Tips for Hosting a Successful, Engaging Virtual Event


April 03, 2023
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Tips for Hosting a Successful, Engaging Virtual Event

Virtual events are a convenient and cost-effective way for professionals to connect all over the world. With the virtual events market forecast to reach $366.5 billion by 2027, elevating your virtual events should be a core business strategy. Email marketing is an essential promotional tool to reach audiences for your virtual event no matter where they connect. 

Here, we’ll explore what event marketing is and provide virtual event planning tips to ensure your next virtual event is a success. 

What is event marketing?

Event marketing is a strategy to promote products, brands, or services online, offline, or both. When digital event planning, event marketing done right will ensure your virtual event is a success.

Effective event marketing can help businesses to build brand awareness, increase engagement, generate leads, and educate potential customers. And for consumers, dynamic event marketing provides an opportunity to learn more about their favorite brands and interact directly with them. 

How to leverage virtual events for marketing

The nature of event marketing has changed substantially as technology has evolved and many events have gone virtual. Beyond mere alternatives to traditional in-person events, virtual events have become a sensation, presenting novel ways to reach expanded audiences and boost loyalty with existing ones. 

Best of all, virtual events generate evergreen content you can use and reuse to extend brand awareness, engagement, and sales opportunities well into the future. 

Still, virtual event planning can sometimes be challenging, especially for first-time marketers. Here are some tips and best practices to ensure your virtual event is a success for hosts and attendees.

1. Set clear goals

Before you start virtual event planning, determine the reason(s) for the event and what you hope to accomplish. Is the purpose to promote a new product launch? Are you looking to train employees on new processes? Do you hope to expand the pool of online leads, increase existing customer basket sizes, or drive store traffic? 

If your entire team understands the larger business goals you wish to achieve, they’re more likely to hit crucial success metrics. 

2. Choose the right platform and time

Virtual events rely heavily on attendance and audience participation, so you’ll have to choose a fully functional, feature-rich, and convenient platform for your customers—and clearly communicate the location information on the virtual event email invite. 

Because a virtual event may attract attendees from anywhere in the world, your event invite should also state the time zone.

ClickUp

In the virtual conference invitation email above, ClickUp covers everything attendees need to know about its virtual event. The recipient knows when and where the meeting will occur and the topics discussed—plus, the information is easy to read. 

3. Promote the event

Advertise your event with automated email marketing well in advance to ensure a high turnout. Include conversation topics and other activities at your event to intrigue audiences and entice them to attend. Check out this virtual event invitation email sample for an illustration: 

Signal-email

And remember, the rule “better late than never” applies to flexible virtual events, so continue to promote the event even after it begins.

Pros and cons of hosting virtual events

Marketers should understand the pros and cons when planning virtual events since the benefits and drawbacks may affect your overall event marketing strategy. 

Here are some of the advantages of virtual events:
  • Lower cost: Virtual events massively reduce costs (such as travel, accommodations, child care, time off, and more) and free up budgets to spend money elsewhere. 
  • Saves time: Virtual events conserve time, resources, and energy for hosts and attendees. Plus, since virtual events are typically more fast-paced than in-person events, you can get the job done in less time. 
  • Wider outreach: Virtual events are a great way to expand a company’s reach to people across the globe. What’s more, virtual events are accessible to everyone, especially those who otherwise might not be able to travel.  
Still, virtual events have potential drawbacks to consider: 
  • Less excitement: Virtual events save money but can’t compete with the excitement that comes with in-person experiences. 
  • More distractions: Virtual events can’t guarantee the exclusive attention of participants. Whether the distraction is by their environment, neighbors, or work, interruptions are almost a given when planning a virtual event. 
  • Lack of human interaction/connection: Virtual events can sometimes lack human contact, especially when the presentation, webinar, or event lacks 2-way interaction.

5 types of successful virtual events

Planning a virtual event opens the door to different engagements that your business can host, sponsor, or attend: 

1. Workshops

Workshops are popular virtual events for business training sessions. Often led by an instructor, workshops deliver specialized instruction and present opportunities for collaboration across virtual and in-person environments. Usually centered around one topic relevant to the business, workshops share knowledge and educate attendees, whether open to the public or not. 

2. Live streams 

Live streams broadcast over the internet to an audience in real time. This type of virtual event became popular during the pandemic but continues to grow in popularity as a way to connect with potential customers through social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, and Instagram are just some of the platforms that businesses can use to live stream and drive business. 

3. Webinars 

Webinars provide a platform for speakers to share their expertise, knowledge, or advice on any given topic to a targeted group of people. Typically lasting an hour but no longer than 2 hours, this type of virtual event broadcasts to a select group of individuals over the internet. 

The presenter will often share PowerPoint presentations, webpages, or other multimedia content with their audience on a specific topic to educate virtual attendees. Also referred to as seminars or roundtable discussions, these virtual events involve discussions, lectures, and networking. 

4. Conferences

Conferences typically involve a large company hosting the event, with smaller brands and businesses sponsoring. These events are powerfulhosting or sponsoring one can expand a business’ brand awareness, generate leads, and solidify customer relationships. 

Whether in person or online, conferences engage attendees and feature keynotes from high-level speakers, panel discussions on various topics, training sessions, and other educational activities. Want to know how to plan a virtual conference? Check out our Virtual Event Planning 101 Guide.  

5. Virtual networking 

Virtual networking events are a popular way to meet colleagues and gain new insights, ideas, and perspectives. Whether part of a bigger conference or webinar or on its own, virtual networking events are great marketing tools businesses can use to leverage the potential for business partnerships. 

Other types of virtual events best promoted by event marketing include job fairs, awards events, pop-up shops, trade shows and exhibitions, health and well-being sessions, and more. 

Promote your next virtual event with Twilio SendGrid

No matter your goal, virtual event planning can help your business reach new heights. With nurtured connections, increased reach, and the ability to personalize your communications, virtual events invite people to learn more about your business. And we can help you promote your next virtual event.

When you leverage Twilio SendGrid’s Email API, you can deliver exceptional promotional email experiences. SendGrid helps you manage subscriber lists with a powerful segmentation engine and email audiences, from 10 to 10 million. And with a 96% industry-leading inboxing rate, you can send confidently with SendGrid. With just a few lines of code, your marketing team can prepare for your next big virtual event. Sign up for free today!

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