9 Marketing Tips I Learned From Hosting 3 Virtual Conferences

Last month the third Outreach Marketing Virtual Summit hosted by GroupHigh streamed which featured 46 presentations, 2,000 attendees and an awesome Twitter chat. Presentations ran live all day and are now available on demand.

Thought leadership presentations on topics such as SEO, blogger outreach, social media marketing and influencer partnerships were tackled through some pretty cool webinar style presentations.

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Attendees encompassed a variety of marketing levels from universities, brands and agencies so as you can imagine these virtual conferences are a great way for me to network with others in my field. And Because I’ve organized three of these events now, I have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way that can be applied to many types of online events

Here is a quick curation of what I’ve picked up along the way but don’t hesitate to weigh in and add your own tips or ask me questions!

Double your estimated time budget

When it comes to virtual conferences, you need to plan and organize the speakers for the event, build out the landing pages, create the virtual conference environment and, of course, market the event so people come in the first place.

Plan out the event, estimate how much time it is going to take you and then double whatever that time estimate is and you’ll be close to that actual time you need to put in.

Do a soft promotion and a hard promotion

The average person signs up for a virtual event two weeks before it takes place. The theory is that more than two weeks is too far to think ahead of time to actually commit to adding something to the calendar.

Therefore I start marketing my conferences 6 weeks before and I call this the soft promo in which I announce the event, email my network and send out a few tweets.

Two weeks before the conference, I use most of my marketing budgeted for the event and see the majority of my sign ups.

Create sharable content for your speakers

You speakers or presenters are your most valuable assets. They are making the conference worthy of attending AND they have a network of people who like them that they can promote your event to.

In order to encourage as much promotion from your speakers as possible create content that is easy for them to share with their audience.

  • An image with the event logo and date and their headshot as a featured speaker
  • A prewritten tweet
  • The meat of a blog post
  • An exceprt for their newsletter
  • A high res image of your event logo

Use google Campaign links

Because I have done three virtual conferences I have the luxury of refining my past tactics and processes. The Google Campaign feature has allowed me to generate links for all of my tactics and keep the strategies that work and toss the ones that don’t.

Give deadlines earlier than what you need

We are all busy people. We all have good intentions. It can be more time consuming than people realize when it comes to recording a presentation and uploading it on time. Build in some padding to your deadlines for mistakes, family emergencies, etc so you and your speakers are not scrambling at the last minute.

Communicate with speakers regularly

Put all of your speakers in a list and email them once a week. Keep them posted on event information, deadlines, how many participants are signed up, etc. to keep them mindful and excited about the upcoming conference.

Create a hub for speakers to apply to speak

The Outreach Marketing Virtual Summit is made up of speakers that I email and invite to speak as well as marketers who apply to speak. Creating an application and landing page that you can send everyone to so they can enter in their contact, social and presentation information is a great way to find new speakers and keep organized!

I used a Google form and then funneled all of my applicants in to my GroupHigh account and vetted them that way.

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Vet for quality

Of course speakers with large followings are logical choices so they can help promote the event.

But, since this content is reusable and valued by so many agencies and brands I read through the speakers proposed topics before I looked at their numerical qualifiers like Twitter followers. I think a great presentation by someone who is just starting out but has some great experience is so valuable!

Market a topic not the entire event

I used a handful of paid for promotion tactics to drive attendees to the conference.

Instead of advertising “The Outreach Marketing Virtual Summit” I told a story by advertising the different presenters and topics that comprised the entire conference.

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