The event landscape has been gradually evolving, and the traditional in-person live event is no longer the go-to format. Instead, the challenges of the pandemic rapidly accelerated the use and popularity of virtual events, which offer convenience and flexibility, reaching a wide pool of attendees.
But a combination of both, as a hybrid event, offers several advantages that make it a highly appealing choice, and many are embracing this unique event format. According to Business Travel News, 73% of event planners who were polled reported that they were planning a hybrid event that would be held during 2020.
The growth of hybrid events is unlikely to be temporary. In fact, in January of 2021, Meeting Spotlight reported that 73% of event planners predict that hybrid events will continue to gain popularity in the future. Just eight months before, only 67% of those event planners had thought that hybrid events would be a lasting trend. Hybrid events are quickly gaining popularity, and for good reason — they offer many advantages when compared to in-person and completely virtual events.
In fact, hybrid events can be engaging and profitable opportunities. Here are five reasons why hybrid events are here to stay.
5 Advantages of Hybrid Events
Hosting a revenue-generating hybrid event takes careful planning, but your business also stands to enjoy five distinct benefits:
1. Hybrid Events Reach More People
A physical event is physically limiting. A space will only hold a certain number of seats, and your event costs are closely related to your location’s capacity. But limiting your attendance also limits the number of leads you can potentially generate and how much you can charge for sponsorships and vendor opportunities.
A physical event is also time-sensitive. It takes place over a specific period of time, and once it’s over, sustaining its impact can be a challenge. Unless you’re recording all of the sessions (which can be expensive), the material and information shared during the event is lost.
With a hybrid event, you can have both a well-attended in-person venue and a large online viewership. It’s comparable to a pay-per-view boxing or UFC event. Some people watch in the stands and others watch from home, while the promoter gets the best of both worlds.
The hybrid model lets you not only expand the size of your audience, but also lets you connect with attendees who couldn’t otherwise attend an in-person event. This model is ideal for businesses or organizations looking to extend their reach and connect with audiences outside of their geographic regions.
It also requires less commitment from virtual attendees in terms of travel time, travel expenses, and other challenges that come with traveling to another town or state. This means you could have not only a larger audience but a more varied one, too.
The hybrid event is the model of the future, and it’s interwoven with social media and current digital marketing trends. Therefore, it’s ideal to have a team member or event production partner on board who has mastered social media and digital marketing to help you succeed.
2. Hybrid Events Are Perfect for Digital Marketing
Any business or association understands the power of digital marketing and the many ways you can leverage it for improved audience insights as well as for greater sales. Applying digital marketing techniques to hybrid events will also lead to higher profits and a more successful event, and hybrid events and digital marketing are a natural fit.
You can leverage digital marketing to reach the broad audience that would attend a hybrid event. You can use targeted social media ads to reach potential attendees within a local area, and then use broader messaging, social media posts, and ads to reach those people who could be your virtual attendees.
You can also use your existing email marketing list and send targeted email campaigns designed to build excitement around the event. You can even use digital platforms to poll your audience for potential event ideas, speaker suggestions, and other requests that can help ensure you’re designing the type of event that your audience will truly value.
Other potential marketing strategies include content marketing through your blog and website, paid promotions through Google Ads and other outlets, and even referral-based marketing from other business partners or organizations. But promotion is only a small part of digital marketing. The real power comes from analyzing data.
In the past, in-person events were not as conducive to data gathering. But digital tools can track everything now: your conversion rates, client behavior, engagement with the event’s content, the success of the pricing strategy, the number of leads generated, and more. The list goes on and on and on.
With the right event platform, you can gather data on your attendees and on those who expressed interest in your event. Running polls and questionnaires during your event gives you additional insight and data on attendees, and a post-event survey can provide you with even more information. You can then use this information in your marketing, following up with attendees to give them information they might have requested or to offer a solution to the problems they’ve described.
Most digital marketing techniques are applicable to hybrid events. And you can use the data for optimization. In other words, the data you gather can be used to improve events in the future and may even be valuable to your overall business marketing efforts.
3. Hybrid Events Can Be Used as Content
If you put a lot of effort into your hybrid event, then capturing it means you can use that content again in the future. If you invest in good cameras, microphones, and lights, you can optimize the video quality.
If you create a high-quality hybrid event, an HD video of the event becomes a powerful digital asset. You can upload it to your YouTube account or other social media channels to gain more viewers, including those who couldn’t make it to the event. You can share snippets of the event to drum up excitement around future events, and you might decide to use the recordings as gated content or to even sell them to those who couldn’t attend. This can be a powerful way to build your email marketing list.
Even if you don’t monetize your content, it can be a valuable asset on social media. When you upload quality content that’s truly helpful, people will share it with others. This can naturally expand your audience, potentially bring in new leads, and even boost your business’ reputation.
Finally, this content can cut costs. Businesses often run paid ads for brand awareness. They’re not looking to make immediate sales; rather, they’re getting their brands out there. They want people to know they exist. An HD video of your event is a way to cut costs. Instead of running paid ads, you can share the video on social media channels. It is great for brand awareness!
4. Hybrid Events Offer Better Sponsorship Deals
Hybrid events open up many new sponsorship opportunities. In the past, sponsorships were based on selling booth space and physical advertising (such as posters and pamphlets). Hybrid events have changed the rules.
Now, the digital side of the event is potentially more valuable than a physical booth. Sponsors want to place digital ads on the event platform. They want speakers to mention them (a kind of influencer marketing). And they want you, the promoter of the event, to guide participants to their products and services using digital channels.
In addition, because the content can be uploaded online and becomes a lasting asset, the potential to generate leads is higher. You can leverage this perk when negotiating with sponsors. If your social media accounts are popular, and you can prove that the virtual side of your event will receive high viewership, you can attract more profitable sponsorships and negotiate more attractive contracts.
When you’re using a quality event platform, you’ll also gather valuable data and metrics about your attendees. You can potentially sell this data to your sponsors or include it in the sponsorship package.
5. Hybrid Events Help Your Online Reputation
Maintaining your online reputation is a constant challenge, but a quality hybrid event can be a powerful asset to your reputation. Securing respected speakers and putting on an event that addresses your audience’s challenges and offers practical solutions can position your business as a thought leader within the industry. That’s powerful marketing and reputation management material.
Potential customers or clients who are unsure about your company will feel reassured when viewing your content. Your hybrid event is also a way to connect more deeply with existing clients. Whether they attend the event or watch the recording, your clients can get an inside look at your company and its reputation via a hybrid event.
Keep in mind that this works both ways. A quality hybrid event will bolster your reputation, but a poor-quality event can potentially damage your reputation. You’ll want to treat a hybrid event with the same attention to detail and planning effort that you would put into a traditional in-person event.
How to Ensure Hybrid Event Success
The hybrid event is an exciting new strategy, but the success or failure of your event depends on your planning and execution. The best way to ensure that the event will succeed is to consult with a hybrid and virtual event producer. By working with a partner who has already handled hundreds of these kinds of events, your team will be better prepared for the unique challenges that come with a hybrid event.
Put AMP Event Group’s 17+ years of event production knowledge and expertise to work for you today to turn your hybrid event into a revenue-generating powerhouse. Contact us today to ensure your next hybrid event is a success.