Ask any event planner hosting an online event what the most important outcome for the event is, and they will respond with “sales or attendance.”
Ask what their biggest challenge with the event is, and they will likely respond with “marketing.”
Marketing has long been labeled as one of the biggest challenges with online events, which is why it should never be an afterthought. Read below for a look at 10 mistakes to avoid with online event marketing. Then, learn at how to fix these mistakes and plan a successful marketing campaign with the new (free) Online Event Marketing Toolkit.
1. Not Allotting Enough Funds for Adequate Marketing
Unless you have a solid list of people who will attend your event, you will need to invest in marketing. Well before the marketing campaign begins, decide how long you want to advertise the event, how you want to advertise the event, and exactly how much money will be allocated toward each marketing channel. Set campaign goals for each platform and monitor the performance closely. If one of your marketing channels is not producing registrations for your event, shift your marketing dollars to the better-producing channels.
2. Not Having Specific Goals / No Measurable Objectives
One of the most basic mistakes made when marketing an online event is to not set clear goals. Sign-ups, sales, form downloads, and other measurable goals should be defined prior to, and fully tracked during the marketing process. Analytics tracking should be in place to make sure these goals are being met, which will help measure ROI of your campaign. Become an expert at Google Analytics through the Google Analytics Academy – all training is free.
3. Not Defining Your Target Audience
Without a target audience, it’s impossible to create content tailored to the audience. Everyone can’t be in your audience, so you must narrow the profile. Start with age, gender, education etc., but also consider behaviors and interests. By using tracking pixels and cookies, your website can be used as a tool to help define your audience. Review who has visited your site or signed up on your email list and then focus on purchase intent.
4. Not Having a Call-to-Action on all Marketing Collateral
Sometimes, consumers need a little push. A good marketing campaign should have a call-to-action (CTA) with each tactic. Wikipedia refers to a CTA as “designed to prompt an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale”. The definition alone should encourage the use of a CTA. Lead generation examples might include ‘Register Now!’, ‘Free e-book’, or ‘Buy Now’. This encourages your attendee to take a specific action or follow a path to receive something rewarding. Sometimes, people feel directionless when they first get to a website, and a CTA can gently guide them to where you want them to go.
5. Not Being Available or Active in Your Social Media Efforts
If you’re going to use social media to help promote an online event, you’d better be there to respond and communicate with those who took the time to respond to your posts. This is an incredible opportunity to build relationships with your audience. Don’t miss out.
6. Ignoring Mobile Usage
If you want your marketing campaign to be as successful as possible, don’t ignore the popularity and preference of mobile phone usage. Over two-thirds of all digital transactions occur on mobile, and most of them are in-app purchases, that includes social media apps where you are promoting your event. Make sure your marketing pages and your website are responsive (compatible with mobile devices).
7. Dismissing Abandoned Carts of Registrations and Ticket Purchases
When someone begins to register for your event but then abandons the registration shopping cart, don’t just sit back and say, “Oh well!” That is a potential customer who actually showed interest in your event. They are a pretty good lead, already! Hopefully, you will have retrieved their email address and can send them reminders or some kind of incentive to return to your website. Track your abandoned cart performance with Google Analytics. Tools like CartStack help turn abandoned cart visitors into event ticket purchases.
8. Not Offering Discounts
Many people think discounts devalue a product or event. However, early bird registration discounts are great to consider. They can be used as a buyer incentive and appeal to our sense of urgency. People love getting a good deal, and sometimes they will jump on an early bird discount despite the amount or percentage of discount.
Warning: No, this is not referring to the desperate discount you might give just before the event in hopes of increasing attendee numbers. Most people are pretty savvy and will simply wait until the price drops before signing on, ultimately costing you money. Of course, members should be offered a better rate than nonmembers, and that does not need to be a secret. Otherwise, stick to your original price.
9. Email Marketing Without a Strategy
Plain and simple. Don’t neglect email marketing. Nine out of 10 adults in the U.S. like getting promotional emails with companies they actively do business with. Improve the value of your email marketing with a content drip campaign. Send your audience snippets of highly valuable content in a series of emails leading up to event registration. You’re carefully and strategically demonstrating the value of the upcoming event.
10. Not Creating Urgency
There are several ways to create urgency to encourage an immediate purchase, including ‘limited seating’, ‘early bird seating’ (previously mentioned in this blog), and a ‘shrinking countdown’ of days – hours – minutes, and even seconds until the event start time. Reminders like ‘Only 2 Days Left…’ let your audience know that time is running out, and they will miss out if they don’t act now.
Are you launching an online event? Build a powerful marketing campaign with the tips mentioned above and tools from iCohere’s new Online Event Marketing Toolkit.