This is a guest blog by contributor David Morneau.
Virtual events are great for connecting with your audience, but how can you promote them without breaking the bank?
Traditional marketing methods can be expensive and often don’t reach your target audience.
This guide will show you how to get the most out of your virtual event promotion using low or no-cost methods. So keep reading below!
What Is Virtual Event Marketing?
In a world where more and more people are living their lives online, it’s no surprise that businesses are increasingly looking to the internet to reach their target audiences. Virtual event marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach potential customers where they are spending their time – online.
By definition, virtual event marketing is the promotion of an event that takes place entirely online.
This could be in the form of a webinar, an online video conference, or even a live stream.
Because virtual events are not limited by location or capacity, they offer a unique opportunity to reach a global audience. And with the right marketing strategy, businesses can use virtual events to build relationships with potential customers, generate leads, and increase sales.
But first, you have to get people to participate in your event. Here’s how:
Best Ideas to Promote Virtual Events
Here are some tried-and-tested ideas that bring more awareness and participants to your virtual event:
1. Create a Compelling Landing Page
Creating a compelling landing page is one of the cheapest ways to promote a virtual event because you only need to pay for the hosting and domain. Chances are you’re already paying those charges if you own a website.
Here’s what you can do:
- You can promote your virtual event on your landing page and include a link to the event registration page.
- You can also use landing pages to drive traffic to your website from social media or email campaigns. A well-designed landing page can help you increase conversion rates and get more people to register for your event.
But you have to follow some rules.
A landing page is like a first date.
You want to make a good impression, but you also don’t want to come on too strong. The goal is to strike a balance between being compelling and being respectful of your visitors’ time and attention.
Here are a few tips for creating a landing page that will make a lasting impression:
- Keep it short and sweet. Your visitors should understand what you’re offering within seconds of landing on your page. If they have to scroll through paragraphs of text to figure it out, you’ve lost them.
- Use clear, benefit-oriented language. Tell your visitors what’s in it for them, and ensure your offer is clearly stated.
- Use striking visuals. Whether it’s a photo, an infographic, or a video, your visuals should be eye-catching and relevant to your offer.
- Use strong calls to action. Your CTA should be impossible to miss, telling your visitors exactly what you want them to do next.
- Make it mobile-friendly. More than half of all web traffic now comes from mobile devices, so your landing page must look great on smaller screens.
Here’s an excellent landing page example:
Notice how the benefits are listed in short sentences:
- “Register today and save $200.”
- “Secure your spot for just $97.”
- “Grow your wealth through the power of real estate.”
Besides, the embedded video shows participants what they can learn during the event, underlining the bargain price ($97) compared to the standard cost ($300).
Pro tip: Notice the countdown timer in the upper right corner, building FOMO.
2. Address Qualified Leads
Just because you’re hosting a virtual event doesn’t mean you can skimp on promoting it. In fact, virtual events may need even better promotion than in-person events because people can ignore them or back out more easily.
Being behind a screen helps you say no faster and without remorse.
One of the best ways to avoid this is by addressing qualified leads. A qualified lead is someone interested in your event and has the potential to convert into a paying customer.
By targeting qualified leads, you can ensure that your event gets the attention (and participation) it deserves. Plus, you’ll save money in the long run because you won’t be wasting your time and resources promoting your event to people who aren’t interested.
3. Leverage Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your virtual event. For a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing channels, you can reach a large number of potential attendees with your message.
Hint: Email is a quick way to promote your event and drive registrations.
When done correctly, email marketing can be a powerful tool to increase awareness and interest in your event. Here are a few tips for that:
- Keep your audience in mind. Who are you trying to reach with your campaign? Make sure your message is tailored to their needs and interests.
- Make it personal. Use the recipient’s name in the subject line and body of the email to create a more personal connection. Also, leverage user-generated content. Studies show that UGC may increase your open rates by 70%, drastically reducing unsubscribe rates too.
- Have a solid call to action. Tell recipients what you want them to do, such as register for your event or visit your website. Use action-oriented language and make it easy for them to take the next step.
- Be creative. Use images, videos, or other visual elements to make your email stand out in recipients’ inboxes.
- Test, test, test. Before you send out your campaign, test it on a group of people similar to your audience.
