Marketing for a virtual event is much different than marketing for a physical event, which means you need to make sure your marketing plan is up to snuff.
With the right digital marketing campaign and the proper automated tools, your virtual event could see a lot of attendance, while promoting audience engagement, authority, and longevity.
Because marketing for a digital event may need a different tactic, we decided to put together this guide to ensure your upcoming event is a success!
Promotion Strategies to Use When Marketing Your Virtual Event
When marketing for a virtual event, you need to highlight the event’s unique features while providing detailed information. An online event requires that you use different lingo, market through different funnels, and create a narrative around the unique digital experience.
Since a virtual event is not a product, you want to focus your promotion strategies on garnering the most significant reach. Building event awareness will spark conversations, shares, and referrals and encourage more people to attend because it is, after all, online, meaning someone can participate from the comfort of one’s living room, from anywhere on earth.
While advocacy marketing, case studies, and testimonials will help the promotion of your event brand, you don’t want to put too many eggs in too many baskets. Instead, opt for marketing campaigns that will put your event in front of the right audience in an exciting way. From there, redirect the audience to ticketing and registration pages.
Here are some promotion tactics that we recommend:
Pre-event live streaming
By promoting your event through a live stream, you will be speaking directly to the type of crowd that would be more inclined to attend your event simply because it is a virtual video event. In the same way that certain people listen to podcasts instead of reading an article, some people attend more events via live stream than they do in-person.
Utilizing multiple pre-event promotional live streams will help you speak to that target demographic and start fostering engagement. By watching your live streams, the audience will have made an emotional investment in your event, which will lead to a better virtual experience.
Sponsored event speech
To reach your future virtual event attendees, you could consider sponsoring some type of speech or session in another virtual conference, webinar, online meeting, or hybrid event. This way, you know that the message is coming across loud and clear to the type of audience who would want to hear more about what you have to say.
Sponsoring an event speech is different than sponsoring another event (which is also a promotional tactic that we recommend, see below). If you sponsor a keynote speaker, this allows the presenter to speak broadly about the event while also indulging event details, the event theme, and event vendors. This type of sponsorship provides the time and space to present a well-rounded narrative as to what benefits your event will have for that audience.
Sponsorship of another conference
Sponsoring another conference, meeting, or networking event, whether it is in-person, hybrid, or virtual, is a great way to get your event brand out there and to generate brand awareness. Not only will you be speaking to the right industry, but you will also be able to engage with those members of your industry in more intimate ways.
Sponsorship opportunities, in general, are great ways to develop and promote your event brand. They will allow you to plaster the event branding on whatever webinar, advertisement, or podcast that you’re sponsoring, showing the audience that you are a viable supporter of these partners and an active member of the community!
Affiliate marketing through presenters or exhibitors
Those who are presenting or exhibiting at your event, either through a trade show virtual booth or by speaking at a conference or webinar, will be eager to share their involvement with friends and family.
So be sure to encourage your speakers, staff, and partners to promote the event on their social networks, in their industry associations or networking groups, and through their portfolios, blogs, or websites.
Most likely, those who will be speaking or presenting at your event will be excited about this opportunity! Many people in the individuals’ personal and professional networks will likely be eager to attend and support them in this venture.
Make this type of affiliate marketing mandatory upon sign up.
Best Avenues for Marketing Your Virtual Events
Marketing for your virtual event might seem a bit trickier when compared to marketing for in-person events. We have all had to adjust and adapt to shifting social norms. But do not feel like you are without options for online event marketing!
One of the best avenues for promoting your virtual event is through social media posts. Social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are getting far more use now that many of us are stuck at home. They are also becoming more useful even professionally as a way to connect people with local businesses and international brands alike.
There are several ways that you can use social media to promote your business:
- Purchase a paid advertisement, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), or sponsored post: While some people scoff at paid advertising, it works, and it gets your event information in front of the right audience. Don’t go overboard with promoting paid advertisement; instead, use it strategically around certain milestones in your overall marketing strategy.
- Use endorsement or influencer marketing: Endorsements might be challenging to manage, but influencer marketing on social media for big-time events is proven successful. Influencers can casually mention your event or promote it as a must-attend event. Target your influencers based on their audience reach and niche.
- Social media engagement: If you are promoting your materials on social media, you’ll need to continue engaging with your fans. Don’t just post and leave your viewers hanging. Use this time to re-direct those in the comments to your live stream for an exclusive look at the event. Or send them a message to let them know that you appreciate the support!
- Customer survey: Customer surveys can be done on social media or through email follow up. For past virtual attendees, you should already have a follow-up email prepared so that you can gain valuable feedback. Focus on customer engagement right after one event ends so that you can prep for future events.
Due to quarantine measures, we are online much more than we used to be. Use this to your advantage!
Tips for Marketing Your Virtual Event
There are sure-fire ways that you can connect with your audience and get the word out.
When using marketing materials, be sure to watch the timing of the promotion. For example, if you are using a content marketing strategy and publishing blogs to your social pages at a set time each day, do not promote your live stream at that same time.
Prioritize one over the other. And look into your audience behaviors so that you can send this content at different, but optimal times. Remember, you want as many eyes on it as possible.
Make sure that the material looks good! While this sounds basic, you’d be surprised how often people get it wrong. Take the time to correct pixels or resize the image to the proper dimensions for channels like Facebook and Instagram.
If you do not have the skills yourself, consider hiring a graphic designer to provide unique, event branded content.
Marketing Your Virtual Event
Whenever marketing your virtual event, be sure to establish goals so that you have a clear directive for the marketing campaign. Seek avenues that both make sense for the material and will help reach your target audience.
Be sure to create a funnel that directs your audiences to a landing page, ticketing page, or the event website so that conversion is automated and more effective.
Clearly show your audience what they will experience
Your audience will want to know what the event is about before they register. To this end, share your event agenda. Provide a detailed break down of each featured speaker and each session. You can share these details through promotional videos, a regular live streaming session, or by directing people to a landing page for more information.
Most importantly, an event marketer should focus on promoting all the potential benefits of your digital event. Perceived value is something that goes a long way to driving ticket sales.
Automate the marketing and data collection
An excellent virtual event platform, like Accelevents, should be able to promote the marketing material through integrations so that much of your marketing efforts are automated the collected data is organized in one place.
Accelevents integrates with social media platforms, email platforms, and CRM tools.
Partner with another brand to promote the event as a “co-brand”
Co-branding is an effective marketing tactic that allows a partner brand to join forces with your team in the creation and promotion processes.
If you choose to co-brand, make sure that your vision and values align with those of the other brand. You’ll need to synchronize your marketing efforts across the audience, capabilities, and technology of both brands.
Create invitations tailored for different audiences
If your event speaks to several different audiences, which it most likely does, be sure to segment the invitations to better reach those audiences.
For example, if you are using an email marketing campaign, you will want to send different messages to each audience segment. For new registrants, you will want to include information about your event and your brand, but when you invite past event attendees, you do not have to include as much detail about who you are.
Remember to limit emails to necessary communications only. You do not want to spam the recipient, leading them to ignore you or unsubscribe.
Running a Successful Virtual Event
Event organizers have a lot on their plate when it comes to preparing for a virtual event. It is essential to create a positive virtual event experience and generate ROI, but you can’t get there if no one shows up.
Give yourself time. The marketing campaign journey is a long one. You need to give the brand room to grow and allow the marketing materials time to circulate throughout your target audience. Depending on your budget, you can hire a marketing professional or simply automate the process with a high-quality virtual event platform like Accelevents.