The COVID-19 pandemic has enabled businesses to think differently and embrace technology in engaging with various audiences. Marketers have leveraged these drastic changes to strengthen their endeavors, including pivoting from on-ground events to online or virtual programming.
As its popularity continues at breakneck levels, it seems like virtual events are not going away soon. However, this poses a great challenge to marketers. With the industry becoming more saturated with online events, how do you stand out from a lot of competing webinars, live selling, or conferences? How can you cut through the noise and market virtual events given that there’s a sea of digital events out there? Are there groundbreaking, innovative ways to do it?
Marketing virtual events the right way can drive conversions, gain interest, and boost attendance for your next event. If you are looking for ways to win at virtual event marketing, read on below as we cover the basics of promoting, planning, and hosting virtual events.
Brands can attest to the benefits of organizing virtual events over the past two years. 61% of marketers plan to increase their investment in digital events in 2022. Not only is it cost-efficient, virtual events can also increase engagement with your audience, generate leads, build your brand, and help establish yourself as an industry leader.
Your virtual event deserves a killer promotion plan as it is crucial to your success. From scheduling the event and looking for speakers, to choosing the platform and format, virtual event marketing doesn’t have to be that complicated. And as long as you have these basics, you can drum up the hype and increase attendees' sign-up to your virtual event.
An excellent registration page is key to driving sign-ups to your event.
In setting it up, put yourself in your attendees’ shoes. Get into their perspective and map out the information they would be most interested to know about. Ensure that registration to your virtual event is convenient, seamless, and easy to read. Make it visible and highlight the benefits of attending your event. Adjust the design, layout, or copy based on your page’s analytics and heatmap if you had the chance to set it up weeks or months in advance. And, make it easy for people to save the event on their devices’ calendars.
Using the right keywords is crucial in marketing virtual events as a search engine optimized page can lead users who are actively searching for virtual events to your registration page.
Utilize tools like Google Keyword Planner to know what relevant words people are typing on Google to search for events of the same nature as the one you are organizing. Include these keywords in your landing page and promotional content.
Aside from increasing the visibility and searchability of your event, setting up event pages on social media can help you get the word out to relevant audiences. Facebook and LinkedIn typically suggest event pages to audiences with similar interests or those who belong to the same industry.
A word of reminder though-- it’s not enough for your followers to see your posts; you still have to engage and connect with them especially if they have questions about the event.
If there’s one point we can all agree on, it’s that content remains king.
Creating content pieces related to the theme or topics of your virtual event can help you drum up interest in the event. If you want, you can create blog posts that discuss the relevance of your event. Or, a video that uniquely tells your audience why they should attend. You can also involve your speakers and ask them to produce a content or interview them about their expertise to give the audiences a taste of what they can expect from the event.
Whether it’s a blog, photo or a video montage of your previous conferences, what matters is that your content should make your audience aware of your upcoming event.
Get more exposure locally for your event when you post it on Google My Business. By utilizing this tool, you get to be noticed by customers who are searching for your brand or products and services like yours. Be sure to include a great photo, a straightforward promotion or offer, and a strong call to action.
Here’s a video you can follow on how to set it up.
There is a multitude of ways you can leverage the digital spaces to promote your event. Here are some of the platforms that you can leverage to boost your event promotion:
Industry event calendars and listings can boost your chances of attracting audiences with the same interests. Industry organizations and publications usually have these listings. You can also manually search for them on Google by typing “Industry” or “Broad topic” event calendar or listing.
Using your website to market your virtual event is a practical way to engage your existing audience.
Grab the attention of your prospective attendees with eye-catching pop-ups or banners on your website’s homepage, as well as top landing pages, and blogs. These onsite ads should be directly linked to your event registration page.
Of course, when it comes to free promotion, your social media pages can do that for you. Leverage your pages to promote your virtual event, engage with your audience, and encourage sign-ups.
It pays to put some strategy behind your posts. You can create a social media calendar and map out possible promotional posts that you can do. Your strategy can include teasers, reels, and stories to drum up the excitement.
You can also create a short but memorable event hashtag that anyone can use and you can easily monitor on social media.
Aside from your and your business's social media pages, you can also promote your virtual event on groups and communities. You can find communities and groups on LinkedIn, Telegram, Slack, and Facebook that are aligned with your virtual event. Engage with them and be sure to establish your company as an industry thought leader. Connect with them on a more personal level to make your brand as relevant to them as possible.
