🚀 The Event Playbook: Proven strategies to level up your next event!

🚀 The Event Playbook:
Proven strategies to level up your next event!

virtual event marketing strategy

Guide to Crafting a Winning Virtual Event Marketing Strategy

Discover the keys to igniting stratospheric global sign-ups for your online events through a disruptive virtual promotion framework proven to captivate worldwide audiences.
A crowd of people at a concert with bright lights.
A yellow and black square on a black background.
An orange and black arrow with a black background.

Amp Up Your Event Marketing

Get a fully customized promotion package designed by marketing experts to create buzz, boost sign-ups, and take your event to the next level.

Virtual events are now officially indispensable.

Attendance has exploded 300% since 2020 as digital innovations erase geographical limitations.

Yet most organizers still rely on antiquated tactics better fit for in-person conferences, strangling online success.

Without a modern promotional blueprint designed specifically for the digital realm, virtual events never fully realize their game-changing potential.

This powerhouse guide equips you to captivate global audiences and drive maximum registrations for webinars, virtual summits, or hybrid gatherings.

You’ll discover battle-tested strategies blending timeless marketing principles with digital-first tactics for unstoppable exposure and conversions across must-use channels.

Follow our proven virtual event marketing framework step-by-step to gain total clarity on audience targeting, craft contagious content, master social media buzz, and analyze data to take your next online gathering into a disruptive stratosphere.

Let’s ignite exponential growth!

Defining Virtual Events

Virtual events are online gatherings conducted over the internet.

They connect attendees across the globe through video conferencing, chat tools, interactive presentation software, and more.

Rather than traveling to a venue, participants simply access the event through a URL on their computer or mobile device.

Common examples include:

These events allow attendees to learn, network, and share ideas without geographical limitations.

Organizations can reach wider audiences, reduce costs, and gather data to refine future events.

Compared to physical events, virtual events provide:

  • Broader reach – Access for anyone with an internet connection, allowing higher attendance across states and countries.
  • Convenience – No travel needed, enabling people to attend at their convenience.
  • Cost savings – Drastically reduced overheads with no physical venue, allowing organizers to charge less.
  • Engagement features – Polls, Q&As, chats, and gamification to actively involve audiences.
  • Data analytics – Robust attendee data around engagement and preferences to inform marketing.

With these advantages, it’s no wonder virtual events have seen rapid adoption. 

According to a recent report, 82% of organizations plan to either maintain or increase the number of virtual events they plan to hold year to year.

Source: MarketingProfs

They provide clear value to both organizers and audiences.

Now let’s explore tips for marketing them effectively.

Crafting a Virtual Event Marketing Strategy

Marketing best practices still apply for virtual events, but the online nature allows for some unique strategies.

Leverage visual content

Videos, gifs, and images especially resonate when promoting online events. 

Create engaging graphics and multimedia that capture interest quickly on places like social media.

Highlight convenience and access

Emphasize reduced barriers to attendance without travel as a major benefit to amplify reach. 

Compared to in-person events, highlight ease of access for time-constrained audiences.

Share presentations and clips

Post snippets, recordings, or examples of your speakers and sessions ahead of time. 

This builds credibility and gets attendees excited through “trailer” content.

Promote interaction opportunities

The interactive elements are a huge benefit of virtual events. 

Promote polls, live Q&As, discussions, and networking the event enables through software and tools.

Incentivize registrations

Limited-time discounts, exclusive content for attendees, contests and prizes can all drive sign-ups and registrations to fuel word-of-mouth publicity.

Now let’s explore some of the top marketing channels and tactics to actually execute this virtual event strategy.

Want expert guidance & exclusive deals on top online event software? Contact us today and save!

As a preferred production partner with top virtual event platforms, we get exclusive discounts and pass the savings along to our clients.

Main Virtual Event Marketing Tactics

With a strategy in place, here are powerful platforms to spread awareness of your online event.

Email Marketing

Email newsletters and campaigns offer a direct line to qualified audience segments. Send a series of emails highlighting keynote speakers, schedule details, interaction opportunities, and special promotions.

Time emails around the event lifecycle:

Segment lists for tailored messaging to various groups and roles. Send one-to-one VIP invites to key influencers as well.

Social Media Marketing

Organic and paid social strategies excel at driving event engagement. Share posts, graphics, and videos highlighting speakers or session topics on networks like:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

Promote interaction opportunities, limited-time discounts, or access to exclusive content to generate buzz.

