New year, new challenges. And boy, has 2020 proved itself to be quite a challenging year! While shifts in consumer behavior have been one of the biggest concerns for marketers over the past few years, never before did event profs have to pay so much attention to it. Patterns of consumption have indeed changed drastically when compared to a pre-social media world. But when it came to events, things remained pretty much linear. After all, in-person attendance when there’s no other choice is just another day at the office.
However, we live in a virtual world now. Lockdowns and strict measures pertaining to gatherings mean that people have to get creative with ways to connect. And back at the beginning of the pandemic madness, webinars, live streams, and virtual events, in general, were welcomed by pretty much everyone. But as the market became saturated with poorly delivered experiences, a new phenomenon in consumer behavior emerged – webinar fatigue. Never has this emotional and physical exhaustion in regards to virtual events been as marked as it is now. So planners everywhere are wondering – how can I combat webinar fatigue? Well, we are currently at the driver’s seat to make a change. Let’s begin, shall we?
It’s Not A Monologue
Learning how to combat webinar fatigue is closely intertwined with learning how to design successful virtual events. As we discussed many times before, engagement is key for the latter. And consequently, it becomes an important factor in the former. In this particular case, we’re not talking about engagement between attendees, but rather the complex relationship between the talking heads and the audience.
Endless monologues from the speakers wasn’t something attendees loved with in-person, to begin with. Switch the setting to virtual, and their tolerance drops to below zero at this point in the championship. In order to combat webinar fatigue, presenters and speakers alike must make a serious effort in order to establish a consistent, engaging dialogue with the audience.
Think about it – having to listen to someone speak in a monotone voice for two consecutive hours? Boring! It’s going to be a log off on our end, at least. But having an interesting back and forth exchange of ideas on a topic we’re passionate about? Well, there’s certainly no danger of fatigue here!
Look Into Previous & Current Data
The chances that your audience will feel bored and ultimately exhausted during your virtual event decrease significantly if they’re interested in what you have to say. In short, if someone belongs to your target audience, they’re more likely to pay attention and want to stick until the end. And while all event profs are familiar with the importance of solidifying the goal of their event and, consequently, the target audience, never before has it been easier to refine the process.
Harnessing the power of data is one of the smartest moves you can make. Use registration forms with targeted questions to your advantage and continuously improve the process with each virtual event or webinar you plan.
Additionally, don’t forget about paying attention to real-time data. Many platforms offer features that allow you to monitor the attendees as the event is taking place. Are people leaving at a fast rate? Are they not engaging in the chat or polls? Take immediate action and introduce an ice breaker or an unexpected entertainment number. You can combat webinar fatigue in real-time!
Bring In Broadcasting Quality
This is hardly news, but it remains as relevant as ever. As virtual increasingly becomes the norm for events and companies begin to up their game, your run of the mill Zoom webinar becomes obsolete. Attendees crave better experiences each time they tune into a virtual event, something that is on par with the technology we have available in the year 2020.
Content is still the most important part when it comes to keeping audiences glued to the screen, and we’ll get there, but the presentation is queen. Television studios and virtual event venues exist, and so do green screens, visuals, and AV professionals. Planting your speakers in front of their computer camera isn’t enough anymore, and it slowly drives away frustrated and exhausted attendees.
The Art of Storytelling
Around four months ago, we put out an article that discussed at length the power of storytelling. And we did that because we felt that, slowly but surely, planners and event profs, in general, were losing touch with this art. An art that, at the end of the day, represents the very essence of events. Human connections have their genesis in stories. And events are all about fostering those very connections.
We want to reiterate the importance of telling stories through events, using the tools that we have at our disposal. Never before have we lived in a world as exciting and filled with possibilities as right now. Technology has never been better or afforded us more potential for creativity. The content we offer attendees will always be number one at the top of reasons why they come, stay, and, ultimately, decide to come back. So if what we want to do is combat webinar fatigue, it’s up to us to become creative with the ways in which we present that content and make sure it stays with people. It’s up to us to tell unforgettable stories.
Gamification Is Your Friend
Gamification isn’t a new concept by any means. Recently, however, it’s been talked about a lot more than before due to its immense power to engage virtual audiences and – you guessed it – combat webinar fatigue. There are dozens of ice breakers and happy hour ideas you can use to keep attendees entertained, showing just how far you can take gamification.
There are tons of online spaces like Kahoot that allow for live competitions, and even classic games like Bingo, Cluedo, and scavenger hunts can be easily replicated within the virtual world. Winners of the game can even be awarded a special prize or gift, which brings us to our last tip to combat webinar fatigue.
Who doesn’t love a giveaway? Gifts always have a way to get people going whatever the setting. And it’s no different when it comes to virtual events! There are several ways you can go about this. For instance, you can partner up with your sponsors and have them offer a little something to all of your attendees – say, for example, several samples of skincare products.
Offering discount codes for your virtual swag stores is also something you can consider, as well as delivering food and drinks straight to your attendees’ houses. If you want to go a step further and gather some sweet marketing data, have everyone fill a form for the chance to win a really big prize – perhaps a television or an iPhone. With giveaways, there are tons of places you can go. And it’s yet another great way to combat webinar fatigue!