As a side-product of the pandemic, the concept of holding conferences remotely is probably very familiar to you by now. But for the purposes of explanation, a video conference is just like a regular conference, except it takes place over the internet. Businesses usually use conferences to discuss new ideas, celebrate a project launch, or layout plans for new campaigns.
Virtual conferences involve integrated video and audio, as well as application sharing and chat functions.
They run just like an in-person conference would, with guest speakers, panels, audience Q&As, and speeches. However, the key difference here is that virtual conferences can be hosted anywhere, with guests appearing from all over the world. The only limit is your imagination. Well, that and the strength of your internet connection, perhaps.
In any case, with the boom in virtual conferencing dominating the current business skyline, how do you make yours stand out? How can you market your conference as unique and exciting in an increasingly online-based world?
This article will give you seven creative ideas to market your conference to the world. With our advice, your conference is sure to be the virtual event of the season.
1. Social Media
Without an overly long preamble regarding the value of leveraging online marketing strategies in our increasingly internet-based working environments, social media really is one of the most important components of your virtual conference marketing endeavors.
It doesn’t need to be fancy; in fact, we would recommend the exact opposite. Marketing your conference on social media could be something as simple as a quick tweet or a post about your conference. You can also include links to your website where people can find more information about the event.
When creating any kind of social media post, it’s important to consider what platform you’ll be using and to tailor your content accordingly.
Here’s a one-stop-shop for social media platforms and the kinds of posts you should be putting on them:
Twitter: Short, snappy sentences. Be as concise as possible. Use key hashtags to get people to see your event. Include a picture if you want, but be aware that it may detract from your message.
Instagram: Images are essential. Hashtags are also important here. You can use the “Reels” function to post a short, professional video explaining more about your event.
Facebook: Longer posts are more acceptable here, but keep it concise. Include an image and some keywords to reach a wider audience, and be sure to link back to your website or dedicated Facebook page.
YouTube: Try to keep your video short but informative. Make sure it is created with professional audio grading and a good set – nobody wants to watch a poorly lit video in a wobbly studio.
2. Landing Pages
Once people know about your event, what then? Consider designing a landing page for your conference to maintain people’s interest and inform.
But what’s the difference between a landing page and your regular homepage?
They can be similar, it’s true. The key difference here is that your homepage will be an overview of everything your business does, not just this single event, and a landing page will be a specific page that your users will arrive at after clicking a link elsewhere.
Your landing page should include important information about your event, such as the date, time, speakers, panels, and anything else you feel that prospective attendees will need to know.
If your conference is about a specific launch of a product or service, use your current product map to make a quick list of its features. That way, people can decide if attending your event will be useful to them or not.
Here are some things you might need to consider or include when creating your landing page:
- Color scheme
- Fonts and headers
- Any sponsor information
- Speaker bios and information
- Event agenda
3. Content Marketing
This is an oldie but a goodie, as the saying goes.
Content marketing has been used by businesses as a promotional tool for almost as long as the internet has existed.
If you’re lucky enough to have a team at your disposal, you can leverage both content writing and copywriting techniques to your advantage. But what’s the difference?
In short, content writers and copywriters have much the same goal – to educate and inform on matters of business. However, where copywriters are more focused on a specific item or product, content writers tend to produce more generalized, SEO-focussed business content.
For example, in terms of your event, a copywriter would write a piece – say, a blog post – about your conference specifically, and a content writer would write a longer piece about the merits of virtual conferencing in general, with internal links to your webpage and possibly your landing page.
4. Speaker Promotion
If you’re having guest speakers at your virtual conference, why not ask them to promote your event? Publicity always sounds better coming from the individuals who are participating in it, as it will seem more genuine and less manufactured.
A short, professional video from one of your speakers can go a long way in marketing your virtual conference. Make sure you use clear video and high-quality audio, to give your event the best chance of being shared and seen. Your speaker can provide details about the event itself, the date, timings, and perhaps a short summary on the topic they’ll be speaking about.
5. Partner Up
If you’re running a more high-profile event, partnering with another brand or business can be a fantastic way to reach a wider audience. Think Kanye West and the Adidas Yeezy line and how it became one of the most popular campaigns in recent history. The Venn diagram of people who like Kanye’s music and people who like Adidas is a circle, pretty much.
The same concept applies to your business. Regardless of what your conference is about or what your business does, the general rule is to partner with a brand that has a similar consumer base, but – unlike Kanye and Yeezy – is different enough to the point where you’re likely to reach a whole new demographic.
This can also help with your SEO link building. You and your brand partner can use content and copywriting techniques to link back to each other’s content, building up a web of optimized content. It’s easy and effective, and your event will become more popular in the process.
6. Marketing Emails
Again, a classic technique that has its place in the virtual conferencing marketing world. Potential attendees of your event can receive updates about the conference straight to their inboxes. For example, new speakers could be added or the time might need to be changed; both aspects that people need to be informed about.
Marketing emails are the bedrock of marketing campaigns, as most business owners already know. However, they are chronically underused in terms of virtual conferencing, which is surprising considering how widespread virtual events have become over the last few years. Don’t miss out on this essential technique if you want to get ahead.
The most important element of a good marketing email is the tone. Save your fancy professional voice for the brand partnership or a board meeting, and make your emails friendly and inviting. After all, people receiving these emails have likely pre-ordered tickets or have signed up to your mailing list, so they’re already interested in attending your event. There’s no need to put on the hard-sell.
7. Video Previews
This technique goes hand-in-hand with the social media strategies we discussed earlier in the article. However, video previews, instead of advertising things like the event date and time, give a more in-depth look at what people can expect to see at your event. For example, video previews can show excerpts from speakers, or convey a message from a sponsor or brand partner.
Their purpose is to create more excitement around your upcoming event, therefore they usually have a more informal tone. There’s no need for Michael Bay-type explosive graphics to get people hyped up (after all, you’re still a professional company), but the manner of the video is generally more colloquial and friendly.
We’re all probably far too used to online calls these days, but virtual conferences are still enough of a novelty to draw attention. With the right strategies and the right leverage, your event will attract a crowd and be a huge success.
Just make sure that you’re approaching your marketing from the right angle. Social media, for example, can only work as a marketing tactic if you understand the demographic you’re targeting and the culture of the platform you’ve chosen to use.
Landing pages will only be successful if they achieve a balance between informativeness and conciseness. Too much text and your audience will be turned off; too little and nobody will know where or when your virtual conference is being held.
Ultimately, marketing for your virtual conference is all about collaboration. You have to work with your team to know your audience, build relationships with other brands and sponsors, and ingratiate yourself with guest speakers.
Get things done as a team, and you’ll be good to go. Happy conferencing.