This email is a good example because:
- It features a firm promise, “Transform how you look, feel, function & live.” This repetition has a snowballing effect, building up the tension and creating desire.
- It shows the guest speakers and their primary focus.
- It briefly describes the event’s benefits.
- The “Register Free” CTA gives people a significant impulse to register, seeing as they can reap all the benefits above for free.
4. Share Sneak Peeks
Sharing sneak peeks is an excellent option if you’re looking for a way to promote your virtual event on a budget. By giving people a glimpse of what’s to come, you’ll generate excitement and curiosity. Plus, it’s a great way to build anticipation.
And what’s more budget-friendly than free?
Sharing sneak peeks can be an incredibly effective marketing tool when done right. So, here’s how to do them right:
- Keep them short. People have short attention spans, so make sure your sneak peeks are to the point.
- Be creative. Use images, videos, or other visuals to make your sneak peek more engaging.
- Generate curiosity. Don’t give away too much information in your sneak peek. Instead, leave people wanting more.
- Build anticipation. Use a countdown to build FOMO and desire.
- Get people talking. Encourage people to share your sneak peek with their friends and followers to generate word-of-mouth marketing.
Arts for Art gives an interesting example in this Instagram video, showing Wadada Leo Smith talking passionately about jazz.
The video hooks viewers from the first sentence: “You start with a note”, and keeps them captivated as Wadada Leo Smith discusses intuition vs. intellect in jazz. Analyzing the birth of inspiration makes jazz more approachable and mysterious at the same time, leaving viewers to crave more from Leo Smith.
And that curiosity offers the perfect impulse to join the event.
5. Use Social Media
Social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your virtual event. Not only is it free to use, but it’s also a great way to reach a large audience quickly. Plus, you can use social media to build relationships with potential attendees and create a community around your event.
Here are a few tips to make sure your social media campaign is successful:
- Define your goals. What do you want to achieve with your social media campaign? Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
- Choose the right platform. Not all social media platforms are created equal. Some are better suited for certain types of content than others. So, make sure you choose the platform that makes the most sense for your event and audience.
- LinkedIn allows you to present a more professional image of your event to the right leads.
- Facebook Event is best for monitoring attendees and getting awareness with Facebook Ads.
- Twitter helps you popularize your hashtag and attract qualified leads.
- Instagram and TikTok are best for images and videos.
- Create engaging content. People are more likely to pay attention to and share interesting, informative, or entertaining content.
- Use relevant hashtags. Hashtags are a great way to reach a wider audience and help people understand your event. So, use relevant hashtags that relate to your event or industry.
- Promote, promote, promote. Don’t be afraid to self-promote. Make sure you’re regularly sharing information about your event on social media. And, don’t forget to include a call to action, so people know what you want them to do.
This BookTalk event is an excellent example because:
- It uses the right platform for the age group they want to target (Instagram).
- The content is engaging, presenting a book-grabbing contest.
- The two girls in the video embody the event’s mission to make reading and books more approachable for everyone.
On the downside, people can’t see any hashtags and have to click the link in the bio to see more information on the event. That extra action may deter them from moving forward.
Otherwise, you can easily notice that the campaign’s goal is getting more participants to this free book event. This particular video serves that purpose well enough because it brings awareness and creates desire, allowing Gen Z-ers a glimpse of a like-minded community of readers.
6. Collaborate with Influencers
Influencers are people with a large following who can help promote your virtual event. Collaborating with influencers will help you:
- Connect with and convince a wider audience
- Present your virtual event in an unbiased way
- Get more insights into your audience
And, it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can often find influencers willing to promote your event in exchange for complimentary tickets or other perks.
Experience also shows that nano- and micro-influencers are more interested in making a difference than getting money from these collaborations. So, if your event addresses a poignant issue, you may get a free partnership.
Pro tip: if you’re working with a tight budget, use a calculator to ensure you’re on top of this collaboration cost.
Here are a few tips for working with influencers:
- Do your research. Not all influencers are created equal, meaning it will take some effort to find influencers who fit your brand.
- Build relationships. Don’t just reach out to influencers when you need something. Build genuine relationships with them, making them more likely to want to help you out.
- Make it worth their while. Offer influencers something valuable to them, such as free tickets, access to exclusive content, or the opportunity to make a difference.
- Be clear about your expectations. Let influencers know what you expect from them so you can get the right sort of content.
