Promoting Your First Virtual Event: Where to Begin

  • By David Kennedy | Tuesday, June 9th, 2020
Illustrated figure in a virtual event live stream

You’ve got the lineup, scheduling, branding, and marketing language ready for your first virtual event, and now it’s time to actively begin promoting it. But where to begin? Virtual experiences represent a rapidly developing new frontier in entertainment, and getting your messaging in front of the right eyes in a timely fashion is crucial in driving awareness, building excitement, and generating streaming access sales.

Fortunately, our event marketing experts have you covered! Read on for our detailed breakdown of where and how you can start promoting your first virtual experience today.

Existing Customers

Email Remarketing

Direct your efforts toward the audience you know is most likely to show interest in your virtual events: your existing customers and past attendees! Email remarketing is a powerful, low cost tool to reach this previously engaged audience, and you most likely already have their contact information from their past purchases. Assuming you’ve acquired their consent to receive marketing emails within a previous ticket checkout, you can use the email address associated with your existing customers’ most recent ticket order to alert them to the exciting details of your upcoming virtual event. Consider offering perks like a loyalty discount or early-bird pricing to entice early sales, and watch your online audience start to take shape! 

Facebook & Instagram Remarketing

The best place to reach your existing (and new) audience is where they’re already spending their time: social media. You’ll want to harness the contact information you already have from past purchases to your in-person events. Pull an email list from prior ticket orders, and upload it into Facebook to create a Custom Audience. If your existing customers have used the same email address, phone number, or other unique identifiers in both your ticket order and their Facebook and Instagram profile, their account will be added into your Custom Audience, ready for remarketing! You can then fully customize your campaign by deciding on which types of ads to run on each platform (Stories vs. Feed, videos vs. image carousels, etc.) and even expanding your reach to new customers by generating Lookalike Audiences. Take this opportunity to run a series of ads promoting discounts and limited time offers, encouraging your target audience to act now.

Adding your Facebook Pixel to your virtual event listings is another important step you need to take to further hone and optimize your social ad campaigns. Our virtual events platform makes it easy to copy your custom tracking pixel from your Facebook Ads Manager and drop it directly into the ShowClix Admin, instantly integrating it with your event listings. Use this additional level of tracking to specifically target and serve ads to visitors who landed on your virtual event’s ticketing page but did not complete a purchase. Use language conveying urgency, and consider offering additional limited time discounts to convince them to buy!

Brand Ambassador Marketing

Once they’ve reserved access to your virtual event, your customers can become brand ambassadors with interactive referral perks. With a platform like Audiencetools, you can provide a user-specific referral code and employ gamification tactics like a point system for the number of friends and followers they refer, offering prizes like VIP upgrades, private meet and greet add-ons, event merchandise, and more. Encourage your customers to share their personal referral code via social media to build up their points, and boost your event awareness in the process!

Performers, Celebrities, and Other Talent

Social Media

Arguably the largest potential reach your virtual event has at its disposal is the individually devoted online fandoms of each of its slated performers, artists, speakers, and celebrity guests. After all, they make up the core of your virtual event’s content – they’re what the fans want! Harness their existing social media presence by encouraging your talent to promote their participation in your virtual event to their followers. Depending on the size and scope of the lineup for your online experience, this kind of direct fan exposure could be a potential game changer in terms of live stream reservation sales. Consider including a clause compelling such social promotion within your talent’s contract to ensure it takes place, and watch as your virtual experience goes viral!

Testimonials

Tap your performers and speakers for media-friendly quotes regarding what virtual attendees can expect from your online event and why they’re excited to participate. These talent testimonials can serve as valuable inclusions in press releases, event website content, and even in advertising materials. In acquiring such quotes, your best course of action is to at least lay out a template for your talent to work off of, or even write the proposed quote out entirely and simply send to their representation for approval. 

You should also encourage your talent to mention their upcoming participation in your virtual event in any interviews or other media engagements they may be participating in. Provide them with a pre-approved list of brief talking points they can mention, ensuring any public conversation surrounding yoru virtual event remains accurate and on brand!

Sponsors

Required Cross Promotion

When identifying and pitching your virtual event to potential sponsors, you likely focused on how relevant that sponsor’s brand and audience is to your event programming. Obviously by partnering with sponsors whose customer base is similar to your event’s target audience, you increase the likelihood of a favorable ROI for the sponsor, but don’t forget that this exposure has the potential to work in both directions! Negotiate into your sponsorship agreements that your sponsors are also required to promote your event to their customers leading up to your online experience. When selling sponsor packages including highly visible placement like banner ads in your live stream, push notifications from your virtual event app, and naming rights to sessions during your event, make it a requirement that the sponsor needs to post about your virtual event. Ask them to utilize their social media channels and emails lists and be specific with the contents: how many times should they include your event, what link to use as the CTA, and promote your event via a banner ad on their homepage.

Media Relationships

Press Release

Because virtual events are an inherently exciting, new medium in entertainment, you should jump on this growing interest by sending out a series of press releases detailing the most newsworthy pieces of your online experience. A press release is a relatively simple, cost-effective method to announce things like your official lineup, details of your virtual content, and insights into the planning and managing of your first online event. Explain how you arrived at the decision to go virtual, the steps you’re taking to ensure an engaging event experience, and what this unprecedented level of connection means to your event community. Including a selection of the approved quotes you collected from your event’s talent will lend to the newsworthiness of your releases and further encourage media outlets to pick up your story!

Industry Blogs & Outlets

Beyond issuing formal press releases, there are other methods you can explore to ensure your event is part of the discussion about the emerging industry of virtual experiences. Utilize any existing connections you may have (and work to build new ones) with industry blogs, professional associations, and event technology outlets to turn your upcoming virtual event into an example of an online experience done right. Inquire about any upcoming stories or posts the outlet may be working on, and share details of your event’s content, streaming technology, and ticketing process to contribute to the ongoing conversation around virtual events and live streaming. This kind of professional exposure can serve to further cement your virtual event as a full-fledged online experience that fans won’t want to miss, and can even put you on the radar for future sponsorship and partner opportunities.


Ready to learn more about planning and hosting a virtual event? Check out the full virtual events solution offered by our parent company, Patron Technology!

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