And when you think about it, it is no wonder. The closest thing to date has been the webinar, which typically has attendance rates in the 40-50% range1.
With everything that has transpired as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, it is becoming clear that any post-crisis normal will not likely involve large gatherings of people for the foreseeable future. And likely not until a vaccine has been produced in 2021.
So with digital experiences being here to stay, it seems that the key to conquering this potential attendance problem/fear is to tackle it head-on. This means moving beyond the short-term thinking of the webinar and virtual event and ramping up your pre- and post-event communication (a.k.a engagement)2.
In this digital world, you need to ramp up your pre- and post- communications
When you actively decide to think about your event or meeting as a digital experience, that is when you can free yourself from the mentality of organizing an in-person event or meeting (and all the constraints that go along with it).
As a case in point, when we recently hosted our own digital experience, we had a 73% attendance rate.
So how do you achieve a higher digital experience attendance rate?
Here are our top tips:
#1 Get your audience in early – bring your audience into your digital experience platform 2 to 3 days ahead of time. Make sure that you have set up a curated pre-event experience.
#2 Make it easy to join – if you are inviting people, you really need to make it easy for people to join. Provide a link from invites and emails that send people directly to the registration (or platform).
#3 Make the registration smooth – Less is often more with registration. The idea here is to collect just enough information, but no more than is absolutely needed. For example, we collect email, first and last name, to help us nurture people afterward.
TIP: run through the registration process yourself, to see how it flows.
#4 Use email reminders – create a regular cadence of emails to remind your audience to turn up and participate in your event or meeting.
#5 Make your invite stick out – think of a creative way to make your invite (and reminders) stick out. Perhaps use humor to strike a chord (and yes over 50% of consumers actually prefer humor3).
#6 Make people feel comfortable – when your audience first logs on, make sure they have context. Include a short description of how they can get ready and the steps needed to prepare for the live portion of the event or meeting.
#7 Get them to complete their profile – encourage your potential attendees to complete their profile, including photo and bio. Once people begin to invest in the experience, it becomes more likely that they will attend.
#8 Capture their attention from the beginning – use the activity challenge to encourage them to contribute to the feed discussions, pre-meeting surveys, and social activities.
#9 Make them excited about the topic – display a video teaser every day on the feed, share some information in conversations, gather some pre-meeting opinions with forms, and start discussions on the feed.
TIP: Send swag ahead of time to give people an added incentive to attend.
#10 Encourage connections – probe for some more personal details in their profile, and match them to other participants they could connect with.
#11 Crowdsource topics – as part of your pre-event or meeting outreach, why not crowdsource session or discussion topics. If your audience starts to shape the content, then the perceived value of that content is likely to increase.