We’ve been talking about online events for a while. Live streaming, for instance, has been predicted as a big trend on the latest main reports about the events industry.
It’s true that we all love the travelling, people-meeting and surprises that in-person meetings involve but, due to ambient circumstances or different business goals, virtual conferences are an excellent addition to your event marketing strategy.
What is an online event
Online events are usually a video conference for commercial or educational purposes, in which a company uses an online platform for one-way communication. The term is an abbreviation for the term web based seminar in English, which means a seminar held over the internet.
Imagine that you want to launch a new product and would like to make a presentation to the public.
Or, who knows, plan to give a lecture to reinforce your authority on a certain subject with your audience.
Types of online events
A virtual meetup is an event with a longer duration and consists of a set of live or recorded webinars – which can easily be converted into a posteriori video classes. Events can be done on time (in a day or two) or continuously.
A webinar is an online, interactive presentation. Common characteristics of a webinar include being short and about one specific topic besides having it’s interactions centralized and moderated by a host/moderator.
Live streaming or webcasting can also be considered a type of online event, but it has a peculiarity. It is a hybrid format of a face-to-face event that is being amplified with live streaming. But it is considered an online event as well.
Why you should add online events and virtual conferences to your event marketing portfolio
Amplified brand awareness
Your session might become a reference on the subject. A webinar with depth and clarifying news on topics that are interesting to your audience can generate reliability. Plus, if well promoted, it can even be an evidence that your brand is an expert on that subject.
And if you do a good live webinar, the chances of sharing among the viewers themselves can increase considerably, attracting more users that can mean good business opportunities.
Comments, likes and sharing are just a few ways to interact with a video. Users who are interested in your content like to interact and demonstrate what they think of it. It’s the perfect opportunity to deepen relationships.
You can get your audience’s opinion on real time and suggest actions of engagement, so that communication is a two-way road.
It’s also possible to learn about latencies and pain points from your community, shortening and facilitating the personalization of your solutions.
Networking that strengthens your community
Strong communities have connections among it’s members. Gather people around a common vision in a experience they’ll remember and feel like repeating.
Lead generation and sales
Curating and sharing quality information is one of the best ways to generate leads. In addition to gaining the audience’s trust, you become an authority in your market, get in touch with the real doubts of your potential clients, better qualify those who are already your fans and even make sales for them.
Whether it’s a tutorial or a series of recommendations for your industry / market best practices, an online conference is an asset for a long-lasing period of lead generation. At any time that someone feels like seeing your lectures or use it as a reference, there will be your virtual event generating leads for you.
Unlike workshops, conferences or face-to-face talks, online events have a global reach. To carry out face-to-face events, you must have a local venue, which should be in a specific region and unfortunately unable to host everyone that is interested.
When you make a virtual event available, you generate several waves of engagement. The first one during the launch or live streaming of it. After that, you can make it available for people to download ow watch online. Finally, if it’s successful and ignite people’s interest on social media, there’s also a third wave.
Reduced operational costs
To hold a face-to-face conference, you need dedicated budget to rent a cool venue and hire catering, among other expenses.
In the other hand, an online event does not cost as high as organizing a physical conference, workshop or training session. Of course, that there is a great technical effort to materialize your virtual meet up, as there is to carry out any event of any magnitude. And with a tool such as OnEvent, the event planner needs a computer and a good internet connection.
Using InEvent’s fully equipped Virtual Lobby tool to hold your online events
1. Choosing the right platform
a. Currently, 61% of event planners and organizers use event martech tools. That clarifies a situation that is not necessarily new. Online events have been there for a while and they need to be considered part of a diverse and complete event marketing portfolio.
b. We recently released an Event App / Event Marketing Platform Price Comparison Tool + How to Choose Guide. So we made both of these assets available for free, here on our blog. Check everything you need to know and all of the questions you need to clarify with vendors when selecting a platform for your online events.
