Virtual and hybrid event marketing is becoming more challenging. Events happen across various industries and interests; it's challenging to rise above the marketing noise and reach your audience. Have you noticed everyone uses the same channels – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.?
So, how do you break through the promotional clatter, get noticed and stay within a budget? We can help – WeInvite has solutions to build your virtual event marketing plan.
Here we break down the top features for virtual events platforms:
Who are you targeting and why?
Understanding your audience is the first step. Dial-in and create a target persona – the more detail you build, the better your promotional plan
What do you need to know about your target persona?
Let's say you're planning a virtual trade show. Sit down and imagine a person who is your ideal buyer; what would they buy from you? Gather data from your CRM; this will help you understand where they are (location), job duties, and what services and products they want to use or purchase. Your CRM data will also show how they found you (the source that brought them to you.) Did they find you via a trade journal? LinkedIn? A professional or personal referral? A paid online ad?
We suggest taking an additional step: review Google analytics and Search Console. This gives you an overview of the search terms people use to find you online. After you understand what your audience talks about, where they are and what they want, find a tool to help you know what channels and hashtags they use and who they engage with.
When you know whom you're targeting, determine your desired outcome. Set your audience objective, like completing an event registration. This gives you a measure of success – it means your promotional messages are hitting their target.
We strongly suggest that you create a landing page; it's the focal point of your promotional campaign.
Your landing page serves two purposes:
An Event Platform like WeInvite offers branded landing pages. It's essential to partner with your virtual event platform provider to guide them on the page's content points and make sure you own the message. Remember that it's your event, and you're the one who understands your business; your brand voice needs to be conveyed on the landing page.
In addition to reflecting your brand, the landing page should have the following:
Marketing your event at the right time is essential. Promoting too early could risk losing attention; too late, and there may not be enough time to generate audience reach. The general rule is to set up your landing page two to three weeks before the event date to get a place on your audience's radars.
It really does not matter if your event's virtual environment is set up – all you want is registrations on the optimized landing page. This is why the landing page is key to building momentum, setting expectations and building buzz.
However, you can count on exceptions to this rule. Are you targeting a small niche audience? That could require additional time and energy, so you'll need more time to convert your audience into registrants. Consider an event for salespeople in the orthopedic surgical supply industry; it will require additional time and detailed marketing.
Use your website to market the event; it's an effective means to engage visitors. Consider creating a prominent homepage section that links to the event landing page. There are elaborate elements to use, like message panels on the top or bottom of the page, banner ads, and interstitials like pop-up ads. Remember that less is more – too many intrusive elements will probably annoy site visitors. More important than anything else, your site is ad copy. Here are a few critical copy elements:
Email is central to any marketing strategy. Suppose your organization has an email subscription base, a lead list in your CRM, or a database of potential attendees. In that case, you have a target-rich environment. Take time to plan your email marketing campaign.
Consider the following elements:
Encourage your registered attendees to share your event with others. Consider ways to motivate registrants to spread the word. This has two benefits:
So, when it the right time to ask registrants to share? The right time is when your site visitor registers. If they sign up on your landing page, have a thank you page pop up with social media share buttons. Another idea is to send an email to confirm their registration, including a CTA to share the event.Involve Your Speakers & Sponsors
If you have sponsors for your event, consider collaborating with them to rev up marketing efforts – it's in their best interest to attract an audience. Your sponsors can promote your event on their websites, social media channels, and other web content they support. Also, they can send emails to their subscribers or post an item on their blog. Work closely with your sponsors; you'll have better results if you provide clear and concise marketing messages.
We suggest that you use your event speakers as ambassadors. The key to successful promotion is getting your event mentioned as often as possible. Often, guest speakers are the main attraction; your audience wants to connect with them. Ask them to contribute to the dialogue built around your event.
Compose articles and blogs – keep in mind to educate your audience before asking them to do anything. There's a saying that goes, "content is king." We've all seen the influence of content as a powerful promotional tool. It's central to an inbound marketing plan; it attracts landing page visitors. Consider the power of a strong guest post on an authoritative and repute blog.
If writing guest blogs on other sites isn't appealing, be sure to add content to your own blog to accelerate awareness. This helps spread the word amongst audiences that pay attention to your content.Press Releases
Public relations are a valuable tool to reach an audience. If your virtual event is B2B, a well-timed press release is a helpful way to spread the word rapidly. When writing a press release, keep effective messaging in mind. Relay your event's value, the date and time, and mention sponsors and speakers. Remember, you can link the press release to your landing page.
In addition to the comprehensive coverage, online press releases are shared by journalists and readers on social media channels, allowing you to benefit from that exposure.Create a Unique Hashtag
A unique hashtag helps build momentum on Twitter. Organizations have used Twitter to highlight campaigns, events, and products for years. As a virtual event host, we suggest you jump hashtags to get noticed.
Rather than sending out lackluster tweets asking people to register, share pieces of valuable information to educate your audience. A well-crafted hashtag creates buzz; if your tweet content is applicable, you're likely to see a jump in social media and landing page conversions.Social Media Promotion
This is probably obvious to you, but we are compelled to mention that social media marketing is a critical part of promotions. You can use paid or organic advertising and merge it with remarketing efforts like email.
If you'd like to go a step up from Facebook and LinkedIn posts, consider paid promotions. You can use organic and paid social content to remarket your event to your current audience. This will trigger a rise in users who've previously visited your site or are on your email subscription list.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn employ technology to track visitors to your event landing page but abandon registration. The technology works to display ads directly to these people, thereby helping you invest only in a valuable targeted user segment.Consider Paid Search
Use Google Ads for fast event promotion with valuable keywords. If you are in a rush to see rapid increases in registration volume, using paid ads is a primary step to attracting your target audience online.
Targeted campaigns reach the right audience in the proper geographical locations and leverage demographics to build event awareness. Actionable ads that appeal to audiences bring in web traffic and event registrations and are measurable ways to evaluate your advertising's effectiveness. With a target paid ad campaign, you can assess its effectiveness with data like clicks and conversions.
To pick the best promotional platform, find out what your target audience uses. This is where an audience research tool comes in. If you want to get away from the Google/Facebook duopoly, tools like SparkToro and Quantcast come in handy.
Every strategy we mentioned above improves when you know what sites, social media hashtags and blogs your audience uses and follows.
As you've read, there are numerous ways to promote your Virtual Events to the right audience. The easiest option is to leverage your current audience, but remember that you need new audiences, too. You don't need to use every step in this guide. Choose which tactics work best for your team and your audience, then build them for future events.
Choosing the best platform for Virtual Events is like picking the right venue for in-person ones. WeInvite is a comprehensive event planning and management platform with powerful and simple-to-use features. WeInvite helps from event conception to event hosting, and you have access to our support during all stages.
WeInvite's features include:
Reach out to us to learn how we can help make your next virtual event a success!