5 min read

Complete Guide to Promoting Virtual Events in 2024

Written by
Len Gauger
Published on
January 5, 2024

The online events market is poised to reach an impressive USD 657.64 billion by 2030, showcasing their growing significance. A key advantage, according to planners worldwide, is the ability to extend reach across the world, attracting new and diverse audiences. 

However, despite their undeniable value, virtual conferences present unique challenges. Event marketers and planners need to employ specific tactics tailored to virtual audiences. Most of them face challenges in implementing a strategy that stands out in an increasingly competitive space. 

How to Create a Virtual Event Marketing Strategy

Crafting a marketing strategy for virtual events is pretty much like planning for in-person events. The main difference is that virtual event promos are often shorter. Why? If you start the promotion too early, your event might get lost in the sea of online stuff people are bombarded with.

On the positive side, this translates to time savings in certain aspects. Unlike the weeks spent finding and securing a physical venue, you can swiftly research and choose the right virtual event platform within a few hours. Virtual event platforms offer flexibility, enabling you to plan events for any audience.

Now, when it comes to promoting a web-based event, there are three main phases.

The 3 Phases Event Promotion

Phase 1: Pre-event: This is the groundwork stage where you build anticipation for the event.

Phase 2: During the event: This phase is all about content delivery and engagement strategies. It's your time to shine, delivering the promised experience to your virtual audience.

Phase 3: Post-event: After the event, it's time to follow up, send emails, review engagement analytics, and gather feedback. This phase is about cementing connections and learning from the event.

Pre-event 

Promoting your virtual event starts way before the camera goes on; it's about spreading the word and creating buzz. To make your virtual event a hit, the key is to start building hype as early as possible. The earlier you get the ball rolling, the bigger the audience you're likely to pull in for your virtual event.

Step 1: Know Your Audience 

Take a moment to understand your audience. Who will benefit most from attending your event? What are their interests and unique challenges? Review your site’s performance on Google Analytics 4 and Google Search Console to analyze audience demographics, traffic sources, and the most popular content on our site. For instance, if you're showcasing a product in a webinar, dig into your CRM tools to reveal the specifics: age, profession, location, and more. You should also review what content receives the most engagement on your social media profiles. The more you know, the better you can deliver your virtual event.

Step 2: Choose a Virtual Event Platform

Choosing the right online event platform is like picking the perfect outfit; it has to fit, look good, and impress. Consider scalability and integration capabilities. Also, think about the level of interactivity you want and the size of your audience.

Event apps like Connect Space have tools and resources that track engagement analytics in real time. It also has custom matchmaking features that make it easy for attendees to network with each other. The goal is to have a conversation rather than deliver a monologue, so create an immersive experience for your audience.

Step 3: Create an Attention-Grabbing Event Page

A key step in pre-event promotion is creating an attention-grabbing event landing page. Think of it as the digital red carpet for your audience. When creating your event page:

1. Utilize User-Friendly Tools

Opt for accessible platforms like Connect Space and HubSpot that simplify the design process.

2. Add Eye-Catching Elements

Capture their attention with visually appealing graphics, professional photograpjy, and teaser clips featuring event speakers.

3. Keep Content Centralized

Embed all relevant media directly on the page, ensuring visitors don't have to click away to find essential information.

4. Provide Essential Details

Make your event page a one-stop shop by including critical information such as:

  • Time and date(s) of the event
  • Agenda overview
  • Speaker bios
  • Information of sponsors
  • Sign-up links
  • Payment options

Step 4: Build Anticipation with Teasers

Building anticipation is an art, and teasing out what's in store for your virtual event adds excitement. It's like giving your audience a sneak peek behind the curtain, keeping them hooked and eager for more. 

Here's how to build anticipation for a virtual event:

1. Gradual Revelation

Adopt a phased approach to announcements. Begin with smaller details, gradually leading up to the main attraction, creating a sense of unfolding drama.

2. Cliffhangers

Add suspense by holding back some details. For instance, refrain from listing all guest speakers on your event registration page; instead, hint at upcoming announcements like "more speakers revealed next week."

3. Multi-Channel Promotion

Share hints and updates on social media, incorporate them in pre-event email workflows, and keep the event website and registration page updated with the latest teasers.

Step 5: Optimize Organic Search Visibility with Keywords

Identify target keywords to use in your content to build online awareness about your virtual event. Incorporating strategic keywords into your promotional content ensures your event stands out in Google  search results. 

Here's how to boost your virtual event’s target keyword rankings:

1. Keyword Planning Tools

Use tools like Google Ads and Ahrefs to identify relevant and high-impact keywords. Understand what terms your potential attendees are likely to search for in relation to your event.

2. Google Search Insights

Conduct a Google search using phrases related to your event, noting autocomplete suggestions, people also ask results, and searches related to [your keywords]. These insights provide additional keywords to incorporate into your promotional content.

3. Natural Keyword Integration

Seamlessly integrate identified keywords into your promotional copy. Ensure that the language flows naturally and doesn't feel forced, optimizing both readability and searchability.

Step 6: Harness Social Media's Power for Targeted Reach

When it comes to social media, don't cast a wide net; be strategic. Each platform has its own unique strengths, and aligning with your virtual event audience is key.

