Marketing Strategy for Virtual Events: How CX Makes its Magic on Attendees’ Minds.
A recent report published by SuperOffice states that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. CX is overtaking price and product as the key differentiator of a brand.
Thus, the team responsible for communication must define what will be the best approach to create an attendee’s journey even before the event. That includes engaging participants, creating buzz, and presenting the main information and differentials.
In short, anything that creates value from the very first impact and irresistibly invites the attendee to start their journey.
So, in this post, we’ll shortlist the topics that a marketing plan has to cover to create a compelling and unique virtual event experience.
a. Operational objective
What is the goal of your virtual event? Improve brand awareness, engage attendees, distribute content or launch products? The marketing plan for virtual events should work as a road map, pointing to the way to reach the final goal.
b. Who’s involved?
Who will be part of the team, and how will the responsibilities be divided? It is necessary to be very clear to the people involved in these marketing actions, deadlines for each task and also how they will exchange information.
c. Communication objective: being omnichannel both for communications and operations
The more specific the objectives, the easier it will be to analyze and measure the results to assess whether the event was successful or not. Therefore, your goals should be:
- Clear and specific
- Aligned with the objectives of your company or business
- Based on a prior analysis (a specific need of the audience, for instance)
Keep in mind that there is no need to set multiple goals. However, it is essential that they make sense and are reachable.
d. Brand guideline (tone of voice, colors, personality, etc)
Get to know, in detail, the company’s branding plan as the construction and management of the brand follows a path to make it unique and valuable.
If you are aligned with the image that the company intends to project and fix in the minds of its audience, it is easy to identify and adapt these strategies when preparing a virtual event.
The key to a remarkable and extraordinary experience is to make the participants experience the company’s culture and feel valued by the institution.
The next step is to understand the profile of the audience that will participate in the event. Assess participants’ interests via questions on the registration form, for instance.
Thus, you’ll increase your chances of choosing a schedule that appeals to everyone.
If your virtual event brings together a broad audience, try to find out what points in common they may have among themselves.
The idea is to entertain and instruct the participants, depending on the purpose of the meeting. But success will come, mainly, as people have the opportunity to connect and strengthen bonds.
e. Tell a story
Define the tone of your communication and how your messages will tell a story that can engage potential participants and encourage their enrollment or, in the case of internal events, further motivate employees. Remember to highlight the problem that will be solved by your virtual event.
2. Registration plan: Impact on the buying journey
a. Attraction / Research
Have an objective visual identity, bet on technology, assemble a prepared team and publicize your participation.
Thus, when people who are close to your target audience look for information on issues related to your event, they will be able to find you. We will discuss tactics for this stage of attracting visitors on the 5th topic of this article.
b. Attending decision
Invest in experiential marketing since the very first step. The audience’s choices are often made by emotional factors. Plus, experiential marketing in virtual environments is subject to many distractions.
The solution for it? Be the most interesting distraction yourself.
Your attendee finally decided to go to your event. With it, the organization provides an amazing experience for their senses, feelings and emotions, mental involvement, behavioral change, and identification with a group to which the public belongs or intends to be a part of.
The idea is to interact with individuals, provide dialogue between brands and people, as well as promote engagement. This ends up bringing the target audience closer to the product, by associating the brand with a positive experience.
3. Social media/promotion plan:
a. Define your channels and select social networks
A website is essential, regardless of the target audience. But the marketing actions must predict what will be the other main communication channels between social networks – Facebook, LinkedIn, e-mail marketing, and even ads. It all depends on the target audience and previous tests done by the virtual event organizer.
b. Promotional content posting calendar
The first step is to know how much content you can produce. There is no point in publishing articles over the course of a week and, in the next, not having any material. The frequency of the posts is very important for the success of the campaign.
Send at least one email per week. On social media you should post even more frequently, on average three a week. Also, stay tuned to the retail marketing calendar. Commemorative dates are excellent for generating business.
It is also important to test to see which days your audience has the most access on social networks and which times they are connected. This information will point out the best days of the week and when to put the content on the air. Social media metrics help with this process.
c. Measuring followers, likes / reactions, comments, shares
Measuring results is essential in digital marketing. Through these analyses, you can understand what is the best publishing routine and what types of content please your target audience.
Having a metrics analysis routine helps to guide the production of content and improve your communication strategy. In addition to having a direct influence on the assembly of its editorial calendar.
