In this article, we cover fourteen great ideas that you can use to promote your virtual events. Read through our top tips for promoting events with email, through your blog or website, with partnerships, and more.
One of the toughest parts of hosting a virtual event is getting people in the (figurative) door. But have no fear—there are plenty of ways to spark interest in your next online event, webinar, or team meeting. Below are just a few of the best strategies Livestorm has used to promote our online events, as well as our own weekly live product demos.
Is email marketing becoming outdated marketing? Nope—in fact, according to research by EventBrite, 78% of event creators say that email is their most effective marketing strategy. Even better, those who track it say that 45% of their event ticket sales can be attributed to email. Keep reading to learn how you can leverage email marketing best practices to generate the same kind of results.
You and your team members are doubtlessly sending emails to outside parties every day, so take advantage of it! One of the easiest ways to spread the word about a virtual event is to simply add a promotional plug to your email signature. Make sure that your message is brief, to-the-point, and, ideally, fun to read. A short, witty sentence or two about your next event will generally pique much more interest—and be much less irritating to readers—than a long, rambling sales pitch.
Most online registration forms will send an automatic “thank you” email in response to each submission. While this response email doubles as a great place to include more details about your event, don’t let it be the last thing your registrants hear from you! Keep registrants’ interest alive with periodic (though infrequent) reminders. Two or three messages should suffice; a constant barrage of branded emails is likely to get _all _ of your content marked as spam, forever. We recommend sending out an initial reminder two weeks before the event; another reminder one week before the event; and a final one right before the event goes live.
Think about it for a second: How many of your emails have you opened on your phone, and not on a desktop computer? Quite a few, right? You’re not alone: according to research performed by email marketing platform Litmus, 46% of all email opens occur on mobile devices. And since only about 20% of branded emails are opened in the first place, you can’t afford to miss any opportunity to boost your open rate, let alone such a big one.
Making your emails phone- and tablet- friendly will take a little bit of copywriting skill (in order to minimize the content, while still getting your key points across) and a few design tweaks (to reduce the image sizes to fit the screen, for example).
A CTA, as you may already know, is a “Call to Action,” or a short message placed at the end of branded content that encourages the reader to do something. Popular CTAs include “Sign Up Now!” and “Click Here!”, but they don’t have to. You can make your CTAs more engaging by being uniquely clever, casual, or funny; you can also make them more eye-catching through bold, heavy font choices and large, colorful design elements (if your CTA doubles as a clickable form button). Making your CTAs big, bold, and colorful will also help with your mobile optimization efforts, as they’ll stand out more on a small, handheld screen.
Promoting your online events on your blog is a great strategy, primarily because it is more cost-efficient than other strategies. You own your own website, so there’s no need to pay for advertising space. Below are some tips for using your blog to your maximum advantage.
When it comes to promoting your event on your blog, you essentially have two options. Firstly, you can simply post a blog that explicitly promotes the webinar. Or, secondly, you can write about a topic that relates to your upcoming event, and then plug the event in the article’s conclusion, or in a second section within the same page. If you choose the latter option, you’ll then need to decide whether to redirect traffic from the post, to your registration page or to simply embed the registration form directly on the page. In our opinion, embedding the form is the best strategy for maximizing your response rate. The fewer clicks your prospect has to make to sign up for the event, the less the chance you have of losing their interest.
The header is an opportunity to inform your human audience, as well as search engine algorithms, of the blog’s content. In addition to the main header, you should also consider adding smaller sub-headings, called “H2s”, to further define each topic that’s covered in the article. If you write a post, article, or eBook with a lot of content, you can break things down even further with smaller “H3” and “H4” headers—just make sure not to overdo it, lest you risk frustrating your reader!
Just like emails, blogs should also be punctuated with a tidy CTA (Call to Action) that compels the reader to do something (in this case, register for your event). All of the tips we mentioned above apply here, too: make the copy brief, unique, and engaging; and make the button (if applicable) big, bold, and colorful. It doesn’t really matter how you spruce up your blog’s CTA, as long as potential registrants can’t miss it.
Partnering with another brand, also known as co-branding or co-marketing, can be an efficient way to expand your reach while helping another business owner expand theirs. Keep reading to learn how you can join forces with other companies and social media influencers to drive more traffic to your events.
