Hybrid Events: 11 Best Practices You Should Follow
A hybrid event is a trade show, conference, or meeting type that combines live in-person activities with virtual online components. Hybrid events offer event managers many opportunities to engage attendees and boost business impact, as they are just as popular as virtual or in-person events. To achieve optimal results, follow this list of hybrid event best practices.
1. Focus on Pre/During/Post Event Marketing
Today, brands need to do more than simply market events pre-show. The most impactful event marketing strategy starts well before the event, continues during the event, and extends after the event. Devote attention to concept design, theme development, event planning and promotion, budget and logistics management, and multichannel engagement to enrich the hybrid audience experience fully.
2. Strategize Registration and Ticketing
Event registration is one of the most critical aspects of an event because it gives attendees the first impression of your event and is an initial step in the lead generation process. Consider the capacity for the in-person and virtual components of hybrid events, and communicate both offerings to your audience, so they understand what to expect. Evaluate the benefits of personalizing registration marketing and content to best reach your target audience and streamline registration.
3. Do Not Try to Replace In-Person Events with Virtual Offerings
Virtual offerings in the hybrid event model do not replace traditional in-person interactions. Instead, virtual events complement in-person events. Brands can leverage the unique qualities of hybrid events to enhance the attendee experience and extend overall brand reach. Depending on the circumstances, attendees may be able to participate in one or both formats. Consider live stream keynote sessions broadcasted live and virtually and available on-demand after the conference – check out this example from Johnson Controls.
4. Define the Content
Hybrid events present a distinct opportunity to strategize content delivery across various contexts. A study published by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research found that attendance at virtual events is primarily driven by access to educational content and keeping up with industry trends. Brands must understand that face-to-face interactions, participation, and immersive experiences often define in-person events. Identify your audience’s needs and create content that fulfills those desires.
5. Prioritize Attendee Engagement
The substance of content is essential, but the ways an audience engages with your content make the ultimate difference. Event organizers and brand marketers should ensure all attendees — in-person and virtual — can engage with speakers, brands, and one another during the hybrid event. This is a powerful way to drive traffic and valuable participation that supports your brand’s business goals. Sales lead generation is often a high priority, and attendee engagement is key to meeting those goals. 32% of brands report that lead generation is the most important outcome of event participation. Therefore how you position your brand’s hybrid event is critical to success.
6. Consider the Budget
Because hybrid events have online and in-person components, the budget must account for cost factors such as:
- Physical venue rental
- Physical event design and production
- Catering for on-site attendees
- Recording studio on-site or off-site for the creation of online programming
- Virtual event design
- Production and A/V costs
7. Be Mindful of the Time
Time is a crucial factor for hybrid events. The scheduling and duration of programming will determine whether participants have to choose between in-person or online offerings or if they can engage in both. The organization and availability of online offerings will shape the constituents of your audience. If programming is offered on-demand or 24/7, participants can join in from any time zone.
8. Provide Networking Opportunities
Branded events are great opportunities to learn about companies and products or services while also providing the ability to meet other industry professionals and fans. Enrich your hybrid event with networking opportunities for participants and create a space where attendees can share their experiences and meet one another.
9. Have a Dress Rehearsal
Before launching any component of the hybrid event, run through the technology, presentations, and displays to ensure everything is functioning properly. Work out any issues that may arise to avoid delays or embarrassment.
10. Use the Right Tools
A virtual event platform such as Hamilton EXTEND® gives in-person and virtual attendees a place to go before, during, and after the event to continue interacting with attendees and engaging with the curated content. These virtual environments allow brands to extend the consumer experience beyond the show floor and drive valuable engagement.
11. Measure and Evaluate the Outcomes
In the planning stages, define the goals of your hybrid event, confirming that the objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Collect data throughout the event and evaluate the outcomes once the event ends. Learn from the analytics to increase the success of future events!
To learn more and achieve the ultimate hybrid event solution, contact Hamilton today.