Virtual conferences have been necessary for the last few years. But even before the pandemic began, many organizations were already holding online events. They are becoming more commonplace because they allow nonprofits and businesses to reach more people more easily and effectively.
Check out these Lessons on Running Virtual Events from Stanford University’s Social Innovation Review. It covers how different nonprofits handled virtual events during the Pandemic.
Virtual conferences still require a good amount of planning, promoting and execution. They also require a solid online marketing strategy that generates interest and keeps your attendees engaged.
Below we will discuss some virtual conference marketing tips and strategy to make your organization’s next online event a success.
Create a professional event landing page
The first step when planning a virtual conference is to design a professional event landing page. This page should include:
- Essential details of your event
- Bold hero image and event name
- Photos and video of keynote speakers
- Time and date
- Conference agenda
- Multiple CTA buttons
- Registration form
- Payment options
This landing page is important because it is where most of your conference attendees will go to sign up and learn about the event. It can be beneficial to hire a marketing agency to professionally build this page for your organization.
Create a social media promotional strategy
It isn’t enough to simply announce virtual events, you need to promote them on social media. If your organization has a social media following, create a post that announces the virtual event, includes important information, and links to the landing page you created.
Leverage your company’s social media accounts across all platforms to promote your event. Then keep attendees engaged and interested leading up to the event and after it has concluded. Social media is free, but you should also consider paying for ads to boost interest.
Create a hashtag that is specific to your event and ask your followers and attendees to use the hashtag often. You can offer free swag such as t-shirts, hats and VIP upgrades for posts with the most engagement. Or you can also run contests or drawings for the same prizes to generate interest in your virtual event.
Ask partners and keynote speakers to promote the event
Sponsors understand the value of marketing and will be willing to engage their followers and help promote your event that they are sponsoring. Your keynote speakers will have a social media following and will be happy to announce their participation in your virtual event. Your speakers will benefit from the promotion Both the speakers and the event will benefit from the promotion.
Provide your speakers with a promotional packet that includes photos, videos and links that you would like them to promote. If you engaged the help of a digital marketer to create your landing page, they can also help you create this media package.
Write a blog or press release announcing the event
If your company or organization publishes a blog, then use it to generate interest in your virtual conference. Write a post that highlights SEO for Web traffic about issues that will be discussed on the agenda, speakers that will be appearing, and the overall mission of the event. Then promote those blogs with a newsletter and on social media.
You can hire a copywriter to write a press release announcing the event. They will share it with local outlets who might provide some free press and promotion for the virtual conference.
Keep attendees engaged
Keeping attendees engaged should be the largest part of your marketing strategy. You want them to look forward to the virtual conference and be interested in participating in it. A simple way to do this is to add a “countdown clock” to the event’s landing page. Then send out an email to the attendees announcing certain days until the event.
Tip: Don’t abuse your email list. Send a few, targeted reminders to your attendees but be sure not to over do it. They will appreciate your discretion.
Another way to keep attendees engaged is to plan contests or drawings. These include:
- Offer a raffle for prizes or event tickets
- Enter confirmed attendees into a “secret” exclusive drawing
- Ask keynotes to offer private engagement to attendees at a special donation level
Analyze results after your virtual event concludes
This is an important step. Many organizations disengage after a successful event, but this is a mistake. You should follow up with attendees after your virtual event has ended to see what was successful and what could be improved about your event. Send them a survey about the event so you can learn what you did right, and more importantly, what you did wrong. Their answers will shape how you execute future events.
If you are a nonprofit, then it is especially important to follow up after your virtual event has concluded. Attendees are more likely to participate in future events and are a significant portion of your donor base.