2. Defining the event subject
a. The subject covered in your webinar is extremely important. Therefore, the topic should be considered with caution. In other words, don’t try to solve all the problems in the world. Focus on one specific goal and, most importantly, a pain of you buying persona.
b. One of the most efficient ways to know what topics can be addressed is to get to know your customers. How can you help them solve a specific problem? What are their expectations for your brand? What can you do to make their lives easier? See what people have been saying on their social networks, analyze the main doubts, see which keywords bring visitors to your content and observe the search terms they have to do with your business. All this information can be transformed into insights and generate a script for a data-rich evet.
► Related resources: Event planning schedule for any kind of event.
3. Save the date
a. Planning starts well in advance. Anticipating the date avoids procrastination and makes everyone involved in the process aware that there’s a critical delivery coming up.
b. Align these deadlines with the most diverse suppliers – regardless if you have one or twenty other stakeholders involved.
c. On the big day, for things to happen will happen as you predicted, setting the deadline might be the most decisive part of your planning.
4. Build up an attractive website / landing page for each one of your online conferences
a. A landing page is the showcase of your event, just as a nice showroom is what attracts people to walk in physical shops. Registration is the perfect occasion to increase expectations and make people feel like something important is arriving. Make them feel it’s a place they have to go.
b. Besides, limit the spaces. With a online registration form developed according to your audience segments, your ticket selling can skyrocket. Also, make use of digital marketing techniques, such as remarketing. Thus, keep reminding people, at the right time, that didn’t fill the form for event registrants about what they’re going to miss if not turning up to the occasion. You can do that with photos of previous editions, numbers, scarcity or citing keynote speakers’ names.
c. Mobile first: quite self-explanatory.
d. Copywriting: Create a persuasive title, short and imperative. Highlight the main advantages of attending to the conference with great copywriting. Abuse of visual resources and relate them your brand and occasion. Reminder: abusing of visual resources could be, according to the brand intent, to be clean and minimalist.
e. Complete information: date, time and location need to jump right off the screen. Price also needs to be clear on the check-out page.
f. CTA: a clear call to action, with a single button or a straightforward and simple form. That’s the main secret to convert – no distractions.
g. See how InEvent’s platform helps you to summarize all of the above and create your online events with just a few clicks:
► Related resources: Webinar: Landing Page Strategy for Event Marketers
5. Promote it
Ccombine PR and content with a corporate blog. Mix institutional divulgation with content curatorship. Having your event as the subject of a newspaper article or a niche blog is also a strong validation.
Social media / Influencers
It’s way more effective to have somebody talking about your virtual conference than yourself. Thus, you can connect your brand with influencer’s audiences. Influencer campaigns might be way cheaper than hiring a celebrity due to the fact that they exist on different sizes and niches.
SEO and link building
It’s the cheapest solution to building an efficient relationship with your audience. If you have doubts on where to begin, go for “how-to’s” and “lists”. It is what Buzzfeed did, for example. And as we can see, it worked quite well.
Your SEO is just the top of the funnel. Of course, you need to attract people to get to know about your business, but you need to nurture these relationships too. The best ways to do it is, surprisingly, still is via email marketing. It reaches an audience that has already demonstrated an interest in your content. And remember, keep the content useful. If you keep sending sales material or pushing your leads to purchase something they don’t want, chances are they going to stop responding to your marketing efforts.
Video is the most complete form of communication and it’s taking over text. Spend extra effort on your video communication, regardless, especially via indirect marketing. It can be done via podcast, animated tutorials or the quick pills of knowledge, but you have to use the power of video to enhance your brand’s reach.
Do it recurrently.
► To understand in detail how to apply each one of these promotion tactics, read our article: 7 ways to promote your event [including 0 marketing budget ones]
► Related resource: How to get your event app downloaded by 100% of your guests.
6. Implement integrations with communications and video tools
a. Ever caught yourself using tools that fight against each other? It’s because digital transformation is only useful if it avoids headaches. So, much more than digitizing your live content conference, it’s about using technology to improve the performance of tasks and results. And that can only be done if you work with tools that collaborate among them.
b. Address the issue making sure you choose a platform that is prepared to integrate with your virtual event. Whether you’re an IT specialist or not, your online conferences has to be prepared to integrate with the most used tools and integrations to grow your event, such as: Facebook, YouTube, Google Hangouts, WebinarJam and On24.
