How To Turn Your Virtual Audience Into Actual Attendees

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Virtual AttendeeI attended a great event last week. I listened to speakers, answered their questions, shared my aha’s and participated in group activities. All while sitting at my desk in the comfort of my home. And no, it wasn’t a virtual event, teleseminar or webinar. It was a full-fledged hybrid event, which means they had 2 audiences, a face to face audience (in 3 locations) and a virtual audience. The event was Event Camp Twin Cities 2010 and it is an event for event professionals, by event professionals.

When you attend and event that is put together for event professionals by event professionals you have high expectations. After all, these people know what they are doing, right? And Event Camp goes a little further. You see, they are not afraid to experiment. And so I was not disappointed. Let me share some of the lessons of being a virtual attendee of Event Camp with you.

Hybrid Events Can Work!
The organizers and speakers went to great lengths to involve the virtual audience. There was a Twitter moderator and also a Virtual Event Emcee, who addressed the virtual crowd and interviewed speakers during breaks. She also moderated the group activities for us virtual attendees and encouraged everyone to participate by tweeting our contributions or adding our thoughts into Google moderator.

She was also our voice when it came to presenting our thoughts on the issues as well as our solutions to the problems the speakers gave to the audience groups to solve. Having a strong and engaging personality to pull this all together is a must and I thought that Emilie Barta was tops.

It Is Hard To Be A Virtual Attendee!
I am the first to admit: although I enjoyed the sessions, I was somewhat distracted by my environment. Multi tasking and bright shiny object syndrome are still problems for me. When you are in the office, business goes on and I had conference calls, emails, general work and kids to keep me not as focused on the sessions as I could have been. And also, there were no break stations for me to enjoy. As Lara McCullough-Carter (@ready2spark) tweeted about the chocolate cake, I definitely felt I was missing out.

Hybrid Events Can Turn Virtual Attendees Into Actual Ones
There is a lot of fear that adding a hybrid component to your event cannibalizes your event, since virtual attendees get the same content without paying. Although there is not any hard, scientific evidence to the contrary, anecdotal evidence seems to suggest quite the opposite. It seems that most people, (like me), who attend conferences and events virtually are more likely to attend the event in person the following year. When you watch the event online, you see what you are missing. One of the big reasons I love going to events is the people you meet and the connections you make. That is something you just can’t get behind a computer, no matter how fast you can type your tweets. Quite a few of the attendees at Event Camp Twin Cities attended virtually the year before.

Bottom line is that there is tremendous value into adding a virtual component to your event. It gives you a chance to spread your message beyond the seminar room and entice those people to sign up for the event for the next time. It takes more resources, for sure. But you have to do it well in order for it to add value to both your virtual and face to face audiences. Go the extra mile so that your virtual attendees feel included, chocolate cake and networking notwithstanding. I think Event Camp Twin Cities 2010 did an outstanding job of that, and I will definitely use it as a model for my own events.

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Daphne Bousquet, CMP

Daphne Bousquet, CMP

For more strategies to make your workshops and seminars more profitable, you’ll want to pick up a copy of the free report "Three Simple Secrets To Making 10K In A Day With Small Workshops." Daphne Bousquet uses her 20+ years of event industry experience to create profitable event strategies and marketing for coaches, entrepreneurs, speakers and self employed professionals that want to grow their businesses with workshops and seminars. She is the creator of the Butts In Seats Virtual Boot Camp, a unique digital course that teaches you how to fill your events with your ideal audience.
Daphne Bousquet, CMP
Daphne Bousquet, CMP
Daphne Bousquet, CMP

Comments

  1. Hey Daphne!

    Great post. You’ve encapsulated exactly what I found to be the case beginning with my attendance at the first Event Camp last February. The more we meet in the virtual world (ei Twitter, Facebook, virtual events) the more we develop a NEED to meet face to face. There are few things more gratifying than turning a virtual relationships into a “real life” one.

    I hope this means that I will see you at an upcoming Event Camp in the future?? I’m looking forward to meeting you face to face!

    Jenise
    Jenise Fryatt recently posted..Can a virtual assistant help you manage your brand online

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Thanks Jenise! Yes, you will see me at an Event Camp in the future. Don’t know when, though…

      You are so right about the need for turning virtual relationships into real face to face relationships. There are just so many benefits to having face time. I think it is one of the most important reasons people go to events. Usually, you can get the education in other places as well, but you cannot build the strong relationships online, #EIR not withstanding!

  2. Thanks Daphne,

    You’ve summed the event up very well. I was also a virtual attendee and I’m still searching for that fantasy chocolate cake every time I go shopping.

    I think it’s also important to remember that virtual events are a huge benefit for those in your community who may normally attend live events but for some reason or another just can’t make it this time. Or even those who can never attend live. There primary purpose should not be to drive these attendees to the live event next time. I think if we see our virtual attendees as a valued part of our meeting as they are, our meetings will just keep getting better and better.

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      True Traci. This is what I enjoyed most about Event Camp. I felt like I was a valued part of the meeting, even though I wasn’t there. I didn’t feel I was on the outside looking in. That said, I know I would have gotten more out of the experience if I had been there. (Definitely more than just chocolate cake!) But that is my Bright, Shiny Object Syndrome talking. Thanks for commenting and we’ll have some cake together at the next Event Camp we can both attend.

  3. Jeff says:

    Thanks for sharing this Daphne. I have been conducting seminars and personality development training and I am aiming for more attendees next year. I could use your tips 😉

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Hi Jeff, thanks for stopping by. You will find lots of great tips on the blog, in my reports and on the webinars. Of course if you want the in-depth course, may I suggest http://morebuttsinseats.com/homestudy

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Hurt, Samuel Jay Smith, Daphne Bousquet, Susan Levin, traci browne and others. traci browne said: love #3 & 4 RT @JeffHurt: How To Turn Your Virtual Audience Into Actual Attendees by @BousquetCMP #eventprofs #pcma http://ow.ly/2FKEk […]

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