As if virtual meetings and remote offices weren’t change enough, businesses are adapting to virtual events, as well. What does marketing a virtual event look like? Does the fact that your event is virtual change how you promote it? Should all of your marketing be digital to match? No. When it comes to marketing and promotion, many (if not most) of the physical elements, including direct mail, signage, and promotional items, remain the same. Here’s why:
1. You are still promoting an event.
Whether the event is in person or virtual, raising awareness, presenting the event’s value, and ultimately collecting sign-ups requires a multichannel approach. You still need a combination of direct mail, email, and social media to raise awareness and get people to register.
If you held the event last year, you can generate excitement by adding highlight videos to your event page or by letting people access highlights directly from their brochures or direct mailers via QR Codes or augmented reality. Send them to speaker bios. Give them a sneak peek at what’s to come, including right from their mailbox.
Once people sign up, stay proactive. Follow up with direct mail and email “save the date” reminders, as well as branded promotional items from you and any sponsors or advertisers.
2. You need supporting materials.
Whether your audience is watching from an auditorium or a home office, you must brand your event. For example, the area behind your presenters should be branded to your company, sponsors, or advertisers with curtains, signage, or other graphics. Use branded backgrounds or screensavers to stay in front of attendees on their laptops and mobile devices, as well.
Virtual events don’t have to mean boring and static, either. Keep attendees engaged with pop-up polls and questionnaires. Use breakout rooms to facilitate in-depth and small-group discussions. Use interactive tools so participants can ask questions, request product information or samples, and engage with you and with each other.
3. Follow-ups are critical.
Throughout the event, use interactive tools to engage your audience, gather data, and respond to requests for presentation kits, packaged items, and marketing collateral. Post-event reminders like branded pens, desk calendars, and t-shirts remind attendees of your event and keep your company top of mind.
Whether virtual or in-person, your event should be marketed effectively using a multichannel approach. Maintain branding before, during, and after the event. Have a digital and physical follow-up plan to provide deliverables and keep your participants engaged long after the event is over.