How to Get More Engagement from Your Virtual Events
Zoom fatigue is an actual thing, as shown by research from Stanford University published on Tuesday. It listed anxiety as one problem associated with this recent phenomenon brought about by pandemic restrictions.
However, digital virtual events are so essential for connection in today’s modern church communities. So the question many folks ask is, how to get more engagement for our virtual events?
The following will give you some good tips for fun and engaging things to do for your church audience to keep them excited about a digital event, and coming back for more. Plus, it will teach you how to optimize virtual event marketing and giving strategies.
The Interactive Element
For virtual events to be engaging, the audience must feel like they are part of the production. You can do this easily by integrating exciting but simple elements into your virtual events.
Remember that each audience requires a fresh approach based on their culture’s experience, age, etc., but the following examples of audience engagement techniques might give you some new ideas for catering to your own church community.
1. Live and Pre-Event Polling
You can do polls even before your event starts, to create word and hype about the event, to get people talking and sharing the details that you want your audience to know about. Polling is already widely used, we see this often in business markets, and even in religious organizations as well. It is not just a marketing tool: Polling improves audience engagement because it offers you two very relevant elements:
- More Value:
When you know what your audience is thinking and feeling, then you can plan your content to speak to them more deeply. Maybe you have planned a certain Bible reading during your virtual service, but then take a poll and find out that there are actually other more pressing spiritual matters to address. Through polling, you create and plan for content that is more relevant to your audience. In the end, this means greater value, and a reason for people to come back to your church for spiritual inspiration, repeatedly.
- More Attendees:
A poll gives tips on the topics and issues that may be raised during your upcoming virtual event. There may be some people who would otherwise not be interested in your event, but after seeing the poll results as they are updated, they feel intrigued and want to know more. Since the content is now more relevant for your audience, they can also share the event with friends and colleagues who they feel would be interested to hear about said topics in church. Now you can count on more attendees to interact with you during the virtual event.
2. Virtual Event Bags
Think of this virtual event bag as a “swag bag” you might get when attending a regular conference in person. Providing these virtual event bags is a great way to ensure virtual event engagement and excitement prior to your event.
If you plan to send your audience these bags, make sure to do it well ahead of time, so that they all have theirs to show during the event. This way, you reduce your no-show rate.
What Kind of Items Do You Put in a Virtual Event Swag Bag?
Always consider sending items relevant to your church members and the virtual event. And, if you are going to invest in this, be sure to send quality stuff. Nothing that sends you are trying to cut costs and corners, but items that show your thoughtfulness and fun side of life.
Sending event bags to your audience in preparation for the virtual event will actually reduce your no-show rate. Here are some item ideas of things to include:
- A special notebook for note-taking or specially printed paper and pens for attendees to take notes; maybe even provide different colored post-it notes to add fun to the functionality.
- Socks and other items that promote sustainability such as reusable water bottles or straws.
- Small digital items such as a USB device.
- Gift cards or discount cards.
(This can also be a way to promote your donors, by having their goods or services as one of the prizes in your swag bag)
3. Providing Interaction and Networking Capabilities
It’s impossible to create interaction online, unless you give those who attend your event permission to do so. You can do this by scheduling networking minutes or using the “breakout rooms” function on Zoom. Doing so can give your audience the tools to interact with other people and build new networks within the church community. This is one valuable experience people could come to look forward to in your hosted online events.
Another way to make the impact of your virtual event last a long time is to create an online event community. The members of your church must crave connection and conversation, but with folks they can trust. So make this community one based specifically on your online event, which can help people stay committed to the new goals they may have for themselves after learning from you and your church.
Whoever you hire to manage these community groups should also be focused on:
- Reaching new audiences and encouraging people to share with their friends your mission goals.
- Encouraging new donors to give to the church.
- Growing your fellowship through thought leadership.
- Announcing new projects and fundraisers that all can take part in.
- Guiding and spiritually educating church members.
Get More Help with DonorWerx Resources
If this is your first time scheduling an online networking event, you don’t have to be overwhelmed with the to-do list. We cover practical tips for speakers and pastors, plus more ideas on creating an attractive and exciting online space for your members to feel welcomed and spiritually cared for. Check out our DonorWerx resources and blog tips to help you know how to get more engagement from your virtual events.