However, don’t use these platforms to overly promote your event. Instead, package it in such a way that you can subtly tell them how your event can benefit them. Later on, when you’ve established your credibility already, you can ask for your community’s feedback which is vital to your next event’s success.
Sending emails might sound cliche but think about this: email remains the second most popular content distribution channel among marketers. According to a Content Marketing Institute study in 2020, 87% of marketers use email marketing to disseminate their content. This shows that email marketing continues to be among the top tools to promote an event.
The right email can propel your event’s success and ensure that you get the largest, most relevant audience to your virtual event. Aside from inviting existing contacts, partners, and sponsors to your event, you can use this tool to send out reminders as well as to excite registrants by revealing topics, speakers, activities, freebies, among others.
Asking your sponsors, partners, and speakers to get the word out is another cost-free way of promoting your virtual event.
Be sure to give them links to the registration page, social media posts/groups, and any other content that can help boost your event promotions. You can also give them photos, videos, and other graphics they can include in their posts. Or, you can request a recorded message from them inviting people to register which you can post on your social media pages. Make sure to always tag them on all your social media stories so they can easily be reposted.
Remember: The more credible and noteworthy people to talk about your event, the greater the word-of-mouth marketing will be.
Your virtual event marketing strategy should include sending out press releases if it’s a massive event.
Crafting and sending press releases to media outlets is a classic event marketing strategy that you can use even if you’re hosting a virtual one. Gaining media mileage can help amplify your virtual event and increase sign-ups.
When crafting a press release, you must find the best angle to deliver your message. Also, determine industry-focused publications that are most likely to have audiences who are interested in your event. Your press release should direct your target audience to your event website. Optionally, you can even invite the media to cover it.
These days, going for an interview is much more convenient. Depending on your target industry, you can utilize podcast interview marketing to promote your event. It’s easy to do-- all you need is a stable internet connection, a good microphone, and a quiet place where you can do the podcast. You can also invite your speakers on your podcast to talk about themselves, their expertise, and segue it to your event. Or, you can appear on other podcasts that are looking for guests to interview. A study showed that traffic from podcast interviews converts 25x better than blog traffic. So you can never go wrong with it.
If you don’t have the means to do podcast interviews, you can opt for a simpler one like using Instagram Stories. Use it to conduct short interviews and highlights.
One way to promote your virtual event is through advertisements. Consider using various platforms to advertise your events depending on your target audience. Google Ads, Google Display, Linkedin Ads, Facebook, and Instagram Ads are just some of the tools that you can use to market your online event.
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach in advertising your event. Remember to monitor and update your ads as often as possible. Use A/B testing to make the most impact with your ad budget.
Having the sales team involved can complement your virtual event’s marketing strategy.
With their skill in selling and talking to diverse audiences, they can help move cold leads into warm ones. Onboarding them on your endeavor can increase your chances to improve conversion or registration for your virtual event.
Collaborate and listen to your sales team to get more insights about your target audience. They know better when it comes to generating sales and leads.
Virtual events have become the norm these days. And with it comes issues such as video fatigue and the lack of engagement among audiences.
It’s getting more difficult to keep your audience engaged. So, live up to your promise of giving them the best virtual event! Include some of these audience engagement strategies and other pre-event activities that you might have missed in your virtual event marketing.
Increase your event marketing success by tenfold when you live stream on the site and relevant platforms.
Apart from reaching more people during the broadcast, live streaming can provide you with plenty of video content to repurpose and share as marketing assets for your brand.
And since the digital space is so vast, there are more opportunities for you to tap other markets. It might be time-consuming to prepare for multiple streaming on relevant platforms to catch your audience. However, with Flux Panda, you can enable streaming to multiple platforms easily. By integrating this into your live-streamed event, you can find your people wherever they prefer to spend their spare time.
You might not notice it but live-tweeting during your event keeps your participants engaged in the conversation.
Know that people these days love to have real-time updates during an event. This is why you have to participate in the larger conversation on Twitter. Remember to start your Tweets early. Invite your audience and followers to attend or watch the event using the company’s or event’s official Twitter page. Tag speakers so they can retweet, quote tweet, or reply. You may also ask employees to tweet about the event.
To further boost engagement and promotion, use the event hashtag and/or your own branded hashtag. This way, you can easily monitor the conversation. You can also retweet, like, and reply to the Tweets of the attendees.
Promoting your event through Instagram Stories is well worth a try.
