In 2019, 39% of local channel partners across a variety of industries indicated that events were among their top five most vital marketing tactics. However, over the past year, thousands of local, in-person events were cancelled due to the pandemic, and many brands shifted dollars to digital tactics to connect with their communities.
Benefits of Virtual Events
Now, more and more local events are moving to a virtual setting. Virtual events offer a new way for local businesses to connect to their community in a safe, online setting. Brands can also gain the same connections and business value of attending an in-person event without the expenses, travel, and hauling around of physical promotional materials.
Types of Virtual Events
Opportunities to promote your brand at virtual events can range from:
- Hosting an event
- Being a featured speaker at a virtual event
- Sponsoring a virtual event
- Setting up a virtual booth where you can chat with attendees
Whichever path you choose, make the most of the opportunity to connect with your community with this virtual event planning checklist:
Virtual Event Planning Checklist:
Before the Event
- Prepare a short biography and video about your company for use on the event website. Highlight your business, promotions, and products.
- Ask about sponsorship opportunities. Can your logo be included on event homepage? Can you sponsor a Q&A session?
- Promote the virtual event on social media. Drive traffic to the event registration page by letting your followers know reps from your brand will be attending and encouraging them to join.
- Acquire the list of event attendees and send an email to introduce yourself and invite prospective clients to set up a time to chat with you during the event.
- Order post-event giveaways and fun tchotchkes to mail to virtual attendees. Or, coordinate a giveaway of one prize to incentivize attendees to virtually visit you.
During the Virtual Event
- Customize your sales approach based on the event set up. Can you video chat with a group of attendees? Is private messaging available? Be sure to schedule one-on-one meetings when possible.
- Keep virtual attendees engaged with giveaways, live polling, quizzes, or other online games. In-person conferences are fun, and the virtual experience must measure up.
- Post updates, including photos, teasers, and reminders to event attendees, on your social media accounts.
- Gather information, such as virtual business cards, phone numbers, and business needs, from people you connect with during the event. Add their information to your CRM or lead database.
- Take advantage of networking opportunities to build relationships with other attendees, speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors. If more than one representative from your company attends the virtual event, take turns going to breakout sessions.
After the Virtual Event
- Use the list of attendees and lead information you gathered to follow up with prospects directly over email or phone.
- Run targeted digital marketing campaigns to keep your brand top-of-mind with event attendees.
- Send branded promotional items to your top prospects who are near the end of the consideration stage of their purchasing journey.
- Share key takeaways from the event with corporate stakeholders and other channel partners so they can learn from your experience.
Need Help Finding and Booking Virtual Events?
Contact BrandMuscle today to help your local affiliates get started with virtual event advertising.