1. LinkedIn for Professionals

Target a professional audience with LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn Ads for precise targeting, reaching professionals based on location or specific criteria like job title. Ideal for events catering to corporate and industry audiences.

2. Facebook's Ubiquity

Harness the universal appeal of Facebook. Create highly shareable event pages that allow multimedia posts. Share photos, videos, links, or written posts to generate buzz among a diverse audience.

3. Snapchat and Instagram for Visual Appeal

Capture the attention of a younger, visual-oriented demographic with Snapchat and Instagram. Utilize these platforms for photo and video content, and consider creating a catchy event hashtag to amplify engagement.

4. YouTube Videos

Leverage YouTube's video-centric approach. Use Google Ad Manager to strategically place video ads before or during related content, expanding your event's visibility among an audience actively watching similar videos.

Step 7: Light the Spark with a Promo Video

Whip up a teaser video that's like a movie trailer: short, witty, and builds anticipation. Think of it as a visual appetizer; let viewers get a taste of what awaits. Drip-feed the clips, keep it under 2 minutes (we all have short attention spans!), and throw in a discount code at the end, a small reward to see who's been paying attention.

Step 8: Create Your Email Marketing Campaign

In a world dominated by social media, some may argue that email is a relic of the past. However, more than 347 billion emails are sent and received each day. When crafting an email workflow, think of it as a series of well-paced acts. The invitation sets the stage, introducing your event, details, and a sweet discount code to seal the deal.

In addition, the email should also provide information about how to access the event. And finally, a reminder 24-48 hours before the virtual event to boost attendance.

Step 9: Use Your Marketing Copywriting Skills 

Leverage your blog and AI to build anticipation. Write a blog post that provides a sneak peek of the upcoming event. Share insights, behind-the-scenes stories, and the essence of what makes your event one they can’t miss. If you don't have a blog, explore guest blogging opportunities with event sponsors and speakers to reach their audience.

During the Event

1. Live Updates on Social Media

Bring the event to those not in attendance with real-time social media updates. Share snippets, behind-the-scenes moments, and highlights so those not in attendance have FOMO. Make them feel like they're missing out on something truly special.

2. Engaging Reminders

Keep engagement up by sending friendly reminders. Whether it's a heads-up about an upcoming session or a prompt to participate in an interactive poll, reminders maintain attendee engagement and ensure they don't miss out on the best segments.

3. Downloadables

Add a touch of exclusivity by sharing downloadable or on-demand content as a special gift for attendees. These extra goodies make attending your event even more rewarding.

4. Real-time Q&A

Open up channels for real-time interaction through online chat. Answer attendee questions promptly and address concerns as they come in.

5. Promote Networking through Matchmaking

Platforms such as Connect Space go beyond the ordinary, offering matchmaking features that transform events into networking goldmines. Attendees can match with others based on shared interests, areas of expertise, industry alignment, and more. This tailored approach maximizes the potential for attendees to form lasting and impactful business relationships.

Post-event

Post-event engagement isn't just about saying thanks; it's an opportunity to leave a lasting narrative and glean insights for future endeavors. Here is how you can turn the aftermath of your virtual event into a continuation of the experience.

1. Recap and Highlights

Nothing fuels excitement like the fear of missing out. As an event marketer, your goal is to keep the buzz alive and encourage attendees to register for the next event. Share captivating recaps and highlights, turning the spotlight on what made your event unforgettable.

2. Testimonials and User-Generated Content

Post-event feedback is gold. Gather testimonials from attendees and showcase them on social media and your event website. Encourage attendees to share their experiences, offering incentives like swag for feedback. Repost this user-generated content to amplify your event's reach, attracting new attendees and engaging prospects.

3. Repurpose Event Content

The content from your event is an investment. Now, it's time to maximize its returns. Repurpose event content to fuel your post-event promotion:

  • Social Media Threads: Share key takeaways in X (formerly Twitter) threads.
  • Interactive Polls: Craft polls related to event statistics for interactive engagement.
  • Keynote Quotes: Highlight impactful statements from keynote speakers.
  • Insightful Data: Extract and share valuable data presented during the event.

The Bottom Line

Ensuring a successful virtual event goes beyond the event day. It's about capturing leads and nurturing relationships from the get-go. Get imaginative with your pre-event promotion; throw in some giveaways and sprinkle in paid advertising for good measure.

During the event, keep the engagement flame alive. Interactive polls, downloadable goodies, and strategically placed CTA buttons are your secret sauce. Post-event, don't hit the brakes. Schedule those automated follow-up emails, dish out surveys, and dive deep into event metrics.

Book a demo with Connect Space to find out how to promote attendee networking with our matchmaking app.

Len Gauger

Len Gauger is the innovative founder and CEO of Connect Space. Gauger has an impressive background, previously serving as an analyst at the U.S. Department of Defense. He showcases a unique blend of entrepreneurial spirit, strategic vision, and a knack for tech innovation. His diverse experiences have equipped him to effectively lead Connect Space, an events management platform company based in the bustling tech startup environment of Ann Arbor.