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.
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 and more.
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.
- 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.
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.
Marketers should also consider segmenting lists by audience (customers, prospects and partners) and conducting A/B testing to determine which subject lines are most effective in prompting higher open rates and which call to actions are more likely to drive event registrations.
- Social Media Advertising
Social media channels are also key for getting digital events in front of the right audience and keeping these audiences updated on news related to the event.
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.
Using a specific hashtag to create a branded experience around events is also a great way to 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.
Content marketing can range from long-form to short-form content or even simple repurposing of social or email content.
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 example, longer content in the form of a blog post can drive traffic to the company website, and with the right keywords, this content marketing effort can vault the company to the top of Google search results. Over 25% of people click on the first Google search result, so making sure an event ranks highly is critical for increasing awareness and interest.
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.
Driving audiences to events is more than half the battle, however, the power of digital events exists beyond the event itself. Digital events offer marketers the unique opportunity to expand ROI and continue reaping the benefits of a successful event long after the event is over.
- 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 allows attendees to opt-in to hear from a company in the future.
- 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. Re-posting videos on social media like LinkedIn or YouTube extends the shelf life of event videos and webcasts and provides audience engagement metrics that can be analyzed to determine the topics that resonate best with audiences which can help inform future content.
- 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. Marketers can also use these features to analyze on-demand recordings and gather analytics on how attendees watched and engaged with a presentation. This helps marketers optimize the time, date, and format of future events to drive better interest and engagement.