Event Marketing During Coronavirus: How to Shift Your Strategy
Outside of forcing event professionals to completely alter their day-to-day operations and adapt to the "new normal," the coronavirus outbreak has brought nearly everything online—including events. With the global industry looking for digital alternatives to live experiences, the importance of marketing your event—whether virtual, live, or a hybrid of both—has never been more relevant.
But COVID-19 has certainly changed the marketing game: The virtual sphere has become oversaturated with content (more than usual), making it difficult for event pros to cut through the noise with a victorious marketing campaign. So we’ve analysed a series of recent marketing tactics by several event organisers to see what has proved to be engaging and well received.
Take advantage of social media. Reach out to some ‘micro influencers’ or regular elite participants at your events to go live with on your pages. Here you can do Q&A with them about the best training tactics, talk about your event and what it has in store for future.
If you’re hosting a virtual event, you can also take this opportunity to give them the reins to one of your social media accounts and let them go live. This is a great way to interact with your entire audience, including people who weren’t able to make it to your event in the first place. You could use a social media live video as an opportunity to tease about what you’ll include in your live event, or you can have your speaker present their own thing related to your event and take questions live. Either way, this is a great way to interact with your audience from afar and a great way to stay in touch with your audience.
The Boston Marathon, for example, did a Q&A with Mike Sheehy from their medical partnership which was shared across their platforms, talking about training and injury.
Create smaller versions of your big event and give your audience the chance to meet like minded runners/cyclists/triathletes in their area by hosting local virtual challenges. Segment your email lists by region or state and invite them to participate in this smaller, more intimate version of your event.
Eventrac allows you to let participants see others that have signed up to the event, so that people can connect with each other to talk about the challenge through your event.
You could even go one step further and connect with local shops to offer collectable goodies upon ticket purchase! For example, by partnering with a local coffee shop or bakery you could offer a post-run coffee/baked good included in the ticket price! You can achieve this by coming to an agreement with your sponsor partner, if the participant can prove challenge completion and you can offer their venue some marketing help.
Don’t let a canceled or postponed event stop the launch of a fresh new look. Consider adding a skin to your website that promotes your brand while always improving the user journey that your ticket buyers are taking. Updating videos, images and banners to ensure your web visitors remain engaged and intune with your offerings. Keep your mailing list growing by refreshing the subscriber website pop-ups and intro emails, to ensure participants can keep up to date with your announcements.
It’s important to let your audience know you’re taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously. Be transparent about what you’re doing to protect your employees and your customers.
BUT Your customers aren’t coming to you for information about coronavirus — they want to know what to do now that they already paid to attend the event you just canceled or postponed. Remind them of your refund/cancelation policy and let them know where they can find updates on the situation as it evolves.
An example of a cancellation FAQ’s page can be seen here by Manchester Marathon:
The page answers questions about refunds, why they made this decision and future event details.
Let your audience know how you plan to communicate any changes to your program and be consistent. Remember that your entire audience may not be on social media, so communicate any changes across multiple platforms. At the same time, it’s important that you keep making positive announcements as well, like a new medal design or a goodie bag addition thats come from a new sponsorship deal. This will keep the momentum going and encourage your attendees to attend.
If you’re still hosting an in-person event, make sure you clearly outline your plan to keep attendees safe and healthy and offer contact information for people who may still have questions.
It’s definitely not business-as-usual right now, but there are ways to make marketing during the coronavirus pandemic feel a little closer to normal. We may not be able to meet in large groups or in person, but we can keep doing marketing that matters for the people who need it.
How have you shifted your digital marketing strategy during coronavirus? Share your ideas to help fellow marketers scrambling for a solution.
The team at Eventrac are on hand to assist with all components of your event. From advice on promoting your event through low cost channels such as social media, to a guided tutorial on a specific feature of Eventrac. We are here to help.