How to Market a Successful Virtual Event & Conference in 2021

Gayatri Poswal
• January 3, 2021
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E

xcited about your virtual event? So many factors contribute to making it a success or things going south. The most heartbreaking sight on your event day would be to wake up to the least interactive event with an immensely low number of attendees. Such a scenario can occur in the absence of adequate marketing efforts & promotion of your event.  

But what is an effective marketing plan? I think a modern marketing plan encapsulates focus on building experiences and creating value for the customers, prospects and associates. Keep the following in mind while building an efficient marketing plan:

1. Know your Target Audience

Event planners must understand the significance of knowing the target audience well. Creating a buyer persona helps you understand your audience and strategize accordingly. A buyer persona is a projection of real-life data on an ideal person.

Building a persona may suggest that your target audience, say, college students, tend to interact over smartphones or social media. You may then want to approach them more on these sites where they hang out. A persona defines your target audience clearly to be able to understand their pain point and market accordingly.

2. Be S.M.A.R.T

Create a SMART plan for your marketing objectives –

Specific – What is your marketing objective? It could be to create brand awareness or boost traffic.

Measurable – How will you measure the success or failure of your goal? Define KPIs starting from “number of registrations,” “number of messages exchanged,” to R.O.I.

Achievable – Don’t get over ambitious! Keep your goals achievable.

Realistic – Keep goals and timeframes realistic.

Timely – Maintain better control over your goals by defining the timeframe.

(Read – Defining Event Goals and Objectives Are Key to Success)

3. Social Media

Social media marketing is a significant marketing channel to create buzz, improve attendance, and boost engagement. Utilize various options to maximize reach. It can be a very cost-effective strategy to reach your market. Your social media should include:

  • Paid advertisements: You could drum up a budget for paid ads on different channels. Whether promoting posts or creating ads, paid promotions give you good mileage for your money.
  • Organic posts: Create and stay with an event calendar on multiple channels, right from the initial broadcast of creating awareness about the event to post-event updates. If you have a tight budget, this can be an effective way to market an event.

    Create a hashtag just for the event that helps to brand it and enables your audience to track updates and any discussions on the program.

  • Twitter: Follow prominent accounts on Twitter, which generally permits smooth interaction between accounts. Effectively this means that as you go along, you can build up your event by retweeting and commenting on posts. It can also enable influential accounts to return the favour, thus highlighting your efforts.

    As part of your copy, include references, endorsements, and background visuals or videos that attract eyeballs.

  • Influencers: Use the power of influencer marketing to get incremental access to customers. If authoritative figures are featuring in your event, request them to do some great marketing for you by sharing your event on their channels.

    (Read – Brilliant ways to use Social Media to Promote your Event)

4. Technology Partner

Utilizing the event technology partner’s network is commonly overlooked in marketing strategy, but if utilized, it can help you tap into a new set of audience. Ask your technology platform partner to share your event details on their social media, website page, and other announcements. The technology tool partners will also be happy to showcase you as a successful use case and get some traction.  (Read – Airmeet Vs. Zoom)

5. Public Relations

Leverage your public relations. Highlight everything worth noting about the event – like prominent speakers, musicians, or personalities featuring in the show.

  • Customized website/page: To professionalize your campaign, create a personalized website/page that concentrates solely on the event and its promotions. It will be worthwhile to build it with alluring content, photos, or videos of past events.

  • Email campaigns: Email promotions are one of the most effective channels for promoting events. A well-devised email plan could incorporate event descriptions, registration emails, survey emails, or thank you emails. There are several free email marketing platforms available that make it easy to implement a successful marketing campaign.

  • Links in emails: On every mail you send daily for business, you could consider adding a short link to your upcoming event in the signature. This way, every email functions as a flyer, making people curious and aware.

6. Social Links

Adding links to events on your social profile or page can be done quickly and will help in diverting a massive flow of traffic to your social page if appropriately highlighted.

“A good marketing strategy can serve as your best guide helping you channelize your efforts in the right direction.”

A good marketing strategy can serve as your best guide helping you channelize your efforts in the right direction.

7. Live Videos

While updating your page for the event, think about including live videos and stories. Inbuilt live streaming features on sites like Instagram or Facebook offer you the opportunity to add videos featuring pre-event activity, preparations, interviews with cutbacks to earlier events, and commentary. 

8. Listings

If budgets are a problem, try business listings to promote your event. These lists allow you access to contacts. A business page on Facebook could double up as an events page where one can easily invite contacts or connections. 

9. The Aftermath

Months of hard work have finally paid off in a successful event. But don’t misjudge it as the end. Post-event, interact with your audience to share the excitement again through photos or video clips. You could use this follow-through activity as a teaser for forthcoming events. Create an event album on Facebook, including pictures of the fun and frolic, and invite your audience to participate.

Also, don’t forget to evaluate the metrics that you had set to measure the success of your event. Use insights from all the marketing channels, track metrics, and create a report to showcase it to your sponsors.

Conclusion

The sky’s the limit for your creativity once you have defined your marketing goals and your audience. A good marketing strategy can serve as your best guide, helping you channel your efforts in the right direction.

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