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From email marketing to social media, there are many ways to leverage communication tactics — many of which you may already be using — to promote your online events. — Getty Images/Drazen_

With many in-person events on hold until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, the importance of online and virtual events for businesses has drastically increased. Online events can play a role in gaining new customers, building partnerships, educating people or simply providing entertainment.

While virtual events will likely not replace in-person events completely after the pandemic ends, they will remain a staple as more people get used to fully online events such as digital conferences, panels, webinars, workshops, concerts and networking.

Here are five ways to promote and get the word out about your online event series.

Add events to your email signature

While it may sound simple, adding a link to sign up or learn more about your next event in your email signature is an easy, passive way to promote your event. Think about how frequently you email with professional colleagues, customers or partners. Each one of those interactions provides an opportunity to have someone sign up or potentially share it with someone else who would be interested.

Affiliate marketing

One popular method of promoting events is affiliate marketing. Some sites, such as Eventbrite, will allow you to create dedicated affiliate links that can then be shared by third-party promoters. Those promoters will receive a small cut of each ticket sale for their work in promoting the event to others, which can allow you to focus on building a great event experience and spend less time promoting it.

If your business has a weekly or monthly newsletter, which is always a smart way to keep in contact with customers, then you can also use this vehicle to regularly plug your online events.

Email marketing

One of the most effective ways to reach prospective event attendees remains email marketing. This can include emailing your full email list or a particular segment with information about your event or you can work with other companies that have extensive email lists to have them promote your event. If your business has a weekly or monthly newsletter, which is always a smart way to keep in contact with customers, then you can also use this vehicle to regularly plug your online events.

Give away free tickets

If your online event is paid, consider giving away free tickets to the event. This will help promote your event in three ways. First, it can get people excited about the prospect of attending the event and they may tell friends or colleagues to enter the contest as well. Secondly, if someone gets a free ticket, they may invite others to buy tickets to the event. Thirdly, while people are entering to win free tickets, you can collect contact information such as email addresses and social media handles so you can notify these interested parties about the result of the contest and about future events you are hosting.

Social media posts and ads

Last but certainly not least, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter all can play an important role in promoting your event. Let’s break down a few tips per platform:

  • Facebook: With more than 2 billion monthly users, Facebook remains the largest social network in the world. As such, it will always be smart to create an event page there to help connect with users of the network. You can also use Facebook’s extensive targeting tools in order to create an ad and promote your event to a highly specific audience.
  • Instagram: While Instagram, a network with more than 1 billion monthly users, is owned by Facebook, how marketers use the platform for event promotion is different. Instead of creating an event page, you’ll want to post an enticing photo or video that will encourage people to learn about your event. Then you can use Instagram’s ad tools to promote your event-related posts to a wider audience. Also, be sure to use hashtags on photos or videos to increase engagement and the number of people who will see your posts.
  • LinkedIn: With more than 700 “members” on LinkedIn that use it to network professionally or keep up with news and events, there’s ample opportunity to use the network to promote your event. On top of posting about the event in your business’ fee, you can also create targeted ads to promote your event. Also, be sure to use hashtags to help make posts about your event more searchable regardless if you tie those posts to ads.
  • Twitter: Twitter, which has more than 300 million monthly users, is another way to help people discover online events. The network has a suite of ad tools that can help you target specific users in order to promote your event. Additionally, Twitter is another great place to use hashtags, but only use one or two maximum or fewer people will see your tweets.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published August 20, 2020