4. Digital CX strategy:
In times of high competitiveness and real-time communication, one of the biggest challenges for virtual events to approach people and turn them into attendees is creating a relationship of value.
The good news is that for this challenge, we have user sciences such as CX and UX.
Customer Experience digital tactics form a universe with opportunities for communication, interaction, relationship and measurement of every interaction a person has with your branded virtual event.
Today, best practices of investments in a marketing plan for virtual events include:
Targeted social media ads with rich content. E.g.: a real excerpt from a lecture.
b. Retention popups
With retention pop-ups, online events can retain customers, trying and preventing them from abandoning their buying journey.
c. Forms that are easy to use
Sometimes even the most essential questions can become a huge form. So review it and make sure you shorten the journey of a prospect who wants to become an attendee.
d. Content (corporate blog)
Content is the pillar of what is called nowadays Inbound Marketing. And it all starts with a blog. It can even work as a content platform that will support the gap between editions of your virtual events, regardless of how often it happens.
This is the first stage, in which your potential customer is unaware of your company and the products and services you offer. In this step, the user is looking for information and wants to find educational solutions to their problems.
The importance of attracting potential customers with well-developed content is due to the fact that you will gain the user’s trust.
It is not interesting to advertise your company a lot at this stage, since the purpose of producing content at this time is to show value to this potential customer, preparing them for possible commercial contact.
5. Marketing Plan for Virtual Events integrated tactics
Invite journalists in your industry and produce press releases before, during and after the event. Be careful to record everything that happens and show it to your audience afterwards, both for those who were present and those who could not attend.
After the virtual event, also seek feedback from those who participated. This brings a very positive outlook to the entire project.
After all, what enterprise would not like spontaneous and organic content generation? This interaction and relationship can be fostered and stimulated through an organized and efficient mailing list.
b. Word of mouth / influencers
Today’s word of mouth continues to function as the best type of marketing, only in a different way: via comments.
Gather feedback from participants from past occasions. If it is the first edition of your virtual event, ask the guests/participants for their opinion after the event.
Ask the author of interesting testimonials if they allow you to share their vision, so that they know that their opinion really matters to your business.
You know your registration form page and email marketing promotions are attractive and you’ve got a good list to send it to.
But you notice that, despite a lot of people opening the form page, just a few are filling it up and confirming their presence.
If you’re still not familiar with Remarketing, we’ve got a complete guide on how to it both on Facebook and Google: How to increase event registrations with remarketing.
In addition to writing relevant content in your corporate blog, you also need to consider several more technical aspects related to SEO.
Optimizing content for SEO to succeed with your event marketing campaigns is important for several reasons, but mainly for that content to be found. Let’s be honest: you don’t want to write three articles a week for 10 readers.
e. Pay per click (PPC)
Boosting an event post from your social media profile is the simplest way you can do it. However, it’s not the choice that will provide you with the best results.
Regardless of the chosen objective, the options for optimization, audience segmentation, positioning, and charging are endless. So you better have a PPC professional to set up your ads if you don’t want to go through this steep learning curve alone.
f. Monitoring event marketing KPI’s in a centralized event analytics platform
You just created an awesome virtual event journey, so it’s time to track its performance. For that, InEvent pixel can provide you with detailed analytics of your whole virtual event: attendees present, duration of their visit, most viewed sessions, etc.
Plus, you can easily integrate it with your Google Analytics account to conduct a cross-data analysis and get insights into your customer behavior during their buying journey.
Also, if you’re new to integrations, you can better understand it on this 5-minute read: Why you need these 5 digital integrations to sell more .
6. Conclusion and key takeaways
Applying CX techniques doesn’t start in the virtual event itself. The process begins in the very first effort of your marketing plan.
CX, UX, and other usability studies are a mix of neuroscience and marketing that have as their main objective to understand what makes a consumer decide on a given brand.
A marketing plan for virtual events needs to consider that what is not being explicitly said in satisfaction surveys, feedback forms, and descriptive comments on social media are the strongest motivation of people – exactly because they don’t recognize it.
And that’s the biggest challenge you’ll find throughout the time you get yourself involved with marketing plans, virtual events, and CX.
The decision-making process does not happen in a rational, logical and conscious way as we usually believe. It starts in the unconscious, when certain stimuli activate specific parts of the brain.
If you want to know more about usability sciences and how they help your overall business strategy, this article Personalization at Scale goes through that in detail.
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