Event marketing strategies to leverage Hybrid events are the need of the modern marketer of today. With the rise in virtual events, more businesses are seeing that virtual platforms can produce high-quality events. And now that things are starting to open back up, expect more hybrid events, or partially in-person events.
Hybrid events allow more attendees to take part in a brand event; the reach is greater and often hybrid events are more successful. With an intuitive virtual event platform, it doesn’t take much to add the extra virtual element to an already live event.
We know that attending a virtual event isn’t always the most fun. After all, you want to go to an event to see your friends and network. If you’re hosting a small hybrid event, then the energy at the physical event can be less than ideal as well. There are ways that your brand can go about improving this energy and improving the hybrid experience.
Event Marketing Plans and Hybrid Events
While hybrid events have been around for a while, they have increased in popularity and in demand because of the coronavirus pandemic. The necessity to operate largely online or remote has enabled businesses to utilize online meetings, either for events or hosting corporate meetings.
Hybrid events aren’t the ideal meeting type for all industries, but they keep industries moving when physical events are impossible. When building your event marketing strategy, keep in mind that there are several advantages to hosting an online component at your physical event, including:
- Greater reach by tapping into potentially global markets
- Accessibility options by allowing corporate attendees to use online meeting and online technology to participate
- Better digitization of virtual attendee data
- Greater ease of use for corporate participants attending the event
- More event performance data, access to analytics and insights
- The option to host live stream events or recording content behind a paywall
- Seamless transition into post-event online engagement opportunities
Naturally, while there are benefits there are also challenges. When planning your marketing event strategy be mindful of the fact that while hybrid events have a far greater reach than in-person events, they do not provide people with the in-person connections and experiences that they might expect at a physical event. Therefore, you need to address this while planning marketing ideas for events.
Host one-on-one mixers, coffee chats, or speed-dating-style sessions to boost engagement and networking opportunities. Show your virtual audience that effective corporate networking is possible in a hybrid event.
You want your audience to come back from your hybrid event with rave reviews. To help get you started, here are 6 event marketing strategies that might help you improve your hybrid corporate event experience:
Strategy #1- Focus on Attendee Needs
By and large, the event planning staff needs to direct focus back on the attendees. Many brands get off to the wrong start by simply focusing on their own needs, the goals of the event, and what they want to accomplish. Unfortunately, this can leave a bad impression on your attendees who simply feel like you only want to use them for your brand’s goal.
When brainstorming marketing ideas for events, take a step back , slow down and focus on letting the attendees shine! Tell them how much you appreciate their attendance. Better yet, show them that you appreciate their attendance. Think of the ways that attendees will be interacting with your event and try to improve them.
If you will have a larger online audience, then your virtual event will need to be rigged with gamification features, awards and badges, giveaways, polls, and enjoyable videos. Keep in mind that it can be quite boring sitting at your desk and watching an event! Try to find ways to keep them engaged.
In-person attendees will need the same level of respect. Show them that you have thought two steps ahead by prepping the venue decor, following health guidelines and safety precautions, sharing pre-event inspo, and more.
Strategy #2- Design Your Hybrid Venue With Focus on Event Needs
Sometimes, frustrations pop up when event attendees are unsure where to go or they don’t feel that the space is reflective of how the event will be. Therefore, when planning your event marketing strategies, make sure your event planning team pays a good amount of attention to the event design. Consider the ways that your in-person attendees will move around the space. Are there enough social gathering spaces, coffee tables, and lounge areas?
Also, consider the room design layout. An engaging room set-up is a key to making sure that the corporate event shines. The room set-up should be based on the number of attendees scheduled to be present, the available spaces, the event priorities (are business meetings priorities?), whether or not refreshments or food will be served, décor and furniture options and preferences, whether a stage is needed, the activities to be performed, and other health and safety guidance.
Whether you go with a theatre-style set-up, classroom, or perhaps a cabaret, you want to make sure that the venue will support it and that it makes sense for the event goals. Consider the ways that the online audience will be interacting with the in-person audience. Having a live streaming computer at each desk may encourage online attendees to tap into different table discussions.
Strategy #3- Set Expectations for Each Audience Type
Your event marketing strategies will include a range of audience types coming to the same event. Since you are hosting a hybrid meeting, you’ll have in-person audience members and virtual attendees. Within each group, you’ll also have tiered access.
From VIP attendees to general admission and everything in between, be sure to approach each attendee before the event, either in email or a mailed-out pamphlet, to prepare them and set their expectations. You should consider directing them to the event technology prior so that they know how to navigate it.
Also, prepare educational materials depending on the event needs. These should be accessible for all your virtual participants and also printed out or included in the event app for the in-person audience.
With tiered access, be sure that each attendee type is prepared with a schedule and all of the perks that they get with their pricing model.
Strategy #4- Digital First
Hybrid events require a lot of production planning up-front. You also have to make sure that the hybrid event venue you chose is prepared with digital hook-ups. This is extremely important, as not all venues will be prepared to host your digital audience.
In addition to all of the other elements you include in your event marketing strategies, an event planner must make sure that the event venue is well prepared for the virtual component:
- Ideal internet connectivity features, including secure and reliable connections and low latency, high-quality bandwidth streaming capabilities
- Rental cameras, microphones, AV equipment, and technical support OR a set up that allows you to bring your own
- An adequate power supply to host the number of attendees and the power capabilities of your AC equipment
- And the availability for your team to arrive and set up early so that you can avoid major technical challenges
Because the digital attendees are not physically there and it may be more difficult to gauge their receptivity, experiences, and to receive feedback, you want to really focus on your digital experience first and foremost so that they don’t get left behind.
Your digital crowd will provide a lot of value to your event, including audience data, ROI, and easy marketing techniques like the ability to share your event on social media. So don’t be afraid to shower them with love!
Strategy #5- Keep Registration Flexible
Nothing is worse than arriving a few hours late to an event to find out you missed registration. We all lead very busy lives, and keeping the registration table flexible is a must. Not only will this allow your attendees to check-in when it is convenient to them, but they won’t feel rushed to connect with this booth during odd times.
If you are using a virtual event app like the Accelevents platform, attendees will have access to online check-in. Allow check-ins and registration details through the app interface so that attendees can check-in and receive their details and resources at their earliest convenience.
Strategy #6- Encourage Collaboration With Venue Partners
Collaboration in a hybrid event is necessary for your attendees to feel connected to the brand. Allow your attendees to contribute to the event, but also seek support from venue partners or sponsors. By having more people invested in your event, you will find that the energy level rises, more people get excited, and more are willing to engage with the event.
Consider the ways that venue partners would be willing to collaborate with your brand. Maybe the catering wants to put on a sponsored luncheon with farm-to-table meals. This could be something that your attendees really value and you’ll see a boost in audience engagement because of it.
You never know what your partners are interested in, and considering you both are invested in the relationship and the engagement of the event, ask them what they would want to do and how they would want to be a part of the event.
Running a hybrid event takes a lot of work, and you have to get yourself set up with the right event technology, a smart event strategy, and engagement ideas for both virtual and onsite attendees.
Looking for the right partner to host a successful hybrid event? Get in touch today and reach the right people at the right time with our all-in-one virtual platform solution.