“Why should I join your virtual event?”
This question is what you as an organizer should answer when promoting your conference.
There are lots of online conferences and events nowadays due to businesses adapting to the changing times. So you need to figure out how to stand out from the crowd and make an impression on your audience.
Here are some of the best ways to ensure that people attend your virtual conference, as part of your content marketing strategy:
1. Partner with Industry Experts
Do you use the best virtual conference platform available? Good for you!
Will your event tackle a hotly debated topic everybody wants to get clarity on? Great!
Do you have guests that people are interested in hearing from?
Let’s face it – you need to drum up some excitement to get people to sign up for your virtual conference. And what better way to do that than by getting well-known professionals in your industry to join in and get people talking.
SEO Mastery Summit is a free 7-day online event featuring some of the best and brightest the industry has to cover, each with their topics to talk about and insights to share.
The week-long virtual event has something for everyone in the SEO business, so its audience simply can’t be wrong even if they attended just some of the days (aside from the fact that it’s free).
But, even if you can’t launch an online conference of this magnitude, you can focus on getting at least one or two renowned industry speakers, to drive attendee attention.
2. Involve Sponsors
Getting sponsors can significantly help you with the costs involved in setting up the virtual conference. However, getting ‘well-known’ sponsors that align with your brand’s goals and objectives on-board, truly helps elevate your event.
Infoshare is one of the leading tech conferences in CEE and it is held annually in Gdańsk, Poland. While circumstances have forced the event to go exclusively online, Infoshare 2020 didn’t miss a beat; it boasts some of the most impressive lists of sponsors broken down into different tiers, such as silver, gold and platinum. To accommodate sponsors further, Infoshare allowed brands to hold workshops and webinars during the conference.
Securing sponsorship from top brands like Microsoft, Mercedez Benz, and others is an impressive feat. It also shows the trust these brands have in the event. Hence the volume and quality of brands sponsoring the conference helped make Infoshare an even bigger deal in the eyes of the public, if it wasn’t already.
3. Make Your Conference Super Accessible
A virtual conference that is easy to join shouldn’t be a selling point, but it is. Not a lot of organizers are able to run an online event that is free of issues.
To be fair, some of these issues are beyond human control. You could be using a great virtual conference platform like Hubilo, with features that’ll make your virtual event the best it can be. But you can’t prevent certain errors from occurring, even if you tried your best. Hence you must have protocols and safety nets in place, in case something goes wrong.
Here are examples of some of these issues and how you can combat them before and during the event:
- Choppy or lagging audio and video due to poor internet connection – Advise attendees regarding the best practices of watching the live streams. Also, use CDN to deliver content to the nearest data center of attendees.
- Not observing time, causing your event to run longer than expected – Create a timeline and communicate this clearly with your speakers before the event. Worst case scenario, you must cut off the speaker if they are taking up too much time.
- Event is not PWD-friendly – Prohibit flashing effects on all presentations (for the benefit of attendees with light sensibility) and provide closed captioning to cater to those who have hearing impairment.
4. Provide Event Access Beyond the Actual Conference
Event turnout is one of the most vital marketing KPIs for virtual events. Why? Because the number of attendees your event has, paves the way for gathering data points such as qualified leads and post-event conversions.
And one of the best ways to generate additional attendee count is to offer access to content and features such as networking, even after the event is over. That’s where virtual conference platforms take the center stage.
Especially, when it comes to conferences that are held annually, such platforms can be leveraged to provide access to content year-round and be included into the offering presented to prospective attendees.
TNW Conference is The Next Web’s yearly flagship conference on tech, marketing, and AI. While TNW2020 has come and gone, people who wish to revisit the videos of speakers can sign up for its video-on-demand pass for a price. While this is a great way for attendees to catch up on sessions they missed, the organizers get an additional opportunity to monetize and generate leads.
5. Offer Different Ticketing Tiers
Some organizers offer a single price for their respective events, just like what The Next Web did in the previous example.
However, bigger conferences may require higher costs since you’ll need to invest in a full-fledged virtual conference platform, relevant equipment and allocate sufficient marketing budget (amongst many other aspects).
At the same time, you’ll have to charge a higher price to cover these costs, unless you have big sponsors who will take care of this. This may push away some of your audience who don’t have the funds to spend for your event or are unsure of the value they would get from it.
Instead of alienating them, you can establish a multi-tiered registration for them to choose from. Each pricing tier would vary on the basis of price and perks involved; the more expensive the tier, the better the perks.
Before Social Media Marketing World postponed its event to 2022, it was accepting registrations, albeit in a tiered fashion. There were 4 different registration options for attendees, namely – All-Access, Marketer, Community and Virtual. The lowest plan was targeted towards those who couldn’t attend the actual event but wanted to have access to all virtual recordings of the sessions and workshops.
Another example is Confab, a content strategy conference that will be held online in May 2021. It has offered various pricing options but used a different approach to segregate them.
Instead of offering different ticket items or perks for each price, Confab has offered the lowest price to those who want to secure their seat in the event ‘now’, i.e. the early birds. And this price increases as the attendee delays the time of registration.
This is a great tactic because it creates an urgency to purchase the ticket, if the attendee wants to get the best value for their money. The sooner they can pay, the cheaper the tickets are. All prices offer the same benefits, so if they are keen to attend the online event, there’s no point in waiting for the price to go up!
If you want to reach out and engage with people in your market, hosting virtual events is the key. But, thoroughly planning how you are going to sell your virtual conference is essential in today’s time, as you compete for attendees’ undivided attention. You really need to out of your way to position your virtual conference as an unmissable event. The ideas shared above are just some of the ways in which you can stand out from the crowd, but they will surely put you in the right direction.