Why it’s important to build an event marketing strategy
The movie “Field of Dreams” popularized the saying, “If you build it, they will come”. To this, I say: not without an effective marketing strategy.
Organizing a digital event takes a lot of work – from setting your objectives, inviting prominent speakers, to choosing the right online conferencing platform provider. Don’t let all this great work go to waste by forgetting about your marketing strategy.
Event marketing is all about letting people know that you are hosting an event and how the event benefits your audience, and thus, is a must-attend. These days, virtual events are commonplace. To avoid being buried among the multitude of webinars, online tradeshows and virtual conferences that seem to be coming up left and right, you need a winning marketing strategy to lift and differentiate your event among others – as well as maximize the results and impact of your event to your audience.
In this article, we’ll share with you some proven strategies to ensure your event marketing results in success.
Related readings: Still in the planning stage of your virtual event? Don’t forget to check out our 3-part Virtual Event Playbook and other helpful articles at https://globalexpo-net.com/blog/
7 virtual event marketing strategies to use right now
1. Have a solid event value proposition – and let it guide your event messaging
This relates to the age-old question that marketers must answer: “What’s in it for me”? Attendees should be able to understand exactly what they will be getting from your event.
Clearly communicating your event’s value proposition helps convert prospects to registrants, and registrants to attendees. They can also help you recruit your speakers and/or exhibitors, as well as partners and sponsors.
A clear event value proposition should also form the foundation of your event messaging. In all your communications, make sure you consistently and clearly impart the benefits of your webinar or online conference to achieve your desired results.
2. Develop an event content strategy
With your event value proposition and messaging firmly set up, the next step is to develop an event content strategy. This strategy not only helps you to plan what you want to say – but also, how you want to say it (channels) and by when (timing).
A winning event content strategy builds momentum and excitement to the weeks and days prior to your online event. Make your audience anticipate what’s to come by using teaser videos or sharing behind-the-scenes information on the progress of your speaker line-up or special activities in your digital event.
When there’s limited new information available – usually at the start of the event planning – use videos or testimonials from your previous event to hype up your coming event.
Lastly, including a blog in your event content strategy is one of the many ways marketers are now adopting to create conversations and foster information sharing about their online event.
3. Design an attention-grabbing and user-friendly event website or page
Your event website or page is where you direct your audience for anything, and everything related to your virtual event. From basic event details (date and time) to webinar topics and speaker bios, and finally registration and event reminders. It is arguably the most important component of your digital event marketing strategy.
Apart from presenting the latest and most updated information about your online event, make sure you invest considerable time and effort in building a user-friendly event website or page. A positive user experience will more likely result in conversion (registration) than a disappointing one, with incomplete or inaccurate information, broken links or images, registration forms that do not work, etc.
4. Plan an engaging and targeted email campaign
Email marketing is one of the most effective means for marketers to reach their audience directly and individually. Make the most out of this powerful channel by crafting a series of email messages to slowly but surely create excitement and interest about your online event.
When planning your email campaign, be mindful of your emails’ timing or frequency. Make sure to spread it out so as not to flood the recipient’s inbox.
Also, make sure your email lists are segmented so you can send targeted messages to each group. The lists should also be updated before every email dispatch – if your audience has recently registered to the online conference or tradeshow, move their names to the appropriate mailing list. Nothing is more annoying than to keep receiving emails imploring you to register for an event when you’ve already done so. It shows the marketers (and organizers) are not paying attention, which speaks poorly of the arrangements and attention to details required in hosting a virtual event.
5. Adopt a simple and easy-to-execute referral campaign
Turn your event registrants into your event advocates by providing them the means to easily forward your event invitation to their peers and colleagues. Some online event platforms or apps have built-in function in their registration forms where one can share via their social media that they have registered and will attend a particular event.
If you have the means, you can offer rewards or incentives to your loyal or repeat attendees for every registration and/or attendee they can bring to the virtual event. But make sure you don’t over-complicate the procedures to refer a person, check attendance and (more importantly) collect rewards.
Your speakers, exhibitors, partners and sponsors are also a key audience that you can transform to event advocates. This group benefits directly if your online event is well-attended – they reach a bigger audience, they get more exposure and they get more bang for their buck. Make sure you involve them in your marketing strategy. They can promote the event to their relevant networks. As a marketer, you can facilitate this by giving them email or banner templates that they can just simply forward to their audience.
6. Leverage your social media presence
These days, many of us are getting in touch and staying connected via Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter – among many other social media platforms. Take advantage of this “instant connections” when promoting your online event. Post about your event, create a special hashtag to follow your mentions, share photos and video clips.
Social media is also the perfect platform to use countdowns to create final buzz and excitement about your event. The “short term memory” and “right now” nature of social media lends itself well to last-minute and urgent calls to actions.
Lastly, you can use your social media accounts to live stream parts or all your webinar – if that is something you’d like to do.
7. Don’t forget your post-event communications strategy
Just because your online event has finished does it mean all the work is done. Take a short quick breather, then get back on with your post-event communications. Send a thank-you email to attendees, or we-miss-you message to those who weren’t able to make it. Send post-event surveys. Upload links to your online conference recordings and invite people to view it. Post attendance figures, photos, videos and testimonials from participants on your event website or social media.
The objective is to extend the news mileage and mentions generated by the recently held event as much as possible – as well to prime your audience for your upcoming events.
Event marketing strategy lies at the very core of the success of an event. Make sure you have a robust plan and execute properly to reach your event goals.
Check out other GEN Blogs available at https://globalexpo-net.com/blog/ for more articles and tips about virtual events.