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You'll get the best content from The B2B Marketing Mentor and leading insights on B2B marketing from around the web—delivered straight to your inbox. Here at Marketo, we’ve found virtual events to be highly successful in driving leads and opportunities. Here, we examine how we planned and executed our virtual event to illustrate why companies should consider hosting their own, and offer advice on how to drive the maximum amount of registrants and attendees to make a virtual event a real success.
Additionally, since virtual events tend to generate higher attendance rates than in-person conferences, they can generate more leads, sales and press coverage and result in a higher ROI. Virtual events also provide organizations with detailed metrics on integral aspects of customer behavior, such as what content they viewed most and how long they engaged with it, which helps improve behavioral lead scoring and increases the chance of future sales. Once you’ve decided to participate in or host a virtual event, there are many logistical items to consider during the planning phase. For example, will you require a cheaper self-service platform that allows you to create, design and product the event yourself, or do you prefer a more expensive full-service option that takes care of everything for you? You should also consider costs for content creation, creative services, prizes and giveaways, and other promotions such as social media paid advertising and pay-per-click advertising. You should also be thoughtful about how you label the various areas within your virtual event.
If you need to privately answer a question posted in the group chat box, explain that you will contact the person privately and move the discussion off your public chat so you’re not interfering with the conversations of other attendees. You can also set up your virtual event so that attendees who complete all of the required actions can be entered to win a prize. The most important part of hosting a virtual event, whether you’re sponsoring or hosting it, is your content.
With many virtual event platforms, you can set your introduction video to autoplay, which means visitors are exposed to your message immediately upon arrival at the event. Many virtual event attendees will likely just be learning about your company, so you should have a fair amount of thought leadership on industry trends and best practices in order to position your company as an expert in your field. Our event last year consisted of a keynote presentation, three additional presentations attendees could choose to watch, and a final keynote presentation. Getting people to attend your virtual event, visit your booths, and attend your sessions is difficult without having a well thought out promotional plan. Another great technique, and one that we have done many times at Marketo, is to take your presentation materials and extend the value further by creating an eBook out of the content.
You should also use the booth manager section of your virtual event platform to download the list of people who interacted with your booth and collect any virtual business cards contributed by attendees. Once you’ve classified these leads, use lead scoring to identify their sales-readiness, then create lead nurturing campaigns to stay engaged with them and move them down through your funnel. Virtual events can be a cost-effective and highly efficient way to market your organization and engage with your audience from the comfort of your own office.
Software Advice is the leading provider of detailed reviews, comparisons, and research for software buyers.
The free blog post headline analyzer will score your overall headline quality and rate its ability to result in social shares, increased traffic, and SEO value. Your audience sees you as a person. Events are a good way for you to connect to your readers in a human way.
Your audience gets to meet others like them. Events can almost be a reward for a great audience, providing an event or venue where they can meet others with the same interests as them. Conversation and engagement online is one thing, but as every politician knows, you have to get out and meet the people. Meeting people face-to-face increases loyalty to you, your message, and your brand. It removes that invisible layer that somehow allows people to say and do things online that they’d never do in person.
If the research is true, and 90% of how we communicate is through non-verbal communication like gestures and vocal quality, a face-to-face meeting is more powerful than any blog post you’ll ever write.
So an event strengthens the bonds between members of your audience, and it strengthens their loyalty to you. We make a planning app, so of course, we’re going to tell you that the first thing you need to do is some serious planning. No one reaches for an apple core just like no one comes to an event without the marketing that brought them there. Let’s start with a few questions that you and your team can ask to get the ideas flowing in your initial planning meeting.
There is a subtle thread running through these questions: Are you planning an event because you need it, or because your audience needs it?
It’s hard to create fantastic event marketing around the choice of fruit at the buffet.
The event planners have (hopefully) been hard at work lining up everything from venue to speakers to giveaways.
Even if these kinds of details aren’t fully locked down, the marketing team should have enough to get started on their marketing plan. You must know how much your marketing team is able to spend before you can plan your marketing approach.
Without a budget, you could end up dumping a lot of money on huge glossy banners and leaving very little for other kinds of content marketing that might work better with those who are attending. Content Marketing World, from Content Marketing Institute, has a website to market their event. If you aren’t able to do this, at least consider a landing page with a custom domain name pointing to it.
While it’s fine if your brand tweets and publishes content about the event, you should have separate accounts, too. You can follow people with the event social accounts and make that part of your publicity efforts.
Your tweets and posts won’t get lost in other brand messages in news feeds and on your profile pages.
It’s also easier to measure the success of your social media plan because there is only event-related content present.

You get twice the exposure, once on your brand account, and another on your dedicated account. Your event content marketing plan has three major points of attack: pre-event, during the event, and post-event. There are also two kinds of content marketing that surround an event: informative and buzz.
It’s tough to keep the energy level of people up, but your event content marketing really needs to do that. Even though many of your followers might not have made it to the event, you’re still building buzz for future events.
This is your chance to get testimonials or collect social posts that are enthusiastic about your event. In other words, make those who attended proud that they did, and those who didn’t, envious. Your marketing team will have fun planning the buzz content, thinking up campaigns and fun ways to get people excited. Plus, with the ability to create notes on your calendar, any additional content planning can also happen right alongside the blog and social content.
The rest of this post tells you exactly how to implement your event marketing plan using CoSchedule, but these same ideas can be applied to other tools like a paper calendar, too. Create a note on the calendar for important dates: day of event, registration opens, various deadlines, exit surveys due, etc. Create draft blog posts highlighting the speakers, and place them on the calendar leading up to the final deadline for registration.
Create social media for all of these blog posts, directing them to your event social accounts that you’ve connected to CoSchedule, using your usual social media schedule. Create additional stand-alone social media posts so that informative content is posted to your social media accounts at least every day. Use color-coding and filtering to make sure that the informative content has a steady presence, according to your plan. One involves people taking photos of themselves wearing the event T-Shirt that you’ve sent them in various locales. One is a series of graphics that tell the story of an average attendee before, during, and after the event with a humorous twist.
Work with each buzz campaign separately, assigning it a different color on the CoSchedule calendar. Set your calendar to show you many weeks at once, and remove all other content with filtering. Start with the last post first, and schedule social messages for the last graphic the day after the event.
Now, using filtering for colors, blog posts, and specific social accounts, see what your event content marketing looks like.
Even if you aren’t using CoSchedule, an editorial calendar is a must-have for your event marketing plan.
Whether you use a paper editorial calendar or an app like CoSchedule, event content marketing is best planned just as you would your other content marketing: on an editorial calendar, with your audience in mind. Join one of our resident customer coaches for a 20-minute guided tour, followed by a Q&A session. Save time scheduling social media in bulk & work more strategically with premium integrations. Work smarter with robust social automation, auto-pilot publishing, and data driven intelligence. A calendar that will give you more control and even better insight over your team's schedule. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Clipping is a handy way to collect and organize the most important slides from a presentation. Marketers know that a strategic PR plan can play a key role in overall marketing, but the PR approach too often appears as a few bullets in a presentation deck:  press releases, media interviews, executive speeches. Even for PR practitioners, there’s sometimes a tendency to jump headfirst into publicity tactics. An easy way is to start is with a classic SWOT analysis and determine where a strategic PR program fits in reinforcing strengths vis-a-vis competitors or building allies in the event of sudden external developments. Traditional market research isn’t sufficient as the basis for a PR plan incorporating traditional and social media. Marketing and advertising are very useful for informing customers of new products or services or innovations like price changes, but a good PR strategy often rests upon true brand differentiation  or the ability to create it through borrowed interest strategies.  Think about the narrative that will carry the program and what mix of tactics can best communicate that difference. The overall PR strategy, positioning, target audiences, and key messages are typically fixed elements of a plan, but tactics may require constant review and change. It’s a myth that PR, advertising, and direct marketing need to constantly push out the same message, but they do need to mesh rather than conflict. This goes without saying, but bear in mind that the objectives for a strategic PR program are often not conversions. MENG is the indispensable community of executive level marketers who share their passion and expertise to ensure each member’s success. Dorothy Crenshaw is CEO and Creative Director of Crenshaw Communications, a boutique PR firm focused on marketing and reputation building strategies for consumer and technology brands under the banner "Creative Public Relations for a Digital World." She founded her firm after a 15-year career in marketing PR that included senior posts at Edelman and Grey Advertising's GCI Group. They’re a great way to reach and engage with thousands of participants around the world without accruing steep costs for travel, venue rental, extra staff, etc.
When you combine these benefits with the low cost barrier to entry, it’s easy to see why virtual events can be an easy, effective, budget-friendly win for your business.
