Virtual events have become the new norm since the pandemic struck in March 2020.
While the lockdowns devastated so many brick-and-mortar businesses, savvy online entrepreneurs were able to pivot and thrive. One big reason was switching from in-person to online events.
Not only did this switch save them a ton of overhead, it made it more convenient for the masses to attend. Not to mention, people were locked up and still wanted to learn.
Once the reality of the global situation set in for most people, online learning became the new norm. People were showing up in record numbers and were more engaged than ever before, a digital marketer’s dream.
But as time has gone on, online learning has become so normal that it’s sometimes difficult to keep people’s attention. While virtual events are far from dead, it’s essential to adapt to the times so that your business can scale.
In this post, I want to lay out some of the most effective strategies to create epic online experiences for people so they stay engaged.
How To Create Immersive Online Learning Experiences
Even though more of the world is opening up, virtual events and online learning are still growing massively.
Some people don't feel comfortable traveling to in-person events yet, while some parts of the world are still in lockdown.
For the time being, virtual events are one of the most effective ways to scale your offer and grow your brand… fast! But creating awesome learning experiences are more than just the number of people registered and total revenue.
It’s about creating a transformative experience for people, almost as if they were in a local event.
Here are some of the best strategies to stand out from the crowd, generate more revenue, and create an immersive experience that people will stick around until the end.
Let’s start with the big picture strategies, then dive into the tactics to running successful virtual events.
1. Create Low Ticket Offers
Free events (or free webinars/workshops/training/challenges) are great, but when it comes to virtual events, I think it’s important to have people invest. Because when people invest money into something, they are much more likely to show up and stay engaged.
The more they show up and engage, the more likely they are to get results (which is obviously the end goal).
The cool thing is that it doesn’t need to be a large investment to help people get huge results and a strong ROI.
While a lot of in-person events are $500, $1,000, or more, you can offer much lower costs for virtual events as the overhead is much less. You don’t have to consider airfare, a large team, production, venue, and more.
With virtual events, all you need is a studio (or you could even do it at home) and a few team members to impact 1,000+ people.
Pricing-wise, I recommend a low ticket offer between $47 - $97. It’s enough of an investment to get people to show up, but not too steep to turn people away.
Plus, by making your online event cost between $47-$97, it allows you to spend more on customer acquisition and also upgrade the entire event. You can use that money to upgrade your production value, run more advertising campaigns, and send out care packages.
When you charge attendees and have low ticket offers, it also sets up the rest of the strategies below…
2. Send Out Physical Packages
One of the biggest challenges with virtual events is actually getting people to show up.
Unlike in-person events where people need to book airfare, hotel, transportation, online events people attend from home. While you think that would make it easy to get people to show up, it’s actually harder as people have to deal with so many distractions.
While you can send calendar invites, email reminders, text messages, announcements on social media, and more, sometimes a digital reminder isn’t enough. A solution to this problem is sending out a physical gift that gets people excited.
One thing that so many people miss about in-person events is the swag bag and merchandise from the event. Plus, it serves better than any sort of email or text reminder too.
When people see your gift box or basket, it will get people excited and eager to show up for the event. Not to mention, it makes it feel more like a “real” event and separates you from being just another webinar or live stream.
3. Have A Virtual Registration Process
After your physical gift has arrived and before the event starts, another great way to create an awesome experience is the registration process.
Since you are not handing out name badges and lanyards at the front of the venue, this is a great replacement to welcome people.
Whether you have a few hundred people attending or 30,000+, you can offer a registration process. Basically, each person that is attending the event will interact with someone on your team just as if it’s a live event.
They can ask questions, confirm dates/times, and get hyped for the big day.
Having a virtual registration process triggers that it’s a different type of event. Just like a welcome package, it shows this is more than any old webinar or online training.
Obviously, the more attendees you have, the more comprehensive the process, but it’s 100% worth it.
4. Use Automated Webinars to Stack Events
Virtual events are great, but the challenge for so many entrepreneurs is to get people to register and attend!
For a low-ticket event, you can run traffic straight to paid ads, but another strategy to save money on acquisition is to stack events. Plus, it’s incredibly scalable.
Here’s how it works…
Let’s say you have a live event coming up in a month. Between 10-14 days before the event, launch an automated webinar campaign that provides a ton of value and invites people to register for your event.
You’ll essentially stack one event with another (free webinar + paid virtual event) to get people excited. Use the automated webinar to sell a virtual event.
Because if someone registers, attends, and gets value from your free training, they are much more likely to sign up for a paid event.
Sell it as “Hey this free training was great and you learned X, Y, Z but the virtual event is even better. It’s 3-days of immersive training, learning with me on camera, and is only a small investment.”
