Virtual events are a fantastic way to engage your community, provide value, and showcase your expertise. But throwing an online event can subject you to that classic party-thrower’s fear: What if no one comes?
Luckily, there are strategies to increase attendance at your virtual community event. “Create a compelling event with clear value and takeaways, promote early and often, leverage marketing tactics, encourage word-of-mouth, optimize registration, and follow up with attendees,” says Morgan Wood, Head of Community at Hivebrite. “It's the recipe to build a strong, vibrant community around your brand or organization."
Here are seven strategies to create a successful and well-attended community event:
1. Create a Compelling Event
Let’s start at the beginning—to get people to sign up for and attend your event, you have to ensure that the event is something they won’t want to miss. Is it a panel? A webinar? A fireside chat? Make sure your event has a clear value proposition and that attendees will leave with actionable takeaways. Guest speakers or experts in your industry can add credibility and expertise, and name recognition can be a big draw for signups.
2. Keep It Tight
One hour or less is the ideal virtual event time. Longer than that, and you will lose people who don’t have longer than an hour to spare. If you have more content than an hour will hold, consider breaking the agenda up into smaller sessions so people can show up for the parts that interest them if they’re time-pressed.
3. Promote Your Event Early and Often
One of the most important things you can do to increase free event attendance is to promote your event so people can mark their calendars. Start promoting your event at least three or four weeks in advance, and continue to promote it regularly leading up to the event. Email marketing and your community feeds are wonderful ways to spread the word. And don’t forget the day-of! You’ll be sure to catch some last-minute attendees if you go all out on event day.
4. Put on Your Marketing Hat
When promoting your event, think like a marketer. What’s the value proposition? What’s the draw? Showcase why people won’t want to miss your event and what is in it for them.Think about your value proposition, your audience, and of course, your call to action!
5. Ask People to Spread the Word
Ask speakers, guests, and associates to spread the word about the event to their own networks. When people do register, encourage them to post about it and invite their friends to attend, too.
6. Optimize Your Event Registration Process
The event registration process can be a major barrier to attendance. Make sure your registration process is simple and straightforward, with clear instructions and minimal required information. Once-click registration options are even better.
7. Follow Up With Attendees
Following up with attendees to thank them for coming to your virtual community event can help increase engagement and attendance at future events. If they have a great experience at one, they’re more likely to attend another—and spread the word to their friends, too. Thank you emails and even short surveys can help keep attendees engaged and motivated to attend future events.
Increasing free event attendance at your virtual community event requires a combination of planning, promotion, and follow-up. By following these strategies, you can attract more attendees to your event and build a strong and engaged community around your brand or organization.
Hivebrite is an all-in-one community management platform. We empower organizations of all sizes and sectors to launch, manage and grow fully branded private communities. Schedule a demo today!