Marketing strategies for driving successful digital events

“No matter the format—virtual, in-office or on-site—digital is a standard part of all types of meetings and events from shareholder meetings to user conferences to product introductions.”

Events, meetings and conferences today are supported by digital event platforms that make it possible for companies to seamlessly connect with people across the globe and deliver more engaging and immersive experiences than ever before.

While virtual event platforms help enhance meeting and event experiences, expand audiences and provide more options for participating, marketing power in the form of pre-event omnichannel marketing strategies and post-event actions is critical for maximizing the success of these events. Here are some best practices for driving audience attendance in digital events.

Pre-event Strategies

Email Marketing

Email is a great channel for marketers to directly connect with event target audiences. For maximum effectiveness, event email campaigns should be personalized to give this outreach a better opportunity to stand out among the 121 other emails the average person receives each day.

Read More: 6 Tips to Write an Email Newsletter for Event Marketing

Another must for email marketing campaigns today is to make them mobile-friendly. With more than 310 million smartphone users in the U.S. alone, optimizing event email campaigns for mobile will increase the likelihood that recipients will engage with the content and take action.

Segment lists by audience (customers, prospects and partners) and conduct A/B testing to determine which subject lines are most effective in prompting higher open rates and which calls to actions are more likely to drive event registrations.

Social Media Advertising

Testing posts and graphics can help marketers gauge audience response and help determine the best-performing content for ad spend. This testing can also increase organic reach as followers responding to compelling posts and graphics will be more likely to re-share the information with the people in their networks.

Use a specific hashtag to create a branded experience around events and help potential attendees find more information.

Display Ads

Display ads are an excellent channel for driving top-of-funnel awareness. Advertising on third-party websites such as Google or YouTube increases visibility for the event, serving as a consistent reminder for target audiences to register. The rule of seven marketing methodology states that people need to hear about something at least seven times before they consider taking action, and display ads are an excellent way to increase the frequency of the event drumbeat.

Content Marketing

A recent survey found that 93% of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy or are planning to have one in the next 12 months. The widespread use of content marketing demonstrates that marketers are having success with this strategy. As such, content marketing can play a key role in reaching target audiences and getting them interested in signing up for an event.

A long-form content marketing approach allows marketers to tell the complete story of an event which presents an opportunity for a more in-depth pitch to encourage sign-ups.

For B2B audiences, thought leadership pieces posted on LinkedIn can help drive meaningful engagement before, during and after an event. LinkedIn has more than 950 million members worldwide, allowing marketers to reach and connect with professional audiences at scale.

Post-event Actions

Conduct Follow-up Marketing

Once the event is over, marketers should engage with attendees to gather the appropriate permissions to continue follow-up on future events. Marketing consent tracking tools in digital event platforms can help marketers share privacy policies and terms of service and allow attendees to opt-in to hear from a company in the future.

Read MoreEmergency Event Maneuvers

Repurpose Video Content

Video content generated for events is often long-form and requires editing and production work to cut it down in order to leverage it on social media and other channels. For example, an hour-long webcast can be edited down into digestible 10-minute videos which can be hosted behind a gated form. Marketers can also repurpose this shorter video content into email nurture content or a welcome sequence when someone signs up for the company newsletter.

Analyze Robust Data

Data tells the story of how successful an event was. Digital event platforms with integrated analytical data and reporting features are great tools for marketers to understand how events can be optimized to generate a better response from the audience. Analytics on how attendees watched and engaged with a presentation helps marketers optimize the time, date and format of future events to drive better interest and engagement.

woman with black shirt smiling with purple backgroundMichele Dobnikar has 30 years of experience in the technology industry and is president of GlobalMeet. She is also an advisory board member with Zschool and Plumlogix.

This article appears in the January 2024 and January/February 2024 issues as “Start Strong; Finish First.” You can subscribe to the magazine here.