In 2020, virtual conferences gained momentum suddenly and drastically, due to the pandemic.
As organizations persevered to continue doing business, there were more and more conferences taking place online. In fact, business owners began launching different online meetings and events within their companies, to track the progress of the work done.
Other than that, the shift to online became a wonderful opportunity to share professional knowledge and experience by creating virtual conferences that were accessible from literally any part of the world.
But this hasn’t come without any challenges. One of the key ones being, finding the right sponsors for the upcoming virtual conference. And the other one being successfully promoting the conference to attract a relevant target audience.
How can this be done correctly?
In this guide, you will get familiar with 15 marketing strategies that will help you promote your virtual conference in 2021.
If you want to see a niche-related target audience, you must invite the correct set of people.
But how to find out who would be interested in your event?
First of all, if you are going to launch a virtual conference, it means your brand already has a niche-related audience. This audience reflects a buyer persona portrait that includes the core marketing components of your ideal customer. Hence you must research and determine the following:
Let's say you want to host a virtual conference on SEO. You know that your target audience includes SEO specialists, marketers, and SEO/marketing agency representatives. You can find these people across different SEO communities on Reddit and Quora. Also, you will be able to find them on LinkedIn and Facebook.
When you have figured out who to invite for your event, you should think about the desired outcome you want to get from them. It could be gaining revenue from selling the tickets or achieving leads and conversions. Or it could simply be, spreading the word about your brand to gain more recognition.
Keep in mind that the marketing message you craft for the virtual conference depends on the final goal you wish to achieve.
Right after you have identified your target audience and the main goal of the virtual conference, you can start creating a landing page.
What's the purpose of the landing page?
First of all, any landing page aims to tell your target audience why they should attend your event at all cost. Secondly, it helps capture details of the visitors that could serve as the basis of the treasure trove of data you will collect throughout the event.
It is important to build a partnership with a virtual conference platform like Hubilo. Your provider will enable you with a branded landing page so that you can showcase your key message to your audience. But keep in mind that the messaging must reflect the voice of your brand.
You can also use free event program templates that are ready to be implemented for your upcoming landing page event. But if you want to follow the voice of your brand in terms of design, you can also customize the chosen template easily.
Above all else, the landing page of the virtual conference should include these elements:
When it comes to a virtual conference announcement, it is essential that you choose the right time for this.
Timing helps you avoid two possible scenarios and ensures that more people are able to join your event. If you announce your virtual conference too early, you might lose the audience's attention. People might forget about the upcoming event due to numerous distractions that surround them. But if you make an announcement too late, you won't be able to generate enough traction.
So, what would be the best time for your virtual conference announcement?
Well, it really depends on multiple factors such as the conference goal, size and audience persona. For larger conferences, you should ideally make the announcement at least 3-4 weeks prior to the event date, accompanied by a nice build-up achieved through targeted marketing. This will give your event enough time to garner eyeballs. However, for smaller conferences you could announce it later as well.
One of the most actionable ways to engage visitors is via promoting the virtual conference on your website. Hence, don't shy away from adding a section about your virtual conference right on the homepage. This section must include a direct link to a conference's landing page.
What you include in the conference advertisement copy is important. It must capture the attention of the potential visitors with its headline, giving a brief explanation about the virtual conference. Plus, it should create a sense of importance and urgency that would lead people towards making a prompt decision.
For instance, if you simply write something like "Sign up to attend our Virtual SEO Summit 2021 next month.", it may not be effective in driving registrations. But if you mention something like "Join an upcoming Virtual SEO summit 2021 next month and find out the latest SEO trends. Listen to top-niche influencers covering 10 SEO topics you can't miss. Hurry up because the tickets are limited!" - it will give your target audience a reason to register for the event.
Also, make sure there is a live chatbot available on your website. This will allow you to promote your virtual conference with a pop-up message.
40% of marketing specialists think that email marketing is one of the most effective channels for virtual conference promotion. And it is so. Especially, if you already have a list of subscribers along with the database of the prospective attendees.
An email promoting a virtual conference should be crafted taking into account the following elements:
And talking about the number of follow-up messages that you should send - no more than 3 invitation emails before the event gets started (or it will get too spammy!).
Another great option to get more visitors to your virtual conference is by using a "word of mouth" technique.
How does it work?