Hashtags unite conversations around the event theme, along with tagging relevant speakers, sponsors, partners and attendees. Compelling event hashtag marketing can ignite viral promotion.

Paid Event Advertising

Sponsored ads allow precise audience targeting and consistent event exposure across major networks:

  • Facebook/Instagram ads
  • LinkedIn ads
  • Google Ads
  • Retargeting ads

Coordinate visuals and messaging for a cohesive promotional strategy. 

Prioritize audiences likely to have high interest based on their demographics, interests and search behavior.

Media Coverage & PR

Reaching out to industry media outlets about planned speakers, topics or research being presented can secure coverage driving mainstream awareness.

Prepare pitches highlighting newsworthy announcements or data tied to the event itself. 

Follow up post-event with event statistics and audience reactions demonstrating success.

Thought leadership also elevates events. 

Contributed articles published sharing insights from keynote thought leaders build anticipation. 

Coordinate with speakers to repurpose presentations into blog content as well.

Influencer Partnerships

Influencers sharing events with their engaged social followings can expand reach exponentially. 

Negotiate promotional collaborations and expect influencers to actively promote through their own organic social channels.

Some potential options include:

  • Speaker influencers
  • Industry experts
  • Brand ambassadors
  • Microinfluencers

Compensate influencers through free attendance, VIP perks, or event sponsorship packages. Ensure clear guidelines on the number of posts required or types of content expected from the influencer partner.

Creating Engaging Content to Promote Virtual Events

Content reigns supreme when promoting any event, especially online ones. 

Creative and strategic content builds meaningful anticipation, and gets audiences truly excited to participate.

Types of Content That Work Well for Virtual Events

A woman giving a presentation at an event.

Speaker-focused Content

High-profile speakers, leading experts and celebrity keynotes are major draws to attend virtual events. 

Create content focused solely on their expertise, authority and presentation topics. 

This captivates audiences and spotlights your impressive roster of talent.

  • Speaker bios
  • Interviews
  • Podcast appearances
  • Guest columns
  • Social media takeovers

Coordinate visuals and messaging for a cohesive promotional strategy. 

Prioritize audiences likely to have high interest based on their demographics, interests and search behavior.

Behind-the-Scenes Content

Give audiences insider perspective into planning such an intricate online event. 

Share details around cutting-edge platforms being leveraged, speaker rehearsals, technical teams working tirelessly behind the curtain.

Post photos, videos, interviews or blogs with staff preparing. 

This makes attendees feel special and conveys the event’s grand scale.

Agenda Sneak Peeks

Don’t keep the event schedule and breakout session topics secret! 

Give audiences a taste of presentations or activities weeks beforehand to pique curiosity.

Share only partial details along with calls-to-actions to register and guarantee their access to the complete experience.

Limited-Time Offers

Scarcity triggers emotional responses that can skyrocket event signups. 

Offer exclusive savings, access to extra content libraries, or free month subscriptions only for buying within constrained periods.

Countdown timers showing the dwindling registration window increase urgency. 

Limited seating also pressures people to book quickly to secure their spot.

Event Sizzle Reels

Nothing summarizes an event quite like a creative trailer. 

These short animated or live-action videos bring your conference vision to life through powerful multimedia storytelling.

Display the lineup of speakers, event brand imaging, attendee testimonials and platform screenshots fused into an exciting cinematic piece. 

Feature these across your digital channels.

Best Practices for Distributing Virtual Event Content

While crafting stellar content is step one, optimizing distribution is equally important. 

Adopt these best practices for sharing across channels:

  • Email: Segment lists for tailored content based on member preferences and attributes. Send speakers emails with preview perks to fuel exclusives.
  • Social posts: Share nuggets or quotes rather than full articles for short attention spans. Utilize catchy captions alongside tempting visuals and video clips.
  • Paid ads: Develop consistent ad creative paired with messaging aligned to content themes and topics. Remarket past attendees emphasizing premier event access.
  • Website: Feature speaker bios prominently on the event homepage. Publish full thought-leadership articles driving SEO authority. Gate agenda with lead gen forms to capture registrant data.
  • Media: Pitch journalists and reporters suggesting contributed columns from your thought leaders. Topic ideas should align to content presented on stage for integrated amplification.
  • Influencers: Provide pre-approved content templates for easier sharing across an influencer network. Ensure brand guidelines protect event exclusivity and prevent leaks.

