If your event changed from in-person to virtual, should your marketing change as well? Short answer: yes. Your traditional marketing plan must adapt quickly. Not only should you take advantage of digital tools to promote an online event, but you have an exciting opportunity to attract new audiences to your event. You need to look at the best ways to identify, reach, and connect with new prospects while communicating the value of your virtual event to your in-person event participants. We’ve outlined a marketing plan to promote virtual events so that attendees sign up, tune in, and stay engaged.
Identify Your Audience
The interest in virtual events has never been higher. However, your demographic for past and current members, exhibitors, and sponsors will dictate how eager your audience is to participate. Virtual or hybrid events are accessible to a wider audience. Those who did not have the budget or time to travel to in-person events may be able to participate virtually.
To identify new audiences, ask two key questions:
- What’s motivating people to join your event (e.g. education, networking, exhibits)?
- What is your desired outcome of this event?
Think outside the box. This will help identify the potential wider audience.
Create a Marketing Timeline
Marketing timelines will be different for each individual event whether it is traditional, virtual, or a hybrid. The most important thing to consider is marketing at the right time. If you market too early, you will lose attention. If you market too late, people won’t have the time available to attend.
Build Your Message
Identify the key features your event has to offer, particularly those that make it unique. Clearly communicate the value of your event to your attendees in your marketing. One thing to consider is how the communication needs to be tailored to all of your stakeholders. Each stakeholder will want something different from your virtual event so it is important to communicate the value to each stakeholder specifically.
Prepare Your Marketing Materials
Once you understand your audience and create your message, it’s time to prepare your marketing materials. Use your logo in the meeting’s visual. Make sure the visual tells a story. Your website should grab users’ attention and differentiate your virtual event from the others being offered. Finally, your social media strategy needs to include a clear hashtag referencing your event.
Announce Your Event
When the prep work is complete, it is time to announce your event. It is important to be strong across all marketing channels.
- Push the announcement on all social media platforms.
- Send press releases to all relevant professional trade organizations.
- Ask your sponsors, partners, and speakers to spread the word.
After your event is announced, frequently post on social media platforms, send emails, and write blog posts. Use interactive marketing opportunities. Poll your attendees leading up to the event about how they are feeling, what they want to get out of the virtual event, and if they have any pre-event questions. This will help them know the event will be tailored to their needs.
Actively Engage During Your Event
Communicating during the event keeps your attendees engaged and informed. Live tweeting, digital signage, gamification, speaker announcements, and social media wall chats are all great ways to keep your attendees communicating and engaged during the event. Understanding your virtual platform will help you decide which methods are right for your virtual event.
Post Event Communication
Communicating after the event is just as important as the marketing before your event.
- Thank your attendees for attending.
- Provide your attendees the event content or session recordings so they can revisit the information.
- Send a quick survey. The data it provides can help shape your future events, messaging, and marketing strategies and help provide content your attendees want.
To learn more about virtual event marketing, download our free ebook. You can also read more posts on virtual events, including:
- Strategizing Your Virtual of Hybrid Event
- Selecting Technology for Your Virtual Event
- 11 Ways to Facilitate Networking during Virtual Events
- What Defines Success for Virtual Events?