How do you promote your virtual event now that everyone has a virtual event going on? Webinars, online trade events, live web broadcasts, AMA’s, and other virtual events are very much the fashionable thing to do these days. So how do you now stand out to get your audience to notice your event?
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink the way businesses are handled. What used to be an automatic response now requires serious thinking to consider all the possible implications due to the virus.
Are you conducting a seminar? Easy! Reserve a room at this time and call on people to join! But now, things are very different. A lot of events are now held online.
Of course, with the goal of protecting the hosts and participants, and in consideration of restrictions in place, many brands resort to virtual events.
We bet you that every hour of every day, some virtual event is happening worldwide. And this is just the beginning!
Even if Covid-19 is eventually eradicated, it looks like virtual events are here to stay. It is understandable why.
Virtual events allow you to accommodate more people in various locations. Logistics becomes less of a concern. Event management is relatively easier.
For that reason, the competition for attention becomes tougher and tougher every day. Now, the ultimate question is, “What will make your virtual event stand out?”.
In this article, we give you five tips on promoting a virtual event to make sure you attract the audience you want!
Table of Contents
The biggest challenge to virtual events (according to those who’ve already run their event) is that there are too many other events and participants are sick of online calls, with “our supporters aren’t technologically savvy” as a close second. (Wild Apricot)
1. Be clear about what the audience will see.
Setting expectations about what your event is about is one great way to promote it. Time is precious. People generally do not like wasting their time.
So, if you have a virtual event, make sure that the contents and topics that will be featured are explained beforehand. People like knowing what they are getting themselves into. If your event has a hands-on workshop, a question and answer portion, or prizes, let the audience know.
It is also very crucial to set expectations. Provide clear details about the topics, without divulging the meat of your content. Just give people an idea of how the discussion will go. Is it a general overview of a particular topic? Is it advanced training for a skill? Indicating this information will set the stage to make sure the right audience is joining your event.
Another important thing as well is knowing your Why. “Why are you hosting this event?” This is the part where you establish a connection to your audience. For instance, your goal to teach people the basics of content writing is exactly what they need to land a job.
Having a purpose is what makes you relatable. You can leverage this in your promotional materials, such as follow-up e-invites and announcements. It reminds people why they signed up in the first place and why this event is important to them.
Other pieces of marketing material such as handouts, learning kits, quizzes, and ebooks should help in the overall virtual event experience for your audience. Find out what else you might be needing with “What Marketing Materials Do I Need for My Business (in 2020)?”.
2. Leverage co-branded opportunities.
Co-branding, a.k.a co-marketing, is a trick in the book that works for virtual events. In co-branding, you partner with other brands or sponsors in creating the event. Both sponsors will exert effort in making this event known to the target audience.
The beauty of co-branding is the expanded reach. Your network might not be the same as theirs, so you have more opportunities to reach people. Aside from the benefit of driving attendees, having partners also adds credibility. It can help in securing great speakers and content as well.
Emily Raleigh, Senior Marketing Manager of Brand Strategic Partnerships, once stated, “We’ve seen major success in promoting live and virtual events with a three-pronged partnership approach: a brand partner, a community partner, and HubSpot for Startups. The brand partner adds credibility and can help us get some great speakers for the event. The community partner helps drive attendees because they have deep connections in the specific ecosystem we are targeting, and our end-user trusts them, so if they say an event is worth their time, they are very likely to go.”
Whether you are handling a big or small brand, this is a common strategy that works!
From the Event Manager Blog: 49% of event planners use social media to engage attendees during events, and 13% use it for interaction with speakers. 38% of event planners also use social media for event feedback.
3. Enable speakers and employees to promote your event.
Too many cooks spoil the broth? Well, not in this case. You need all the help you can have in promoting the event.
That said, let your speakers and employees promote the event as well. Their personal networks are valuable. Promotion through a personal network has that added benefit of trust. Their friends and families know that this person wouldn’t promote something they do not believe in.
Besides simply asking the speaker and employees to share the event link, providing assets is the better option. Send them materials they can use for their posts or stories.
You can also set up a rewards system to encourage them to exert more effort. You can incentivize employees who generated a solid contribution in the event promotion.
4. Segment event invitations for different audiences.
People go to events for different reasons. A marketing executive’s reason for going to an event may differ from a freelancer’s reason for doing the same.
This is the reason why you should segment your event invitations. You have to keep in mind that people have different things they look forward to. For an event that covers a lot of topics, segmenting is a great way to promote. One way you can do this is through email marketing.
When sending out your invites, keep in mind that the value proposition of your event differs from person to person. Highlight the aspect of your event that is valuable to a certain group and use that in the email marketing.
Different folks might also need different types of content marketing. Virtual events are just one way to get your audience’s attention. Support your marketing efforts with even more awesome pieces of content. Check out our piece on “The Many Types of Content Marketing” today.
5. Track your promotional tactics.
After spending so much time, effort, and money on promoting your event, you must know if it works or not. The only way to find out is to measure the results.
Knowing which tactic yielded better results will let you know where to invest in the future. If a resource-consuming strategy did not achieve the benchmark set, then you can consider letting that go in your next event.
Henni Roini, an EMEA marketing manager, said that using tracking URLs to isolate where traffic comes from is one way to learn which tactics are effective. He stated, “When you ask employees, sales, event partners, or anyone else to promote the event, ask them to use UTM links or otherwise make sure that you’re able to track the registrations.”
There are so many things you can do to further promote your series of virtual events. Have a look at “Boldly Go With Digital Marketing,” our handy guide for your journey through digital marketing space!
A Final Word About Promoting Your Virtual Event
Virtual events won’t be going anywhere soon. The only way brands can adapt is to keep up with the strategies and tactics available around them. The virtual event space is tough and competitive.
While you may be offering great content, amazing speakers, other events might be doing the same.
Securing an audience is just as important as your event proper. Truth be told, coming up with your event’s contents is just as hard as promoting it.
The minute you start thinking of creating an event, you need to plan how to promote it as well. Your event is only as valuable as its impact on the people who saw it.
Virtual events have changed the game forever. It is now up to you how you can learn to play the game.