Traditionally, the ideal co-branding partner is one with a similar customer base to yours. For example, Pottery Barn, which sells home decor, has a mutually beneficial partnership with Sherwin-Williams, which sells paint. However, when scouting for branding partners, it can often be beneficial to try to think outside of your industry. For example, Go Pro, which manufactures waterproof cameras, might not seem like a good compliment for Red Bull, a beverage. But by branding itself as a drink for energetic, adventure-loving thrill-seekers, Red Bull was able to launch a plausible and effective partnership.
Most of today’s consumers are well-aware that 5-star reviews can be faked; that product photos can be altered; and that there are entire companies that are set up for the sole purpose of skirting online seller regulations. Because of this, consumer trust in traditional marketing channels is quickly fading. Instead, buyers are relying on sources they already know and trust to inform their decisions. In other words, influencers. Partnering with an influencer is an iron-clad way to grab your target audience’s attention when they’re in the relaxed, familiar environment of their favorite website or app. Another benefit of influencer marketing is that it’s cost-effective; many up-and-coming influencers are happy to participate in promotions in exchange for free products or services.
Ever bought a meal from McDonald’s and seen ads for an upcoming blockbuster film on the box? If so, you’ve experienced one of the most famous examples of cross-promotion, from one of the first companies to do it successfully. Cross-promoting your online event with a related product or service can be a great opportunity to break new ground with a completely new audience, so, again, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when brainstorming potential team-ups.
We can’t talk about promotion without mentioning social media, which has become a giant player in the digital marketing game. Below are some ways you can leverage social media marketing to your advantage.
This may seem obvious, but a surprisingly high number of people seem to forget (or underestimate) the power of promoting an event on their own social media pages. Even if you haven’t built up a big following, “pinning” a post about your webinar or event to the top of your social pages will still help it reach the eyes of any casual visitors. You don’t need to dispense a lot of time or effort; a two-sentence tweet or post is 100 times better than nothing. We recommend posting an initial announcement across all of your platforms and then following it up a few days later with a reminder. Try not to oversaturate your followers with plugs, or you’ll end up losing more engagement than you gain.
Facebook events are still a great way to capture the attention of potential registrants. A few basic tips to follow when creating a Facebook event include crafting a catchy, unique title; writing a clear, thorough event description; adding an eye-catching event photo; and, of course, adding a link to your registration page and/or form. Lastly, when entering the venue in the “Location” field, try to use the Facebook-recommended option. Using Facebook’s official venue listing helps build credibility and recognition, and official venue pages typically have their own helpful content, like directions and hours.
While broad, sweeping keywords (like “#smallbusiness”) will doubtlessly help broaden your reach, custom hashtags are useful, too. By encouraging your customers to post about your webinar or event under a custom hashtag, you can facilitate conversations with prospects who are most likely to actually attend the event. Secondly, making a custom business hashtag is a good way to build your brand’s credibility. It lets your users know that you’re an on-trend, modern organization that’s capable of meeting its customers where they already are.
Social media contests are another great marketing tool, primarily because they tend to be extremely cost-effective. This is easy to see when one breaks down the numbers. For instance, let’s say that your company wants to run an ad on Facebook, targeting the number of “Likes” the ad receives. At the time of this writing, Facebook charges about $1 for every “like” an ad gets. So if your ad generated, say, 7,000 likes, that would ultimately cost your company about $7,000! By contrast, if you ran a contest with a prize worth $2,000, you might receive just as many impressions, or maybe even more. You receive the same amount of reach, but pay only a fraction that an ad would cost.
The type of contest you host is up to you—just remember to keep the end goal (of boosting impressions) in mind. Hosting a contest that requires readers to get out of their chairs, do something, take a photo, and submit it will probably not generate a lot of participation, either in the contest or in your virtual event.
Hopefully, these tips will help you get more traffic into your next virtual event. One final tip: be sure to host your webinar on a reliable, trustworthy video conferencing software. Your webinar might offer unparalleled industry insight, but if your technology isn’t good enough to stream it, record it, and send it to interested parties, how much of an impact did it really make on your bottom line? You’ve put time and effort into promoting your event, so make sure it has the value that you and your audience deserve!
Download our complete guide to promoting online events.