Virtual events have increased by 1,000% since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and they will not fade away anytime soon.
But as more and more people host webinars, how do you create a virtual experience for your audience that will set your brand apart from the crowd? And what is an “enhanced webinar” anyway?
We’ve blogged about webinars extensively before, covering the most popular platforms, as well as some technical tips and tricks that we have up our sleeves. We’ve talked about how we created a streamlined webinar experience using Streamyard and OBS, and taken a look at the best platforms for remote video recording your webinar speakers prior to the broadcast.
One of the biggest gripes about having a virtual event with speakers and entertainment spread across different locations means that they often have different backgrounds.
This will make one’s event less cohesive and look less professional. By having the same background along with graphics and animations, you can integrate your brand and logo, increasing brand awareness and cohesiveness.
“Enhanced webinars are where businesses have events with sophisticated elements such as animations and graphics that are in line with their brand. Not only that, it also comes with a seamless experience. Gone are the days of speakers struggling to share their screen or having audio issues,” says Alex Chua, Click2View’s lead producer.
He adds that it’s not uncommon for businesses to engage a third-party’s services to ensure a seamless transition and flow of the program.
“So it’s just like a physical event, where speakers come up, present, and come down from the stage. All of this is controlled by a group of people in the background, giving the audience a smooth session. Not only that, hiring a third-party gives businesses a hassle-free way of setting up and holding a seamless event, meaning smoother transitions and flow of the rundown.”
Similar to livestreaming in e-commerce, audience engagement is crucial in virtual events and webinars where participants can just exit at the click of a button.
But how do you combat high drop-off rates?
The trick is to replicate elements that are present in live events, and infuse them into your webinars.
To make your attendees feel like they attend the event in-person, similar tactics as those in physical events can be utilised: having well-known hosts and influential speakers, providing entertainment value, as well as using data effectively to tell your story.
Choosing the right host that can strike the right tone and a sense of fun is also crucial to keep audiences interested.
You would preferably want someone who is personable, energetic, and importantly, an expert in the topic of your webinars. Your host is then well-equipped to ask the right questions and entertain your audience with interesting tidbits where necessary to keep them from being bored and leave before the event is over.
The host also plays a crucial role in ensuring a smooth transition from one segment of the event to the next. The host is the master of the ceremony, similar to a ringmaster in a circus.
Their job is to make sure the event goes smoothly without a hitch, supported by the right components behind the scenes mentioned above.
Additionally, mini games and quizzes can be part of the event to keep audiences interested. Grand prizes can also be given at the end of the event to ensure they stay until the end.
By having the entertainment factor, you don’t just keep your attendees engaged — having fun also puts your attendees in a positive mood. As it turns out, being in good spirits greatly improves memory — which means they’ll be more likely to remember the event and your brand itself.
One example that we’ve done during a virtual event for Twitter was letting the audience request songs to be played by the DJ via a poll. This took place before the event, while waiting for other registrants to log in and the event to start.
“Having the structure (DJ) was Twitter’s idea. They usually play music in their physical events, so we helped them replicate this in their virtual events too. This also lets the audience feel involved and engaged,” says Alex.
Another way to keep the audience’s participation is through webinar polling, where they can see the results in real-time.
One instance we used this successfully was during an event with Grab, one of the largest Super App companies in Southeast Asia. With the whole bubble tea delivery craze last year during lockdown, we decided to appeal to the viewers’ interests. So we asked: “What is the most popular bubble tea on GrabFood in the Philippines?”
“Because they can see the results right away, it grabs the audience attention and keeps them engrossed,” Alex explained. These polls, which appeal to the audience individually, ensures an active engagement during the webinar. (The answer by the way, according to the audience of that webinar, was “Cheese”.)
Such webinar polls are not only useful for the event itself, but also helps brands gain better insights into their customers’ preferences and habits. As we’ve explained before, using data in your marketing efforts is absolutely crucial — how else will you be able to create more personalised content for your target audience?
Similarly, data storytelling is key — perhaps even more so in a webinar. Watching people talk for an extended period of time through a screen can get boring real quickly, and this is where motion graphics and animations come in.
Not only do they help provide visual interest, graphics such as charts, videos, and statistics also help customers to understand the data and message better.
Webinars and virtual events are here to stay for the foreseeable future. Therefore, businesses are expected to adapt to this new way of customer engagement or be left behind.
Companies must create an environment and ambience as if the audience is in the real physical space. Having the right infrastructure is critical, ranging from graphics, animations, and sound arrangements.
Approaching it on your own can be a complicated process that may take up resources and time. That’s why Click2View is here to help with all your webinars and virtual event needs.
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Click2View is Southeast Asia’s premiere full-service independent B2B content marketing agency servicing clients like Microsoft, Google, Visa, Prudential, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.