As an event planner, a hybrid event can offer the best of both worlds: the ease and accessibility of a virtual event combined with the excitement and engagement of an in-person one. On top of that, you can also skyrocket attendance numbers by drawing in folks who are interested in both types of events.
While hybrid events can be a game changer for your event strategy, they can be challenging to pull off well. Managing the logistics of a hybrid event can be more daunting than just a virtual or in-person event and you’ll want to adjust your marketing strategy to ensure you reach both audience types and inspire them to register.
Marketing a hybrid event will still likely include many of the same strategies as fully in-person or virtual events, but there are some important tips to keep in mind while developing your hybrid event marketing strategy.
- Identify your goals. As an event planner, you already know how important it is to have clear-cut and actionable goals identified for your event. But for a hybrid event, this may be more than just how many attendees you want to show up. You’ll also want to ask questions such as, what are my registration goals for virtual attendees and in-person attendees? How will I monetize a hybrid event? Setting clear goals from the beginning will help you make smarter decisions throughout the planning and marketing stages and help you understand whether or not your event was a success. Remember to revisit these goals often and make adjustments as needed along the way.
- Empower speakers, sponsors, and attendees to promote the event. Word-of-mouth or referral marketing can be a powerful way to attract interest in your hybrid event – for both virtual and in-person attendees. In fact, research has shown that 83% of consumers heed suggestions from friends and family more than all other forms of advertising. With InGo’s platform, it’s easy for your speakers, sponsors, and attendees to influence others to attend your event. Think about it, just one of your VIP speakers likely knows dozens of other like-minded professionals who would benefit from joining your event. And with just a few simple clicks, InGo enables them to encourage their networks to join them at your event. It’s also a great way for potential attendees to see who will be at an event which could entice them to join.
- Create exclusive sessions for both audiences. It can be tempting to create content for both virtual and in-person attendees with no distinction between the two. But you could miss out on opportunities to attract and engage each audience in a unique way. For example, you could offer separate networking sessions for the two groups, using digital tools to create exclusive online sessions for virtual audiences and plan on-site networking opportunities for attendees at the venue. One thing to keep in mind with this tactic is to be sure to track different content with registration types so there’s no confusion!
- Put the hybrid format in the spotlight. Remember that the format itself can be a selling point. A hybrid format can be an attractive option for attendees since it offers them flexibility and choice when registering so be sure to market that aspect of the event. If you decide to offer different content tracks or exclusive events for virtual and in-person attendees, highlight that in your messaging so attendees can make a decision about which one will work for them.
- Create a landing page that highlights both experiences. A landing page or app can be one of your biggest marketing tools for your event so you’ll want to make sure it highlights both the virtual and in-person aspects. Potential and registered attendees will return to the page or app repeatedly for more information so it’s important to make it clear that your event is a hybrid one with options to choose from.
- Consider a virtual-first marketing strategy. It can be too easy to add a Zoom link to your event registration page and then forget about virtual attendees. Instead, think about taking a virtual-first approach when marketing your hybrid event. In addition to being a great way to attract more attendees without worrying about physical space restrictions, marketing the virtual aspect can also attract first-time attendees and encourage them to attend in person in the future. You also want to make sure that folks joining on their computer feel as engaged and appreciated as those in the room so be sure to include opportunities for them to network and participate.
Hybrid is here to stay
While social restrictions are easing in many places around the world, hybrid event formats still offer marketers an attractive way to broaden their attendee pool and get creative around content. If you’re deciding between virtual or in-person for your next event, consider a hybrid format, and use these tips to boost your attendance and drive engagement.
Whatever format your event will be in, reach out to InGo to see how we can help solve your biggest event marketing challenges. With the InGo platform, you can enable your current attendees to influence others to attend your event using the #1 tool for scalable professional referral marketing.