► Related resources: Why you need these 5 digital integrations to sell more.
7. Create a presentation scheme for a streamlined online conferences sequence
Establish the style of your broadcast. The most common formats include interviews, questions and answers, round table and promotion of products and services. In other words, based on the objectives of the company, the expectations of the public and the subject to be addressed, what will be the best way to present the webinar to your personas? Firstly, an interview includes the presence of an expert on the topic and is a great way to engage the audience, who will have chances to interact live with a reference person in the area of activity. The question and answer scheme is also efficient in engaging with people and makes the event more dynamic.
For a host to feel comfortable in front of the cameras, the main secret is: have a sequence. A clear sequence shows a confident host to the audience, who will likely appreciate it. Organize the online event in blocks, according to the chosen format.
Backstage / Moderation / Time control
Ideally, it’s recommended for a professional virtual event to have at least: 1-Moderator; 2-Subject Matter Expert; 3-Backstage IT professional. Dividing the “in front of the camera” and backstage tasks is crucial. While the moderator has the ability to conduct the flow of the event and raise up relevant points for the experts to answer, a backstage professional can be aware of technical problems and time control. It is a conversation wheel between people and that offers different or complementary views on the same subject. With the participation of at least more than one subject matter expert, it becomes even more interesting.
A virtual event has a very institutional footprint and is a format with enough convincing power for leads that are in the phase of considering closing a deal. Therefore, an online event roadmap includes all of that. It is the materialization of the transmission overview, a way of ensuring that your event is going to be as interesting as possible, prepare visual resources to reinforce your message. So don’t skip this step. Online conferences are perfect allies when looking for more traffic, brand authority, relevant content, increased leads, audience engagement and greater profitability. So make a show out of it. Your visual resources can also be used to create excitement if you send a preview to those who register for the event.
8. Go live!
It is important to say that when organizing an online event or shifting from an in-person experience, we need to pay attention to some topics:
a. Quality cameras and microphones, as well as their operators;
b. Stable wi-fi connection to avoid problems during transmission and any kind of damage to your brand because of that.
c. Enough of preparation. Click the go live button and deliver it to the world!
a. Personalization, or 1:1 Marketing, is substituting segmentation per a totally personalized experience. With the right online conference platform, you can map out and optimize the interactions of a participant with your content, regardless of the group he/she person belongs to. An effective personalized event experience strategy is micro-segmented at its most, including details such as characteristics and preferences of each and every customer.
b. Thus, making a call to action at the end of your online events can be 100% personalized. For instance, if it’s someone who is interacting with your brand for the first time, a communication inviting them to check complementary pieces of content or a free consulting session might fit their needs. Or, if it’s someone who clearly expressed concerns about prices, for example, it’s possible to know that they’re considering buying your product and are ready to be contacted by the sales team.
10. Guarantee post-event engagement
- Videos are better distributed on social media. Post cuts of the best moments to attract people who haven’t watched yet or missed a specific session.
- Email marketing: just like you promoted the live version, it’s time to call people to watch the replay.
- Feedback survey. To make sure participants answer your questionnaires, consult this resource we created especially for that subject: Event feedback: 10 ways to skyrocket attendee survey response rate .
11. Measure results
a. KPI’s: The total number of registrations is the umbrella KPI of your final evaluation report. So, this number shows if the promotional material is adequate, if the target audience was defined correctly and if the subject was relevant, among others. Then, it is necessary to check if the attendees / registrant’s ratio, which shows who subscribed for the event and later on participated for real.
b. Robust event management solution for virtual and online events are capable of delivering an experience for multiple stakeholders, measuring engagement and interactions (comments, questions, responses to polls, etc) while passively translating that into insightful analytics.
Create a successful event template in 5 minutes and replicate to your whole event marketing portfolio. Start with InEvent today, for free: https://content.inevent.com/try-inevent-for-free .
Also, check our other resources to keep learning: