Because of COVID-19 closures and shutdowns, everybody is hosting virtual events. There are hundreds, even thousands, of interesting virtual events hosted online every day.
With the increased competition in the virtual event space, you need an online event marketing strategy that stands out to drive conversions, gain interest, and boost attendance for your next virtual event.
Creating and implementing a strategy may be beyond what your competition is doing. That’s why we’ve created this guide including 6 strategies to help your virtual event succeed in 2021.
Next time you’re planning your virtual event, try these strategies to create your most effective event yet.
How Do You Promote a Virtual Event?
Promoting a virtual event isn’t that different from promoting a traditional event. The key difference is that the timeline for promoting a virtual event is often shorter. Instead of spending weeks finding and booking the right venue, you can research and pick the right event platform in a matter of hours.
Because virtual event platforms allow you to plan an event at any time, for anyone, you may be left with less time to promote your event, making it even more important to have a solid promotion plan in place.
Promoting your event could include email marketing, social media marketing, paid ad campaigns, cross-promotion, etc. Let’s dig into how these tools can work with your overall plan.
6 Virtual Event Marketing Strategies to Include In Your Promotion Plan
Organizing a virtual event marketing plan is essential for driving conversions and registration for your event. Here’s six ways you can help your virtual event succeed in 2021.
#1) Consider Your Virtual Event Timeline and Promote Before, During, and After the Event
Unlike traditional events, which begin planning 6 to 12 months before the event, virtual events allow for a quicker turnaround time like 1 to 3 months.
Because you no longer have to nail down a physical venue in advance, setting up a virtual event allows you more time to focus on promoting your event.
Here’s a general timeline for promoting your event:
- Identify your audience
- Create registration pages (landing pages)
- Send direct mail campaigns
- Create social media posts and contests
- Create event website
- Launch email marketing
- Send reminder emails
- Continue reminder emails
- Create live social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
- Share downloadable content
- Use live chat or chatbots to answer event questions
- Run branded experiences and activities
- Send follow up thank you emails
- Send “sorry we missed you” emails (for no-shows)
- Update website to be relevant post event
- Share post-event surveys (sent in emails or posted on the website)
- Launch retargeting campaigns
- Post highlights on websites and social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube)
- Send invitations to your next event
- Have sales contact your leads and begin nurturing them
Looking for a full breakdown of your promotion timeline? Check out the best virtual event planning checklist for your event committee.
#2) Get Buy-In from Your Sales Team to Help Market Your Virtual Event and Drive Registration
When sales and marketing departments align, you improve your event’s odds of success in terms of conversion, promotion, registration, and sales cycle.
Both departments have complementary skills and understanding of your target audience, which can drive conversions.
For instance, the marketers have an idea of who the target audience is, maybe they’ve even set up a buyer persona. However, the salespeople have firsthand experience working with buyers, and can advise the marketers on the key pain points, frustrations, and frequently asked questions so the marketers can create effective content that will resonate with their true and evolving audience.
Listen to your sales team to understand your target audience, so you can create more effective registration pages to drive up conversions.
Still on the fence about aligning your sales and marketing teams? Check out 12 Benefits Of Having Sales and Marketing Work Together On Your Event Marketing Strategy
#3) Make Email Marketing Your Virtual Event’s Best Friend
Email marketing is the greatest tool for virtual event marketing. Everyone uses email — you can’t register for the event without one.
When it comes to sending pre-event emails, be liberal in your approach. Don’t just send one reminder and think it’s enough, because emails are easy to miss.
It’s advised to send at least three reminder emails before your event (and four is probably better).
Pre-Event Reminder Email Timeline:
- Reminder a week before the event
- Reminder a day before the event
- Reminder the day of the event
- Reminder at the start of the event
- Reminder to people who registered and haven’t signed in yet (if your platform allows for this)
After your event, email marketing transforms into the most effective facilitator of lead nurturing. You don’t want your attendees to just drop off after the event, you want to engage them, keep them around, and get them into your sales funnel!
