Hybrid events are a relatively recent development in corporate events and training. Instead of focusing solely on in-person or online attendees, presenters and organizers must cater to both audiences at once, ensuring everything goes smoothly, and everyone is gaining the maximum value from the event.
Marketing hybrid events require a slightly different approach to traditional face-to-face or online-only events. You need to explain why people should choose one option over the other and exactly what everyone can expect from the session. If you’re new to hybrid events, you may be wondering how you can market their benefits to both audiences. If you’re looking for ways to market your hybrid events better, read on…
How to Market Your Hybrid Event:
1. Communicate the benefits
As you develop your hybrid event marketing plan, consider the benefits of this approach instead of in-person or online-only options. Some attendees may initially be skeptical about this relatively new approach, so it may take some persuading to get them to sign up – but that’s perfectly fine!
When you’re creating your communications for your hybrid event, such as your event web page or email, you might consider including a short FAQ that explains some of the main benefits of a hybrid event environment, such as:
- A safer experience for all participants – people can choose to attend remotely, meaning there will be fewer in-person attendees for easier social distancing and interaction with a limited number of other people.
- Flexibility to attend from the comfort of your own home – with millions still working from home, it stands to reason that many of these people would also be happy to attend an event online too.
- It’s a modern platform to interact with fellow attendees and presenters – it’s not just another Zoom or Microsoft Teams meeting! Explain what sets your platform and event structure apart from a standard online meeting, whether additional features, increased interaction, or a more engaging, user-friendly experience.
- The elimination of time and travel expenses – attendees (and their organizations) can choose to eliminate the time and costs associated with traveling to an event, including transportation, accommodation, and a per diem.
- Decreased environmental impact – if a proportion of your audience chooses to attend remotely, you can minimize the event’s carbon footprint with reduced travel, printed resources, and potentially a smaller venue.
- Potential lower costs – you may offer two pricing options for your event, accounting that virtual attendees won’t have access to catering or in-person equipment. Those choosing to attend virtually can benefit from a lower price.
3. Use surveys – and pay attention to feedback
After each event, you should survey participants on their event experience and compare feedback from in-person and virtual attendees. Collect quantitative and qualitative responses for the most valuable, holistic overview of attendees’ experiences. Survey data helps you prove the value of your hybrid events to stakeholders and future attendees and helps add credibility to the power and flexibility of hybrid events.
Quantitative data, such as attendee satisfaction scores and ROI, give you easy points of data comparison to see if in-person or online attendees had drastically different experiences of your hybrid event, which approach was the most profitable, or how to improve your hybrid event engagement. Long-form, open-text responses can be used as testimonials on your website or in marketing for your future hybrid events as social proof.
4. Enlist advocates
It’s widely known that people are influenced most by peers that they trust. Instead of relying solely on your marketing and your voices, consider enlisting the support of influencers in your space or brand ambassadors to promote your event and create additional buy-in.
Generally, this means encouraging your speakers to help you spread the word about your hybrid event. This could be by creating blog posts, talking about your event on their social media channels, and lending their voice to your marketing efforts, such as providing quotes or short videos for your event marketing materials.
5. Mention sponsors and speakers
This is a simple but easily overlooked tip: don’t forget to mention your sponsors and speakers on social media! @mention them in your posts to ensure they see them, and they will be much more likely to reshare and help you amplify your marketing efforts.
Additionally, your sponsors and speakers will ideally create their posts. This gives your event more credibility in their networks, as their followers are more likely to trust them as an influential person they have chosen to follow. This can help you get those attendee numbers up and create a sense of excitement around your hybrid event.