Connecting participants

Virtual events: how to engage and nurture participants.

With everything happening in the world right now, most people are confused on how to go about participating in walking, running, biking, hiking or other types of virtual races.

When organizing a virtual event, you must learn how to engage and nurture participants.

They understand that it is very important to keep active but they have no clear guidelines to follow when it comes to doing something they’ve never done before.

In this article we are going to explore how to best support and guide participants into your virtual events… after they’ve registered. It will come as no surprise that most of this will also apply to live events.

Learn more about the JustMove virtual racing app for individuals.

You want them to feel a sense of belonging and certainty about what to expect and how to proceed right from the get-go, Supporting them in their decision will go a long way into having an exceptional experience with you.

Onboarding a new participant is a process you can easily control using technologies leveraging the internet.They should quickly receive a registration and payment confirmation, thus eliminating any doubt or uncertainties about their transaction. Of course, congratulations are in order and you also want them to know what to expect from you in terms of communications, guidance and support.

  • Your initial message should be brief and to the point. You also want to let them know that a more detailed message will follow the next day. Your follow-up message will explain in detail the «what – when – why – who – how» of your event. This is where they will discover what to expect and how they can interact with you. If appropriate, you could even share a link to your event’s FAQs.
  • You want to personalize and streamline your communication strategy so it reflects your brand and your values. Ideally, you want to contact participants once a week, more often in the week prior to the event and immediately after the event. It’s important to stay in touch with them regularly so they are aware of your next event.
  • You can send a newsletter, email sequence, social media posts, postal mail or any combination thereof. You can also share different types of contents, such as : great informative report, how-to video, motivational audio, interesting articles related to your activity or information about the cause you support. Be sure to make it fun, relevant and captivating.

Plan your communication strategy way ahead of time.

Make a list of all the information you want to share and decide in what order they will receive it. Reverse engineer your messaging from the day of the event to the actual registration date. Using an automated sequence, you can remain highly relevant, avoid repeating yourself and inform participants when they need it. Thus, late registrants would only receive the pertinent information and those who register months ago would have a much wider context of communication.

You want to inform, educate and coach participants, but certainly not overwhelm or confuse them.

If you want to provide more information, content, data or facts, simply mention it in your message and provide a link. That way, only those interested will access it and your messages will remain short and highly relevant. People will feel respected and many will be intrigued enough to explore the link.

Variety makes for an improved readership as participants never know what they will receive from you next, so they are more likely to open your messages.

Of course, they will expect some salesy content… but not in every message. Instead, keep it for important issues such as an upcoming deadline, a newly added bonus, a very special promotion or something of real value.

If you are collecting donations from participants, it’s best to keep these strategic messages separate from logistical issues. You want to avoid a disconnect with participants should they not be interested in supporting your cause. Again, you can provide a link to more information about your cause and your fundraising activities and no one will be offended.

Life is a moving parade! Admittedly having participants at your event is your primary objective.

But, you also want to build an email list, engage people in your online community and get them to support your cause.

Keep in mind that the majority of people will not take your initial offer for any number of reasons. But, over time, if you stay in touch and nurture them, you will have built a following sure to make a big difference in the future.

Most importantly, you want to differentiate your organization and provide a unique and engaging communication experience.

Frequency, tone, relevance, quality content, intrigue and timing are paramount if you want to touch the heart and mind of participants. You are not after a specific outcome, you are engaging in a continuous process whereas every little nuance and detail makes a difference.

Finally, you’ve seen how you can engage and nurture participants. By using all the tips, you will improve the quality of your events and create a stronger link with your participants. Are you looking for more reasons to sign up? Contact one of our team members to ask questions or request a demo.