With the dawn of technology comes the ability to meet as a group without physically being in the room. Facebook events, seminars, group meetings, and more can all take place online, but these event platforms are still fairly new.
For that reason, marketing can be somewhat challenging for event organizers. Without excellent tactics and an understanding of your audience, you’ll have a hard time getting people to attend.
There’s an art to spreading the word about an event that starts with planning an event people want to attend. The rest involves digital marketing tactics like the following:
Utilize Social Media
Social media is one of the best ways to promote your online event. It’s word of mouth marketing at its finest, and with 92 percent of consumers following recommendations from their peers, it’s one of the best ways to convince consumers to enroll in your event, even if it’s not free.
Some of the best social media strategies from Social Media Examiner include:
- Create a Facebook event and invite your entire friends list
- Use Facebook ads to target your audience
- Create a highlight reel from prior events
- Let event attendee testimonials do the talking
- Hire influencers to spread the word
- Use consistent branding and mentions across all social platforms, including hashtags
- Use quotes and visuals to catch attention
- Be responsive when potential attendees post or ask a question
Email marketing can also effectively promote an online event, especially if you’ve curated your email list to include a targeted audience. If you look at the adult population, email is the most popular online activity, so an e-blast or two is one of the easiest ways to get your content in front of people.
This isn’t to say that if you send it to 200 people, all of them will attend. Most e-blasts have an open rate of about 30 percent. However, when combined with your other marketing mediums, it can further your reach.
Make the Value Proposition Clear
Explain to your audience exactly why your online event will benefit them. What problem will your event solve for them? People are willing to engage, even for a fee, if they know it will improve their situation.
Start by posting a schedule of events. Social media has developed a generation of skeptics. They’re curious, but they don’t want to commit to something unless they’re certain it will be a fruitful endeavor for them.
Remove the guesswork and post a schedule. You don’t have to give everything away, but you can pique audience interest with a list of topics, contests, announcements, etc. that will be included while your event. Giveaways and door prizes also garner a lot of attention!
Thought leaders in a certain industry will get the most attendees for their online events. Establishing credibility is an important part of this. Develop content that showcases photos and credentials of the people behind the event.
If the event is being sponsored by a brand name or has other claims to fame, make that a priority in your marketing as well. People are drawn to credible brands, so anything you can do to build authority is key.
Develop a Content Calendar
Getting the word out early and repeatedly is key to successful event attendance. Some attendees only need to hear about the event once, but others need continual persuasion. Additionally, varied content will travel differently around the internet, so developing consistent content is essential to building a steady following.
Your content calendar should begin a couple of months before the event, with announcements and light information near the beginning of your campaign. As the event gets closer, increase the number blog posts, social posts, videos, and other content posted on social media to promote your event. The more you do, the further your reach will go.
After you’ve put on your event, learn from your marketing experience. What tactics worked best? What mistakes did you make? How can you garner attendance in the future? In combination with your marketing creativity, this data will be extremely helpful in boosting event attendance for upcoming events.