Now let’s connect the dots across channels into a holistic calendar designed for maximum impact.

Strategic Content Calendars to Promote Virtual Events

Planning content across a multi-month runway rather than last minute generates consistent visibility. 

Steady social posts, email touchpoints and contributor content sustains awareness.

Integrate related content initiatives happening on the same days or weeks for momentum. See an example short-term calendar:

1 Month Out:

  • Launch limited-time 50% promo codes via social ads and email
  • Unveil preliminary speaker lineup highlighting headliners
  • Secure media coverage announcing newly confirmed keynotes
  • Poll social audience around desired session topics

3 Weeks Out:

  • Release full agenda to email subscribers first
  • Feature behind-the-scenes interviews with event technical director across social
  • Confirm influencers who will amplify event hashtags and details

2 Weeks Out:

  • Publish portions of speaker presentations as gated blogs
  • Share event sizzle reel across channels
  • Email speaker perks to confirmed registrants fueling exclusivity

1 Week Out:

  • Go live highlighting final schedule details in a launch broadcast
  • Email last chance discounted tickets for procrastinators
  • Add countdown clocks across site and social banners

This cadence mixes limited-time discounts, insider updates, and celebrity content reveals across a build-up designed around scarcity. 

The data-driven approach tracks engagement to shift initiatives as needed.

Now let’s move into specific frameworks around maximizing reach through social channels with strategic messaging techniques.

Easy starting packages • Advanced options • Proven results

Leveraging Social Media for Maximized Event Promotion

Social media represents the most engaging digital arena to connect with target audiences at scale. 

For online events, platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter enable spreading key details to relevant groups through attention-grabbing content.

Craft Catchy Social Copy

A woman's hand writing on a piece of paper while organizing an event.

With endless posts competing for attention, creative messaging is crucial. Write compelling copy utilizing psychological principles proven to stick in minds and prompt shares, such as:

Utilize odd numbers

Rather than “Top 10 Tips” use headings like “13 Pro Presentation Pointers”

Ask open-ended questions

“What virtual event topics interest you most right now?” sparks dialogue.

Incorporate self-reference

“Join us for our 2023 Virtual Summit next month!” drives unity.

Use emotional words

“This exciting free workshop teaches essential skills to expand your business!”

Emphasize exclusivity

“Register to get exclusive speaker presentation slides” builds anticipation.

Optimize Post Timing Based on Audience Habits

Analyze past posts and engagement data to detect when your followers tend to be most active on social media

Schedule upcoming event promotions strategically during peak hours for each platform.

Late afternoon or early evenings tend to work best for business audiences off work hours.

Test days and times using social media management platforms examining your unique community trends.

Strategically Tag Relevant Accounts

Manually tagging certain accounts in event posts expands visibility more controllably than just hoping for viral shares.

Smart choices for tags include:

  • Confirmed speakers, sponsors and partners to obligate cross-promotion
  • Industry influencers with aligned audiences by offering preview perks
  • Company execs or current brand ambassadors to activate employee networks

Notify any accounts being tagged to ensure they share and interact with the posts. 

This catalyzes targeted event momentum through key online relationships already established.

While social platforms seem saturated, a savvy combinational approach cuts through.

Share irresistible event content, laser target relevant Groups, and ignite influencer sharing to dominate feeds.

Now let’s pull all these strategies together into an executable plan with KPIs to optimize.

Building an Effective Virtual Event Marketing Plan

We’ve covered major marketing channels, engaging content frameworks, and social media best practices for promoting online events. 

Now let’s tie everything together into an actionable strategic plan.

Having a campaign roadmap with specific responsibilities and timelines ensures consistent multi-channel execution at scale. 

It also enables continually optimizing based on data.

Here are key components to include in a comprehensive virtual event marketing plan:

Objective Statement

Kick things off by clearly defining the campaign purpose. Examples could include:

  • Drive 500+ new virtual event registrations
  • Increase website traffic by 25% month-over-month
  • Achieve $20K in total online ticket sales

Match goals to important revenue or engagement KPIs for your organization.

Target Audience Personas

Detail the exact groups being targeted with tailored messaging. Include demographic and psychographic attributes like job titles, pain points, or behavioral patterns.

