By Lucy James, Event Marketing Manager at Synesthesia
As the event world explodes into digital, virtual and hybrid formats, it is more important than ever that your event marketing is on point: targeted, engaging, informative, and driving value for all stakeholders. At Synesthesia we’ve transformed some of our flagship events into digital versions (the droidcon Italy webinar series) and, we’ve been refocusing our marketing efforts. We’re still working on getting it really right but in the meantime here are our findings from research, experience and conversations with our partners on excellent marketing techniques for digital events.
1) Refining Your Approach and Strategy
The principles for organising virtual events are almost identical to running live events. We covered this in our article on running successful webinars. Similarly, the marketing strategy for your virtual event is very close to that for a live event. However, as the virtual events space is increasingly crowded - and who knows when that will change - it’s really important to pay close attention to the basics and to the details, so that your event doesn’t get clicked past.
- Target audience. Event marketing basics are the same for virtual events as live events, and it pays to really focus on them so that you don’t diffuse your message in the market: Who’s your target audience? Why would they participate in the event? How can you reach them? Be clear on these points and your marketing will connect with the audience.
- Benefits. It also pays to revisit your event benefits and evaluate how they’ve changed, how they might be perceived differently, or what’s new, and then communicate that effectively through your marketing.
- Lifecycle marketing. Plan your marketing activity for pre-, during- and post- event, being aware that the marketing touchpoints during the event will be really different to a live event because all of your participants are on line. Tied into this, it makes sense to be very clear, from the beginning, about which elements from the on-the-day event will be made available afterwards in order to create urgency with your audience.
- Eyes on the detail. Since the event is now digital, all digital activity, including marketing, is an indicator of what the audience can expect from the event. This is why the details really matter. Pay attention to details such as: consistency of messaging between different channels, the quality of graphics and branding, the speed with which you respond to enquiries and notifications. All of these leave an impression about what the audience can expect from the actual event.
2) Selecting the Best Tools and Media
There is no shortage of ways in which to reach your audience. Every channel, tool or platform should be evaluated for the value it brings to the whole marketing campaign.
- Calendar placeholder. Make it easy for your audience to block their time and remember that they’ve registered for your event by providing them with links to save the time and date in their calendar. You can also benefit from the organic marketing messages provided by the calendar reminder alerts.
- Social groups. If it makes sense for your audience, utilise, optimise or launch social groups for an added communication channel. Slack, Telegram and of course groups on Facebook and LinkedIn provide a fluid way of contacting potential attendees.
- Boost your SEO. Events aggregators and events calendars - by country, city, industry and subject area, are useful for reaching a wide audience base. They are also a great SEO boost. Populate as many as feels right for your time investment.
- Press release? Yes. Press releases are still really relevant for digital events. Be sure to highlight the differences from the IRL version, the difference in the benefits and exactly what attendees can expect from the virtual event - remember, virtual events are still new to lots of people, it can be useful to spell out exactly what they should expect.
- Leverage partners. Provide all of your event stakeholders - speakers, sponsors, partners, even the registered attendees - with a tailored marketing kit so that they can promote the event to their networks. Make it as one-click as possible and you’ll see the likes, shares and comments soar.
- Super tracking. Want to re-target? You’ll need to be tracking performance on your different channels. Make sure your tech stack is integrated so that you can see what’s performing well and optimise your marketing activity.
Hopefully these top "tricks" have been helpful.
In the second part, which we will publish shortly, we will also list the other and draw some conclusions.
If you have any questions or feedback, write to us. We will be happy to read your requests or your opinions.