Event marketing has been significantly changed in 2020 with many grand-scale, in-person events opting to go virtual or cancel altogether. Even The Event Planner Expo has not been immune to the effects of the pandemic and recently announced the transition to a virtual platform this year.
But what if you don’t have the resources to produce an elaborate virtual event with celebrity speakers and thousands of attendees? What if your online audience is rather small? Is there still a way to host an event that produces audience engagement and generates leads?
The answer is: yes, absolutely!
One great way to engage a small audience and generate new leads is by hosting an online challenge. Think about all the viral challenges, for charitable causes or just for fun, that you’ve seen on social media over the years. People love it! And your challenge doesn’t even need to go viral to result in promising new leads.
The other great thing about hosting a challenge is that it can work for many different types of businesses as a form of virtual event marketing. You have expertise in your field. Your online followers are (hopefully) your target audience, and they want to benefit from your expertise.
So, no matter what type of business you have or how big your online audience is, I’m going to give you some tips that you can use to plan your very own online challenge.
1. Use your audience to help you decide on a challenge topic.
The best way to ensure attendance and engagement at your virtual challenge is to provide the content that your audience actually wants.
Do a little brainstorming on your own first about what you want to achieve through your challenge. Do you want to promote a specific service or package? Make sure your challenge is directly related to that topic. Eventually, that will allow you to lead the challenge into a sales pitch.
Once you’ve narrowed your topics down a bit, ask your audience what they want. A quick poll will help you gauge their temperature as well as give you some clarity on what topic will deliver the best results.
2. Get very specific when planning your content.
As with any marketing strategy, you need to focus on your goal when planning your challenge content. Your goal has to be two-fold: what you wish to achieve for your business and what value you want to provide to participants.
Challenges can be fun and profitable, but you don’t want to think of it as merely an extended sales pitch. Even if your goals are related to generating leads and converting, you still want to provide valuable content to the people who are trading their time to participate.
Center your content around your expertise. For instance, if you are a boss at social media strategy, use your challenge to give valuable insights and tips before offering any paid services. It may seem counterintuitive to give away your valuable knowledge for free, but once your expertise has been demonstrated, people will be more convinced to pay for your services.
Then, get specific. What problem are you solving for challenge participants? What benefits will they receive? Be clear and focused on exactly what you’re offering and how it will help for best results.
3. Create a landing page to collect email addresses.
Sure, you could just ‘go live’ on one of your social media pages and hope that people tune in, but why not take it one step further by creating a landing page for registration? A landing page will help you to gather contact information, like email addresses, to add to your list. That way, you can continue your content marketing efforts to challenge participants long after the challenge has concluded.
One alternative to creating a landing page on your website, for example, is creating a private Facebook group in which to host your challenge. You can set up required questions for entry into the group in which you ask people to provide their email addresses. This will allow you to send challenge content directly to their email inbox, as well as enter them into your business’ sales funnel for the future.
Whichever way you decide to go about it, gathering contact information via a landing page or Facebook group is going to be vital to declaring your challenge a successful lead generation tool!
If you’re looking for an event marketing strategy that’s possible with social distancing and will also generate leads and build your contact list, I highly suggest a challenge. Challenges give you the special opportunity to provide value to both your audience and your business.
Use these tips as a jumping off point to host your very own challenge. Then, head over to The Event Planner Expo’s blog for more event marketing tips and strategies!