Use Treasure Hunts to Increase Engagement in Virtual Events

December 23, 2008


Flickr ("Crazy Cake Lady")

Source: Flickr ("Crazy Cake Lady")

You’ve planned a great virtual event.  You sold a number of high profile sponsorships.  You promoted the event to your members and generated strong registrant counts.  You’re looking forward to the big day, when the exhibitors (and your boss) pat you on the back.  But wait!  You’re work is not done.  Even if you have a large audience – and, the right audience, exhibitors will deem the event underwhelming if that audience doesn’t adequately engage with them.

In a prior blog post, I wrote about the effectiveness of prize giveaways at virtual events.  In that post, I wrote about the notion of smaller prizes to generate interest.  Here, I endorse a slightly different approach: use a grand prize (e.g. flat screen HDTV, if budget allows) and up the ante for prize qualification.  Instead of “presence” in some event location, require that attendees complete all steps of a treasure hunt in order to qualify for the prize.

With a multi-sponsor virtual event, you’re going to want to keep all of your exhibitors happy (without favoring any particular exhibitor).  So set up the treasure hunt so that each exhibitor benefits.  Here is a sample treasure hunt template.  I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine what actions each step encourages.

Sample Treasure Hunt

  1. Find the White Paper titled Best Practices for Data Deduplication.  Name the author of the White Paper
  2. Find the White Paper titled Data Backup and Recovery.  Name the sponsor booth in which it’s located
  3. There is a booth representative in this event named Joe Kennedy.  Name the sponsor booth in which he’s stationed
  4. In the second Webcast presentation today, the speaker is from what company?

If you go with a treasure hunt, be sure to promote it heavily, both within the event and in email promotions and web site listings prior to the event.  To select the grand prize winner, ask your virtual event platform provider if the platform’s survey function can do the trick.  You may be able to “host” the treasure hunt quiz via the survey – using either multiple choice selections or, using a free-form text field to solicit answers from treasure hunt participants.

Happy Hunting!

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