How to Successfully Promote Your Virtual Event
Moving to a virtual event allows you to get in front of a global audience, however this also means that your audience now have more virtual events to choose from. You need to ensure that your event is promoted successfully in order to stand out from the crowd and get people to sign up and log on!
Create eye catching promotional material
Just like with live events, you need to create consistent, eye catching branding materials to get the attention of your potential audience. Your collateral should be instantly recognisable as your brand, and the tone of voice, imagery and design should all reinforce your company’s values to your audience.
Consider what colours you should use, what fonts work well and how this can all fit in with your intended audience and reason behind the event in the first place.
Remember, you’re trying to create promotional materials that your audience members can’t ignore, that they simply have to click on to get more information! Make it memorable, but importantly make it ‘you’. This is usually the first your audience will hear/see about your event, so make it count!
Create an all-encompassing marketing plan
These materials should then be distributed across all channels significant to you, your audience, and your event. One of the great things about a virtual event, is that you will be communicating with your audience in an online sphere meaning that you are able to do all of your marketing online, extending your reach, yet potentially saving you money!
Think about the different channels you already have available to you. As a business or company in the 21st century, you probably have a website; a perfect place to advertise your event. Why not advertise and encourage sign ups on your homepage? Do you have a blog? If so, this is a great place to include CTAs for the event, leading to an event-specific landing page where your audience can find out more and register their interest.
Social media is another great place to promote your event. Take into consideration what channels work best for you. Where are you and your audience most active? This is where you will gain the most traction.
The use of a hashtag throughout your event communications is recommended, so you can centralise all social mentions and conversations around the event – this can also be useful for during the event when you’re interacting with your audience via social media!
Email marketing is another great way to let your potential audience members know all about your event. It’s important that you give your audience as much information as possible in the run up to your event, to encourage sign ups, manage expectations, and excite and inspire your audience! Why not include this in your newsletter? Make sure you have links to the event landing page so your audience can sign up with ease – you want to keep the user journey as simple as possible to not discourage any attendees with complicated form fills, or hard-to-follow instructions.
Keep your audience members in the loop with reminders and follow up emails. In the weeks leading up to your event, be sure to email any additional information such as agenda updates and instructions on how to join. Segment your audience into lists to effectively market to those who have signed up and those who haven’t so you can encourage those who haven’t to register with emails reminding them it’s not too late.
Follow up emails are just as important, even if they come after your event. Sending a ‘thank you’ email to those who attended will add a personal touch that could inspire them to come to the next event. Offering on-demand recordings of the virtual events are another way to add value and keep interaction between you and your audience members. Asking for feedback in the form of a short survey is a great way to learn more about the success of your event and inform you on how to better prepare for the next one!
The above are great first steps on how to promote to your existing audience base, but what about enticing new audience members?
Paid advertising via social media is a great way to get in front of a targeted audience list. Using your existing audience base you can create lists of people you want to advertise your event to. This is a relatively cost effective and direct way of advertising and drumming up some qualified interest for your event. Think about where your target audience hang out online, these channels will more likely have a more powerful effect.
Partnerships & Speakers
Partnerships are another great way to promote events. Looking at companies that have similar intent, relationships, and audience members, you can identify opportunities that can be beneficial to both parties.
Do you have a speaker at your event? A great way to encourage attendance is through enticing members with a speaker relevant to you and your event. Ask your speaker to share the event via their own channels, enabling you to get in front of their audience. If you’ve curated your event right, they should be your exact target market!
Create and share an inspiring event agenda
One difficulty with an online audience is that it is harder to keep an audience engaged and you run the risk of members switching off if they get bored. Therefore, you need to have a must-see agenda from start to finish, not only to keep your audience online, but to bring them there in the first place.
When it comes to an online event (or virtual event for that matter), nobody likes surprises. When we sign up for an event, we want to know exactly what’s happening and at what time (and when we can break for a cup of tea!). As soon as you have your agenda locked down, send it out to your potential audience list, and include it in your marketing materials.
Include time in your schedule for breakout sessions, for Q&A’s and for networking. This interactivity will entice audience members to join the live event, rather than watch it on-demand. These interactive sessions are really where you can add value so make sure you incorporate them and shout about them in the event agenda.
Promotion of your event doesn’t have to end once the event is finished. A good way to entice audience members to the next one, or to draw an audience to your site is to offer recorded content of the event so they can see what a great day they missed out on! Perhaps this content is gated, which means you can then add them to the email marketing list for the next event!
Collection of data post-event will help you to organise and plan for your next one. Don’t forget to ask questions about how your audience members found out about your event, so you can see which channels had the most impact which you can use to your advantage in the future.