It’s no secret that everybody is hosting online events nowadays, and people are now attending more virtual events than live events, partly due to the COVID-19 closures, but also because many people and businesses have realized the unique benefits offered by these virtual events. 

While on the one hand, this means that the industry is booming, the competition is also tighter than ever with there’s seemingly an endless influx of online events every single day. 

With that being said, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive promotion strategy to maximize online event registration and attract more attendance, or else, your virtual event is doomed to fail. 

Below we’ll discuss some actionable strategies and ideas you can use to promote your online event and maximize registration.

Promoting Online Events VS Promoting Live Events

There are indeed many similarities between promoting a traditional (live/in-person) event and an online event. So, if you are an experienced live event planner, chances are you can use most if not all your usual tactics when pivoting to an online event. 

However, there are indeed some differences, and arguably the most important one is the fact that the preparation time (and thus, promotion time) for a virtual event is typically shorter. 

While indeed you’ll typically need less time to plan an online event (i.e. it takes a much shorter time picking a virtual event platform than booking a physical venue), but still, we shouldn’t underestimate the timeframe required to successfully promote an event. 

This is why it’s even more crucial to have a solid marketing plan in place when attempting to maximize online event registration. 

Tips and Strategies To Maximize Online Event Registration

Knowing and understanding your target audience

One of the most important secrets to maximizing online event registration is knowing who your target audience is and understand them: their needs, preferences, behaviors, pain points, and so on. 

The better you understand your target audience, the better you can plan a virtual event that caters to this target audience’s preferences, and the more attendees you’ll attract. 

A good approach is to first identify the purpose of the event (if you haven’t already) and its objectives. Then, identify the target audience that is the most likely to help you achieve these objectives. 

For some events, the target audience is fairly obvious: if it’s a product launch event, then the product’s target market is your obvious target audience. However, for some others, less so. 

Create and publish an effective event press release

A well-written event press release is a great way to effectively build awareness for your online event and attract more potential attendees. 

Identify relevant local media, websites, influencers, and other relevant parties to send your press release. Make sure the press release is well-written with the right balance between being attractive and informative. Also, consider the timing: remember that typically you won’t have as much time to promote an online event as opposed to a live event, so make sure you send the press release early enough so people can still register, but not too early that they’ll forget the event before the launch date. 

Create a high-conversion event page to maximize registrations

For an online event, a well-designed and functional event page is crucial

You should create a dedicated event page that is a part of your website’s domain (if any). Even if you’ve got strong followers on social media, your social media pages aren’t direct replacements for this event page. 

The event page must:

  • Be well-designed enough so it can impress your target attendees and encourage registration
  • Contain all the important information about your event, including: 
    • Event date
    • A well-written description of your event
    • Attractive videos (i.e. teasers, videos from previous events, etc.)
    • Talents/speakers bio
    • Sponsors
    • Etc. 
  • Functional online registration and online payment function. It should be as simple as possible to register for your event. Make sure your CTA buttons are easily visible. 
  • Be consistent in branding, for example in placing your company’s logo and usage of brand colors

Also, make sure your event page is technically optimized, for example by making sure it’s mobile-friendly and has optimal load speed. 

Email marketing is your friend

Email marketing is one of, if not the most effective channels in promoting online events, especially if you’ve already got an email database from hosting your previous events. If not, you can purchase an email list from third-party sources. It won’t be as effective as building your own list, but it’s a good start. 

Here is a general timeline you can use when promoting your online event via email:

  • Send frequent (but not too annoying) promotions to your event list
  • Send a thank-you email along with the event’s details as soon as they’ve registered
  • Reminder a week before the event, a day before the event
  • Reminder the day of the event
  • Another reminder at the start of the event
  • Reminder to people who have registered but haven’t shown up on the virtual event platform yet

Also, use email to engage attendees after the event, for example by sending a follow-up thank you email and post-event surveys. 

Social media marketing

It’s fairly obvious that you should promote your event on social media, where your target attendees are active in. The question is, how?

Here are some social media marketing tips you can use to maximize online event registration:

  • Identify who your target audience is and promote on the channels they frequent. LinkedIn, for example, is great for marketing online events that are targeted at professionals
  • Find the right balance between your organic efforts (building your own followers and posting your content) and paid efforts (i.e. Instagram Ads). Make sure they support each other with consistent branding
  • Partner with the right influencers that can help promote your event
  • Don’t underestimate YouTube to post your videos and also YouTube Ads to spread your online event’s reach with potential attendees

Wrapping Up

Marketing an online event is often challenging due to the limited time you typically have to promote the event. However, that doesn’t mean it’s strictly impossible.

Plan a comprehensive online event marketing strategy as soon as possible, and by using the tips we’ve shared above, you’ll have a great start for maximizing registration for your next event.

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