Virtual and hybrid events offer new opportunities for event organizers to widen their reach and engage new audiences. To maximize these benefits, it is essential to market your event to a broader audience. This means using a bigger variety of channels and getting creative about your marketing approach.
Here are some tips to help you market your next virtual event with success.
1. Know Your Audience
Knowing your target audience is the starting point of every good marketing campaign, and it’s even more important for virtual events with remote audiences. You’ll save time and money by taking a targeted approach, getting to know what channels your audience is tuning in to and focusing your marketing on the channels that will reach them, rather than taking a “shotgun” approach across multiple channels.
Once you’ve identified the relevant channels, don’t just rush in. Be polite and take the time to observe the discussions within their communities before getting involved in conversations. Don’t be too pushy, take it slowly. Remember, you’re building relationships. Get to know people and share in a meaningful way before promoting your own event. A great way to gain traction, once you’ve established a good relationship, is to create special offers specifically for these communities.
Use targeting tools to fine tune who sees your ads and promoted posts on Facebook and Twitter. The more specific you are, the more likely you will be to grab the attention of fans in your target demographic.
2. Maximize Your Social Reach
#Set up your own social media presence
Make further use of social media to get the word out about your event by creating our own dedicated social media accounts and posting regularly on appropriate channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest[AH1] for your event. Maintaining these accounts takes time, so be selective about which channels you use and don’t spread yourself too thin. Focus only on those channels that your target audience spends most of their time on.
Get people involved by posting engaging content as well as promoting your event. Run competitions, ticket or merchandise give-aways, and other promotions to encourage participation. Mention or tag and share news from artists, speakers, venues, and anyone else involved in your event to keep fans interested. Engage your followers further by asking delegates from previous events to share photos and highlights from past events.
#Create and use hashtags
Make sure to include your hashtag in your social media account bios. Use it wherever you can and encourage your community to use your hashtag whenever they mention your event on other sites/pages to help others find information about your event.
The idea behind hashtags is to make information easier to find in the virtual space. So, it’s important to create a good hashtag that is unique, clear, and memorable enough to give your guests a handle on your event. When creating your hashtag, try to find one that captures the essence of your event. This exercise has the added benefit of helping you focus your planning.
#Keep track of event-related accounts
Track key accounts related to your event using tracking tools like Twitter lists, Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. Keep a list of their updates handy and use this as a content source and re-share the stories across your own profiles.
#Activate your tribe
Encourage event participants and previous attendees to spread the word. Ask participants to mention their involvement in the event on their channels (using the hashtag when they do so). You can also ask previous event attendees to spread the word and share what they liked about your past events.
3. Remember Your Email List
Many people mistakenly believe that email is a thing of the past when, in fact, the power of a good email list cannot be understated, particularly when it comes to marketing your virtual event.
#Creating and Growing Your Email List
Use your lists of attendees from previous events (even if they were in-person events) as a starting point. Don’t have an existing list? No problem. To start a new list (or grow your existing one), all you need to do is include a request to sign up for updates and news on your events webpage and social media accounts.
#What to write about
Once you have started your list, you can send out regular newsletters with updates on speaker line ups, information on any safety measures you’ll have at your in-person or hybrid events (this will be particularly popular in post-COVID times), quizzes and surveys, referral offers, special tickets deals (e.g. early bird, last chance), reminders about competitions and giveaways, previews of agenda items, tutorials on how to use the events platform, and much more.
Post judiciously. Don’t spam people with too many emails and make sure you have a reliable email management system to manage your email list.
#Get Feedback and Stay in Touch
You can use your list to stay in touch with attendees between events. It’s a good idea to reach out to attendees a few days after your event with a short thank you email. This could include a request for feedback from them that you can use to make your next event even better. Also, ask them if they’d like to receive a heads up on your next event or sign up for your regular newsletter.
4. Appear in Event Searches
With virtual events, it’s important to develop a digital identity for your event and to create an online presence. Use Google’s keyword planner to find out what keywords your target audience uses to search for events they are interested in and craft your content to include these keywords so your event will appear in their Google search results. Be careful to avoid keyword stuffing.
5. Offer a Variety of Ticket Pricing Options
Virtual and hybrid events are great for the variety of registration options they allow – this means you can extend your reach and your bottom line. In addition to the usual ticket tiers (early bird, bundles, single day or entire event, block bookings, or VIP tickets), you can also offer reduced price tickets for online-only visitors and sell access to recordings of presentations after the event.
6. Make it Easy to Buy Tickets
Use a variety of ticket purchasing platforms to make it easy for your prospects to buy tickets. In addition to your event site and social media channels, consider using third-party ticketing platforms. These sites offer wider exposure for your event to an audience already looking for tickets to similar events and provide ticketing widgets that you can use on your event website to make it easy for attendees to securely purchase tickets.
Remember to include a call to action, such as “Buy your tickets today”, in all your marketing materials.
There’s a lot to think about when marketing your virtual event, but with a little planning and creative thinking you can reach wider audiences than ever before thanks to the advent of virtual and hybrid event platforms. Take a virtual tour of the OnAIR platform by EventsAir to see how you could customize it to deliver highly engaging virtual and hybrid events.
EventsAir has been at the forefront of Event Technology and Innovation for over 30 years, continually pushing the boundaries of what an event management platform can do. Built by event planners for event planners, EventsAir is a secure, scalable, cloud-based solution that can manage everything from in-person, virtual to hybrid conferences, meetings and events in a single online platform – anywhere, anytime and on any device.
In use in over 50 countries by multi-national corporations, professional conference organizers, government departments and tertiary education institutions, EventsAir is also used in global congresses such as G20, APEC, CHOGM and ASEAN, as well as sporting events like The Olympic Games, World Rugby, Commonwealth Games and Pan Am Games. EventsAir is trusted by event professionals around the globe. For further information, visit www.eventsair.com