Once you’ve selected your platform and your content for your virtual event, you may think you’re done with the logistics, but you’ve only just started! There’s a lot of content, virtual events and educational information flying around social media and into people’s inboxes right now, so it’s important that you set up a strategy for promoting and marketing your event to make it stand out amongst the busy-ness.
How will you measure success? You will probably want to set a goal number of guests to yourself right away, so you can gage the engagement and RSVP count and make sure you’re meeting that goal amount.
To walk you through how to market your event, I will use a virtual event I planned for AAF Tampa Bay to provide examples!
Step 1: Branding Guidelines
Select a variety of colors, fonts, and images that inspire you and match the messaging of your event. Organize them into a Google Doc or Folder so you have the ability to share with others who may be helping you build your event creative. It does not need to be overly complicated or time consuming, but it’s important that you use these as guidelines for all future promotions!
Inspiration image with font overlay for AAF #TBonTap event.
All future posts included the #TBonTap overlay text so guests could recognize the event promotion!
Step 2: Social Media & Email Promotion
Now that you have the overall branding set up, start playing around with optional social media postings for both Facebook and Instagram. It’s great to have a mixture of photos and images with graphic designs to add variety. Make sure that all social posts include a call to action and a consistent message, and ONLY link your event in an Instagram bio (not in the post directly. It won’t click through to the URL!). Tag your speakers and sponsors, and encourage them to share! If you have multiple people helping plan and organize the event, recommend they share on their personal pages as well! The more cross-promotion you can get on social media, the more people who will have eyes on your event.
For email, it’s recommended you send one email to your full email distro a few days prior to the event. Include as many details as possible. Where on social media you may be slowly unveiling who your speakers are, in the email you should include all of these details at once. Your email should lead to an uptick in RSVPs, a bit higher conversion rates than via social media, because your audience is in work and plan-your-week mode while in their inbox!
Social: We used the #TBonTap message in every post so our audience could recognize the consistency. We also slowly unveiled who our speakers were to increase excitement and provide more content.
Step 3: Registration Micro-site
There are multiple reasons why you would want to include a micro-site for your event registration, rather than just using a Facebook event page or emails as confirmation. Building a microsite allows you to utilize your branding and messaging while driving all traffic to one place. By requiring people to register, you can charge attendees to attend and accept payment directly, or if you are offering the event for free, you can at least obtain all of the contact information from your guests who sign up. Not only is this a great way to generate leads, but you can now start building a relationship with these people!
What information do you need to include on your registration page?
Details such as the time, date, location/platform, and cost.
An overview of the agenda, the speakers, and the topic during your event.
What contact information should you obtain when people register?
Name, email, phone number, company
AAF Tampa Bay virtual happy hour event registration page built through WildApricot. Very simple, but includes all the necessary details!
Step 4: Include Giveaways
It’s highly recommended that you offer a giveaway of some sort to your guests! Whether it’s a gift card or a free membership, some small incentive can help you increase your RSVP’s and your show-up rate! One tip to obtain giveaways is to reach out to local businesses who can benefit from the audience you will be connecting with. They may be willing to sponsor with either a dollar amount or a product that would be worth offering to your guests. It’s a win-win for you and your sponsor(s) by providing value to both – you get your sponsor in front of a large audience and you provide your guests an incentive to attend your event!
AAF used its programming budget to purchase $10 gift cards for three local businesses. This encouraged the overall #supportlocal message that was behind our event, while also offering a fun opportunity to raffle off gift cards live! We also set the raffle timing for after our panel, so our guests had to stay the whole time in order to win.
We then promoted the gift card giveaway on social media and in our email marketing.