Virtual events were already trending before the coronavirus outbreak changed the way that businesses and consumers connected and communicated with each other. Brands and businesses can have different motives and purposes to set up and launch a virtual event, however there are two main reasons that virtual events are a great marketing tool especially during these challenging and uncertain times, with cases of new coronavirus infections on the rise again, the risk of a second wave of lockdown measures is imminent.
So, let’s have a look at why virtual events are such an effective marketing tool and how you can go about implementing them into your online marketing campaigns to boost your brand awareness and engage with your target audience.
There are two main reasons why virtual events are so important:
- Virtual events are relatively cheap to host.
- Users can access virtual events easily and are very convenient.
Reaching out to more consumers and saving your ad budget sounds like the perfect combination for a marketing campaign, doesn’t it? However, this doesn’t make hosting relevant virtual events easier than hosting live events. In the same way that you would host a real event in-person you need to pick the right platform and content to meet the demands of your target audience. similarly, you need to consider strategic ways to boost user engagement and reach your business objectives and goals.
What is a virtual event?
A virtual event can be described as an online event that is hosted on a platform in which both the brand and the users can communicate and interact with one another.
With that said a virtual event could be an online tutorial or webinar, an in depth tour of how your brand operates and the activities you are involved in, a conference, or anything similar that joins both the business and the audience through a virtual platform. It could even be as simple as streaming a Facebook live video of a product or service reveal or hosting a conference with a question and answer session at the end.
Depending on what your business offering is, certain virtual events are more effective than others.
- Virtual webinars are usually more interactive than conferences, when users join a webinar they typically expect to be able to interact and communicate with the host or presenters.
- Virtual conferences are interactive online events that commonly provide its users with relevant and downloadable content. Most times these virtual conferences charge a fee for users to join. Virtual conferences are gaining traction and popularity amongst businesses and brands because of the expenses that come with travelling especially now during the global public health crisis that has restricted travel and the free movement of people across countries.
- Virtual events such as workshops and online courses are more interactive. For these types of virtual events you may need to set up and create downloadable content, such as an advertising course for your brand. Typically, it is a paid event and users anticipate that they will be interacting and engaging with your content while you are hosting the virtual event.
- Virtual tours can be a great marketing tool especially if you are in the real estate sector, because you give prospective clients the ability to view a listing in the comfort of their own home at their own convenience. Virtual tours typically do not include a charge for users to join.
- Virtual meetups are informal virtual events that are popular amongst businesses such as those that are enabling more employees to work from home, who want to interact and communicate with department members and discuss ideas and new projects.
There are many more kinds of virtual events, but these are the most popular types that the majority of brands use frequently.
Hosting virtual events may be cheaper and accessible to a wider target audience pool, however, it still requires a lot of planning and thought in order to be successful. Here are a handful of tips from Ben Givon that can help make your virtual events more relevant and engaging.
What are you trying to achieve by hosting a virtual event?
When setting up your virtual event, you need to make sure that the platform you choose supports your business goal. Avoid picking a free virtual event platform simply because it wont dent your budget or because it is popular.
For example, if your aim is to promote a new service or product to your target audience you will need to choose a platform that will enable you to do so easily and effectively. Furthermore, along with a virtual event you will also need to incorporate a targeted pay-per-click campaign, and email marketing.
The best way to pinpoint the purpose of your vritual event, you need to identify your target virtual audience. You should be asking yourself the following questions: what type of audience and consumer are you trying to target your business offering to? Are you remarketing to quality leads or are you approaching new customers? Do you want your audience to interact or sit back and take notes?
Once you identify who you want to target, you can move on to promoting your virtual event.
Promoting your virtual events
Make use of the marketing network that you have already established, such as your social media marketing networks, to help pull in more engagement and potential customers who will attend and interact with your virtual event.
Think of a virtual event like a new product or service, you need to identify and outline your targeting if you want to reach your ideal demographic.
You could start by sharing your virtual event with fellow co-workers and social media influencers who could support your promotion efforts.
Use blog posts to increase awareness and engagement of virtual events
Posting content on your blog, especially if it has subscribers is an effective way of boosting both engagement and attendance. It helps to know what the subject matter of any future virtual events will be so that you can create blog posts that spark interest in those subject fields.
If you have a podcast use it to showcase your virtual event
Nowadays competition is fierce and most brands have to fight for the number one spots on search engine result pages and social media news feeds, but with podcasts you can reach your target customers without the emails and the PPC ads. furthermore, with a podcast you know that your audience are quality leads who have a genuine interest in what your business has to offer.
Launch ad campaigns on Google and social media networks
Running targeted advertising with the goal of reaching bottom-of-the-funnel leads and potential customers is easier when running targeted ads in Google and social media networks. However, you should ensure that your ads have engaging and relevant content, simple call to actions, and impressive visuals.
Create a compelling and user-friendly landing page
All your other marketing efforts will be directing potential customers to your landing page that will either make or break their decision to sign up for the virtual event.
When it comes to posting on social media, what makes a post effective?
- Hashtags are a must when it comes to social media marketing posts because they allow users to connect with other users who share a common interest. Hashtags also allow users searching for your keywords to find your post and engage with it. Keep the hashtags relevant though so that you only attract quality leads.
- Include links and CTAs to all your social media posts so that prospects can easily and quickly reach the registration page.
- Video marketing is an effective way of getting users to engage with your ad. When videos pop up on social media news feeds users are more likely to spend a few more seconds watching a video as opposed to reading a long post.