Like regular events, hybrid events offer brands the chance to boost their visibility, increase value for the customer, and generate revenue. At the outset, you might be thinking that hybrid events can only return on profit when ticket sales hit a certain level or, in the long-term, brand awareness increases. But this isn’t true.
At each hybrid event, event planners can take advantage of some critical features in order to boost ROI before, during, and after the event takes place. With some planners, event organizers can actually set up multiple levels of event management to truly maximize your hybrid event’s ROI.
Here’s what you need to know to get started:
Before You Begin
Before we dive into our top 5 ways to maximize your ROI at your next hybrid event, we want to talk about the long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals of your event.
No matter what type of industry you are operating in, a hybrid event can deliver:
- Immediate results (such as revenue from ticket sales),
- Medium-term results (increases in referrals),
- Long-term results (like brand recognition, brand loyalty, and domain authority).
Therefore, when considering your hybrid event ROI, you really want to hone in on your brand and your event goals.
Consider why you are hosting the event and what you want to get out of it. If you know that hosting a hybrid event is suitable for ROI, and that’s why you are hosting one, then you won’t be able to do much to maximize this ROI. This is because ROI doesn’t come about magically. You must set aside planning for your brand’s marketing campaign and the event strategy while putting in place processes before, during, and after the event.
Therefore, be sure to plan these aspects long before taking your first steps toward your event implementation.
So, with that in mind, let’s dive into the top 5 ways to maximize your next hybrid event’s ROI:
1. Use Sophisticated Event Technology
Your hybrid event is catering to two different crowds: the online audience and the in-person audience. Therefore, no matter how you do it, you must have event technology connecting those on-site to the online audience.
Hybrid event organizations will often turn to comprehensive event planning technology, like Accelevents, so that the online portion runs seamlessly. You may also want to invest in high-quality production equipment so that the live-stream feeds are of premium quality.
Sophisticated event technology will do more than give you good sound quality or an excellent stream quality. You want to find software that will work on your behalf. Virtual and hybrid event platforms like Accelevents will have features designed for automating your event marketing efforts. From lead retrievals to registration and ticketing, sponsorships, and audience metrics, you can quickly maximize your ROI before, during, and after an event.
Event planning software will connect you with:
- Website, event branding, and landing page creation tools
- CRM and email marketing integrations
- Lead retrieval features integrated into the software
- Customer and technology support
- Augmented reality spaces, perfect for virtual exhibitors
- Live chat with moderation capabilities
- Polling, Q&A, “speed dating” style networking opportunities, and much more
Event tech will be integral to your hybrid event anyway, and your exhibitors, sponsors, and presenters will want to capitalize on its benefits. Be sure to pick one that can scale with your event and be easily integrated with other online technologies.
2.Offer Strong Support For Your Exhibitors
Your hybrid event may have exhibitor booths in addition to individual presenters. For your hybrid event, you’ll want to figure out how your exhibitors will interact with your in-person attendees and virtual attendees. Try to use virtual event software that synchronizes between the two formats so that things are easier.
Your exhibitors are the key to a successful event. So you want to do as much as you can to maximize their revenue as well. There’s a lot at play with your exhibitors:
Before the event:
- Be sure to manage your exhibitor expectations and educate them on best practices. You might want to consider hosting an exhibitor webinar so that they feel prepared.
- You could try to encourage exhibitors into sponsorships since that gets them more exposure.
- Also, try to educate the value of multiple touchpoints that exhibitors have available to them, which will be before, during, and after the event both online and during the live event.
- Encourage your exhibitors on their booth designs and selection. You can offer them event logos, email signatures, banners, badges, and promotional content for both the online and in-person portions. You want them to feel like they are part of this event as well.
- You may need to train them on certain event tech, especially if you are using an event technology platform.
At the event:
- Encourage them to integrate technology and electronic exchanges while at the physical portion of the event. This will allow them to synchronize between the hybrid audiences and generate leads through badge scanners connected to CRM software.
- Encourage your exhibitors to use gamification. Booths can host scavenger hunts through the event app, encouraging individuals to engage both on-site and online.
- Matchmaking software with online audiences can allow hybrid exhibitors the chance to connect with the online audiences during the event, that way they are getting better leads and/or networking opportunities.
After the event:
- Encourage your exhibitors to follow up with anyone they engaged with at the event.
- Also, encourage them to be a part of the post-event online community.
While your event will be doing this with its attendees, whether they are connected to an exhibitor or not, it helps to keep your stakeholders engaged. Presenters, sponsors, exhibitors, and moderators will need to be a part of these connections. Keep them up to speed with a dedicated stakeholders portal, tech training sessions, and regular emails.
3. Attendee Tracking
Attendee tracking for the online portion can help you drastically maximize your ROI. Because event tech lets you see which sessions your online attendees visited, the session topics they were interested in, and the booths they visited, you can use this information for tracking not only what your attendees were interested in but also the future growth potentials of your brand.
Use this data to inform:
- Buyer personas or customer avatars
- Brand insights and analytics
- Popular sessions
- Targeting marketing campaigns
- Future event ideas, content ideas, or product and service offerings
- Rewards and incentive programs
- Referral programs
- Email marketing campaigns
- And much more
4. Sponsor Engagement
Your sponsors like your brand, event, or idea. Otherwise, they would not have signed on to sponsor the event. You can ask that they not only support you financially but also engage with your event. As a sponsor, they will access certain perks, like their logo or a banner on the landing page, on keynote speaker sessions, or award badges. However, seek ways for them to engage with your attendees.
If they can, ask that they offer up a reward or prize for attendees. Attendees might engage more with your event if they see an incentive. Maybe the sponsors encourage attendees to post on social media as a part of an event challenge. If your sponsors are also influencers, then social media engagement is key, and you should take advantage of it.
5. Lead Retrieval
Lead retrieval is essentially why hybrid events are so successful. Since both your in-person and online audiences are registering through your virtual event platform, you can collect lead information from them.
- Be smart about how you use lead retrieval. Note that this form of maximizing your ROI is distinctly beneficial following the event, but you need to have the tools to collect data during registration. Here is where sophisticated event software becomes crucial.
- With event planning software like Accelevents, all of your leads can be integrated into a synced CRM platform or email marketing integration, so all the heavy lifting is handled by your sophisticated tech.
- You’ll want to use this data in strategic marketing campaigns, including attendee tracking, buyer personas, targeted email marketing campaigns, targeted social media campaigns, and more!
Hybrid events are an intuitive way to maximize your event ROI. By following these five big steps, you can see the opportunities for building revenue and achieving your marketing goals.