Improve your brand awareness and build relationships.
Create a target attendee profile with information such as age range, interests, preferred social channels, pain points, and where they are in the buyer’s journey.
Survey or poll your audience to collect information about what type of event, guests, or other event information they’d like to see.
To better understand your target audience, email surveys to your segmented audience, use social media community tab polls, or use social media story polls. Make it easy for your audience by giving multiple choice answers, ranking out of 1 to 5 questions, or polls. Example questions to ask:
- What social media platform do you use the most?
- Have you attended an online event before?
- Would you be interested in a [your idea for an event] event?
- What day of the week for the event would you prefer?
- Would you be more likely to attend the event if there were prizes?
Choose an online event format that will best resonate with your target audience by looking at survey results, historical data, and goals.
Consider your other goals as well. Are you interested in promoting a specific product? Are you hoping to gain leads? Some of the most popular events types include virtual:
- Games/competitions/giveaways: This will engage your attendees with your brand and appeal to a wider audience.
- Conferences: Combine online tools with keynote speakers that are experts in your industry to bring more value and attract more viewers.
- Trade show and expo: Showcase your product and expand your global reach.
- Sponsor a good cause: Partner with a relevant non-profit and expand your reach with their audience.
- Live webinar: Increase brand awareness and establish your brand as an expert in your industry.
- Livestream on social media: Stream interactive live content to your Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube audience.
- Twitter Event: These events are connected through one event hashtag that all attendees can include in their own posts and search for in other posts.
Consider partnering with other organizations, charities, or guests that appeal to your target audience.
For example, Salesforce turned their sponsors into guests for their live event by hosting a competition based on who performed the best three minute live demo. Attendees voted on their favorite. Salesforce chose sponsors and guests that they knew their audience would enjoy, and then turned it into a game to make it even more engaging.
Plan, contact, and book guests or sponsors as far in advance as possible. For most events, this should be at least a month in advance. When you reach out to a person or organization to pitch your idea, include the benefit to them, like exposure to a new audience, the opportunity for branded exposure, or compensation.
Consider your target audience’s pain points and interests to help plan your event’s messaging and content.
For example, during the coronavirus pandemic, Quintessa Estate vineyard knew that its audience missed having access to in person wine tastings and missed the getaway aspect of it. Quintessa leveraged these pain points to create unique virtual wine tastings where they sent wine samplings to the attendees before the event.
For email, you can send reminders to your email list with specific details, including a direct link to the event. For social media, regularly making event posts will keep your followers informed while using tools like Facebook Events to send reminders to attendees.
Promote your online events to your target audience’s preferred social channels as early as possible and regularly until after the event.
Ideally, starting as early as 4 to 6 weeks before the event and increasing frequency the closer you get. This can be done via ad campaigns, website pop-ups, social media, or email.
Consider creating promotional content for the event as well, such as guest teasers, behind the scenes video, or a blog post that introduces the event with a call to action to sign up.
Some event hosting programs, like Zoom or Vimeo, have post event surveys you can enable. You can also send an automated email survey to attendees, post another social media poll, or use an app like MeetingPlay to distribute post event surveys. Sample post event questions:
- How would you rank this event out of 5?
- Were there any technical difficulties?
- If you could improve one thing, what would it be?
- Which event segment was your favorite?
- Would you attend a virtual event like this again in the future?