice as possible. This includes making content available for them after the event.
Telling them that they will be able to re-watch content on demand will make your audience feel under less pressure to see absolutely everything on the day.
Create social spaces and encourage interaction
Most of your attendees will be there for the content. But interacting with people is another important aspect of attending a virtual event.
Create social spaces and chatrooms for people that want to share advice and ideas with others. If you have booked guest speakers or thought leaders, you can also encourage them to join the social spaces, giving people a chance to interact with them directly.
Try to create social spaces with a sense of purpose and direction. If you don’t provide guidance or structure, people will be less likely to participate. Creating social spaces around specific tops or even setting out to solve certain problems is a good way to shape the conversation and make it feel more productive.
Run a post-event campaign
Similarly to the pre-event campaign, you should extend the experience by keeping in touch with your audience after the event has finished.
Chances are you’ll have a lot of on-demand content that you recorded on the day. Uploading these to the event domain will give people a way to refer back to it. You can also give people the opportunity to watch things they may have missed.
If you’re looking for more advice on how to run a best-in-class virtual event, check out the articles below:
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