Note: This “Closed Sign” may not be needed for your virtual event.
The great thing about virtual events? You can create a “show that never ends.” Sure, your scheduled events may have concluded, but virtual event platforms provide an ongoing showcase for your event’s content.
In the industry, we use a fancy term – we call it the “on-demand archive.” Given all the time and energy you put into the planning and execution of your event, wouldn’t you benefit by extending the momentum, to drive additional registrations and activity to the on-demand event? Here are some tips and tactics to create a thriving on-demand archive.
Publish New Content
When recruiting expert presenters for your virtual event, ask them if they’d be willing to blog about their presentation post-event. Their blog postings could link to your virtual event’s microsite or registration page.
Alternatively, have your team write a series of articles or blog postings that summarize the event’s key sessions. Include links in the articles to your virtual event’s registration page. If you don’t have resources on board to generate this content, partner with bloggers in your space, who may be willing to write about your event in exchange for the traffic generated to their blogs.
In both cases, you’re creating goodness. The new content drives clicks to your virtual event’s registration page, while those inbound links improve the SEO (search engine optimization) ranking of your page, resulting in more traffic from search engines.
Host Moderated Chats
Create scheduled “mini events” within your on-demand archive and invite featured presenters back in. Ask them to lead a moderated Q&A session, in which audience members can ask questions and have them answered by the presenter. If you promote these chats as getting “direct access to a featured expert,” you may attract an entire set of new registrants, who did not register for your original event.
Activate a Game to Engage On-Demand Attendees
Activate a game in your on-demand virtual event and invite existing (and new!) attendees to play. Your game should allow the attendee to have fun, while reinforcing the content or themes of your event.
For instance, activate a trivia game that includes questions about content in your sponsor’s “booths.” Allow attendees to play the games on their own schedule and be sure to activate a leaderboard, to incent users to be “at the top of their game.” Offer prizes to those who score the highest.
Enable User Generated Content
Previously, we wrote about the effectiveness of incorporating blogs into your virtual event. One of the reasons we gave was “sustaining content.” If your users can generate content that interests other users, then you’ve created a self-sustaining publishing engine that keeps the conversation flowing and attracts new registrants.
Highlight and Promote the Ongoing Activity
As you keep your content fresh and schedule “mini events” throughout the year, be sure to promote those facts on your web site, blogs, social media channels and outbound email communications. Select some of the email lists you used previously and let them know about all the exciting things you have in store. Like we said, the show never ends!
Addendum: Tips to Increase Your Attendance Rate
In addition to generating new registrations, you’ll also want to work on converting “no shows” (folks who registered, but did not attend) into on-demand attendees. Some tips:
- Send a “Sorry we missed you” email (to “no shows”) that invites them to access the on-demand event at their convenience.
- Update all digital signage, labels, webinar start times, etc. Look for anything that lists a date and time and replace it with the proper wording (e.g. “Now available on-demand”).
- Send occasional email updates (to “no shows”) to let them know about new and exciting happenings, such as the new games that you’ve activated.
A virtual event doesn’t have to end just because the schedule says so. Keeping your content fresh encourages new users to register – and keeping your existing users engaged increases the chances they’ll return regularly. Then, create a few scheduled activities in the coming weeks and you’re well on your way to a thriving community.
Post contributed by Dennis Shiao