LPL Financial Marketing Blog

Seven Steps to Host a Successful Virtual Event

When it comes to marketing, virtual is the new normal. Learn how to reach and engage your target audience and find other valuable insights on how to host a successful virtual event.

Remember: To get participants for your event, you must provide some sort of value to your audience.

- Kate Guevara

What is a virtual event?

Odds are you’ve attended a webinar online, joined a meeting using a video conferencing tool, or even attended an online workout class. These are all examples of virtual events. A virtual event is simply an event that is all online rather than gathering in a physical location. 

These days, virtual is the new normal, so let’s discuss seven steps you can take to put on a successful virtual event.

Understand your virtual audience

Ask yourself, am I looking to host an event for all my clients or a more targeted audience? Target markets can be based on profession, gender, age, life events, hobbies and interests, etc. Once you identify your target market, then you can start thinking about their needs or other relevant information to this group. Remember: To get participants for your event, you must provide some sort of value to your audience.

Define your format

Just like in-person events, virtual events come in many different formats. A popular format with financial professionals, webinars or workshops can offer a deep dive into specific topics, skills, or tools. Marketing On Demand even has free, pre-approved presentations you can use for a webinar.

You can also set up a virtual educational class or FAQs for specific target audiences. For example, you can create an event for women divorcees featuring commonly asked questions about women in transition. Invite guest speakers, subject matter experts to speak or participate in an interview with you.

Utilize social media in a new way! Go live for an event with Facebook Live or a TweetChat answering FAQs with participants. If you’re interested in learning more about Facebook Live, check out the blog “Five Beginner Tips for Facebook Live."

Choose a platform

There are a lot of virtual meeting platform vendors out there. The most popular for LPL financial professionals are Zoom, Webex, GoTo Meeting, and Skype. All of these vendors include HD video and audio, screen-sharing, and accessibility from phone, tablet, or desktop. While they do offer very similar services, these companies are different enough that you should do some research before picking a long-term solution.

Market your event

You can put on the event, but without promotion, no one will know about it! Determine the key selling points your event has to offer your attendees. It could be a guest speaker, a hot topic for a specific target audience, or a networking opportunity. Whatever you choose, be sure to market your value proposition when promoting your event. Below are ways you can market your virtual event.

Social media

Create social media posts to hype up the event. This can be a simple description of what will be covered during the event, sharing a link to the bio of a guest speaker, a promotional video you create, etc. Be sure to add the registration link, event website link with event information to each post, and create a hashtag for the event. You will want to promote the event multiple times on social media, weeks or even months in advance!

Email marketing

Email invitations to your target audience and clients. Invitation should include a description of the event, registration link, and the date and time of the event. You will want to do an initial email blast with the invitation, as well as a reminder email a few weeks before the event.

Website

Add a page on your website with the details and registration link to RSVP.

Advertisements

Purchase Facebook Ads or boost posts about your event to help promote to new leads.

Get the right equipment

Having good audio and visual for a virtual event is huge, but you don’t need to spend big bucks on buying this equipment. If you have a smartphone made within the last four years, your built-in camera is more capable than any mainstream consumer digital camera made before 2013.  If you’d like to boost the potential of your phone even further, consider getting a lapel microphone for better audio or a ring light with stand for higher production quality.

If in-person events have a few hiccups along the way, virtual events are bound to have some technical issues. Be sure to test out your internet connection and prepare backups of presentations in case any issues arise.

Choose the date and time

Choosing the right date and time for the event is important, even if it is virtual. Before picking the date, make sure there are no competing holidays or events that would affect attendance. Be sure to consider time zones when setting up the event!

Collect data

Data collected from a virtual event is a little different from an in-person event, but is still available! You can gather data, such as the number of registrations, demographic of attendee information, email open and click-through rates, post-event survey results, number of leads, social media engagement, reach or hashtag usage, etc.

Need additional help?

For additional support with your virtual event, contact our Marketing Consulting team at 800-877-7210 X6700 or ask.marketing@lpl.com. For Compliance do’s and don’ts, please contact their team at 800-877-7210 X6590 or ask.advertising@lpl.com

Get more insights and marketing strategies from LPL Marketing Solutions.

If you're already an LPL Financial professional, access more marketing tools and trainings on the Resource Center.

 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

You should consult your compliance department for information about the rules and use of social media and the review of any and all marketing materials.

All company names and products noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities.

 


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Through a consultative approach, Kate educates and supports financial professionals and staff with tips and best practices to help simplify marketing. View full bio.