Let's say, there are some attendees who have already signed up for the event. Your task is to encourage them to spread the word about the conference as well.
It is quite a good tactic because you don't need to invest your money into this promotion. What's more important, people tend to trust recommendations posted across their friends' social channels.
One way to set this up is that once an attendee signs up to attend your virtual conference, you should display a Thank You page that would contain social media buttons which will allow them to share the announcement of their attendance.
Any sponsor of the event has a certain sponsorship goal that must be achieved. For example, your sponsors need to earn more reputation within the niche to host their own conferences in the future. Hence, they would be interested in having more event visitors for sure.
You can ask them to promote the conference on their social channels and in their network. For this you could share with them ready-made shareable social media promotion templates with a combination of your and their branding.
You must leverage the reach of your virtual conference on all possible channels and platforms and via all possible stakeholders involved. Hence, you must not leave out on your speakers.
Since speakers are usually notable niche-related experts, they are a core reason why people attend your conference. The registrants are mostly people who are eager to listen to what information and strategies they will have to share.
You can use this for your benefit and ask your speakers to promote the conference. As with your sponsors you can create branded templates and add their photos and bios so that they can share it on their social channels.
Also, do not miss the opportunity of working with nano-influencers to create a buzz around your conference. Although they have a comparatively low follower base, their followers are quite loyal and have a way higher engagement rate.
Content marketing has always been a supreme tool for promotion. It is one of the core pillars of inbound marketing that digital marketers use constantly.
So how to use content marketing to promote your virtual conference?
Start with guest posting on high-authoritative blogs specific to your niche segment. But your content shouldn’t be all salesy, rather you must focus on providing useful information to your target audience. And make sure that when you mention your virtual conference, it looks organic.
Moreover, you can target listicle blog posts that list all upcoming conferences. For this, you’ll have to reach out to a blog's editor and ask them to add your conference to the list as well.
Well ahead of your event, create a press release that helps to spread the information about your virtual conference faster. The press release should have an effective message. Plus, make sure it includes:
Hashtags contain certain keywords or phrases, that allow people to follow and engage with your event on social media. They also help to raise awareness about your conference. And using them consistently can help you to boost the online conversation around your event.
Choose a hashtag that is relevant, unique and memorable.
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great social media channels to post updates about your virtual conference.
But if you want to maximise your promotion efforts, you can use paid advertising. For instance, LinkedIn advertising can be a great way to promote your virtual conference in front of your audience, especially if you’re trying to reach a niche-specific audience. When running ads, make sure to keep them very targeted and centered around your buyer person. This will save you a lot of time and money.
Furthermore, by remarketing you will be able to reach out to those people who visited the event's landing page but bounced off, by creating valuable touchpoints to turn them into your attendees.
The most straightforward and the fastest way to see the improvements in your virtual conference registration volume is by using paid advertising.
And it is so because creating targeted campaigns allows you to reach out to the right audience. You can choose the geographical location, demographics, and interests of the people to attract the right set of people.
The best thing about running paid advertising is that you can measure the effectiveness of the campaigns launched by tracking the number of ad clicks and conversions (i.e. sign-ups to your virtual conference).
Furthermore, keep an eye on the insights suggested by analytics. It will help you improve the performance of the ads and increase conversions.
If you want to provide more information about the upcoming virtual conference and generate excitement in a shorter period of time, you should create a video preview.
Video content has always been one of the most engaging types of content. Hence, it will be a wonderful opportunity for you to impress your target audience with all the spectacular things you’ve prepared for them at the conference.
Did you know that SMS messages have a 98% open rate?
What an impressive number, isn't it?
Even though SMS marketing seems like an outdated strategy, it is still works quite effective. You can use this as an additional channel for your virtual conference promotion.
Not only this you can send event reminders to registered users to ensure they actually attend your event.
Virtual conferences are extremely important these days. They allow people to connect, share information, have inspiring conversations and make better decisions.
The best part of virtual conferences is that you don't need to leave your home. On the other hand, it can be difficult to attract your target audience to be a part of your event.
But if you are armed with the above 15 marketing strategies you will be able to successfully promote your virtual conference and drive-up registrations with the snap of a finger.
At the same time you must make sure that while your marketing initiatives are on point you need to give users a kick-ass event experience. For this, you must opt for a reliable event-technology partner.
Want to see Hubilo in action? Book a demo with us, now.