Ensure your virtual event audience has the right amount of information before coming together in a live environment.
As businesses evolve to virtual and hybrid experiences, preparing audiences for what to expect during an event is critical. While meeting face-to-face allows for signage and personal greeters, different tactics must be utilized in a virtual environment. To give attendees what they need before a virtual event takes place, shift your approach to the pre-event materials. Put any technology concerns to ease so there are no barriers to your attendees interacting with your content. In addition to extensively testing the technology beforehand, we have found these specific tips most helpful leading up to a virtual event.
- Send an In-Depth Attendee Guide Pre-Event
- A complete, formal guide will give them an early look at the environment long before they first log in.
- Visuals can depict a map of the virtual environment, making it easier to find where they need to go at any point in time.
- If Q&A will be available, point out where attendees can ask questions.
- In addition, head some of their questions off at the pass by providing a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) with your attendee guide. You know the one that gets asked in every webcast: “Will this session be recorded so I can watch it at a later date?” – make sure this answer is one of the first they see (so they know whether they should take notes throughout).
- Provide Early Access and System Checks
- Send registration early and follow up with reminders one week out, two days out, and one hour before the event to keep the event top of mind and the link top of their inbox.
- Encourage participants to log into the environment early. Consider awarding points or rewards for getting acquainted with the environment in advance.
- In addition to the pre-event guide, offer a recorded navigation video of one of your stakeholders giving a virtual tour of the environment.
- Make sure the system requirements on their devices are clear – both screen resolution and internet connection speedtest.net can check download/upload speeds to ensure that live streams will come across as close to real-time as possible (no buffering here!).
- The type of device they use matters (and only certain ones may be supported). Make sure the browser, firewall, and pop-up blocker settings are understood and communicated ahead of time.
- Recommend a system check which can suggest adjustments to ensure they don’t miss out on any part of the experience.
- Check to see if anyone missed the chance to log in early and send them a reminder to make sure they get a chance to make sure they are able to access the right content.
- Maintain a Resource Center
- This should contain everything they need in one place – from the daily agenda to the FAQ, to provide answers in a pinch.
- Allow the Resource Center to be accessible before and after the event.
- Show them where to comment or chat with others during the event and how to download materials.
- Remind attendees to visit the Resource Center in all your communication pieces – with hyperlinks to make it easy.
- Consider adding a humorous video that displays what NOT to do as they are clicking around (who doesn’t have an accidental “I thought I was on mute!” story to tell?).
- Share Tips to Prepare Their Space
- Suggest ways to make their setup as convenient as possible, from back-to-basic ergonomic tips (Is your computer screen at eye level?) to what to have near them during the event (if you mailed them items to compliment your event, be sure they have those ready).
- If they will be participating in video chats or discussions, give them tips for how to optimize their camera and speakers to look and sound their best while virtual networking. Bonus points if they have a ring light!
- Are you preparing family-friendly content that will involve the entire household? If so, make sure your audience knows that they can be comfortable in their home with family members nearby and when they should listen in.
- If the event is hybrid, make sure that they know which local venues are available to them for a physically-distanced experience with their regional cohorts.
- Remind Attendees Help is Always Available
- To avoid internet or user errors (always unexpected, but they happen), provide a support desk with a strong technical support team, available with a click of a button.
- A tech checklist can ensure attendees have the proper equipment required and are familiar with where to go and when.
Your pre-event communication strategy will create anticipation while generating confidence in the virtual platform. By including all the above in your pre-event materials and carefully designed content, you will ensure a digital experience that works and meets your goals.