Visualize their journey to become aware of, interested in, and ultimately registered for your virtual event experience.

Content Marketing Calendar

Map out owned content across email, social, blog, advertising channels over the months-long campaign. Align initiatives with stages in the buyer journey from discovery all the way through retention.

Integrate influencer partnerships, discount promotions, and PR announcements into cadence peaks to compound momentum.

Advertising Roadmap

Define paid ad initiatives and budgets across platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google supported by creatives, audiences and messaging for each campaign.

Allocate minimum threshold budgets per platform for sufficient exposure, and split by awareness vs retargeting buckets for systematized ongoing spend.

Responsibilities Matrix

Detail individual owners across marketing, agency partners, event organizers and stakeholders overseeing specific deliverables in the plan based on skillsets.

Include management oversight enforcing continuity of the participant experience throughout their lifecycle.

Performance Analytics Blueprint

Finally, connect marketing activities to CRM and web data tracking attendance, registrations, lead conversions, ticket sales and other key performance indicators.

Set realistic yet ambitious targets for each metric and plan regular reporting cycles to showcase ROI plus optimization recommendations.

Now let’s explore a sample high-level timeline applying these planning elements across an 10-week virtual event campaign.

Get “The Event Success Playbook”

Our proven event planning playbook has step-by-step strategies to increase qualified leads 25%+, grow revenue, and boost engagement.

A person holding a tablet.
A yellow and black square on a black background.
An orange and black arrow with a black background.

Detailed Virtual Event Marketing Timelines

With a strategy, content framework and responsibilities matrix set — translating initiatives into a week-by-week timeline keeps all teams and deliverables locked into the wider campaign cadence.

Here’s an example 10-week sequenced plan promoting a major virtual summit.

Week 1

  • [Marketing] Launch branded hashtag and social handles
  • [Events] Confirm final speaker lineup
  • [Agency] Build core website pages and registration

Week 2

  • [Marketing] Email save the dates to past attendees
  • [Marketing] Share initial social posts announcing dates
  • [PR] Distribute press release highlighting keynotes

Week 3

  • [Events] Release presenter guidelines for content prep
  • [Sales] Outreach to enroll initial wave sprint sponsors
  • [Agency] Mock up promotional giveaway items

Week 4

  • [Marketing] Publish speaker spotlights across social channels
  • [PR] Interview influencers for contributed content in their networks
  • [Agency] Photoshoot for sizzle reel b-roll footage

Week 5

  • [Marketing] Mobilize street team for on-the-ground buzz
  • [Sales] Confirm vendor trade show partners
  • [Agency] Finalize sizzle reel video for digital promotion

Week 6

  • [Marketing] Amplify content from influencer ambassadors
  • [Sales] First access pass sales for premium attendees
  • [Agency] Launch Google and Facebook ad campaigns

Week 7

  • [Marketing] Email sneak peek agenda to opted-in subscribers
  • [PR] Update media pitches with final speaker names
  • [Agency] Website banners with early bird call-to-actions

Week 8

  • [Marketing] Poll social audiences around talk format preferences
  • [Sales] Upsell additional tickets to whole departments
  • [Agency] Retargeting ads to previous online event patrons

Week 9

  • [Marketing] Share discounts and referral codes for next wave outreach
  • [PR] Distribute chairman press quotes reviewing sales milestones
  • [Agency] Refresh website countdown clocks and calls to book

Week 10

  • [ALL] Pivot messaging to scarcity around limited spots
  • [Marketing] Last chance social ad bursts across key platforms
  • [Agency] Update site banners with final day alerts

Having every department align around shared roadmap timelines gets all hands on deck to execute a successful campaign. 

It also enables swift adaptations should certain initiatives exceed or fall short of expectations according to the analytics dashboard reporting.

Check out our detailed guide on event marketing timelines to see how you can further improve this template to better fit your context.

Now let’s connect those dots to explore monitoring event marketing performance step-by-step.

Getting Started with Your Virtual Event Marketing

We’ve explored key principles, frameworks, channels and tactics to drive registration and participation for online events. 

Now let’s shift to pragmatically putting ideas into motion.

Follow this 5-step checklist to kickstart your next virtual event marketing strategy.

Step 1: Set Goals and Confirm Event Details

A man in a headset working on event management tasks on a computer.

