A hybrid event combines a live event with a virtual one by including digital elements and a remote audience. Including a remote audience allows event planners and organizers to minimize in-person attendees in line with local guidelines without sacrificing ticket sales and revenues. But, even the greatest hybrid event will come up short if you do not market it properly. To help you reach your audience, we’ve put together this list of suggestions and tips. Follow along and you’re sure to find hybrid event success!
While the world navigates the complications and complexities of the coronavirus, it will be important to communicate standard procedures clearly, even in preliminary marketing efforts. If you want to attract an in-person audience, however small, you will need to offer peace of mind by communicating the efforts that your event is taking to keep people safe and minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Ensure potential attendees that gathering restrictions and social distancing will be observed. If you are planning to make masks mandatory, say so. If your event is using a GBAC Star Accredited facility, share that information as well. Showing people that you care about their safety and well-being will go a long way and encourage them to buy tickets and attend the event, even if there is uncertainty around travel and mass gatherings.
The following tips will help any event marketer get the word out and generate excitement for both in-person and virtual attendees. Here are some effective (and affordable!) ways to market your next hybrid event.
One of the most effective ways to market your event is through an email campaign. Begin by sending email invitations to your attendee database. People who have attended your previous events are likely to be interested in your next event. They know your event brand and they know the type of quality content you produce. For advice on how to write emails that convert, check out our email invitation guide.Don’t stop at past attendees. Send email invitations to past donors as well. Again, these individuals are familiar with your brand and cause. So, if you are hosting a hybrid fundraiser or awareness event, for the same or a related cause (or any cause, really), these individuals may be interested in participating once again. If you have a mailing list or a newsletter, send invitations to those people as well. As an option you can capture mailing addresses and send conference swag packs directly to your participants in advance of the event to increase team building and engagement. An eye-catching swag pack can leads to dozen of social media moments, expanding your potential audience and brand awareness even further. You can even send packs to speakers or notable attendees as well.
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to market your hybrid event is to involve the event’s participants. Keynote speakers, exhibitors, and vendors will have their own followers and fans that may be interested in hearing or seeing what these presenters have to say. In some cases, they may attend your event for that reason alone. If they promote your event on their social media channels and through their email newsletters, it is likely that your event will reach a wider audience (and potentially more relevant audience) than what you would be able to find on your own. Consider supporting their efforts by putting together assets for them to post and share. They will want an audience for their sessions as well but if you make it easy for them to promote their involvement, they will be more likely to get on board.
Event branding is a significant part of event promotion. Your brand tells people who you are, what you’re about, and what they can expect from your event. But, sometimes, it can be useful to partner with someone else in a co-branding experience. Co-branding gives you access to the other brand’s audience and can lend credibility to your event. When thinking of branding partners, try to find someone that has an audience similar to yours. If the brand you partner with caters to a vastly different audience, you might not find many takers. Look for someone that can add to the event either through reputation or content contribution. Look to previous event sponsors or even the event venue as possible co-branding partners. It needs to be a mutual relationship. If you both stand to gain, it will be a far more effective prospect. In this scenario, you will both take steps to promote and market the event, increasing your reach and increasing registrations in the process.
When it comes to event marketing, social media is your friend. But, don’t limit yourself to straight-up posts asking people to register or purchase tickets, try to engage the audience in a deeper way. For example, share video snippets from previous events so that all who see it get an idea of what they can expect from you. Yes, you need to post about where and how to register for your hybrid event but that becomes pretty boring information and after a while, the very people you are trying to reach will either tune out or unfollow your page. Approach social media marketing with value in mind. This means that the majority of your posts should be signaling to the audience the value they will get from attending your event. People may be skeptical about attending as a virtual audience member. It is up to you to show them they will get every bit as much out of your hybrid event as people who are able to attend in person. You can use paid advertising to better reach your target audience but it is important that the profile itself is active. The more relevant material you post, and the more you respond to comments and shares, the more likely you are to see a high level of engagement and interest in your hybrid event.
A branded event website will be critical in your marketing efforts. You can employ content marketing strategies to ensure that your site appears in all appropriate and relevant searches. Create video and blog content that is relevant to, and builds upon, the event details. Profile speakers and exhibitors, for example, to generate more interest from your visitors. This content can be shared across social media channels to foster engagement from the audience.Your website should include everything anyone would want to know about your event. Certainly the when and where, but also what virtual participants can expect from the virtual experience, any event technology that is being used, COVID-19 precautions and protocols that are in place for the physical audience, and obviously how to register. Your landing pages and the registration page need to be optimized for ease of use. While SEO is always important, and you will want to work in your relevant keywords, the primary goal of these pages is to entice registrations and make it easy to follow through. The landing page should include a clear call to action (CTA) that leads to your registration page. Write engaging page copy that makes people want to join your online audience or participate in the physical event components. Once someone clicks “Register Now,” or whatever the CTA is, they should not face any complications. The more obstacles or hoops you make someone climb over and jump through, the less likely they will be to complete the process. Consider allowing people to register by linking their LinkedIn or Facebook profiles. Doing this will mean that most of the personal information will be autofilled and requires little more than the click of a button. Do a practice run through your registration portal. See how long it takes you and make note of any significant pain points. Address these issues before the page is live.
Event professionals know that a successful hybrid event is only possible with the right tools. A virtual event platform like Accelevents can help make event marketing easy. The platform helps reach the digital audience by enhancing the event’s virtual component through live chat features, virtual meeting rooms, and live streaming video, and it can also streamline ticketing and registration online and onsite.But even more than all of this, Accelevents can help support event marketing and promotion. The platform integrates with email management tools like MailChimp and Constant Contact, marketing tools like HubSpot, and CRM platforms like Salesforce. These integrations make it easy to leverage registrations through your current database. With the ability to create a custom branded website and integrations with social media channels, you can use Accelevents to reach your target audience in the way that makes the most sense for your event and your marketing strategy. Combining Accelevents with the event marketing tips laid out above is a surefire way to improve the event experience and host a successful hybrid event!
Sign up for our newsletter to receive our latest news, strategies, tactics, ideas, product updates and more.