t’s D-day, you just hit “Publish” and your virtual conference page is now live. The registrations start rolling in & they just won’t stop. Before you know, you’ve hit your targets and your community still wants more, you can hear “ka-chingg” every time you sell another pass!!
Fancy dream! Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this?
But first, let’s learn how to get there by promoting your virtual event successfully & creating the right buzz around it.
Hopefully, by now your key goals (KPIs) have been set. The event budget is in place, and speakers, partners and sponsors have been secured.
1. Build Anticipation
Depending on the scale of your event, marketing efforts may kick off anywhere from 2-3 months to a few weeks (or even days) before the event goes live. Create anticipation building up to the big unveiling. Offer a sneak peek into what might be in store for attendees like teaser videos. Give a specific date when they can expect a big announcement. Keep sharing frequent updates on what’s cooking & don’t let the buzz die.
2. Exciting Event Page
A well-designed event page can convince prospective attendees to explore what the event is offering and eventually share their personal data to receive further information. The page should have attractive visuals as well as complete information regarding the event.
It should also highlight what sets your conference apart, who the key speakers/sponsors are, some metrics to quantify your scale and some social proof to build credibility.
It might be worth your time to have multiple pages for sponsors, speakers, and the agenda to communicate relevant information to the right target audience without unnecessarily crowding a single page. Alternatively, a single landing page funnel has been successful for a lot of virtual summits so might be worth exploring.
3. Great Graphics
Create eye-catching graphics that you can use to promote on multiple platforms. Make sure you have multiple graphics to keep the interest going. Repeat content will be ignored & get tuned out.Ideally the event promo graphics should contain your event logo, organizer info, event title & date along with your registration page link. Additionally, you could create dedicated speaker & sponsor graphics. If possible, also get small ~30 sec video messages from speakers that can be shared on social media.
4. Stagger the Promotions
As excited as you may be to get the word out about your event, promote it at a sensible pace. Multiple posts on the same day can annoy the audience. Also, if you start promoting a few weeks/months in advance, the registered attendees might even forget about the event.
Another common problem is how a lot of events finalize their best speakers/sponsors towards the end but by then, they’ve already burned through most of the marketing budget. So ideally keep 60% of your budget for the last week.
5. Speaker Graphics & Bios
A great speaker will draw crowds. Headshots aid in visual recall, and detailed bios generate interest. Publicize widely about the VIP attendees and speakers at your event. And leverage that as a hook to showcase the credibility & quality of your event.
6. Swipe Files for Speakers and Sponsors
It isn’t enough to urge them to promote the event. Help out all your speakers, sponsors & partners by creating a dedicated swipe file for each.
A swipe file should ideally contain multiple social media graphics with their name, picture & logo along with social media posts (pre-written) and an email promo copy.
This would make it super-easy for anyone to just plug your promo material into their networks or channels.
7. Sponsor Logos
Request logos from corporate sponsors to use for promotions. Having their brand recall associated with your event will help boost interest and convert registrations. It also helps you differentiate from the competition.
8. Appear at the Top of Google Searches
Design your page to show up at the top of the search results using SEO. Keep keywords in mind. Of course this isn’t in your control, but you should definitely follow SEO hygiene & optimize your website or page for higher visibility.
9. List Your Event On Online Event Calendars
This will ensure that your event gets maximum visibility and multiple avenues for potential attendees to access event information. Event discovery & listing websites like EventBrite, Eventful, Facebook Events and others can drive some organic traffic for you.
10. Create An Event Countdown
This is a powerful feature that creates an urgency to act. You can use an animated GIF file to garner attention and drive viewers to register. A countdown timer can help convert those who are on the edge of deciding whether or not they should attend your conference.
11. Images and Videos
Posts with images see more engagement, and video content goes a long way in grabbing eyeballs like no other content. Share videos and pictures that showcase different stages of the event promotion. Create an Insta-story to boost engagement.
“Event marketing hack - Leverage the reach of your speakers, sponsors, and partners by helping them with promotional material that they can just plug into their communities & channels to promote your event”
12. Showcase the Experience
Audiences can emotionally engage with videos and images that display the experience they may expect. Grabs from previous successful events can showcase this or probably a demo video of your event platform’s dry run.
13. Influencer Outreach
Influencer marketing can be very very helpful if you can match the right influencers to your prospective attendee group. Find the right influencers & community managers in your TG. Build a real relationship with them and help them see the value your conference could bring to their networks.
Collaborate & offer something that helps the influencers achieve their goals as well. An example of this is to on-board a few key influencers as speakers or big communities as non-paying sponsors.
14. Organize A Short Session With The Influencer
Team up with the chosen influencer to create a small video that offers a teaser of what attendees may expect. This content should not be the same as what’s on the event agenda but related to the topic, thus building anticipation.
15. Referrals from Existing or Past Attendees
Word of mouth is a very potent form of spreading information about your event. A good-word put in by someone known provides a significant push to converting the prospective audience into registered attendees.
You may give small perks or freebies to the existing attendees for the valuable leads that get converted. This could also take the form of an affiliate program where new referrals earn your existing attendees % commissions on sales generated.
To learn more about affiliate marketing opportunities, check this listing of high-paying affiliate programs
Endorsements from previous happy attendees or sponsors are a great way to present what the prospective audience can expect from your event. Quotes, comments, or even short video testimonials will boost visibility. Share these on social media platforms, via email marketing, blog posts and definitely on your registration page.
17. Make Sure Your Emails Get Opened
Email provides a direct connection with your attendees. Use subject lines with a hook, maybe even A/B test what works. The objective is to ensure that the recipient opens your mails. Some ways to make the subject lines catchy are to describe benefit, include personalization like the recipient’s name, build time-bound urgency (for genuine reasons) or using a call-to-action (CTA) phrase.
18. Direct Email Traffic To Event Page
Ensure that you can direct all email traffic to the registration and details page smoothly. You can even consider adding a hyperlink or graphic about your event to your email signature line to boost awareness.
19. Award Giveaways
who doesn’t love complimentary goodies? You may reward your key evangelists or early birds with freebies like a free subscription, or an e-book or a product relevant to your industry. It is a proven way to boost event registrations & get social shares which can in-turn help you create the buzz you were looking for!
20. Smart Copy
Make the introductory text powerful. Understand and speak directly to your audience. Make sure you avoid dull or mundane content. Offer a clear value proposition. Why is your event something I should spend my time on? Is it the biggest? The best? Got a unique perspective? Offering measurable value? Got marquee speakers? Make sure you highlight the exact ROI for an attendee.
A good marketing strategy is the cornerstone getting those registrations you had planned for. Let’s be honest, just because we create something, doesn’t mean people will find it & come to it on their own. You’ll need to put in significant amount of efforts to achieve your event marketing goals & I just hope these tips above can help you along the way. Do comment if you use any of these strategies or if you have something more to be added here. All the best!