As of 2021, the hybrid approach has become the norm in the events industry. By offering a virtual component, as well as an in-person engagement, you’re setting yourself up to reach a wider audience online while shrinking the size of a live audience. But, how exactly should you go about hosting a hybrid event this year to ensure that it’s successful, regardless of the way in which people wish to attend? We’ve got the information you need to make smart, safe decisions without sacrificing an amazing event experience. Let’s take a look.
Set Your Hybrid Event Budget
The first thing you need to do before going forward with your hybrid event is to define your budget. There are many expenditures you’ll need to consider, including but not limited to:
Cameras and other video equipment
Microphones and other audio equipment
Lights and other visual effects
Technology integrations like WiFi and streaming video
Speakers and their travel expenses
Entertainment costs and music licensing
Food and refreshments
Hotel room blocks
If you’re trying to save money on your event, a hybrid approach is a great way to do so. Virtual components are easy and affordable to enact, and pass along huge savings to your brand and sponsors. Of course, you’ll still need to invest in a quality hybrid event platform and corresponding technology to help deliver a stunning online experience. But with an expanded reach to a potentially global audience, you can invite more people to your event which opens up more cash flow from better ticket sales. Find out more about choosing the right hybrid platform for your organization.
Optimize Your Agenda For A Hybrid Audience
With the hybrid approach, you need to craft two experiences that work in conjunction. Finding the compromise between in-person audiences and online audiences has a few implications. First, in-person audiences are easier to engage since they’ve invested the time and money into making it out to see it live. They can consume content that’s longer, more varied and, if they get bored, can always venture out and browse exhibitor booths or try networking activities.
Virtual audiences, on the other hand, are harder to engage without the right tools. Since these people are attending from the comfort of their own home on a laptop, their attention span is generally shorter than an in-person attendee. Preferably, you should serve these people with shorter content segments and more breaks.
Catering to a hybrid audience will require you to balance both of these approaches. Split portions of the day to be exclusive to either one group or the other, break up your agenda with exciting segways or exclusive content, and make sure to record the day’s happenings for on-demand viewing later on.
Create The Best Hybrid Event Marketing Strategy
A great event marketing plan is crucial in driving ticket sales. To cater to a hybrid audience, building a sense of excitement, exclusivity or positivity to your brand starts by flooding the appropriate channels with your messaging. The more you can get people talking about the event, the more likely they are to spread the word, engage with one another and build a sense of loyalty to your offering. From traditional advertising to digital marketing to sales outreach, there’s no shortage of hybrid event ideas that you should consider, like:
Build an event website
Build an event app and encourage downloads
Encourage hashtag sharing
Create social media event pages
Implement banner ads or display ads
Conduct regular email touches leading up to the event
Consider traditional advertising like TV commercials, billboards, newspaper ads, etc.
Design Your Event Space To Follow Health Guidelines
We’re all still reeling from the events of 2020, and as COVID-19 stubbornly sticks around into 2021 and potentially beyond, in-person safety requirements might change from state to state at a moment’s notice. As such, it’s important to design your event space around CDC and local health guidelines. This may mean showing proof of the vaccination or testing, setting up rooms so they follow social distancing standards, moving the event outside or requiring attendees to wear masks. While it’s not easy, following these rules will make all of your attendees feel safer when choosing the in-person portion of your hybrid event. For more information, visit the CDC’s FAQ section about event planning and attendance.
Choose A Hybrid Event Platform To Do The Work For You
The right event platform takes many of the more difficult aspects of the hosting process and makes them easier to implement and manage. From engagement tools to data capturing to production capabilities and more, you gain control over the many aspects of your event.
We know that an online audience is a bit more difficult to engage than those attending in person, but with a hybrid event platform, you get such features as live chat, question and answer sessions, polling and video conferencing — all great ways to retain a user’s attention. With analytical reporting, you get insight into everything from attendee demographics to exhibitor booth interactions to download numbers. This data can be turned into reports that can inform next year’s efforts. Finally, by upgrading your production capabilities, you’ll have crystal-clear streaming video, strong security against hacks, a custom graphics kit, and a way to quickly layout light and room design.
And, that’s not all. A hybrid platform worth using will have their own support system that can come in handy should any problems arise. From attendee complaints to speaker scheduling issues to technical failures, and everything in between, you’ll gain peace of mind knowing that a team of professionals is on hand, ready to help you tackle any stressful situation.
Are you searching for help implementing the best hybrid event?
Turn to the event specialists at Second Stage, the world’s leading hybrid event platform and service provider. It’s our job to help you take control of upcoming virtual and in-person engagements so you can provide your audience with an unforgettable experience. With features that are proven to engage online attendees, lead-generation capabilities that will optimize your pipeline, data analytics that provide real-time information to your team, and so much more, you have access to what you need right at your fingertips.
Craft a memorable event that boosts the connection between company and consumer – contact us today to learn more about our solutions or speak with a representative.