July 5, 2022
Welcome back to How to Promote Your Virtual Event, our three-part series on all things virtual event marketing! In previous posts, we’ve given you a framework for creating and executing an integrated event marketing strategy.
But the work doesn’t stop once the event starts. Both during and after the event, you need to drum up excitement for your programming and your brand. (And no, a live tweet and mildly clever hashtag isn’t enough.)
Besides getting the stray person on social media to drop into a session, your enthusiasm will also hype up your current audience. Because when you pump up your sessions, you communicate to your audience that they made the right decision in attending your event.
You’ve already gotten your audience in the door. Use these tips to keep them there, not just for the duration of your event, but for the long haul.
1. Live stream: We don’t need to explain FOMO to you, do we?
Hosting a live stream from your event can really raise your event’s profile across all your platforms. And if you encourage your attendees to contribute posts using your hashtag, the excitement can even motivate others to register for the second day of the event or check out on-demand recordings.
To be as responsive as possible, we recommend preparing social media thumbnails in advance, with space for the speakers’ picture and a pull quote.
Upon hearing a great clip from the speaker, your social media team can plug in his/her picture and quote, then post in seconds. Then attendees can interact with it in real time, spreading the event’s energy from your own site to the rest of the world.
Many virtual event platforms will accommodate social media streams on their own site. For instance, BigMarker can host live streams to YouTube and Facebook, then collect the data alongside the rest of your event sessions.
2. Live blog and/or host a live podcast from your event: A live blog and/or podcast can have the same effect as a live stream. But the longer format can host longer content, making it a better option if you’ve expecting to host a really impactful interview that you can’t bear to split in half for social media.
3. Encourage interaction with your virtual event platform's engagement features : With offers, presenters and hosts can direct attendees to sign up for demos and free trials of their product before the session even ends.
This has the dual effect of driving attendee engagement while encouraging them further down your sales pipeline. And besides the obvious marketing benefit—driving immediate website traffic—you’re also collecting valuable insights that can drive future marketing initiatives (more on that below).
In sports, nothing’s more soul-crushing than blowing a big lead (Take it from someone who used to cheer for the Chicago Bears). The same is true for virtual events. You've spoken to a crowd of hundreds or thousands of interested attendees for hours. So after your event, you need to capitalize on that interest to convert customers and close sales. Here's how to do it:
1. Send a follow-up survey to all attendees: First things first: Collect your audience’s feedback while their memory is still fresh.
An hour or two after your event ends, distribute your post-event feedback survey. This will maximize participation and give your team the most detailed, actionable feedback possible.
Keep your survey brief, but thorough — a mile wide and an inch deep. Ask attendees to rate the event, hosts, registration experience, website/UX and any other event modules in which they participated, using a scale from one to 10. (We recommend using the standard NPS model, since this is uniform, and thus the most comparable, across industries and events.)
Also provide an open-ended text box for any feedback you haven’t asked about, as this usually elicits the most surprising and useful information.
2. Offer recordings and other event materials to registered non-attendees: Virtual events don’t turn into pumpkins at midnight and disappear into the Internet, never to be seen again.
Your event website can host your event recordings for weeks or months after the big day, so you can create a whole new audience of recording viewers without having to recreate the entire event. Marketers looking for the marginal gains, consider this a huge one.
Some people sign up for webinars and virtual events with the intention of watching the recording on their own time, especially if it takes place during the workday. So give the people what they want and provide links to recording.
Bonus: Your event website will record the names and emails of recording viewers as if they were live, so you can create a marketing segment specifically for that crowd.
3. Repurpose your event content: With literal hours of expert-based sessions, events can generate weeks or even months of content.
Now that your event content is available on-demand, you can easily convert it into a set of podcasts, social media videos and stories, blog posts, recap emails and more. If your event topic stayed on brand, you’ll naturally be talking about these things anyway.
After spending months bringing that content to life, you deserve to get as much out of it as possible. So post it to your media hub and convert your recordings into 24/7 webinars. That way your content continues delivering leads to your company, even when you’re lying on the beach.
4. Obtain event data and follow up with your attendees: Imagine if you could speak to a 1,000 person audience and know, at any particular minute, how many people were actively paying attention. How many people were staring into space v. actively nodding along? How many people, and which ones, asked questions? How many people signed up for a free trial during the session, and who they were? With that granular, focused data, you could make huge improvements to your events after just one session.
But at an in-person event, you’d need some combination of photographic memory and X-ray vision to figure that out.
That specificity is possible through virtual events, though. Virtual event platforms record down-to-the-minute engagement stats for each session, allowing organizers and speakers to pinpoint exactly what worked and what didn’t. Who downloaded which handout? Who clicked which offer? Who answered the poll questions and what did they say?
Using this information, you can create richer engagement profiles for each of your thousands of participants, identify their pain points, then leverage that to make your next event even better than the last.
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