With the rise in online and hybrid events, more brands are using a combination of the two genres, as part of their event marketing strategy. Although in-person and hybrid events can be a powerful way to generate leads, boost sales, and build brand awareness, event marketers often struggle with figuring out the best strategy for event promotion.
What’s more, coordinating your event marketing strategy with your brand’s overall marketing goals can be challenging!
Fortunately, marketing your event is a lot like marketing your brand. The only difference is that each marketing stage might have a different lead capture goal, and instead of aligning the campaign to your brand goals, it will focus on the event goals.
If you’re a traditional marketer tapping into the power of in-person and hybrid events, there are a few things that you need to consider. To help, we’ve developed this concise guide to promoting your next online event:
How to Plan Your Next In-Person or Hybrid Event
The most crucial stage with any marketing strategy is the planning stage. Naturally, planning your event and its marketing strategy is imperative to its success.
Identify Your Event Goals
To begin, bring all the stakeholders together to identify event goals and key takeaways. For example, if you are a marketer working for a client, the brand might want to be at least one keynote speaker and two major breakout sessions. Your event plan should satisfy this ask. And, the marketing strategy should align with brand goals related to the event plan.
Identifying the event goals is extremely important. Without these goals, likely, the event and its marketing strategy appear extremely scattered or disconnected from your brand. Event goals can involve brand awareness, lead retrieval, conversion rates, and sales. However, make sure that these align with the brand’s long-term marketing goals too.
Do Your Research
During your planning stage, make sure that you do enough research and discovery so that your team is prepared. Often, plans are too ambitious, and the team is not equipped to get everything done. This is the discovery stage, which plays an essential role in your event promotion strategy.
Set A Realistic Budget
Additionally, you may find that you don’t have a large enough budget for all the desired needs. Whittle down what you cannot afford and the resources that don’t support your event plan and marketing plan. Then be sure to designate primary point persons who will be in charge of specific processes.
How To Create The Best Event Promotion Strategy
According to Markletic, a majority of marketers (65%) need more than six weeks to promote large virtual conferences. With at least six weeks of preparation, event marketers will be able to garner the desired amount of registrations. Brands need to develop their event marketing plan well in advance and begin their event promotion, as early as possible.
The most effective event promotion strategy is split. Some marketers believe in the power of email marketing. Others find social media marketing and influencer marketing to be effective.
What works for your brand or event will depend on:-
- the event type (Is the event in-person, virtual or a hybrid combination of both)
- the audience size
- the targeted audience,
- and the event’s purpose.
Setting Up Event Analytics and Integrations To Track Your Event Promotion
Many successful event promotion campaigns come down to the software, tools, and integrations being used.
For example, if using virtual event software, you can gain access to a large database of event statistics. And in most cases, software integrations will include :
- accounting software,
- CRM platform,
- mail marketing platforms,
- and live streaming capabilities.
These integrations will streamline processes and improve marketing efforts. Analytics can be useful for real-time event engagement as well as post-event engagement and marketing campaigns.
Virtual event platforms come with additional features like an event app, integrations with social networks, and built-in event registration, making organization and planning far easier.
Lead Capturing and Retrieval
Integrations and automation can maximize events as lead generation tools. Employ lead capturing and lead retrieval mechanisms at each stage of the marketing funnel and synchronize data with a CRM platform. Leads can then be organized based on interest, funnel stage, and buyer personas.
No matter how you organize your sales pipelines (or verticals), be prepared for an inundation of potential attendee leads. Without preparation, you may lose out on these opportunities and miss out on one of the most effective elements of online events.
Post-Event Promotion Considerations
It might seem strange to consider the post-event promotion before the event has started. But, doing so can play into your marketing strategy. Post-event planning can be used as an effective way to connect with audience members following an event. Consider hosting a post-event community through a dedicated channel, like on your event landing page. You can put this feature behind a log-in accessible to event attendees or make it invite-only. Prepare for post-event communications in the planning process so you can finish the sales funnel, directing attendees toward your desired actions.
Mapping Your Event Promotion Plan
Planning and preparation will set you up for event success. Here are some key elements to consider when mapping your event and marketing strategy:
Identify Event Theme
Before you can begin creating your event schedule and picking speakers, you need to create an event theme. This theme will be a major driving force for your speakers and attendees. Choose a theme that is topical and relevant to your brand. Convey this theme in all marketing materials.
Your speaker selection is extremely important. Much of the time, attendees participate in events because of the speaker’s expertise, knowledge, and background. Try to make good connections with speakers and communicate your brand goals with them. Keep them prepared and promote your speakers early on to encourage attendance.
Additional content may be necessary depending on how you structure your event. Come up with a strategy around content curation so that it is tailored to your brand’s needs. Will you need to provide pre-recorded content in advance? Write blogs as part of a content marketing strategy? This is critical to the planning of your event and its marketing.
Segmenting Your Target Audience
Segmenting your audience into relevant buyer personas will help you target your marketing and messaging. You can target your event based on the needs of the persona, allowing audience members to see value in your event.
Make an Omnichannel Announcement
Once you’re ready to deploy your marketing, make an omnichannel announcement. This will spread the message across to all your platforms (including social media channels) and reach your target audiences.
Run Retargeted Display Ads
Retargeting is not an invasion of privacy. It is a useful marketing strategy that reminds visitors of something that they were interested in. Retargeting is often forgotten by event marketers but can be useful in expanding marketing reach.
Pinpoint the Sources of your Results
As you move forward in your campaign, you’ll start to see more people generating interest in your event. Start to identify main sources of interest, leads, or registrations, and then correlate your marketing efforts around those sources. Not all channels perform equally, so adjust as the data suggests.
Make Another Announcement
As you get closer to your upcoming event, make another announcement. You can do this once or twice, depending on how early you started the promotion. Interested attendees won’t mind the reminder, especially if it is on a dedicated event social media site, event website, or event marketing newsletter.
Send Day-of Announcement with Mission-critical Details
Day-of announcements are important for those who are busy (virtually everyone) and will remind those who truly want to attend. This email should contain important details for logging into the online event and other need-to-knows.
With effective event promotion planning, your event can be a heavily attended event with lots of engagement. Your event planners should also have some processes in place that ensure that each event attendee feels welcomed and valued.
There are some additional post-event things to consider. Send email follow-ups that thank attendees for participating. If you are hosting an online community for attendees after the event, the email should include links and guides on how to access that community.
Running your first event is a big deal. With the right planning and event marketing strategy, you’ll find that your event may be a big success.
There are a lot of moving parts to every large-scale event. Be sure to meet with your team and third parties to learn from the experience and identify areas of improvement. You can also support and celebrate successes and the completion of the event!
Using a comprehensive virtual event platform like Accelevents can streamline your marketing efforts. With features that include custom branding, email campaign integrations, social media integrations, attendee data, and real-time analytics, effective event marketing is a breeze!
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