Post-Event Email Engagement Ideas:
- Follow up thank you email
- Post-event surveys
- Send invites for future events or webinars
- Ask for reviews to post on future registration pages and online content
- Email leads ongoing blogs and product updates to keep them up to date and engaged with your brand
It often takes many points of contact with a prospective lead to close a sale. The longer you can keep your lead engaged with your company and your content, the more likely you are to close the sale and keep a loyal customer. If you’ve gone above and beyond with your customer, they’ll tell their friends and family about your company or product, which is ideal.
#4) Create An Event Page That Converts
Your event page is the primary source of all the important information your guests will need to know in order to attend your event. It should impress your audience and encourage event sign up in the most effortless way possible. They have a problem, your product can fix it, and your virtual event will explain how. Make sure you illustrate that in the most straightforward and creative way possible.
The event page must contain pictures, your event date, a well-written blurb and description of your event, videos (from previous events or behind the scenes if possible), information on guest speakers, and social proof (customer reviews). In addition, creating shareable buttons to post on social media helps spread the word too, so don’t forget those.
But above all, your registration page should make it as simple as possible to register. Don’t make the “Register Now” button hidden, make it clearly visible, and consider adding multiple registration buttons, one at the top and bottom of the page.
A/B test different event registration pages to see if a green, red, or blue registration button is more effective. Sounds simple, but minor tweaks in color or wording in your call-to-action can make a big difference. If you have time to A/B test your registration page, do it, because there’s always room for improvement.
Some virtual event platforms feature a registration page builder that allows fully-brandable customization and automatic email notification configuration. You can create beautiful registration pages by uploading your company’s logo, choosing your brand colors, and setting automatic email notifications so your participants receive an email once they register for your event.
#5) Leverage Social Media Channels That Make Sense for Your Virtual Event Audience
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and even Snapchat, all have their strengths and purposes to help promote your event.
LinkedIn is great for attracting a professional crowd and allows for easy searching for professionals who fit your target audience. LinkedIn Ads allow for hyper-specific ad targeting (for example, show your event ad to human resource professionals in a 50-mile radius around Chicago).
Facebook is ubiquitous, and is useful for creating event pages that are highly shareable, and allow for multi-media posts, like photos, videos, links, or written posts.
For the younger, more visually oriented crowd, Snapchat and Instagram offer another channel to reach your target audience through photos and quick videos.
And don’t forget YouTube. Have video footage from a previous virtual event? Use Google Ad Manager to place your video ad before, or during similar content on YouTube to spread your event’s reach with people who are actively consuming related content.
#6) Tease Out What’s Coming Ahead of Your Virtual Event
Don’t give away all your secrets in the very beginning. Keep your attendees guessing and filled with anticipation to return to your website or event page for updates.
This is a common tactic for music festivals. First they announce the smaller acts, then as the festival approaches, they begin announcing the headline acts, the main attractions that fans have been waiting for.
Tease your audience by giving them cliffhangers. On your registration page, don’t list all your guest speakers. Add something like “more guest speakers to be announced next week” for example. This also means you can start promoting your event before every detail is finalized.
Tease out these hints and updates through social media posts, pre-event emails, and updating your event website and registration page, encouraging guests to come back to check for more.
Ensure Your Virtual Event Succeeds with the Right Virtual Event Platform
SpotMe is the complete engagement platform, offering you every tool you’ll need to plan, organize, and promote your next virtual event.
Our built-in registration pages offer a beautiful and fully-branded way to impress your audience, allowing you full control to customize your page.
Our notifications feature allows event hosts to send live or scheduled updates to guests about important changes or calls-to-action. And targeting allows you to send specific notifications and content to users based on their profile information, so you can create a tailor-fitted custom experience that’s sure to be memorable.
Ready to try SpotMe? Contact us today to start your free trial!
Interested in learning more about virtual event marketing? Check out 19 Social Media Tips for Event Promotion and 12 Event Promotion Strategies to Attract the Right Audience and Grow Your Business.
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