Online Event Marketing: How to Promote a Virtual Event?
When it comes to building an audience for your online event, choosing the right way to promote a virtual event is key. For organizers, you’ll have to determine the right channels and how much of your resources to invest in each of them.
No matter what strategy you choose, effective communication depends primarily on two main things:
- Reaching your prospective attendees
- Communicating the value they should expect to receive from the event.
Your Target Audience
“Who are my attendees”?
Defining your target audience makes it easier to choose what channels to target. What are the demographics of your attendees? Research how prospective participants behave and where they are active online. Are they Instagram addicts? Or B2B specialists looking for the next sales lead? For business events, Linkedin is an obvious choice to promote your event. Events with a specific regional interest might be best promoted through local news or targeted circular ads. Examine how those people behave online and where to best reach them.
Your Value Proposition
“How will attendees benefit from my event”?
By determining your value proposition you will be able to specify the message you want to send. What benefits will they receive by participating? Effective communication clearly outlines what your event offers for your participants. What specific takeaways they can expect? Networking? Entertainment? Inspiration? Answering these questions helps you identify why your target audience should participate. Develop your messaging around these specific takeaways and tailor your message to the specific marketing channel.
Social Media (Organic Social)
Social media are platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram that allow people to share content with others.
- Low/no costs
- Direct insights into your audience
- High time effort if used properly
- Requires a lot of input to build followership
Display Ads (Paid Social)
Display Ads refer to advertising on websites, apps, or social media through banners, posts, or video
- Retargeting of audience increases repetition
- Provide data
- Medium/high costs
- Can be perceived as annoying is not appealing
Search Engine Optimization. The practice of increasing the traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
- Low/no costs
- Creates high traffic if you rank high
- The high effort to SETUP properly
- The constant process of improvement
The practice of sending a commercial message to a funnel of leads using email.
- Total control over your message
- Targeted and personalized content
- Takes time to build a good audience size
- The danger of being marked as spam
Paid search puts you on top of the search results while being marked as an advertisement.
- High visibility due to top ranking
- Control over audience
- Medium/high costs depending on the keywords
- Less authentic than organic search
The act of creating, publishing, and distributing content online to increase traffic.
- Underlines expertise in a field
- Highly helpful in SEO optimization
- Very high effort to properly create original content
The Promotion Process
Events used to be considered “high involvement products”. People would carefully take their time evaluating their participation. In-person events were in direct competition with literally anything else happening at the time. But the move to online and virtual events has changed everything.
Online events, especially when they offer content on demand have completely shifted how we look at our time and availability. While virtual events have greater accessibility and lower hurdles to participation, they do compete with a very crowded field for your attendee’s attention. If your event offers the solutions your target market has been looking for, it’s time to launch and promote!
Top tip: Visibility is everything when it comes to effectively promote a virtual event. Repeat your message throughout different channels. Regular posts spread awareness and capture attendees who may have missed earlier announcements.
3 steps to effectively promote a virtual event
The following are the initial steps to begin your marketing strategy. Remember, keep your content directed on your event’s value proposition for attendees– and target your prospective participants where they are already.
1- Create an Audience
- Establish newsletter funnel
- Create social media followership
- Build a retargeting funnel
2- Create and Share Content
- Send out newsletters with high-value content
- Post continuously on social media
- Start advertising campaigns
3- Retarget and Follow up
- Start retargeting campaigns to your website and social media visitors
- Send follow up emails to your high-interaction newsletter readers
The Bottom Line
This foundation outlines some of the initial steps to consider when it comes to promoting your online event. It can be a slow process to promote a virtual event, but don’t give up! Be patient. Participants often decide right before the event if they want to join. If your outreach is successful, registrations will accelerate around one to two weeks before the event. When it comes to online events, expect registrations in the last days before the event takes place, and even after the event starts. Continue your outreach strategy all the way until the final minutes before your event takes place. Don’t forget to make sure that your online event runs smoothly!