The Banzai team hosted a 30-minute webinar on best practices around getting your virtual event promotion right. We covered the steps you can take to make sure you are using the right channels, giving yourself the right amount of runway for your outreach, and clearly targeting the right audience.
Below are some of our key highlights from the webinar.
Current virtual event environment
“Right now in many industries, it’s hard to take a step without tripping over a virtual event. “ - Stephanie Baiocchi, Director of Audience Engagement & Community, IMPACT
Matt Heinz and Pathfactory recently conducted a survey all about the virtual event experience. They found that only 27% of those surveyed felt they were effective at driving registrants and attendees to their events. This means that there are a lot of us that are struggling to really nail down event promotion.
The biggest challenges that Matt and the team at PathFactory found were around:
- Short timeframes to promote the event
- Underperforming emails and digital ads
- Inability to reach the right audience
This makes a lot of sense and is something we can all relate to. Our audiences (and all of us to be honest) are dealing with a lot of things including:
- Adapting to WFH
- Zoom fatigue
- So many events!
So how do you work to get around these challenges and get virtual events in front of an audience that is eager to consume your content? It is all about your promotion channels, timeline, understanding your audience, and utilizing the entire event lifecycle.
Promotion channels for virtual events
When we were pulling together the content for this webinar, we thought about using the Banzai Marketing team as a bit of a case study and share what we’ve been doing, and we’ve seen work.
When it comes to promoting Banzai’s webinar and virtual events, we use the following channels:
- The Reach platform - we are all about drinking our own champagne
- Marketing emails - Emails are sent to our customer and contacts that are moving through the funnel and are already engaged
- Communities - we share on communities like LinkedIn and Slack. We try to be where our target audience is. The goal is to not push Banzai but to be seen as a resource.
- In-platform notifications - helps us keep our engaged customers in the know
- Social - Organic, mostly on LinkedIn and Twitter
- Paid Ads - LinkedIn and Google
- The Banzai team - we work hard to empower our team to share on their own channels and with their own networks.
We see different levels of success with each channel, but all of them play a role in driving registrations.
Promotion timeline for virtual events
The same timeline does not work for every event. Consider the following when working to finalize your virtual event promotion calendar:
- What type of virtual event are you producing?
- What are your registration goals?
- What are your attendance goals?
- Where is your audience?
After supporting thousands of events, the team at Banzai has developed best practices around outreach and when you should start. A lot depends on the number of registrations you hope to drive.
Event reminders and pre-event engagement
It is important to remember that promotion is not just about driving that initial registration, it is also about making sure those registrants actually attend. You can do this by incorporating reminders and engagement strategies into your overall promotion plan.
Make sure to schedule reminders. The Banzai best practice is to send a reminder the day before and the morning of your virtual event. There is so much noise around events that a reminder a week before might just get lost in someone’s inbox.
Also, make sure it is easy to add to your registrant's calendar. Either make it easy to add from your confirmation email or even send them the calendar invite directly.
It is also important to keep your registrants engaged before the event so they are more committed to actually showing up. You can do this by sending our surveys, inviting them to your community, and/or sending them pre-event swag or materials they can use during the event like a cocktail making kit.
Roles and responsibilities for virtual events
So who is in charge of what when it comes to your promotion strategy? Here are some ways the different roles can be involved:
- Digital Marketers - Promotes your event on your company’s digital channels including email, paid social, and your website.
- Producer / Event Marketer - Develops the copy and messaging used to promote along with finalizing the timeline.
- Field Marketer - Owns the promotion plan for contacts currently in your pipeline.
- Sales Team - Shares with their prospects and on their personal channels.
- Partners - Shares on their channels and to their network.
In the end, it all really all depends on the size and makeup of your team. One person may hold a variety of roles when it comes to virtual event promotion.
Understanding your target audience
“A lesson I learned is that events are very different across different regions. And a lot of the best practices we’ve learned from one place are not applicable if you are targeting another region.”
– Bianca Hu, Account Director, Digital Marketing Strategy, Delightful Communications
Just like in-person events, understanding who your target audience is essential to your virtual event promotion strategy. When developing your outreach strategy, work to answer the following questions:
- Has your audience changed since moving virtual? The same group that goes to in-person events might not be who naturally attends virtual events. How do you get them to attend? What type of timeline do you need?
- Are you targeting different regions? Where your audience lives can impact what type of timeline you need. You can’t necessarily apply a one size fits all strategy to your promotion.
- Has the way your audience consumes content changed? Though we may all be stuck at home, people are busier more than ever. Is your content better positioned as something your audience can consume on-demand?
- On what channels does your audience spend their time? Just like in-person events, you need to promote where your audience actually spends their time. If they are not on Facebook then do not spend money and time promoting there. Instead, focus on where they are.
Identifying your target audience will enable you to put an effective virtual event promotion in place and make sure you reach your audience where they are.
Your on-demand registration numbers might be smaller than your live webinars, but they are just as important. The right lead, whether they are from a live event or an on-demand event may be your next amazing customer.
It is important to extend the life of your virtual event and continue to drive registrations. Ideas include:
- Creating supporting events - Survey Monkey recently released their Curiosity Conference in bite-size virtual sessions. You can register once and select the sessions you want access to.
- Produce marketing collateral like recap blogs or transcribe and publish the interview
- Share on social - Create a contest among your sales team to see who can generate that most on-demand registrations
- Include in your content roundups and newsletters
- Make it easy to share
Our 4 biggest takeaways from the Getting Your Virtual Event Promotion Right webinar are:
- 3+ weeks for event promotion
- Get creative with your channels and work to break through the noise
- Work to meet your audience where they are
- Don’t forget about on-demand