#ParrotInspires: How can referral marketing support virtual events

Virtual events are trendy right now. The year 2020 has forced us to move many aspects of life to digital. Conferences, meetings, and events are all taking place online. The number of organizations planning virtual events has doubled compared to the previous years.  

Organizing such an event differs from managing an offline version. It may seem to be simpler because you do not need to organize a location, staff, or caterings, etc. However, this is not entirely true. 

One of the main problems with organizing online events is promotion. During a time of pandemic, it is difficult to publicize anything offline as the activities of many places have been limited, and many potential participants just stay at home. Therefore, in order for an online event to be well publicised, its promotion should be based on digital activities. 

In this article, we will cover this topic and help you with managing virtual event-related issues. 

What should you do before organizing such an event?

Before we discuss some tips and tricks to support organizing online events, let’s speak about preparation. Below you will find a list of the most important aspects to consider before organizing an online event. 

  1. The first thing you should do is carry out research. You need to know whether similar topics have already been discussed, whether such events took place recently, what the ticket prices were, who was invited, and what the agenda was. You must also keep in mind the importance of the date, which can’t clash with similar industry events. It is also not worth organizing events around Christmas or other holidays, since people have other things on their minds at those times.
  1. Focus on your target audience. Consider who will attend the event. How can you encourage them, and what agenda will suit your target audience best. Moreover, you should consider the price. Your target group may not always be able to afford expensive tickets, while for some people a too low price can mean poor quality and they may also not be willing to purchase. Also remember about the method of communication and the channels intended for it. If your target group are professionals then LinkedIn will be the right place, but if you are targeting students then Facebook or Twitter are much better channels to use.
  1. Take care of the technical aspects. Consider which platform will be best for this purpose. You, as a host, should also have the right equipment -a laptop, webcam, and microphone. Moreover, you need to have a reliable internet connection. If it fails, the newest laptop on the market will be of no avail.

Once you figure these things out, you can start organizing the event. To make it run flawlessly and well publicised, you should follow the steps below. We will show you how to promote your event efficiently without a huge budget. One of the best methods to promote such events is referral marketing, so let’s begin with it. 

A referral program to gain more attendees

This is a great solution to encourage your early attendees to spread the news. Referral marketing is a low-cost solution so it won’t burn a hole in your pocket, and, what is more, tracking its performance is easy. What you need to focus on is your target audience, whose shoes you should step for a moment. This way, your referral marketing journey has the potential to be a successful one. 

This method of marketing encourages people to talk about you, and your event could go viral as a result. Word of mouth marketing, as it is also known, uses people’s interests to benefit a company. Your attendees can share their opinions about your event after it has taken place and encourage others to participate in future ones or just familiarize themselves with your brand. 

What you need to do first is think about incentives. They can help to expand your brand reach and also build trust. The incentive doesn’t have to be money, but it could be a discount coupon for a future purchase or a gift from your company. Such examples of these are T-shirts or eco-bags with your branding on them. Think about what would work best for your target audience. You can even ask them for feedback about your ideas if you have enough time to do so. 

Referral program – how to run it well?

After deciding on incentives, you should start implementing the program. The best way to do this seamlessly is to choose a platform that will handle the process and automate the whole program. We can recommend using EarlyParrot for this.

It is a referral marketing platform that will help generate a buzz around your upcoming events. How? First things first, you need to install it on your landing page. If you want to connect these actions with an email list then you need to integrate the platform with your CRM or autoresponder. Installation is a piece of cake, so you do not need any IT teams to support the process. After successful installation, you can start creating a referral program. 

Referrals may be shared in two ways. Each of your attendees could buy a ticket to your event and then receive a referral link via email, thanks to which they can invite their friends or family. These future customers can then register via this referral link and the existing customer who referred them will receive a reward. 

The second method is to use emails. Once your attendees register for the event, they could receive a referral link to start sharing with others for doing so. This could also be an option exclusively for those who sign themselves up for your newsletter when registering for the event. 

Remember to set all criteria for your rewards – will they be available for anyone who shares the link successfully, or will multiple shares be required? It’s up to you. 

EarlyParrot also allows you to communicate with your clients and build bonds with them. And no worries, you can customize all your communication channels as you wish, without EarlyParrot branding. All notifications are sent automatically, so you don’t have to worry about anything apart from organizing the event. 

What else can you do to support your events?

There are obviously more ways to support your events, and we have some ideas for you. Let’s start with a very low-cost one, which is your participation at another conference or event.

Share your knowledge

If you perform at another event sharing your thoughts or knowledge, you can become an ambassador of your own brand. If you are introduced as the owner or representative of your business, the conference participants will find out who you are, what your company does, and maybe follow social media to learn more.

If listeners are interested in your speech, it’s very likely that they’ll want to attend your events in search of more knowledge. It’s entirely up to you whether to offer discounts for your event to attendees of the current one. Of course, you should discuss with the event’s organizers before offering such deals. It’s like taking part in your own referral program, except that new attendees are the reward.

Make your speakers ambassadors

Who said that your event’s guests can’t spread the word. Of course they can, and even should. The guests or speakers you invite are authority figures among your audience, which is a crucial aspect that you should take advantage of. Let your guests invite their followers to your event. Apart from hearing the expert, a very good incentive would be discount codes for tickets that your speaker can share using referral links. It’s the perfect way to see how many new visitors a given client attracts, so you would know who people most want to hear and watch.

Thanks to the involvement of your guests in promoting your event, invitees will also start to associate them with your brand. Establishing permanent cooperation when organizing an annual event is a good idea. Invite the same speakers once every so often, but of course with a different speech and presentation. 

Do some previews

In this case, the best solution is a video recording. After all, this is how your event will be watched. Record the highlights of speeches and opinions about the outline or the idea itself. You could ask speakers or even participants of previous events for them and promote this material on social media and on your website. You may think that creating such material is tedious and time-consuming and It is, but not as much as the event itself. And believe us, it will definitely pay off in the long run. Did you know that that video is the number one form of media used in content strategies? So grab a camera and make a film!

Remember that content is king

It’s not without reason that this saying is so well known. What you publish and how you publish are very important. The form, language, and design of your communication is crucial. Moreover, this does not only apply to posts promoting your event but to any communication channel. 

If the description on your event page is not clear, no one will want to buy a ticket. It’s not a great situation when the buying process is not transparent, as people want to know what happens when they click a given button. The same goes for the details of your referral program too, so its conditions and prizes must be clearly defined. If not, no one will use the program and you won’t the recommendations that you’re after.

Virtual events – are you ready to master them?

So you have read about different ways to support online events. The biggest support for such a venture is decent promotion. As you can see, referral marketing is a big dose of help and it comes in many forms. The power of referrals could be significant and it won’t blow your budget. It is definitely worth trying the above tips, especially now that almost all events are virtual. If you combine the power of referral marketing with other types of promotion (especially the ones we mentioned), the effect of synergy may be breathtaking.

We have shown you some tips, tricks, and the aspects of preparation for such an event that are crucial in order to run it well. Now it’s your turn to enter the virtual events market.

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