The BEST WAYS to PROMOTE a VIRTUAL EVENT

clock iconJune 2, 2020 Event Marketing

Video Transcript

Hey this is Ricky Wolff and at the end of this video, you will walk away with actionable ways to promote your virtual events and drive registrations.

So for the ones new on this channel, I’m a B2B marketer at a large international IT company and I successfully host many virtual events per year. Especially with the coronavirus situation. I’ve launched this channel to help the marketing community so if you do have any questions about virtual events, let me know down in the comments. I’ll promise that I answer all of your questions.

When it comes to promoting virtual events, there is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. This is quite logical because every event likely has a different target audience or perhaps the same target audience but in different countries. This means you are also dealing with cultures and some cultures require a different approach.

So today, I will give you insights on virtual event promotion strategies for 2 types of virtual events with a couple of assumptions.

  1. Small virtual events focused at decision-makers
  2. Large virtual events or conferences with a more general audience such as partners, prospects, customers from decision-makers to influencers.

Small virtual Event Promotion

With small virtual events with about 10-20 target attendees, your primary way of audience generation will be through your sales team.

Small virtual events are typically focussed on decision-makers. These people will be triggered by personal invitations from people at similar levels. General marketing is likely not going to have a big impact.

However, you still need a landing page to capture contact details. This is where marketing can really make a difference. You need a high performing landing page. On this landing page, you clearly need to indicate what’s in it for your audience. Why should they attend your event and what’s the audience expectations at the event?

If your sales team did a great job at driving attendance, it’s your responsibility that the landing page converts well.

Of course, sales invitations aren’t the only way to drive attendance to small virtual events. You can also apply email marketing. If you have a good database, this is a method that works well. I always recommend just sending plain-text images without too much fuss on it.

You also need a good email marketing campaign to make sure they will attend your event. You need to make sure that people that register will actually attend your event. So your email marketing campaign should keep registrations warm. You need to reduce the no show rate.

Large Virtual Event Promotion

Now let's have a look at large virtual event promotions.

There are a couple of ways that always work well depending on your marketing budget.

  • Social Media and programmatic advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Sales invitations
  • Channel
  • Chatbots
  • Campaign follow up
  • PR
  • Third-party databases
  • Event listing websites
  • Speakers and Agenda

So, I’ll briefly cover these strategies. Let me know down in the comments if you want me to deep-dive into a particular strategy and make a video about it.

Social media and programmatic advertising

Your event should be all over social media, both through organic and paid channels. Many B2B companies focus on LinkedIn sponsored content. This is definitely a great path to walk. In addition, try using Twitter advertisements. We found that this works very well too. 

Related to programmatic advertising; Ideally, you want to target your named accounts. You need different ad sets based on where that account is in the buyers’ journey. If you want to learn more about programmatic advertising, I wrote an article about this and I’ll leave it down in the description.

Email Marketing and Sales Invitations

I’ve already covered this a bit in this video, but it’s really key to make your event successful. Regarding sales invitations, something to add is that you can talk to your sales directors and set up event registrations days. Your sales will be committed for one day to call all their relations and drive registrations to the event. It’s nice if you make a competition out of it as salespeople are always very competitive.

Channel

With large virtual events, you probably have some sponsors or you might host an event together with a partner. This is great because you can work together and use their network to reach its audience. This will enlarge the number of people you can reach and this will result in more registrations. So with virtual events, I always recommend having sponsors or collaborating with partners. Whenever you host an event jointly with a partner, always make agreements and set expectations related to audience generation. Generally, when I co-host an event with a partner, we are both responsible to drive 50% of the audience. Of course, you need to measure this and you can do this by creating UTM codes. You will have a different UTM code compared to your partner and your registrations forms can capture this data.

Chatbots

Chatbots are great to redirect the right audience to your event landing pages. With chatbots, you can detect when certain named accounts are on your website and then you can show a chatbot and promote your large virtual event. If the right people are on your event landing page, you can also use your chatbot to try to talk to this person. Perhaps they want more information about the event. So using a chatbot as a tool to promote your virtual events will result in higher conversion rates. 

Campaign follow-ups

B2B organizations run many campaigns and it’s likely that your company does the same. So when your team is running campaigns and the audience is relevant for your event, consider using your virtual event as a follow-up strategy.

At the end of every campaign, you need to have a call-to-action and a next best step for your audience. So this is a great opportunity to promote your virtual events. The benefit is that the leads are probably a bit warmer already and this will result in a good conversion rate. 

PR

When you host a large virtual event you want to generate a lot of awareness for this event. So a great tool to promote your virtual event is PR. If you can integrate your virtual event in PR articles and backlink to your landing page, you will see a significant number of registrations coming from that. Of course, you need to ensure that your articles are published on the right publications. Your PR agency will take care of this. It’s generally a good idea to create a number of high-quality backlinks to your event landing pages so you will also get some SEO benefits.

Third-party databases

When you are struggling to generate registrations for your virtual events, consider using third-party databases. The conversion rates of these types of campaigns are generally a bit lower. However, if you engage with the right third-party vendors it can be very beneficial. Just know that the leads generated will be a bit colder so you need a strong email marketing campaign to keep them warm so they will actually show up for your virtual event.

Event Listing websites

There are websites that allow you to publish your event on their website. This is a great way to get some extra eyes on your virtual events. So depending on where you live in the world, you will have a different set of event listing websites. But generally, Eventbrite is a great website where you can list your event and generate some extra registrations.

These event listing websites will have their own audience and it never hurts to get more eyes on your events.

Speakers and Agenda

All these strategies are great, but if you don’t have top-quality speakers and a fantastic agenda, you will have a hard time driving registrations. So always make sure that your content is top-notch. The better the speakers and content, the easier it will be to generate an audience for your events. You need to get people talking about your virtual events. This is the best way to promote your events. 

Also, when you hire speakers, ask your speakers to promote your virtual events. They also have a network and you need to use this to your advantage. 

So if you stayed this long in the video, then please consider liking this video and subscribing to your channel. If you have questions about virtual event promotion strategies, leave a comment below and I’ll answer.

That wraps up this video, thank you for watching and I’ll see you next time.

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Ricky Wolff
Ricky's North Star is growth. He is the founder of Markletic, a blog about growth hacking and demand generation in marketing.