Here’s Why Your Virtual Events Are Struggling to Engage and Convert


HopinThe Leading Shared Experiences Platform

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Those of you who have managed virtual events know that organizing one is no mean feat. This is why your team feels electric when participant engagement is palpable, and attendees are asking about next steps. On the other hand, it can also feel equally disheartening when, after all that hard work, guests sign off barely leaving any digital trace behind.

Article 5 Minutes
Here’s Why Your Virtual Events Are Struggling to Engage and Convert

The good news here is that the world of staging virtual events is still in its early days. This isn’t to say that lessons haven’t been learned and best practices have yet to emerge.

The past couple of years have been a steep learning curve giving event professionals solid notes on how to organize their next online event.

Here are the top reasons why your virtual events could be struggling to engage participants and convert their interest into action.

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1. The pre-event experience feels clumsy

Much like attending a physical event, the journey getting there matters. As an organizer, you need to consider how your target audience would first become aware of your event.

Virtual events have the luxury of feeling like a marketing campaign and more an organic part of your company’s outreach initiatives. When an ad or a promo for a virtual event seems off, such as when it immediately wants to sell something, it can affect the participant’s perception of the event.

The ticketing process may also pose technical challenges. Remember that participants recognize that they’re attending a digital event. If the online registration experience already feels buggy, that may nudge their mindset into managing their expectations about the event.

It’s important to get participants excited about virtual events because they’re not meant to be the typical online meeting. From the promotions, to registration, all the way to the lead-up, get participants engaged through pre-event reminders, program information, and even challenges.

2. The event mimics a routine office call or online class

Conferences, workshops, trade shows, and other special events are expected to be exactly that - special. When held physically or on-site, these events are clear breaks from people’s daily routines.

This is also how virtual and hybrid events can mark its territory, distinguishing it from the straightforward online meetings that office workers already know too well.

For instance, virtual event platforms offer engagement features such as polls, quizzes, and Q&As. Event applications can now also simulate how participants connect on the sidelines, during breaks, or through speed networking similar to an in-person conference.

Today’s virtual event platforms are rich in features that will keep your event stakeholders highly engaged.

3. The talks are promotional, not educational

Participants take time to join online events because they want to take some value from it. Online audiences are sophisticated enough to recognize when the primary objective of speakers is to sell, and this could lead participants to disengage during and after the event.

As an event host, you should ask speakers to deliver content that demonstrates their expertise. Request your event sponsors to also take this mantle of imparting informational or educational value even as they market their products.

Selling may be the very reason why companies sponsor or send their experts to your events, but being sold to is usually not the reason why your participants join, be they physical or virtual events. Get your speakers and sponsors to engage participants as learners first before as customers.

4. The call to action isn’t clear

Participants can find the duration of the online event to have been educational, productive, engaging, and even entertaining. At the same time, they could also find themselves asking, “What was it all for again?”

This happens when you’re hyper focused on making sure that the program and the technical logistics go so smoothly that you overlook what it is that you want from your participants in the first place.

This can also be caused when participants are overwhelmed by information from the sessions or even by a cluttered user experience in your event app.

This makes having a clear call to action (CTA) vital to any online event. It’s important to let participants know how they can further act on their interests and objectives.

Ask participants to sign up for a service or a newsletter, let them know when the next event will be and request them to confirm attendance, and facilitate how they can get in touch with other participants.

Like marketing any other product, how you convey the message - the call to action - matters just as much as the message itself. Your CTAs need to be clear and appropriate to the audience. Being too shy about it can end the conversion process. On the other hand, too many CTAs can be distracting.

5. There’s no post-event follow-up

Virtual events - with the proper tools supporting them - collect event analytics and audience data that you can continue to leverage on. The participant directory can motivate you to continue delivering value for the attendees because they present an opening for your organization to engage further.

By sending event recordings and transcripts, you can remind participants about your CTAs. Your company and event sponsors can use the directory to build new communities where you can showcase future opportunities.

While the panels and sessions may have already ended, the discussions and conversations don’t have to.

Shape the engagement

Virtual events can sometimes feel like a success because the speakers were insightful, the technology platform worked well, and the program went as planned.

Veteran event organizers, however, know all too well that they take most satisfaction from the energy shown by all event stakeholders.

The participants engage each other outside of the sessions. They set appointments with the speakers and sponsors. Your team must restrategize how to capitalize on this energy and the new community you’ve built.

The most meaningful and productive virtual events aren’t marked by interactions outside of the formal program, but shaped by them.

Further reading


Hopin now supports virtual, hybrid, and in-person events all on one easy to use platform. Built for you to build any event, Hopin makes planning, producing, and reliving event experiences easier than ever.


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