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How to keep your attendees engaged is an ever-trending topic of concern for event organizers and marketers.

While the importance of this matter is the same for an online and in-person event, the answers to it are quite different.

In this article, we would like to share with you the insights and lessons learned throughout months of online events organized by our beloved customers!

Condensed from a recent user group for inwink customers, we provide you with the 10 golden keys that will open the door to making your online attendees experience as enjoyable as possible.

1) Choosing the right time and the duration for the online event

To maximize the attendance rate of your registrants, the choice of time and duration of the event is essential.

Our tip: Start the event between 9 and 10 am. The connection peak for this schedule comes in at around 10 am.

When going digital, many companies have found it difficult to give up the format they had initially imagined for in-person events.

However, the participant’s experience and their online habits are very different from what they experience at an in-person event.

Our tip: opt, if possible, for a short format, be it 2 hours, half a day in the morning, or a full day.

2) Reaching the right person, at the right time, with the right message

The communication plan to reach participants is a key component of your marketing operation.

For it to be effective and enable you to reach your audiences with the right messages, two things need to be considered: when and what.

When? The right time to communicate with your participants by email depends on your event type, your objectives, and your audience.

Our tip: beyond your specifics, we encourage you to communicate with your participants:

  • 1 week before the event;
  • 1 day before the event;
  • 45 minutes before the event the morning of;
  • in the afternoon if the event is a full day.

What? You are in the best position to know how to address your audience.
However, a few general tips can apply to all event emails.

Our tip: Keep your emails simple without too many elements, and a visible CTA upon opening. Depending on the moment you send out your communication, adapt the redirection place for your participants:

  • Before the event: link to the Program page;
  • 45 minutes before: link to the Live page

3) Being digitally available

Online, your participants need guidance and support. As an organizer, you should be present and available for them at each stage of the event.

Our tip : give your participants the opportunity to contact you before, during, and after the event.
How? You can provide a guide to your event for your participants, your partners, and your speakers. You can also offer chat support directly on the platform (help desk).

4) Creating a main page to find all the online event essentials

When arriving at in-person events, the participant can always go to the reception to find their way back to the next session. Same goes for when participants get lost.

Our tip : Online, create a Live page that regroups all key elements of what’s “happening now” on the event, where the participant can know where to go without hesitation.

5) Investing in video equipment and quality sound

This may seem obvious, but it’s an important point that can’t be left out. The quality of the video and sound for your online sessions are crucial to a pleasant and successful participant experience.

Our tip : Invest in quality equipment to run your sessions, with having an excellent microphone as the bare minimum.

6) Calibrating the length of sessions

We say this often, and we’ll say it again: the attention of a viewer online is a volatile resource!

The optimal duration for each session will of course depend on the content and the speakers. We can, however, give you advice on the length of time that seems to work best for our customers.

Our tip:

  • For various sessions : 20 minutes per session;
  • For one session : 1 hour well planned out

7) Keeping your program upbeat

This point goes hand in hand with the calibrating of the length of sessions: keeping a dynamic flow will keep your participants captivated when having back-to-back sessions.

Our tip:

  • No break time. Otherwise orchestrate this time for networking
  • Refrain from having lengthy back-to-back sessions

8) Paving the way for your participants

An event participant can easily get lost on an online event if they aren’t guided going from one session to the next, a moment of networking, or a business meeting.

There are direct ways of guiding your attendees between sessions as to steer clear of them losing their engagement.

Our tip:

  • Use session chats to announce what’s next on the program
  • Rely on a timeline that updates as the event goes along
  • Plan CTAs that appear in the session’s interactive panel to invite participants to complete the next action that is expected of them.

9) Promoting the digital experience through real people

Even though your event is 100% digital, it is nonetheless animated by real people, who are there to interact with the participants.

If you brief people such as moderators, organizers, speakers, and partners, they’ll be able to put forward the possibilities that the digital format offers during key moments of the event.

Our tip:

  • The speaker can inform participants out loud as to where to go after their presentation.
  • If you organize surveys during sessions, the participation rate increases drastically if the speaker talks about it.
  • The facilitator can start the conversation in the chat with a simple “hello” to get the ball rolling, this often helps to break the ice for further discussions between participants

10) Multiplying opportunities for spontaneous meetings during the online event

To compensate for the lack of a physical meeting, increase the opportunities for participants to spontaneously exchange with other participants, partners, or speakers.

Our tip: After the sessions, invite your audience to continue the discussion at online networking tables. These tables are places they can join freely to discuss audio and/or video with speakers, partners, and other participants who are there.