Virtual events are an amazing way to connect with your audience. Whether you’re trying to reach a wider audience or offer live-event options for people who aren’t able to attend in person, virtual events can be an excellent choice. Virtual events allow attendees to engage with your brand, with your event, and with each other virtually. So what is a virtual event? And how do you effectively market your virtual event?
That’s exactly what we’ll cover in this article.
Why Virtual Events are Important for Businesses
The one main advantage that virtual events have over traditional events is that they aren’t constrained by location. No matter where your target market is, you can reach them through the help of the internet. Put yourself in the place of the customer. Someone wants to market something to you, not only do they ask you to expend your time and energy, but also want you to travel to the place where they have scheduled their event. Now that seems like a task doesn’t it?
That’s exactly what having a virtual event solves. It helps reduce the time, energy, and money spent on all sides while having a wider audience reach.
Types Of Virtual Events
Virtual events come in various forms. And the kind of virtual event that you want to host must depend on your virtual event marketing strategy. So, let’s look at some of the different types so that you can make an informed decision.
- Webinars – These are online meetings held on Zoom, Meet, or other live streaming platforms. Webinars are used by marketers. Webinars are great for hosting with a list or a community as they help to generate leads, build an audience and grow a list. A successful webinar can also have an impact on search engine rankings. This can be a standalone event or one that is part of a larger virtual event.
- Online Courses – These are long-form content that you deliver using a specific platform. Online courses can be a great way to educate your audience about your product, service, or business. If you are a B2B marketer, then you probably want to host an online course on LinkedIn and then use paid marketing or promotions to bring in your audience.
- Virtual conferences – They offer a number of advantages for businesses, including increased brand awareness, lead generation, and relationship building. Unlike simple virtual meetings, virtual conferences typically span multiple days and include features such as keynotes, panel discussions, training sessions, and educational content. If you are looking to connect with others who share your interests and learn more about your industry, a virtual conference may be the perfect solution.
- Online trade shows – They can provide the same experience as running a face-to-face trade event, right down to the entrance of the exhibition hall. By creating an immersive and interactive virtual trade show experience, organizations can engage with their audience more effectively, driving traffic to their online store and maximizing profit.
More Information: 7 Types of Virtual Events: What They Are Used For
6 Ways to Market Your Virtual Event
So how do you market your virtual event so that you can build awareness and drive attendance?
RELATED: The Virtual Event Marketing Strategy You Need Today
1. Hire Niche Influencers to Market Your Virtual Event
Influencer marketing can be an effective way to reach potential conference attendees. For example, finding the right TikTok influencers who align with your target audience, can help you build relationships and offer value that will help them see the benefits of attending your event. Some ways to do this include onboarding key influencers as speakers or having them post content about the virtual event.
To find the right influencers, start by identifying your target audience, which you would have hopefully done when you drafted your virtual event marketing strategy. If not, start with that first, then look for individuals or groups who have influence within that group. Once you’ve found a few potential partners, reach out and build relationships with them. Finally, offer something of value to help them promote your conference to their followers, whether that be cash payment or a free ticket to your event.
Testimonials are a great way to incorporate user-generated content into your virtual event marketing strategy. One way to do this is by incorporating testimonials from previous attendees or sponsors. This helps potential attendees see what they can expect from your event.
By sharing quotes, comments, or even short video testimonials on social media platforms, email marketing, blog posts, and your registration page, you can help boost the visibility of your event. Since this can be a lot to juggle at once you can schedule social media posts using tools available on the market, this will make posting content a much less time-consuming task.
According to a 2020 survey by WyzOwls, 9 out of 10 people trust what other people have to say about a business rather than what the business has to say about itself. So, when your previous attendees tell your audience that your event is great, they are bound to believe it.
3. Run Ads to Market Your Virtual Event
If you have time and money to put into event promotion, you can use social media ads to get the word out.
The most important aspect when it comes to running ads for a virtual event is to choose the correct platform. When advertising, you want to make sure that your dollars are being maximized, and in order to do this you must understand who your audience is so that you can choose a platform that is most suitable.
For example, if you’re running a webinar on TikTok content creation, then it makes sense to choose TikTok and Instagram as advertising platforms. On the other hand, if you were running a webinar on B2B sales techniques, LinkedIn would be a much better option.
4. Offer “Early-bird” Incentives for those that RSVP early
A big key to a successful event is to offer a compelling reason for attendees to RSVP, and commit to attending your event early. Get them hooked by offering something of value that only becomes available if they RSVP within a certain time frame. This will encourage them to make their decision quickly because they’re in a time-limited frame of mind.
Maybe you can offer attendees an early bird discount if it’s a paid event such as a conference. Or maybe you’re prepared to host a free happy hour for the first 10 people who RSVP. The ideas are endless.
5. Offer Merchandise to Attendees
Offering free merchandise like custom mugs with your logo to attendees is an excellent way to drive registrations for your virtual event.
For example, if you’re running an online calligraphy workshop, you can offer attendees a free calligraphy pen for attending the event. Not only will the incentivize people to register for the event, but it will also allow you to market your brand via merchandise. Now each one of your attendees has a calligraphy pen with your brand name on it, and it’s likely that they will spread the word about your brand without even knowing it, just by using the pen you gave them.
One important thing to note when offering free merchandise is that the merchandise should be relevant to your audience. The more relevant the merchandise offering is, the more likely you are to convert your audience into attendees of your event.
6. Send Emails
As a business, you’ve most likely built an email list over the years, whether it be from customers or people that have registered for your newsletter. It’s important to leverage these emails to build awareness for your virtual event and get the ball rolling.
Since anyone on your email list has given you their email voluntarily at one point or another, this makes them a warm lead. Put together a drip campaign that converts them into attendees of your event.
Rather than blatantly promoting the event, aim to provide value to the users so that they feel the urge to register for your virtual event so that they can learn more about the topic.
Coming up with a virtual event marketing strategy can be a tricky task, but with the ideas discussed in this article, you can make your event a great success and give you plenty of ideas to market your virtual event.
If you haven’t already, be sure to start your strategy off right with a virtual event plan. Then listen to the first four episodes of the Virtual Event Strategist Podcast to give you a complete primer on virtual event strategy.