If you've landed on this web page, there's a good chance you're either planning a virtual event, or you have one organised, and you're looking to get the word out about it.If you can relate, you're in the right place! In this post, we’ll break down virtual event marketing basics to help you hit the ground running with your promotional efforts. There's lots to cover, so let's dive in!
Identify Your Audience
First off, you need to know who you’re marketing to. Although this may sound obvious, it's worth bearing in mind that your audience has a massive impact on where and how you promote your virtual event.
For instance, if you’re looking to host an online networking event for small Australian business owners, it would be wise to head to LinkedIn, and if you have the budget to launch paid Facebook ads, you could target this exact demographic. Using this same example, you could also consider injecting Australian colloquialisms and using the kind of jargon that small business owners would understand and resonate with.
Nail Your USP
The only reason anyone attends online events is because they believe they'll receive something valuable from it. This is why it is imperative to identify your event's unique selling point(s) and communicate them in your marketing. But, again, before you can properly articulate your USPs, you need a firm understanding of who your audience actually is. For instance, what are their demographics? What are their interests? What are they struggling with? What motivates them?
With your audience personas in mind, turn your attention back to your virtual event. Ask yourself, what makes your offering any different from your competitors? Is it the quality of your speakers? Are you providing actionable content - and are these methods proven to work? Are you being endorsed by someone impressive? Are you gamifying your event to provide a more entertaining experience? Whatever makes your event unique, note it down.
Now, it's time to match your target audience with whatever makes your event novel. More specifically, you need to establish exactly what it is about your event your attendees will value? You could have loads of things that make your event different. However, if your target demographic isn't interested in them, it won’t make for an enticing USP for your marketing materials.
Action step: Take time to think about what your event offers and who your attendees are - and marry the two together!
Create a Landing Page
Before you can promote your event on your website or social media, you’ll need somewhere to direct prospects to register interest in attending your event.
This is where a landing page comes in handy.
This is a standalone web page designed with lead generation in mind (usually includes a form to submit a name and email address) so that you can follow up with prospective attendees.
Needless to say, if you already have a CRM, it's wise to integrate it with any of your contact/sign-up forms on your landing page. That way, you're better positioned to organise and connect with your leads (but more on that in a sec...).
To encourage people to sign up for your event, your landing page should elaborate on your event's values and goals, as well as some of the logistical details. As such, it's often handy to include the following elements:
- A compelling headline outlining why your audience will want to attend your event
- Your USPs
- Your event’s data and time (including appropriate time zones)
- A brief overview of what attendees should expect or your event agenda
- Information about your speakers, sponsors, and partners
- Contact info - This is useful for prospects who are intrigued by your event but don't feel ready to commit to signing up yet
- An FAQ section to help guide attendees
- Branded imagery and/or short videos that advertise/ showcase highlights of previous events
- The Arinex Live platform allows you to create custom landing pages, helping to set your event up for success from the get-go.
Utilise Digital Channels
What online channels do you already have at your disposal? A company website? A Facebook page? A LinkedIn profile? Do you have a following on Instagram or Twitter? Whatever you already have up and running - you’ll want to use.
Here are just a few tips on how to make the most out of these channels:
- Your home page:
On your company’s website, dedicate a prominent section of your home page to advertising your event. This should be above the fold, by which we mean visitors shouldn't have to scroll down to see the promotion. This ad should also include a CTA that links visitors to your event’s landing page.
- Collaborate with your sponsors:
If your event has sponsors, see whether they’ll pitch in with the marketing efforts - after all, it’s in everyone’s interests that your event’s a success! Perhaps they could ping a message to their email list? Or, maybe you could host a social media takeover? Either way, it might be worth getting together and seeing how you could collaborate to meet both of your needs.
- Set a budget:
Yes, you'll want to target your existing audience by posting organic content and advertisements, which, of course, is free. However, suppose you’re hoping to attract a larger audience. In that case, consider setting a budget for paid ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, or wherever else your target audience spends time online. This better enables you to laser target your ideal attendees according to their age, location, job title, interests, etc.
Don’t Forget Email Marketing
As we’ve already hinted at, if you already have a CRM, it’s worth integrating it with any contact forms you have on your event landing page (or elsewhere).
Aside from that (and if your email marketing solution allows), carefully segment your email list into 'confirmed event attendees’ and those who have 'shown interest but are yet to sign up'.
By organising your contacts this way, you can better deliver personalised and relevant messages to recipients. For instance, for leads yet to bite the bullet and sign up for your event, you may want to send more promotional materials to push them further down your sales funnel. In contrast, you might prefer to send confirmed attendees emails with logistical and practical info. For instance, how to log into the event, how to participate, event schedules, etc. You may also want to send messages that generate hype and excitement for the upcoming event.
With all that in mind, here are a few general tips for sending engaging and professional-looking emails to market your event:
- Remember, your emails are an extension of your business, so ensure you brand them as such. This means you should use the same colours, logos, fonts, etc., as your website and other online materials.
- Take time crafting a compelling subject line to encourage recipients to click through.
- When writing the body of your email, always have the recipient(s) at the forefront of your mind. This goes a long way to ensure you actually tailor your content and CTAs to the reader's needs.
Improve Future Marketing Campaigns
Last but not least, you’ll want to ensure you’re collecting plenty of analytics across all your marketing campaigns. Fortunately, most social networks come with built-in analytics.
However, you may also want to create a Google Analytics account and integrate it with your site. This should give a more comprehensive insight into the success of your marketing and sales strategies.
With all this info at hand, you'll soon get a feel for what went well, and more importantly, where there’s room for improvement for marketing your next virtual event.
Are You Ready to Market Your Virtual Event?
So, there you have it - that’s our ultimate guide to marketing your virtual event. We hope this sparked a few ideas for when it comes to making the most out of your marketing efforts.
Are you planning a virtual or hybrid event? Arinex Live's event platform is built optimized for registrations and our end-to-end event management services are designed to help you flawlessly execute a hybrid event. Schedule a demo with our team today to learn more!