The short-lived content (with only a lifespan of 24 hours!) on Instagram can build the fear of missing out (FOMO) effect on viewers. This “I got to be there” feeling is powerful enough to motivate your audience to keep watching for more. Posting behind the scenes and actual event reels can intrigue viewers, subtly encouraging them to take this opportunity you’re serving up on a silver platter.
Referral programs are a unique way to tap your cold market. As people are encouraged to bring attendees for rewards and exclusive incentives, you get to boost event sign-ups. It’s a win-win solution, right?
Make an offer that they can’t refuse. Give them incentives for bringing in friends. Share something beautiful and customized only for them. Make the referral program all about them. This way, you can further enhance their event participation experience, giving them a reason to look forward to the next one.
Keep your audience engaged by giving them an opportunity to discuss things and ask questions. Even though they are watching remotely, you can still make them feel like they are participating in something by offering them a chance to speak their minds.
This makes virtual event marketing even more authentic: the interaction between you and your audience. And what’s more interesting is that you can use this interaction to market your future events! Tag them with a quote, photo, or video snippet of what transpired to help attendees to retain everything they learned.
If it’s a live commerce event, you can also use a live shopping platform with built-in engagement features like lucky draws, chat, games, etc.
Consider a social media takeover on the day of your virtual event to maximize your brand’s exposure.
While this is most popular on Instagram and Snapchat, takeovers can be hosted on any social platform. Assign an influencer or your event speaker to post a few stories during the event. You never know how much help they can give you in building brand affinity, increasing awareness of your brand, opening up new audiences, and engaging your current followers.
One of the things you should know about live marketing is to allow your audience to share their experiences virtually. And you can do so by using Snapchat Geofilters!
In the last quarter of 2021, Snapchat had 306 million daily active users worldwide. Take this opportunity to market your event live by adding a Geofilter. Just like Instagram Stories, the Snapchat Geofilter will drive the sense of FOMO. Be crazily creative when making your Geofilter. After all, Snapchat is a place to have fun and experiment!
Promoting your event doesn’t stop once the event has taken place. Keep in mind that those who weren’t able to join as well as new visitors may be interested to watch your event on-demand. This is why it is a crucial step in your virtual event marketing strategy to record your stream.
Offering a recording can also allow you to re-engage and stay connected with them. Send the link to the recording to your attendees and to those who expressed their interest to participate but weren’t able to. And if ever your audience missed a bit of information, they can go back and watch it again.
Besides that, you can watch and analyze your event to determine what you can do to make it better.
Post-event marketing is arguably one of the most crucial parts of event promotions. This is the part where you can really nurture your guests down the funnel and ensure that they take desirable actions for you to achieve higher ROI.
Whether it's staying in touch with the attendees or reaching out to those who are not there, your post-event strategy is important in sustaining the momentum. Build brand credibility and get prepared for your next event with these virtual event marketing ideas.
Let your participants relieve the best moments in your virtual event by creating social media posts. These posts could range from event highlights, video snippets, open-ended questions, to getting their suggestions for the next event. You can also ask them to post the most memorable part of the event for them and give them incentives in return. This way, you get to maintain a connection with your guests even after the event.
A small gesture of sending your gratitude via email can go a long way. Your guests spent their precious time listening to what you have to offer so the least you can do is spend some time as well to say thank you. This is also a great follow-up tool-- you can give them links and other resources such as brochures, slides, and documents shown during the virtual event.
Aside from social media posts, you might also want to include in your content marketing strategy writing a blog post about the event. Here, you can include key insights from the event as well as showcase every part that makes the event special. Also, blogs are effective in putting greater depth into your event and a deeper look into the topics covered.
Don’t forget to promote it on your social channels, and share it with anyone who attended.
Apart from blog posts, you can also utilize a press release to spread the word about your event. Crafting a post-event release is essential. This is where you can highlight the event turnout and key things that were mentioned and/or launched. You can also mention the event’s significance and its key contributions to the industry.
Your post-event press release should be able to keep the discussions going around the educational parts of your event.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to making a winning marketing strategy for a virtual event. However, having a well-thought-out plan is the foundation to achieving the goals you’ve set from the get-go.
While there are a variety of ways you can enhance your event promotions, keep in mind that focusing on where your audience already is just as good as making elaborate plans. This is where you can engage the people for whom your event is for. But don’t be afraid to find ways to engage with new audiences! After all, trying things out is the best way to learn in marketing. And as long as you follow your plan and stay on top of everything, it’s safe to say that you’re already doing a great job.
Go ahead and plan your virtual event marketing strategy now!