Plus, when you stack events, you get additional analytics about your users and feedback from the training.
You can also give them an incentive to watch additional training, setup automated email flows based on segments (for example, people who didn’t watch the entire thing vs. those that didn’t show up), and more.
But the best part about this step is that it’s all automated and doesn’t require you to have a massive team to make it happen. You don’t need a virtual assistant to call or text everyone, everything is automated.
Or, you can use this strategy on Clubhouse too. Host a room, then invite people to a paid event that goes much more in-depth.
5. Don’t Provide Recordings For Virtual Events
The final strategy to create an engaging event is to not offer free recordings! You might be thinking, “Wait,… what?”
One of the things almost every workshop/challenge/webinar offers are “free recordings'' for those that can’t make it live.
Doing this also gives people the opportunity to mentally check out because they figure they’ll just watch the replay. But when you don't offer a recording or make them wait 60-90 days for it, they are much more likely to stay engaged during the live event.
Another option is to offer a one-click upsell (for example, from $97 to $197) to get the event recording. But if you use this OTO upsell, make sure to still send it out delayed so they are more likely to engage during the live event.
4 Tactics To Keep Your Audience Engaged
Now that I’ve covered five big strategies to create epic virtual events, let’s get into four tactical ways to make it even more engaging.
Here are four ways to make your events exciting for attendees:
1. Use Zoom Meetings For Camera Access
One thing that will help make your event instantly feel more like a real, in-person event is by hosting it on Zoom. This allows you to give everyone the option to show their face so the host and other attendees can see it like a real event.
With most platforms, attendees can't see each other, which is very isolating. But with cameras on, it's much more like an in-person event. It also will bring more energy to the room as the host(s) can see when they smile, laugh, etc.
Not to mention, it will get your audience out of their comfort zone.
By having them on camera, they’re much more likely to stay engaged, participate, learn, and likely have more transformations as well.
2. Use A Studio
As I mentioned, one of the perks of a low-ticket event is that you have a bigger budget to work with.
One way to invest that money is to rent a physical space so you can move around and keep your audience engaged.
The more you can move around and interact, the easier it is to show up and serve, which ultimately creates a better experience.
3. Collaborate With Other Creators
If you’re running a multiple-day virtual event, I highly recommend collaborating with other creators. This will help mix up the format and keep your audience engaged throughout the event.
You can do this by having:
Question and answer panels
Case studies from past students
Round robin panel-style presentation
4. Keep Your Audience Guessing
Finally, make sure you bring the energy with you each time you're speaking.
Since people are at home, it’s up to you to get your audience excited and engaged. Because when they’re excited and amped up to learn what you’re teaching, they’re much more likely to get massive results.
This is how Tony Robbins can entertain massive audiences for 10+ hour consecutive days! He brings the energy with music, dancing, and tons of audience engagement.
You can make little tweaks that can make a big difference too, including:
Using music to increase engagement.
Take regular breaks to let people recharge.
Utilize breakout sessions so fellow attendees can meet and work together.
Go on camera and off camera. For example, start on camera then do a presentation, then do an FAQ segment, pull people on stage who have questions or people who have joined with their camera on.
Bonus: Use Discord
Believe it or not, but I am almost done using the Zoom platform.
While it has its pros and cons, ultimately, I like using Discord and that’s where my community lives. It makes it easy to keep everyone updated and engaged.
It’s an all-in-one platform that allows you to do so much more than any Facebook group, Slack channel, or Zoom meeting.
For example, I host all my students and trainings inside the platform, including:
An AMA every Wednesday at 4 pm.
Running my Accelerator Group weekly meetings.
Running my $15,000/year mastermind meetings.
Plus, all of your best people are in your public group, as it’s a public channel for everyone. The more you invest in different products, the more access is given.
It’s also integrated with crypto and makes it easy to manage everything in one place.
🚀Related: How to Use Discord
Virtual events are an amazing way to get in front of new people at scale.
While I personally love in-person events, it could be some time before they become a common thing again. And even when they do return, chances are the virtual event isn’t going anywhere either.
While running an online event has a ton of benefits (less overhead, easier to scale), it also comes with challenges as well.
If there’s one thing I can’t stress enough, it’s to make sure that your virtual event is immersive and entertaining.
Since nearly everyone is offering up some sort of online challenge, event, or webinar, it’s up to you to stand out.
If you do what everyone else is doing, it could work, but it won’t likely yield the type of results you could get from thinking outside the box with these tips.
Things like a physical gift package, not offering recordings, and other strategies mentioned here will help your audience stay engaged. The more engaged they are, the more transformations they will get from your events.