The creation of events is one of the best marketing strategies for B2B companies, and in 2020 after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual events have grown by 100% according to a recent Forbes article.
Companies have begun to recognize the advantages and benefits of creating virtual strategies such as: virtual events, webinars and going "Live" on social media networks. These can now bring in profit levels similar to those of Public Relations (PR), Affiliate Marketing, Partnerships with niche influencers, and SEO Strategies; but can also achieve authority and relevance by the brand that organizes.
A small part of companies' digital transformation is re-viewing virtual events as a lead generation source or channel. A recent HubSpot study stated that a large portion of high-end marketers, as well as executives or managers confirm that live events are currently the most relevant communication channel, and 80% of merchants are attributing the success of their businesses to these virtual events.
At Novacomp, we recently had the opportunity to organize and launch "NovaFIN Connect 2020", a massive virtual event that lasted an entire week and consisted of 25 Keynotes, Expert Panels, Workshops or interview Sessions. This experience gave us the opportunity to identify the best marketing strategies to promote, attract the right audience and give the best experience to potential and current customers through a virtual event.
Content creation related to virtual events is an excellent form of promotion and a vital way to make it go "viral". Relevant content for the potential audience that will register and attend virtual events is the best way to maintain interest and advertise event details (dates, agenda, speakers, etc).
Some examples include: Podcasts, E-books, Blog articles, infographics with data or topics to be discussed, and videos. This is truly the best way to convey the essence of the event.
But all this content means nothing, without a content distribution strategy. You will need to take into account platforms such as: StumbleUpon, Reddit, Medium, Guest Blogging, etc.
Having a unique event landing page on your website is a major step in the success of a virtual event. It helps build credibility for your brand, but it also becomes the events’ one-stop-shop, where attendees can find general information regarding the event.
Embedding all relevant video, images, and other media in the event landing page can prevent attendees from going elsewhere to find more information. Finally, including all the details is important - to make your event page a single section for attendee information and actions. Landing pages must have at least the following sections:
According to recent HubSpot research, 40% of merchants say the best way to promote an event is via email.
An Email Marketing strategy must begin with the invitation which needs to be sent out to our databases, so current clients have the possibility to register and participate in the event. However, it’s important to mention segmentation. We don’t want to send invitation emails to Retail clients for a Financial Services industry event.
Follow-up prior to the event via email to people who registered for the event is important. Reminder emails should be sent days, hours and minutes before the event or the start of a particular session. It’s also important to offer the attendees the ability to schedule the event in their digital calendars such as Outlook, Google, or Apple.
Other emails prior, that should be sent to all attendees is relevant content related to the event. This helps to decrease increase the amount of attendees. Remember, just because they registered, doesn’t mean they will actually attend.
Based on the schedule and marketing plan you already have in place, start sharing the event on social media, starting with a date / time / topic announcement. Your posting schedule should be consistent and frequent.
The four social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are very important for the promotion and distribution of content regarding our virtual events. Each platform has its own way of driving events in different ways. For example, Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to "create an event" for your target audience. Other features that you can utilize to announce or promote your event are: Stories, Instagram Countdown, Live Streams, Direct messages, and the use of hashtags.
Your target might be a younger audience, so the use of Tik Tok takes on equal relevance. A study by EventBrite reveals that 73% of millennials attend events as a form of expression and use online interactions as inspiration and a path to participate in virtual events.
There are many options regarding platforms, formats, and objectives, when it comes to promoting your virtual event, from a SEM perspective. For example, a platform such as LinkedIn has the possibility of launching conversion campaigns, the conversion being the registration to an event or webinar. In addition to personalized messages, and reach. So each social network has different formats that are only limited by the strategy and creativity of the advertisers.
With the different tracking tags such as Google conversion tracking, Facebook pixel, Google Analytics we have the possibility of creating more advanced paid campaigns through Remarketing and personalized audiences, to name a few.
Driving traffic to landing pages is one of the best ways to position and increase the number of registrations. Buying keywords, using YouTube ads, implementing dynamic or static banners on relevant web sites through Google Display is a good way to promote events.
Other platforms such as Spotify and Waze are also good opportunities to promote events.
Let's call traditional media: Radio, Television, magazines, billboards (Out of Home), newspapers, etc. Although we are talking about virtual or digital events, the use of traditional media can amplify the scope of the event to very high levels. There are specialized newspapers and magazines with sections dedicated to topics that match the purpose of events. There are also radio and television programs Speakers and event organizers can be interviewed, to showcase the event.
Traditional media can add a lot of value, if the event is targeted to C-levels, for example: founders, owners, CEOs, board of director members, and/or managers.
Mentioning and promoting event details such as: topics, speakers and their bios, sponsors as well as a Gamification strategy and prizes, is key and should be the spearhead in promotional messages of the events.
The best way to communicate these details is through employees themselves, who can become ambassadors of the event and communicate all the information to their own contacts and networks.
The first thing is to get the Speakers to become brand ambassadors for the event. Knowing that many of these people have very busy schedules and have limited times, organizers must create content that is easy to share; for example, artwork, infographics and short videos that Speakers upload to their websites or blogs, and preferred social media platforms. If it is a paid event, specific promotional codes can be created for the Speaker to offer his/her followers.
Cross-promoting with highly relevant industry influencers through outreach and collaboration is a great way to improve the visibility of virtual events. However, simply increasing employee engagement and promoting the expertise of company executives around these events is an effective way to increase thought leadership and attendance. So step up your online event efforts, incorporate cross-promotion with program speakers and encourage employee advocacy to drive records and results.
For the positioning of virtual events in Google, two great strategies must be taken account.
The first one being: The SEO On-Page optimization of the landing pages of the events, using the correct optimization of Meta Titles, Meta Descriptions, Internal Links, optimization of images and videos, website security, and the loading speed -- especially for the mobile version.
The other being: Optimization of the entire data structure relative to events. This is the best way to appear at the top of a search result.
With the spread of the Coronavirus and the rise of online events, Google has updated its structured event data to allow webmasters to communicate events that have been canceled, postponed, or even converted from "in person" to online only.
Finally, the post-event follow-up is extremely important. Bear in mind that the participants will be expecting Certificates of participation, Speaker contact information, the possibility of answering a survey, the recordings and presentations used – as well as information regarding learnings, roadmaps and company contact information, relevant to the event.
With this virtual-event Boom, it is easier to collect attendee contact information for your databases. Once the event has finalized, its time for the Sales Force to follow-up on all the possible Prospects and Leads to drive that ROI home.
Remember that these potential clients may be at different stages of the sales cycle or acquisition journey of your products and services. Having that information will determine how to approach them.