Whatever type of online event you’re putting on – virtual, hybrid, webcasts, videocasts, etc. – you have to have a process. Our five step guide to creating world-class online events will drive more traffic, attendee engagement, and measurable event ROI for you and your partners
- Death, Taxes & Quality Content – okay, this might be a little dramatic, but you get the picture. If you don’t start out with quality content, your online event doesn’t stand a chance. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard ‘we tried a virtual event once and it didn’t work for us’ or ‘our target audience just isn’t ready for that type of approach.’ Well, the reason that virtual event didn’t work for you is because your content was probably boring and didn’t deliver any value to the end user. And I hate to break it to you, but your audience IS ready to be marketed to through virtual events, webinars, etc. B2B Marketers and event attendees alike are making it an essential part of their event toolbox moving forward. To help you build quality content for your online event, poll your audience. What do they want to see? What issues/challenges are they faced with on a daily basis that they would like to see addressed through an online event? Then use that info as your foundation and build from there. And remember, your event content is better off taking an objective, thought leadership approach
- Take an Integrated Approach – Longer – there are so many marketing tools at your disposal to help drive traffic to your event, you’d be crazy not to leverage as many as possible. The days of only sending emails and a few direct mailers are over. Promote your event through targeted email blasts, social media, blogs, forums, online banners, SEO/SEM, your website. Take an integrated approach and hit your audience from a few different angles. And in terms of how long, I’m amazed that some companies only promote their webinars for 1-2 weeks. I’ve always been a proponent of three weeks minimum, but I believe 4-5 is ideal to drive a lot of traffic. For virtual events, it really varies, but I think you should promote them almost as long as you do physical events
- Video – It’s Nice to See You – there’s nothing wrong with audio-only webcasts, but video is a more powerful tool that creates stronger audience engagement and studies have proven it. Some producers of online events still question the quality and reliability of online video, but they shouldn’t. The top webcasting and virtual event platforms in the space today leverage video all over the place, ultimately fostering a more collaborative environment
- Social Media is Staring You in the Face – Leverage it! – there’s literally no better free marketing tool in the space, but you need to use it the right way. Use social media to drive awareness and traffic for your events, and then use it inside your environments. Connect with presenters and other attendees through social media, share key presentations, literature, etc. Include links to blogs and forums as a way to build your brand.
- Extend the Shelf – Life of your Hard Earned Content – how many times have you spent weeks, if not months, building your content for your webcast or virtual event. The big day comes and you knock it out of the park. Your content is very well-received, but you have no strategy to extend its shelf-life and it dies on the vine. Don’t put yourself in this situation. Have a clear strategy to extend the reach and value of your events by offering them on-demand. But just offering them on-demand isn’t enough…you need to have a marketing plan in place to drive as much traffic as possible to the archived version. Today’s business professional is constantly on the go and many times your ‘live’ date doesn’t fit their schedule. Because of this, you need to make your content available 24×7 so they can access your content when they want and how they want – in the office, at the house, on their laptop or mobile device. From a marketing perspective, taking this approach will allow you to touch more of your target audience, ultimately getting your sales force in front of more qualified, ‘sales-ready’ leads
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Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of ElasticSolutions. Email him @ email@example.com