Virtual events are like webinar series on steroids. An alternative to face-to-face conferences, they allow thousands of qualified registrants to access conference programming, networking lounges and exhibit halls in web-based virtual environments. Attendees can view live or recorded conference sessions and “chat” with other attendees, exhibitors and sponsors—all without leaving their desks or incurring travel expenses.
Best of all, they’re a fast, and fairly inexpensive way for tech marketers to reach large numbers of qualified leads. Just think: vendors who exhibit at trade shows pay for a booth, send their teams and pay for their travel; then the only leads they get are people who stop at their booth (that’s a lot of $$$$).
Virtual events are significantly less expensive to sponsor than a live event. Plus, sponsors receive a lot more engagement information about attendees than just the name and email address; our virtual events let sponsors learn what which documents attendees’ downloaded, which webinar sessions they attended, and for how long.
Experimenting with an unfamiliar tool such as a virtual event can be daunting, which is why we’ve assembled some marketing tips from successful shows.
Content is the No. 1 key to a successful virtual event
If the content is compelling, the registrations will come. Content needs to be at the core of the production. If you don’t have good content and/or recognized subject matter experts, you’re going to have an uphill battle engaging your audience pre-event and especially post-show. In your marketing messaging, the more that the keynote presentation is highlighted and/or the caliber of presenters, the higher the engagement is for attendees.
Get an early start to marketing
Marketers have to be ahead of the curve when you’re promoting the show; at minimum have your conference agenda set up at least two months ahead of time.
Use targeted messaging
Targeting your audience is the first step to an effective campaign. Don’t send email promotions to everyone in your database; select based on their interests and job functions.
Multi-platform promotions are necessary to avoid list fatigue
A well-rounded campaign includes email invitations, promotional banner ads throughout host’s site, links on your site/blog, and social media posts. InformationWeek has the added benefit of our lead editors involved for promotion of the event with related articles. These promotions will help reach your target audience wherever they search for information as well as mitigates the danger of email list fatigue.
Personality is a plus, so let yours show.
Treat the discussion during the web event more like a conversation at a trade show or in a meeting room – not as if you are formally presenting on stage.
Post-Show follow up is critical.
Follow up with attendees a few days after the webinar with an exclusive piece of content to nurture the relationship. 64% of IT professionals said that they’d also like a written summary of the event. Depending on what sessions or information they interacted with, you can tailor which assets you send.
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