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With the majority of events and conferences postponed indefinitely, it’s crucial that businesses adapt in order to keep attracting new clients. In this article, Paul Rowlett from EverythingBranded shares his marketing tips for increasing engagement at digital business events.

Industry events are great for generating leads and increasing brand awareness. But, with gatherings banned and the future of the events industry uncertain, it might be a while yet until you can attend your next business event or conference in person. As a result, more and more event organisers are turning to technology to make sure that these kinds of meets can still go ahead — which means you can continue take advantage of the networking and marketing opportunities they present.

Even if you’re confident in your ability to make your business stand out in person, you might be wondering how to get your message across digitally. Below, I’ll take you through my three top tips for marketing your business at an online event.

Make the most of your digital pitch

At an in-person conference, you would no doubt spend a significant amount of time before the event planning the design of your booth. Digital events aren’t much different; you’ll likely be given your own page or portal, and you still need to market your business in a visual way by featuring your logo and branding. Make sure you have resources such as banners and promotional images ready to go ahead of time, as most event organisers will ask you to provide these in a high resolution (usually in .PNG format). Include your contact information and tag line: as ever, people still need to understand as what your business can offer from one initial glance in case they don’t have much time to spend on your portal.

Before the event, spend some time engaging with the organiser’s social media posts and digital marketing. Many conference attendees do their research and create their own schedules of talks and workshops that they’d like to be a part of, so by increasing awareness of your involvement in the event ahead of time, you can ensure more engagement on the day.

Get creative with interactive features

Once your digital pitch looks the part, consider what else you could provide to entice visitors to stay on your page. Work with the event organiser to schedule plenty of helpful and informative presentations, panel sessions, Q&As, product demonstrations and workshops, along with anything else you can think of to create a buzz about your business. Live streams are great but remember to offer a selection of pre-recorded videos and other informative content so that there’s always something for visitors to view on your platform, even when you aren’t live. For something a bit different, you could even consider using gamification to really drive engagement and stand out from the crowd.

At a virtual conference, you aren’t limited to the physical resources you’ve brought with you. The right conferencing platform can support and host all manner of content formats, as well as give you real-time insights into how visitors are engaging with what you produce. One of the main benefits of this feature is that you can identify issues and make adjustments there and then, allowing you to maximise digital footfall to your page.

Offer incentives, free samples, and merchandise

Freebies are an integral part of any business event and are used to draw potential clients to your pitch, have them physically interact with your branding, and take your contact information home with them. Giveaways can range from flyers and brochures to vouchers and discounts, plus promotional merchandise such as pens, mugs, bags or useful items related to your business.

Most of your marketing materials can be made available online as PDFs, however it’s trickier to hand out physical incentives online than it is in person. Why not put together a bundle relevant to your business, such as a promotional office stationery pack, that visitors can sign up to receive in the post? Alternatively, you could give away branded items as competition prizes. Whatever you choose to offer, remember that they are an opportunity to sell your business to potential clients and generate leads, so it’s important to include your branding wherever appropriate.

The tips in this guide can help you adapt your approach to conferencing and stand out at online business events. By using technology and getting creative with what you offer, you can still achieve engagement and generate new leads.