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How to increase your event’s attendance?

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7 min

Does the topic of scaling your audience size hit the first three rows of your event organizer’s to-do list in event preparation? If your answer is yes, you’re not alone! According to Markletic Event Research, 70% of the survey respondents believe that the number of attendees is a highly contributing factor to the event’s success. 

Today we turn countless strategies to increase the number of attendees at a physical conference into 4 actionable recommendations for boosting your virtual events’ attendance. 

Insights into the virtual event’s attendance

In 2020, Statista Research Department compared the number of attendees and registration fees between virtual and on-site events. The results reflect the reality: virtual events charge lower registration fees and report 34% more attendees than physical conferences.

However, the majority of remote events do not charge a fee at all - Event MB claims that 74% of all virtual meetings are free. It means that anyone from any part of the world can now access various events that appear in their social media feeds. Registering for an event has become so easy - no need to buy tickets or fill out any lengthy website forms. 

Does it mean that virtual events are way more successful than on-site events? It might look like that, but the answer is no - at least not yet.

What causes the most uncertainty while organizing virtual events is the registration/attendance rate. According to Forbes, industry professionals report that only 30-50% of registered users attend the virtual event they signed up for. When it comes to on-site events, the odds are much more promising, with 50-90% of the registered users usually participating.

Here’s the golden question for the event industry to crack: How can we make these numbers close? Let’s find out!

Boosting your virtual event’s attendance rate

We collected 4 suggestions to help you attract more participants to a virtual event:

1. Choose the right time for your event

There are three main factors for timing - date, time, and length of your event. Recent observations show that the best days for a virtual event are Monday and Friday. The same research reveals that you should start your event at 9 a.m. or after lunch for the highest attendance rate and after 6 p.m. - for the highest engagement rate.

It is hard to come up with the perfect length of the event: Bizbash claims that your virtual event shouldn’t last more than 2-4 hours. However, our attention span is only 15-20 minutes, so having more short talks or limiting sessions to 45 minutes will provide the best results.

2. Consider implementing registration fees

It might seem counterintuitive, but it works! According to virtual event software providers, applying low registration fees as a symbolic entrance fee can increase your event’s attendance. However, remember that the pricing shouldn’t be high.

The reason behind why registration fees secure higher attendance is psychological: if someone has to pay, they are more committed to the purchase they are making and likely to spend more time thinking about it. Paying a small fee while registering will filter out your expected audience and increase the number of registered users who are interested in your topic.

3. Encourage inviting friends

Don’t underestimate the power of referral systems in a virtual event. In a recent study by the Asia Pacific University of Innovation and Technology, scientists have found that social influence is a significant factor related to an event’s attendance.

Just like in offline events, participants are more likely to attend events with their friends than on their own. After the event is over, attendees will probably discuss what they have seen and heard together, resulting in a better virtual experience.

Implementing a referral system for your event doesn’t have to be complicated - simply add one question to your registration form where people can enter their friend’s email address or encourage sharing a link to an event on social media. 

4. Let your attendees know that you are waiting for them

A lot of potential participants tend to register for an event weeks before its start date. Don’t forget to send out a reminder e-mail a day before the actual event. To avoid spam complaints, make the email as simple and human as possible. 

If you are organizing a paid event, consider sending out an event welcome kit through post. It does not have to be full of free items - something as humble as an invitation card with a nice message will make people feel appreciated. Small touches like this can help you build a connection with your future attendees and boost their desire to attend. 

Is there anything else to boost my event’s success?

Of course! These are just a few things that you can do before your event. Preparing a quality event takes months, so get ready and take your time. 

Right now, there is one more thing to keep in mind if you want to be one step ahead. Attendance is not just about attracting more people but also about retaining their participation during the event. 

That is why both pre-event activities and engagement during the event are equally important. Remote meeting platforms like Interactio provide a lot of engagement tools for your attendees - live polls, Q&A sessions, surveys, screen sharing, private and group chats, and more! 

These features will help your participants embrace the community aspect of your event - something no less important than the attendance rate. 

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Published on

September 21, 2021

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