They do it again and again. Year after year. Some even month after month.
This not only attracts numerous customers to their online coaching sessions, training programs and digital products. What’s more, they are building up a solid community. Loyal fans. Enthusiastic recommenders.
Successful coaches, trainers and consultants have long since discovered this strategy for themselves. And crammed the little 1×1 of marketing up and down like a second grader. They all rely on online event marketing.
Because online event marketing is about more than just keynote speakers and handing out free eBooks. (Yes, what used to be the pens are now the white papers, checklists or guidelines that are handed out free of charge to participants at online events).
Successful online events give participants a sense of fulfillment. They offer educational experiences and the opportunity to get in touch with people in the industry.
In this article, I will give you three important reasons why an online event such as an online congress should not be missing from your marketing mix. But first the basics.
What is online event marketing?
Online event marketing is a digital advertising strategy. It involves personal contact between brands and their customers at events such as congresses, conferences, trade fairs and seminars. Every event is different. It has a different audience, different content and a different culture. Each can be marketed in its own way.
To be successful, every marketer should get to grips with the event marketing game in future. Be it for a one-day workshop or an online congress lasting several days.
According to this report, 84% of event participants say that they have a more positive opinion of the company, brand, product or service after the event. And what company wouldn’t want its own company and product to be perceived more positively?
In the following, I will explain in more detail the other reasons for including an online event in your own marketing mix.
Reason 1: The experience value
The experience value is the subjectively experienced contribution to the consumer’s quality of life conveyed by the event. This is primarily about sensually perceived emotional product evaluations and consumer experiences. These are anchored in the consumer’s emotional and experiential world and make a real contribution to quality of life.
Experience marketing focuses on the feelings of the consumer. It should be communicated to them via many sensory channels that they are purchasing the products or services that correspond to their quality of life. This involves strategies for conveying emotions that turn a purchase into a personal experience.
At an online event, of course, these sensory channels cannot be addressed to the same extent as at a live event. Online events therefore focus more on marketing digital services and information products. Physical products tend to be sold via live events or trade fairs. At an online event lasting several days with different speakers on a specific topic, the “customer experience” should be seen more as a stop on the customer journey.
Online events as a stop on the customer journey
Participants who were not previously aware of the problem develop an understanding of their problem while taking part in the event. Many organizers think that their online congress has to offer solutions and only focus on these. The processing of the questions alone, which revolve around the participants’ problem, can already be of great added value.
- What exactly is my problem? What not?
- When does it occur?
- Who or what is involved?
- How does the problem manifest itself in my everyday life?
- What impact does it have on me, other areas of my life and my fellow human beings?
- What could be the cause of the problem?
- What happens if I don’t solve the problem?
Learning from experience, naming problems
Interviews with experts are a popular way of addressing these questions. When experts talk about their own experiences or those of their clients, the participants passively relive them by listening. You can identify yourself. Or not.
This often results in the following findings:
- I am not alone with my problem. There are others who are or have been in the same situation.
- Okay, this is not my problem. Then I’ll have to look somewhere else.
- Oh, I didn’t realize I had a problem. But now I can clearly see that, as speaker XYZ reports, I am also affected.
- If I don’t solve the problem, it will affect my life in one way or another. But I don’t want that.
Insights like these are a great added value for the participants. It helps them on their way to a solution.
And as a company, you can use this step so that in the end only the prospective buyers are on your list of participants. The consumer’s mindset is therefore reached via their emotions and it is important to address or trigger the “right” emotions that lead to desired behaviors.
And this is exactly what is meant by “experience marketing”.
Reason 2: Working with psychological triggers
Anyone who has dealt with marketing knows the principle of reciprocity. The principle says that we do not like to be in someone else’s debt. When we receive a gift, we want to give something back to the other person.
With an online event, the gift consists of good information and a high personal experience value. As a result, the participants also develop the need to give something back over the course of the event. If you as the organizer then offer the next solution step at the end, that’s half the battle. Especially as the participants are now – as we know – also aware of the problem.
If your sales skills are not yet optimal, you can compensate for this very well. Especially because studies show that people prefer to give back more than they receive. Because they not only really want to pay off the debt, they also want to say thank you for the gift.
But social proof also has a major influence on an online event. Human beings are social creatures by nature. We observe other people and take them as an example of how we should think and act. An online event with various speakers serves as a guide for other people’s behavior.
Ideally, the participants will look to you as a role model. You tell your story and your journey, and in the various interviews as a moderator, you repeatedly inspire confidence with your professional expertise.
The imitation effect is also closely linked to this. Being part of a group is incredibly motivating. This effect is due to our need for physical security.
These are just three of the most important psychological triggers that play a role in online event marketing.
Reason 3: Your growing network
In order to organize your own online event, you inevitably have to look outwards. You must invite speakers for the event. You may be asking yourself: Why should I bring the competition into my company as a speaker now?
Well: Of course you take your competitors on board. As partners who bring you something and vice versa, whom you help. Win-win for both sides.
The thought that often lies behind the idea of competition is the following: “I’m losing customers.”
Profit from your competitors
But let’s be honest: The so-called “competition” does marketing for your event and invites their sometimes even purchase-specific contacts to your event. Contacts who are looking for a solution to their acute problem.
So for an event with 20 speakers, that’s a total of around 1,000 to 3,000 people. In some sectors even an outrageous 4,000 to 10,000 interested parties.
- People who didn’t even know you before.
- Those who now see you every day in the interviews.
- People who read your event emails every day from now on.
- And above all, people to whom you present your offer after the event.
If someone claims that they are losing customers as a result, their logic has somehow got a piston seizure, doesn’t it?
Yes, there are also participants who sign up for the newsletter with one of the speakers or take advantage of an offer. Offering each other mutual support at an online event is a very positive experience for both sides, where food envy should not play a role. Because it pays off in terms of your brand awareness and visibility in the industry. This is how you build a strong network.
The speakers get to know and appreciate you and your qualities. They even recommend you if they realize that they can’t help prospective customers. Especially if you have speakers who are not 100% congruent with your offers.
Online events have been in the premier class of marketing in German-speaking countries since 2014.
They are the non plus ultra in marketing. They can do many things at the same time: inform, motivate, communicate, educate, entertain, build an image, support sales, sell. Of course, they are more time-consuming than a webinar or workshop – of which there are hundreds every day in all sectors.
Even if digital congresses have become even more fashionable since the socio-political developments in spring 2020: With an online event, you still attract attention as quickly as the Pope at a disco.
And with a plan for your event marketing and a clearly defined marketing strategy for your online event, it won’t just be a dance with the participants.
The tools of online event marketing have now established themselves alongside traditional advertising as a new pillar in the marketing mix of many companies.
The advantages of online events are obvious. In this podcast episode, I talk about how you can use online congresses for your marketing and your business model.
Today, online event marketing is not just a passing fad. It is an innovative instrument with growth opportunities for the future. The future of your company.