What is a Virtual Event?
You have probably heard of or attended a virtual event by now. When the 2020 pandemic hit, events, travel, and the world came to a screeching halt. The virtual revolution took over. It was always there, lurking in the shadows, but in the past 14 months, it has become the new normal for all meetings and events. But what exactly is it? The at home workout you’re watching live from your home, your bosses zoom call or that webinar on how to cook the perfect feta pasta dish are all examples of virtual events. Live events that you can stream from the comforts of your home or office. Now they don’t necessarily have to be live. In fact, more and more “virtual” events are pre-recorded but are showcased as “live” to attract more attendees. More on that to follow.
How to Market Your Virtual Event
You will want to utilize social media to market your event. You can do a google search to find out what key words are needed to attract the most attendees. You also want to pick a day and time that can work with different time zones depending on where most of your virtual attendees will be signing on from. You want a registration or information page that pops, is user friendly, and easy to understand. If some reason your attendees are unable to stream the event live, let them know that the event is being recorded and that they will be able to return at a later day and time to watch all the sessions they missed.
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Focus on Content Marketing
You will want to focus on content marketing when promoting your virtual event. Using specific key words and hashtags to get in front of people’s minds and entice them to sign up. You can offer fun giveaways during your event or offer a live Q&A session with some trivia and prizes for attendees to win. It’s always a good idea to create an email marketing campaign to inform potential attendees of your speakers and specific content you will be focusing on. Post all over social media and encourage those attendees that have signed up for your virtual event to post that they will be attending. Offer a discount if they tweet attending your virtual event or have a referral bonus structure in place. The more you have your current attendees promoting your event, the more buzz your virtual event will receive and ultimately the more effective your virtual event will become.
Involve Your Speakers
Make sure you involve your speakers in the social media and email marketing campaign. Chances are they have a particular following and would be fascinated to know when they will be speaking live. Have photos and bios posted on your registration page and send out an email announcing your keynote with a short paragraph reviewing what the session will cover. Allow your attendees to submit questions prior or host a live Q&A during your virtual stream. A clever production trick is to pre-record important keynote sessions to make sure the presentation is immaculate, then a week or so later after it’s been edited to perfection, play it for your audience as if it is happening live and use the same back drop and clothes your speaker had in the recording for your live Q&A, the audience will never even know the difference.
Leverage Social Media
When you do promote your event on social media, use fetching photos, hashtags and incorporate appealing videos. They don’t need to be 20 min, just 60-90 second snippets of what your virtual event is going to be about. Something to engross your virtual attendees prior to the big show. Like the previews when you go to the movies; having a trailer in place prior to your virtual event will help with the anticipation and marketing aspect. Invest in social media ads to target the proper audience demographics and the specific industry you’re pursuing. Post blogs leading up to the event so your attendees can crave more information on your virtual event and the subjects you will be covering.
Issue a Press Release
A press release is a splendid idea to get the word out about your virtual event. You can provide company history, include session descriptions, and announce keynote speakers with a little biography on each of them. Incorporate some dazzling photos and send out the press release to the masses and see where it might get picked up. You will also want to send out the press release as part of your email campaign and post to all your social media accounts. Don’t forget to also include a link on your website. The more touch points, marketing, and reminders of your upcoming virtual event, the more registrations you can expect.
Create a Stellar Event Page
When you announce your virtual event on social media and send out emails to get your potential attendees to “click for more information” or “register here” you will want that next page they see to be stellar. If they are unable to access the site or run into technical difficulties before the event has even started, you can guarantee they will be clicking the delete button and moving on. You want to have an eye-catching sophisticated site that is going to astound your attendees from the get-go. Hire professionals to create a custom platform and registration page for your virtual event to stream live.
Ask Sponsors to Spread the Word
Get sponsors to help with the event costs. You can advertise their logos on the registration page with links to their website. Offer your sponsors all your attendee’s information post event, so they can follow up with everyone afterwards. Or host a virtual tradeshow where attendees can make 5–10-minute appointments with the sponsors to learn more about them. Promote them in your email campaigns and social media posts. Even allow for “podium” time during the event, whether they show a 2-minute commercial of their product or company or say hello to the audience and give a brief description of their services. Your sponsors are your partners, so ask them to help your marketing efforts and spread the word!
Virtual isn’t going away, it’s here to stay. With the right marketing skills and a professional production partner you can produce a highly successful virtual event that will wow your attendees. Call the Emmy award winning producers at Van Wagner today.
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