The hybrid model is here to stay, making it a stellar experience for people joining in-person or virtually is essential.
Are you sick of hearing about the “new normal” yet? We get it, but unfortunately it is our current reality and it’s best to start thinking about how to make it work terrifically well for you and your business. Not all things that have come from these past couple of years are bad. In fact, we’re quite happy to see a few things stick around, one of them being hybrid events. Hybrid events are a phenomenal way to cost-effectively reach more people and provide attendance options that meet everyone’s needs.
While nothing can replace the energy of an in-person event, there are a variety of reasons (outside of Covid even) that a person may not be able to attend live. From personal/business budget constraints to growing families or conflicting events, getting to an event in-person may not work for all people. On the host side, you may also be running into venue capacity limits. For all of these reasons, adding a virtual option is the perfect solution. Not only can you run your traditional in-person event but you can vastly increase your revenue with a little extra effort in the digital realm.
Trade shows, conferences, sales kick-offs, Global town halls, meet and greets, panel discussions, and more, are all commonly held in-person but lend themselves to the hybrid event model beautifully. A little extra planning can lead to a big pay-off.
How to make your hybrid event special for all attendees:
- Prioritize engaging content. You need to make sure you are providing content that goes above and beyond what attendees expect, creating a high perceived value. Manage content overall, even from different speakers to ensure that the agenda and topics are on point and that you are respecting everyone’s time.
- Differentiate content. While it’s the same event, you are still dealing with two different types of audiences and what works for one may not entirely work for the other. Consider how chat boxes and Q&A will be utilized for virtual discussions. Virtual hosts may be needed to facilitate transitions or discussions in between speakers or mini-events. An in-person event may have a food and drink component, so you want to consider what types of benefits can be offered to virtual attendees like a gift pack delivered prior to the event or virtual gift cards. Workbooks may be a part of your offering, so you’ll need to consider how to send those out in advance or adapt them to a digital format. You also need to consider the overall value of each experience and adjust your ticket pricing accordingly.
- Nail the marketing. From digital to print marketing, have a strategic integrated campaign plan that hits potential attendees at multiple points and with a variety of methods. Create an impressive event landing page that showcases why yours is the one to attend while simultaneously making it easy to navigate and purchase tickets. Think through all the important information (schedules, reminders, bonus content, etc) for attendees and provide that digitally in advance of the event to help eliminate an onslaught of questions from the increased number of attendees. Utilize video on social media to appeal to both potential audiences and integrate social media participation into the actual event itself to encourage attendees to help you hype the event up and get a jump start on marketing next year’s event.
- Provide community/networking opportunities. Events are typically about building relationships. This is going to be done slightly differently in-person versus online, but it’s important to provide opportunities to both. Whether it’s breakout groups, scheduled appointments, or a happy hour/dining experience, make sure you plan something meaningful to get people talking and provide the opportunity for people to meet who they want to meet.
- Keep on giving. Repurpose your virtual content to provide an online library so that all attendees can go back and access the content after the event has finished. People may want to rewatch a presentation or watch something else they may have missed the first time around. Giving them access to all of the content and materials provides a much better value. You can also use that digital library to share professional photos of the event, again encouraging people to share and tag you/interact on social media and, of course, give credit to your photographer. It’s a win-win-win for all involved.
Whatever your event, marketing it effectively and making sure there is a “wow-factor” for both online and in-person attendees is essential. From meaningful promotional products and swag bags to strategically mixing print and digital strategies, there is a lot to tackle to do it well. The good news is, you don’t need to do it alone. Riffland Solutions is fully equipped to provide as much or as little assistance as you need. From planning and design to printing and implementation, we can take care of it all. Let’s talk about how to make your next event the biggest and best one yet.