- Give them creative freedom. While you want to be clear about your expectations, you also don’t want to micromanage the process. Give influencers the freedom to be creative and promote your event in their unique way.
Chris Hanson, a product tester and Instagram nano-influencer, offers a neat example:
In this Instagram post, she displays the array of products received after participating in a Claris UK virtual event. You can notice two key things:
- The event is not linked to.
- The event has already ended.
You might think these are serious communication mistakes, but they’re not because:
- This tactic creates desire. Claris UK organizes events regularly, so people will know to follow the company’s page for more updates. Besides, that array of cosmetics gives the necessary impulse to ensure people follow through.
- This tactic keeps the event top of mind for attendees. People are reminded of their prizes and are more likely to purchase Claris products.
7. Ask Guest Speakers to Promote Your Event
When promoting a virtual event, guest speakers can be a powerful tool – and best of all, they won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
- Guest speakers can help to generate excitement and interest in your event. Sharing their personal experiences and expertise can give potential attendees a taste of what your event has to offer.
- Guest speakers can broaden the reach of your promotional efforts. If they have a large social media following or are respected in their field, their endorsement can help attract new attendees who might not have heard about your event.
- Guest speakers can provide valuable insight into your industry or niche. By offering their insights and observations, they can help to position your event as a must-attend for anyone who wants to stay up-to-date on the latest trends.
8. Leverage Online Groups
Online groups are:
- Highly targeted. This means you can reach the right people with your message more efficiently.
- Very engaged. Therefore, your message is more likely to be seen and heard by potential attendees.
- Typically very active. This means that you can get feedback from potential attendees quickly and easily.
- In short, leveraging online groups is a great way to promote your virtual event on a budget. Here’s how to do it:
- Join relevant groups. This step will ensure you’re reaching the right people with your message.
- Share valuable content. Once in the group, share relevant content such as blog posts, infographics, or even helpful tips and advice.
- Be active and engaged. The more involved you are in the group, the more likely people will see and hear your message. So make sure you’re regularly participating in discussions and offering helpful comments.
- Promote your event. Last but not least, don’t forget to promote your virtual event. Ensure you’re sharing details about the event, such as the date, time, and location.
9. Utilize Word of Mouth
Word of mouth has several advantages you can reap:
- Word of mouth is free. You don’t have to spend a fortune on advertising or marketing to get people talking about your event.
- Word of mouth is trusted. People are more likely to listen to people like them than companies.
- Word of mouth is viral. Once people start talking about your event, it can quickly spread through social media and other channels.
Here are a few tips to get people talking about your event:
- Make it newsworthy. The first step is to make sure your event is newsworthy. This could mean hosting a celebrity guest, offering free swag, or doing something else that will get people talking.
- Create a hashtag. Next, create a unique hashtag for your event, making it easy for people to find and follow the conversation.
- Use social media. Social media is a great way to promote word of mouth, so use platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Encourage attendees to share their experiences with their friends and family. You can do this by offering incentives or creating a competition.
10. Offer Discounts, Rewards, and Prizes
Discounts, rewards, and prizes are a great way to promote your virtual event on a budget. Offering discounts can encourage people to sign up for your event early. You can also offer rewards for people who refer others to your event or prizes to increase the likelihood of participation.
Of course, you’ll want to choose appropriate prizes for your target audience.
For example, you can try:
- Early-bird tickets: Discounted tickets for people who sign up early
- Access to future VIP events: For people who refer others to your event
- Special one-on-one sessions with experts: For people who purchase the event’s paid version
- Merchandise giveaways: For people who share your event on social media
Here’s HealthyNurse making the most of this tactic:
- Attending gives participants the chance to win a gift pack.
- The event is presented as a 10-day challenge. That’s essential because the subtext of any challenge is the chance of getting a prize.
Virtual events are growing in popularity as a way to connect with customers and prospects without leaving the comfort of your office or home. And while they offer many advantages over traditional live events, including lower costs and the ability to reach more people, virtual events can be tricky to promote.
But by following these tips, you can promote your virtual event on a budget. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!
David Morneau is the co-founder and CEO of inBeat, a hybrid micro-influencer marketing SAAS/agency that helps brands scale their marketing efforts. David has helped over 200 DTC brands to date.
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