In the COVID-19 era, it becomes increasingly important to discuss the ins and outs of virtual events. And so far, we’ve been going at it hard here at Endless. We’ve discussed attendee engagement, sponsorships, mistakes – just to name a few. But today, we’ll be jumping into the realm of marketing. And most importantly, virtual event marketing ideas. Now that a few months have passed, and virtual events have increased in popularity, dangers related to webinar fatigue are more real than ever.
This means that your marketing efforts can make or break the success of your event. And while many of the previous strategies that applied to in-person events are still relevant, there are other elements that require attention. Sure, landing pages, social media, and content are common, basic knowledge. But what are the virtual event marketing ideas that you should look at, specifically? What can help you boost the popularity of the experience? Grab the popcorn and keep on reading!
Add A Personal Touch
Anybody who hasn’t been living under a rock knows about the power of social media in marketing. These tools have been used and harnessed by event planners for years now, so no point in dwelling on that in particular. However, there’s more to incorporating social media into your marketing strategy than just sharing videos and pictures.
Personalization will be your best friend along every step of the way with virtual events. And not just directed at attendees, but coming from your side too! It’s important that the event owners and members of the organization make it clear why their event will be magical and worth attending. Every person involved from the planning side should share their own take through their channels in order to create a sense of unity, promote loyalty, and foster connections.
Create A Facebook Event & Promote It
Assuming you’ve created a page for your event – which is a great idea on its own – adding a Facebook event will take it up a notch. Just having the page alone provides you with a place to share the latest news, sneak peeks, and valuable information with your attendees. You can also get in touch with your audience before, and further develop that sense of community that is so paramount.
Plus, push notifications from the app are a constant reminder for your attendees – free advertising! But if you don’t mind allocating some of your budget here, paying for a targeted ad on Facebook will help you reach more people and spread the word that your event is coming and it’s going to be fantastic for that audience in specific.
Harness The Power Of Data & Virtual
There’s a fine balance that must be achieved with marketing efforts for a virtual event. On the one hand, the fact that your event is no longer a physical one gives you the opportunity to have a lot more people attending. This means better sponsorship opportunities, increased value for your organization, and networking opportunities all across the globe.
But on the other hand, you still need to keep your target audience in mind. Marketing is about letting people come to you because you’ve shown you have something of value to offer them. Having 1,000 relevant attendees is far superior to having 15,000 unqualified people in the audience. So yes – harness the power of the virtual world to expand your message and reach more people that could be interested. But keep in mind the data that tells you the people you’re attracting, and allocate your resources according to what’s in your best interest.
Make It Palpable
As we all know, recreating the human aspect of events is the biggest challenge within the virtual sphere. As such, it becomes increasingly more important that planners put extra effort into making certain aspects as tangible as possible.
Small actions such as delivering food to the attendees’ door or a package that includes small gifts adjacent to the event are great ideas to foster that human connection. Make your audience feel seen and like they were your priority instead of just an afterthought.
Be Upfront With The Event Agenda
When planning a virtual event, you must be more mindful than before about your attendees’ time. Since remote experiences became the norm, the public is being bombarded with options from all sides. This webinar fatigue, coupled with the fact that the audiences’ attention span is completely different when attending from home, means you have to be extra transparent with the event agenda.
Create shorter days with more engaging content, and share the outline of the experience right off the bat. This way, people know exactly what they’re in for, how long it’s going to last, and they can plan ahead. Once again, gestures like this coming from your marketing strategy show your audience that you’re considerate of their time and energy, further cementing a genuine relationship between you and the attendees.
Use Your Influencers
The more people you get to mention your virtual event, the higher the chances that you’ll reach more people and gather a broader audience for your event are. And this means you’ll want to leverage the power of the influencers you have at your disposal. More specifically, the speakers you’ll have at your event.
They’re ambassadors and, to an extent, one of the main attractions of the experience you’re providing. So make sure you get them involved on social media, sharing what they’ll be talking about, what they’re most excited for, and to be overall evangelists. Remember that this is also in their best interest!
Leverage Your Sponsors
Much like your virtual speakers, the sponsors of your virtual event are important stakeholders. The more qualified people they have in the audience, the more benefit they get out of sponsoring your event, right?
Leverage this fact and push your sponsors to share your virtual event news and updates with their own audience. For instance, if they’re planning on bringing a super cool activation to the event (let’s say a contest to win a Samsung TV), that alone will attract a lot more people. So get them to put their own marketing tools to good use!
Press Releases Are Still A Thing
The art of Public Relations shifted quite a bit with the advent of digital marketing. However, it doesn’t mean that the techniques adjacent to PR aren’t relevant anymore or can’t help you spread the word.
One of the best virtual event marketing ideas you can harness is the press release. Create a basic piece that outlines the value proposition of your event and its highlights. When it’s ready to go, all you have to do is target the publications, both physical and digital, that cater to an audience likely to be attracted by your offer.
Stand Out From The Crowd
We don’t want to beat a dead horse here. Yes, everyone knows that being different and eye-catching is the name of the game where marketing is concerned. But in the realm of virtual event marketing ideas, standing out from the hundreds of other digital experiences is a must. You have to give people something that proves they should attend your event instead of all the others.
And this is where originality comes in. Here at Endless, we like to say that we don’t think outside of the box – we destroy the box! Which is exactly what you have to do with your marketing. The same boring social media posts won’t do much for you. Instead, look at your value proposition, your speakers, sponsors, and entertainment and think – how can I advertise this in a way that makes me stand out? Exclusive videos, discount codes, unique offers…there’s plenty you can do! Just don’t blend in.
Keep Marketing Efforts Going After The Event
One of the biggest mistakes planners tend to make is forgetting that marketing isn’t just something that happens pre-event. It has to take place during and, most importantly, after the fact. And the great thing about virtual events is that once it’s all said and done, you have a ton of evergreen content to offer your audience!
Aside from sharing polls and surveys with the audience in order to gauge the success of your event, create your own version of a streaming service that includes tons of recorded content people can access whenever they want. Click here to learn more about how you can become your own Netflix of events!
Be A Game Changer
Current circumstances aside, planners have to face the facts. Sooner or later, with or without a pandemic sweeping the world, the industry as we know it would have to change eventually. As technology develops at an astonishing pace, and with universal calls for more sustainability, virtual and hybrid events were bound to gain a lot more traction.
The best of the virtual event marketing ideas planners can harness is to embrace their roles as game-changers. We’re extremely adaptable as it is, and as we’re faced with new challenges, it’s up to us to show the public that we’ll do everything in our power to provide stellar customer service, unique experiences, and unforgettable stories through the tools we have at our disposal. And we’ll continue to do so until the dawn of times.