It goes without saying that the COVID pandemic turned the world upside down – including the world of events. Organizations scrambled to turn in-person events into virtual ones and learned the pros and cons along the way. Now, with many of the pandemic’s restrictions easing, organizations are dipping their toes back into in-person events. Additionally, there has been a rise in hybrid events – a mix of virtual and in-person elements – across many industries. In fact, according to Forrester research, 63 percent of organizations plan on hosting hybrid events post-pandemic.
As 2022 rapidly approaches, your business is likely examining its event strategy and wondering if a hybrid approach is right for your brand. In this post, we’ll dive into the advantages and challenges of hybrid events and how to decide if it’s the right fit for your business.
What Is a Hybrid Event?
Before we dive into the nitty gritty, let’s first talk about what a hybrid event is. A hybrid event is a gathering of people that incorporates elements from a physical and virtual event. It enables you to blend the live experience with a live webcast, a prerecorded video, a social media campaign, a live chat, a virtual connection, or an event store, just to name a few.
For a hybrid event, you can market it in many of the same ways you would a strictly in-person or virtual event, leveraging social media and platforms like InGo to make connections and encourage attendance.
Advantages of a Hybrid Event
- Reach Wider Audiences
Marketers can leverage hybrid events to expand the reach of their events. A physical event will obviously be prohibitive for some attendees if they live far away. But with a hybrid event, you can reach local attendees (or those willing to travel) and folks who may not be able to attend in person but will happily watch online.
- Disseminate More Information
Hybrid events can also give marketers the ability to provide rich information that they may not be able to offer in a live event. For example, if your company is launching a new product or service, you can use a prerecorded video to give people more information about it and show off your slick marketing campaign in a virtual environment.
- Bring Attendees Together
Hybrid events can be a great way to bring people together for networking and building relationships. It may seem counterintuitive to build connections for the virtual part of an event, but using a platform like InGo can make it easy to build genuine connections online. And those connections can easily translate into your physical components as well.
When to Use a Hybrid Event to Meet Your Objectives
- Expand Reach and Increase Attendance
Marketers will often use hybrid events to expand their reach. If you want to ensure maximum attendance, especially during this uncertain time, hosting a hybrid event may be the right decision to reach people who are interested in attending your event but can’t join in-person because of time or location.
- Meet Enhanced Objectives
Hybrid events should be considered to help you achieve enhanced objectives – those beyond increasing brand awareness or driving website traffic. For example, if a main objective is achieving a high level of attendance at your event, this may be the time to try a hybrid event and capture attendees who are ready to meet in person, and those who may live far away or aren’t ready to travel.
- Accommodate Levels of Comfort
With so many things still in flux in different parts of the world, a hybrid event can be a good way to accommodate different attendees. Some people may feel safe traveling – whether locally or internationally – while others may not be ready to get on a plane or train to attend an event. With a hybrid event, your attendees don’t have to compromise their safety or comfort to join your event. And they’ll probably appreciate the thoughtfulness this approach demonstrates.
When to Consider Other Options
- To Meet Basic Objectives
Hybrid events are not meant to be a one-size-fits-all solution. Marketers may want to use other options to meet basic objectives such as increasing brand awareness, leveraging brand influencers, and driving website traffic. Other tactics such as pre-recorded videos, social media, webinars, and email marketing may be more appropriate. And remember, InGo can help your attendees make connections and skyrocket event attendance no matter what type of event or marketing strategies you choose.
- To Promote Your Brand
You can also use other tactics instead of hybrid events if you need to promote your brand’s messaging, drive traffic to your event, or increase your brand’s awareness. For example, if you are trying to drive traffic to your event, you may want to consider using social media advertising or influencers. If you are trying to promote your brand’s message, you may want to run a social media campaign.
Hybrid events can be a great tool in your event planning and marketing toolkit. From expanding your reach to accommodating attendees’ preferences, hybrid events can be very beneficial to your brand. But it is important to carefully decide whether or not a hybrid event is right for your business. It could be that some events are better suited to be held in-person while others easily lend themselves to a virtual environment. It’s important to remember what your objectives and goals are for your events, and choose the right type accordingly.
Whether you’re holding a hybrid, in-person, or virtual event, InGo can solve your biggest event marketing challenges and drive more attendees and engagement. Enable your current attendees to influence others to attend your event using the #1 tool for community referral marketing. Visit ingo.me for more information or contact us to schedule a demo.