Just like a physical event, virtual events require careful team coordination, creative input and resource planning in order to succeed.
All of these components should be decided upon well ahead of time and factored into your budget.
There are many technology platforms on the market you can use to host a virtual event, including ON24, InXpo and InterCall.

This person will be responsible for ensuring things run smoothly on the day of the event and assigning additional staff to engage with attendees.
The default setting for tabs in pre-created virtual event templates may not be right for your company, so be sure to categorize your content in a way that makes sense for both attendees and in the context of the experience you want to provide.
You can promote content both in your booths and in the live sessions you choose to feature.
The key to a compelling video message is to keep it short and to the point so as not to overwhelm or bore attendees.
You should also provide case studies and customer testimonials to those attendees that are already familiar with your company and are perhaps considering making a purchase.
Treat your virtual event as you would any large event and include email and social media channels as part of your promotional plan. After your virtual event has concluded, make sure all content featured during it is available for people to view. The next step is to classify these leads so you can plan how you’re going to approach them. With careful planning and a well-organized team, they can be a highly successful addition to your event marketing mix. You have enough going on with your blog, your social media, and all of the various content marketing efforts that help build your audience. But that’s not just prejudice talking—you need to plan your marketing for your event as much as you plan for things like venue, speakers, and catering. It’s better to send people to a website solely for the event rather than a page buried elsewhere in your site. This might include information on registration and deadlines, or sharing informative blog posts. You’re keeping both the event attendees informed, as well as those who are following along back home. It’s important to post social content throughout the event featuring inspirational quotes from speakers, photos of the fun everyone is having, and so on. But be sure they are in touch with the planning team so that the informative content isn’t forgotten. Much of your content marketing for the event will be blog posts and social media, and that can all be created and scheduled with that birds-eye-view that only a calendar can give you.
So whether you’re a CoSchedule user or not, you can definitely learn a thing or two from these tips.
Deciding what types of events to attend and/or host, identifying the content you will present, initiating promotion to attendees, and evaluating every detail of your event(s) are just a few components of the overall event marketing process.
These touch points provide a way to keep attendees engaged and informed about the product or services your company offers, which increases the likelihood of converting them into customers.
Costs can also vary widely depending on the capabilities of the technology platform you use to host the event. To find the best option, determine the features and functions you will require and submit a request for proposal (RFP) to several vendors, then compare the bids to select the one that best meets your needs. The key here is to have content available for all attendees, no matter what stage of the buying cycle they might be in. Each booth, and the exhibit hall as a whole, has a resource center where you can add eBooks, videos, case studies, etc. If you had a presentation, include it in your website’s resource center, promote it through your social media channels and send out a link to it in a follow-up email campaign.
Dayna has extensive experience in content marketing, social media, marketing automation, and inbound marketing. But, after you’ve gotten a better understanding of the event, you need to create a budget before doing anything else. If you follow these tips, your site might even be better than Content Marketing World’s.
And that compelling copy, of course, needs to somehow tell the vital details of when, where, and what. Collect the social feeds, or use an app like Twubs to pull together all of the Tweets with your event’s hashtag(s).
You could even post videos of brief interviews of the speakers if you really wanted your attendees to get a feel for what their message is.
In other words, if you are getting some social buzz surrounding your event, it should be displayed prominently on your site.
It helps increase word-of-mouth, and its goal is to get more people to register for the event. She has been blogging since 2002 at her Lone Prairie blog, and works as a freelance writer and visual artist. Meticulous planning and effective promotion of your event will ultimately lead to ease of execution and, in turn, a positive response. This How-To Guide is designed to provide practical advice on planning, promoting and executing your event marketing plan. The event was one of the largest virtual events in ON24 history, with more than 10,000 registrants and almost 3,500 attendees. Use the chat box to welcome visitors with a personal message, answer questions, direct people to an appropriate piece of content based upon their interests or needs or connect them with a sales rep. From top to bottom-of-funnel, make sure you have it all, and that attendees can both locate and interact with it this content easily. Featuring a video with a quick pitch or that highlights the main takeaways from the event may be all you need to get somebody engaged.
This guide outlines the event planning process, provides tips to promote your events, and explains how to execute a successful event.
If you’ve planned a hashtag or other community-generated content idea around your event, that content fits here. Share downloads, videos, and helpful related content that both attendees and non-attendees find useful.

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