How To Market Your Virtual Event

February 18, 2009

marketing_sherpa

MarketingSherpa published an excellent primer on Virtual Event Marketing.  The 10 tactics listed were:

  1. Partner with assocations
  2. Invest in PR
  3. Get exhibitors involved
  4. Advertise on relevant web sites
  5. Market to internal email database
  6. Email registrants the day before and the day of an event
  7. Use social media to attract attendees
  8. Emphasize the value of the event
  9. Use the virtual event’s microsite
  10. Use sweepstakes as an incentive

Based on my involvement in marketing virtual events to an Information Technology (IT) audience, I’d like to add the following:

  1. Promote early and often – get your microsite launched up to 2 months prior to the live event.  Time is critical, because it gives you options to try different tactics, measure response rates and adapt accordingly.  If you leave yourself too little time, your flexibility is limited and your registrations will suffer.
  2. Invest in search engine optimization (SEO) – make sure your registration page and microsite are optimized for SEO.  For more insights into SEO for virtual events, see this blog posting: https://allvirtual.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/search-engine-optimization-seo-for-virtual-events/
  3. Invest in search engine marketing (SEM) – just like you’d buy keywords to drive visitors to your corporate web site – figure out which search terms are relevant to your virtual event and spend a little of your budget purchasing search engine keywords to drive clicks to your virtual event microsite or registration page.
  4. Use interactive technologies to draw attention – with the amount of email received by your target audience, it’s harder and harder to stick out from the crowd.  To do so, use interactive visuals like a screencast (to give users a sneak preview of what your virtual event environment looks like) or a short video clip embedded within an HTML email.
  5. Use a variety of promotional vehicles – email is the most heavily used, but not all of your users pay attention to promotional emails.  So try display ads, placement in e-Newsletters, text links on publisher web sites and sponsorship of relevant sections of web sites.
  6. Highlight the prominence of expert speakers – in some industries, a well-known speaker can generate the audience all by herself.  If you’ve secured such a speaker, be sure to promote her prominently.  In fact, use her name right in the Subject heading of your promotional emails.
  7. Highlight the ability to interact with executives and experts – once you landed that expert speaker, invite her to participate in the virtual event after her speaking appearance.  In fact, in lieu of a Q&A after the Webcast/Videocast, have her appear in the Networking Lounge to answer questions there (via text chat), interacting directly with the audience.  In addition, invite your executives to participate and interact with the audience.
  8. Display the list of exhibitors – as you sell sponsorships, display the list of companies who will be exhibiting.  That may convince some users that they need to attend – what better a way to narrow your purchasing decision than to “meet” with the candidate solutions providers in one fell swoop?
  9. Provide a sales contact for potential exhibitors – some registrants of your virtual event may represent companies who’d like to exhibit (sponsor).  So give them an email address or phone number and you might have just sold an additional sponsorship.

What has worked well in promoting your virtual events?


Adobe’s Real World Launch Is Suppplemented With Virtual Launch

January 25, 2009

PRWeb / Adobe

Source: PRWeb / Adobe

When launching a product suite with “eLearning” in the title, what better a place to hold launch activities than the virtual world?  Last week, Adobe launched two new product suites, Adobe eLearning Suite and Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2.  This coming week, Adobe will be holding virtual launch activities of eLearning Suite in the virtual world of Second Life.  The virtual launch is the work of Moderne Interactive, a digital advertising agency whose practices include “custom and private virtual worlds”.  Details of the launch activities planned in Second Life:

Adobe Product Evangelist RJ Jacquez will lead an interactive demonstration from Second Life at Noon Pacific Time (12 p.m. SLT) both days. Jacquez will showcase the powerful features that the new Captivate 4 and eLearning Suite products can offer to education, government, and other communities. In addition to live product demonstrations by Jacquez, Adobe and Moderne representatives will be on hand to distribute free trials of the innovative software, to answer questions, and to direct users to further resources.

At 7 p.m. on Monday and at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the Adobe eLearning Island will also hold a celebration of Second Life community that will feature resident Second Life musicians and artists who will share their talents with the gathered crowds.

A virtual world is a great place to demonstrate a product – vendors provide a rich, 3D representation of the product (or, in the case of software, a 2D representation of the actual software) and prospects can see the product in action.  Prospects may also be able to interact with the product directly.  Moderne Interactive and Adobe were wise to provide parallels to a physical launch – such as the free trial giveaways (of the software) and the obligatory musical entertainment.

What’s another neat feature of the virtual world?  The ongoing presence.  With a physical launch event, you tear down the event once the day is over.  Your booth comes down, you bring your product collateral and launch material back to your office and all participants go home.  With a virtual launch, you keep your launch material online, making it available 24×7 to anyone across the globe.  And that’s precisely what Adobe is doing:

During and after the launch events, Adobe will keep its eLearning Island open to the public to highlight its eLearning Suite and Captivate 4 products via, which launched early this week. The island features several interactive elements meant to educate and entertain audiences about Adobe’s eLearning products. Adobe’s eLearning Island can be reached in Second Life at the following location: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Adobe%20eLearning/38/38/37.

“Educate and entertain” – a great approach not only in leveraging the virtual world, but a best practice for launching a product in general.  If you’re a product evangelist (like RJ Jacquez at Adobe), a product marketer or a product manager, I suggest that you learn the logistics and customs of virtual worlds.  Pretty soon, your VP Products or CMO may have you supplementing your trade show and physical launches with appearances in the virtual world!

Here’s hoping that Moderne Interactive and Adobe provide some archived footage from their Second Life events for those of us who aren’t able to attend live.  After all, when RJ is providing a demo of Adobe Captivate 4, I’m sure someone else can be using that same software (in the real world) to record a screencast for us!  Best of luck on a great SL event.

Related links

  1. SLentrepreneur Magazine: Adobe in Second Life: Moderne Interactive Builds Immersive Learning Center for Adobe

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