While the tide slowly turns back toward in-person gatherings, an increasing number of businesses will embrace a hybrid model, marrying the intimacy of a face-to-face event with a sophisticated digital layer that expands audience reach and boosts accessibility.
To that end, virtual event promotion is an art that is in every organization’s best interest to master. And whether you’re going hybrid or fully online, these four tips will set you up for success.
Every successful event, even a birthday party, has a “buzz” around it. In your case, it’s about showing up front why your organization’s conference or awards evening is where potential attendees want to be.
For virtual events, building that excitement is even more important. This starts with strong messaging, and a clear theme or purpose that resonates in all marketing and promotional materials. A helpful brainstorming tool is to distill your event into 10 words, with as many vivid adjectives and strong verbs as possible. Take the most exciting or pivotal aspect of the event, and put it at the top of your marketing efforts.
Other buzz generators include “teasers” like prizes for early event registration, or movie trailer-style sneak peeks of the actual event. Larger conferences can be warmed up with pre-event activities such as Q&As, and promoting intimate breakout sessions with keynote speakers.
Make Event Promotion About More Than Just You
You don’t need an influencer to help you land a bigger impact. It can be just as effective to enable your speakers and sponsors to participate in promotion efforts.
People tend to trust their peers when they say something is interesting or worth checking out, which is a big reason to enable employees, volunteers and others to promote the event.
It may be helpful to create a media kit, with pre-made graphics and suggested social post copy, and place it on the event’s website or your organization’s resources page. But positive attention is positive attention, so your fellow promoters should also be encouraged to share about the event in their own words, highlighting why they’re excited and what the event means to them.
Old-Fashioned Methods Still Work
Like any other event, your virtual gathering will need a press release, event announcement and a listing in your local events directory to raise its profile. In many cases, you will want to use posters, infographics and even email blasts – statistics from Markletic suggest that 76% of marketers believe this is the most effective way to drive event registration.
One often-overlooked step is event promotion through SEO, and ensuring that your online registration platforms have high visibility and ease of navigation. For the former, think links in your Twitter and Instagram bios, as well as in a prominent place on your website or a specific landing page.
For the latter, ask yourself: How easy is it to find the registration form? How many buttons/links does someone need to click to get there? Believe it or not, the frustration of a complicated search could turn more than a few people off.
What You Do Afterward Is What They’ll Remember
Especially if the event was a splash, an engaging recap is an absolute must. It’s equally important to draft social media posts with photos and video, to show, not tell how you made an impact on your audience and kept them talking long after the night ended.
Planning a virtual event with all the bells and whistles does only limited good if you aren’t able to attract a large enough audience in the first place. This is one area where the phrase, “If you build it, they will come” does not apply. Instead, it takes exciting and effective promotion to spur lasting attention.
For strategic help putting these tips and more into action, our creative team is just a call or email away.