Get alignment around intended awareness, engagement and revenue goals. 

Outline the event agenda, topics, speakers, dates and platforms securing all core elements.

This frames the messaging and content pillars when crafting promotions.

Step 2: Research Target Audience Interests

Conduct online surveys, interviews or focus groups with past event participants or lookalike audiences open to attending virtual events.

Ask about their challenges, desired takeaways, preferred content types and communication channels. 

These insights customize appeals balancing aspirations and pain points.

Step 3: Map Content Framework and Marketing Calendar

With audience research learnings, outline 4-5 months of owned content like speaker spotlights, limited-time ticket deals, or agenda reveal timelines across email, social, blog and more.

Integrate paid initiatives like sponsored ads or influencer partnerships coinciding with peaks for compounding attention.

Step 4: Launch Multi-Channel Promotions

Execute planned content initiatives across email, social, web ads and PR outreach. 

Track click-through rates daily to detect well-performing areas for additional investment.

Monitor registrations and engagement sentiment to adapt any aspects of messaging or creatives missing the mark.

Step 5: Continual Optimization Post-Event

Post-event, conduct attendee surveys and analyze metrics around influencers, offers or content types that propelled conversions. 

Update predictive models to sharpen future campaign ROI based on empirical data.

Refine personas, tactical channel budgets and owned content frameworks that performed best as new benchmarks for recurring events.

While this simplified checklist makes easy to follow linear progress, recognize virtual event marketing is a circular process. 

Continual optimization around target audience interests, promotional content, emerging platforms and data intelligence compounds successes over time.

Key Takeaways

Hopefully this guide has illuminated ideas around capturing attention and driving registration for your next virtual event or webinar. 

Let’s review key lessons:

  1. Define clear goals and target audience personas upfront to craft relevant messaging and experiences. Surveys and interviews can provide direct insights into attendee aspirations and challenges to address through content.
  2. Multi-channel content distribution is crucial for cutting through noise, with email, social, and paid ads each playing an optimized role based on strengths. Coordinate visually consistent messaging across touchpoints.
  3. Systematic planning via marketing calendars, budget allocation and responsibility matrices keeps teams aligned on campaign timelines pre-event and optimization post-event.
  4. Scarcity builds anticipation, with limited-time discounts, exclusive content for early registrants, or special access passes applying pressure to convert.
  5. Continual testing and data analysis on engagement rates and conversion performance of various content types and platforms is vital for continually improving future events.

Virtual event marketing success relies on audience-centric promotion coordination, campaign transparency between teams, systematic channel distribution, and process refinements based on empirical data over time. 

The framework enables continually expanding reach and revenue each iteration.

While adopting every strategy explored here simultaneously may seem overwhelming initially, progress starts from first principles. 

Build foundations first with audiences, messaging and platforms showing the most promise.

Then layer on additional initiatives in a sequenced roadmap that plays to the strengths of your organization and events. 

Refer back to earlier sections of this guide on specific steps to take on channels like social media, email marketing, strategic content and more.

Soon you’ll have a reliable framework with engaging content and measurable promotion processes checked all the boxes to connect global audiences with your virtual events at scale.

Ignite Exponential Event Growth Through a Custom Blueprint

It’s time to stop leaving potential on the table and catalyze exponential global sign-ups for your online events. 

But doing it alone can be overwhelming. 

Schedule a dedicated 60-minute strategy session with our team of strategists and creatives to start mapping out a custom campaign blueprint tailored to your specific goals. 

We’ll conduct deep-dive audience research, ideate irresistible content pillars, craft omni-channel promotion calendars synchronized across email, social, PR and more, while designing visually striking creatives optimized for each platform. 

Let’s connect to start amplifying your vision and captivate worldwide audiences through an integrated system built just for your event. 

The first step begins now by booking your strategy session.

We & Goliath

We & Goliath is an award-winning, top 100 worldwide event agency known for increasing conference attendance by 7X and profits by 3X through beautifully designed virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. Since 1999, their team of innovative strategists and creative designers has worked with global enterprises, SMBs, non-profits, and other organizations to engage audiences and exceed expectations.

A black background with a red, yellow, and blue square.
Shopping Basket
A woman sitting on the floor with a laptop.

We create iconic events that generate buzz.

Let us help you smash your engagement goals and set attendance records.

Free for a Limited Time ($500 Value)