Virtual events have been a life-saver for countless businesses this year and – we are confident – they are here to stay, even when they are no longer the only available option. This presents us with a whole new framework and an unusual set of rules when it comes to event marketing and promotion. In short, marketing a virtual event is not the same as marketing a traditional one, it requires different strategies, tools, and an updated approach. A virtual event does not only differ from a traditional one from a “technical” point of view: its very nature is different, in that we often speak to a wider, global audience, and we do so online, where individual messages are easily lost unless they are properly targeted. Here is some advice to market a virtual event effectively.
You can’t market a virtual event without a good landing page
Every event should have, if not its own website, at least a powerful and engaging landing page for the audience to converge on. This is where users should find all the essential information and a clear and easy-to-use registration form. All of this should be available at a glance, without the need to scroll down or browse internal links. Visuals are a fundamental element at this stage and must be taken care of in parallel with UX. The first seconds a user spends browsing a landing page are usually essential to their decision-making process. It is therefore essential to provide a spotless first impression, with clear and engaging visuals and well-organised content. The landing page should also contain all the essential elements the average user might be interested in seeing, such as photos of the main panelists, a well-organised calendar, and all the information needed for immediate registration with secure payment (if applicable).
Newsletter and email marketing: don’t underestimate the “classic” tools of online marketing!
Virtual events are the future, but we must not forget the pillars of online marketing. Newsletters and other forms of email marketing have evolved a lot in recent years, but they are still among the most effective formats available when marketing a virtual event. First and foremost, you should have a workable database of relevant contacts, carefully selected after in-depth market analysis. Then you should make sure to provide a constant but not intrusive flow of communication, sharing relevant information packaged in an engaging and visually pleasing way. Of course, newsletters are not only used to let your audience know about future events and send reminders, but also to follow up with users and, where necessary, generate leads.
Marketing a virtual event with social media
Your social media strategy needs to be on point. It is essential to have a good knowledge of all the available platforms and to select the ones your target audience is most active on, making the best use of specific event features. The most popular online event promotion tool is, of course, Facebook Events, which is free, easy to use and share, and allows you to keep track of your RSVPs. For B2B events, however, it is also advisable to use LinkedIn, focusing on sharing your content in relevant groups and considering paid ads. Whatever platform you choose to use, it is essential to create a unique hashtag for your event and share it on all social media, but also to invite panelists and users to use it whenever they share content related to the event.