Your Virtual Event Marketing Playbook

The events industry has been hard-hit this year due to the pandemic. Many organizations that depended on revenue from in-person events, tradeshows, and conferences have been left scrambling to convert in-person experiences into comparable (and profitable) digital events. As many of these organizations have found out, it’s not as easy as canceling your venue and sending out a Zoom link. 

Even the best marketers have struggled to generate the same level of attendance for their digital events as their in-person events brought in. The problem? The marketing for a digital event can’t be the same tactics you used for your in-person events – especially during a pandemic.

To help out, here are some high-level checklist items and concepts to ensure your next virtual event blows up in attendance. 

Focus on Digital Marketing

While direct mail has a place in marketing in the modern-day, it’s such a crapshoot in 2020. With so many employees (your prospective attendees) working remotely, we’ve strongly discouraged direct mail of any sort this year for our clients. 

Targeted ad campaigns on social media, display ads across the web, and maybe some direct ad buys on websites your niche audience frequents is the measurable way to promote your event online. Ideally, you’d begin setting up your campaigns, collecting your ad creative, and building your landing page three months before the event, with your first campaigns launching two months before your registration closes. Tracking the success of each campaign and tweaking copy and creative weekly, you’ll soon learn who is most likely to sign up for your event, making each iteration of your campaigns more and more effective.

Influencer Marketing

In every industry, no matter the size and scope, there are rock stars that people recognize as thought leaders and trendsetters. We all know them – they’re the ones who get 500 likes on their LinkedIn posts, their Twitter lights up like a Christmas tree with every tweet, and their personal blog is required reading within the space they occupy.

You need these people. Get in touch with some digital media assets to see if they’ll share some promotional info about your event in exchange for a discount to attend, or heck, let them attend for free. 

Good marketers know that a brand can sell its product and services through great messaging and better images. The best marketers know that smart brands create brand advocates who sell their products and services for them. Be the latter.

Clearly Promote Value

The unimaginative way to market and event is to say that John Doe will be talking about This Topic – sign up!

But the picture that paints in the mind of a prospective attendee is that they get to sit on mute and let someone talk at them. What do they get out of that experience? 

Instead, highlight the key takeaways from the event; what will they learn, how will it change their career, make their life easier, give them more time in the day, etc. Smart marketers focus on the outcomes that’ll cumulate to form the attendee’s life after the event, not just the experience of the event itself.

When it comes to virtual events, in particular, people want to know the investment of their time will be maximized with clear outcomes. Your copy and creative needs to focus on these deliverables, first and foremost.

If you’d like more ideas to promote your event, get in touch and we can schedule a brainstorming session to meet your event’s unique specifications. Virtual events are here to stay, so learning how to get the marketing right will be important well after COVID is done and dusted. 

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