For most event marketers, the last year and a half has been a whirlwind of change and adaptation. When in-person events were impossible, event teams quickly pivoted to virtual-first events. These virtual events didn’t stop at simple webinars, however. Virtual conferences, networking events, and even parties were brought online and kept marketing initiatives moving forward. Now that in-person events are back on, however, marketers are faced with the task of combining both virtual and in-person events into the ultimate hybrid event. But will it last? Let’s take a look.
Hybrid events: the best of both worlds
For decades, in-person events provided marketers and salespeople a chance to meet face-to-face with prospects and customers to build relationships, move deals forward, and create a solid foundation of brand awareness. There are clear benefits of in-person events, including:
— Meeting prospects and customers face-to-face to build personal relationships
— Giving prospects a safe space to ask questions or see a product firsthand
— Deliver an exciting and unique experience that a prospect can remember and associate with your brand
On the other hand, virtual events give event marketers the ability to scale in-person events and deliver on a higher level – without adding additional costs. Some benefits of virtual events include:
— Traditionally coming with a lower cost to execute than in-person events
— The ability to communicate and engage with multiple prospects in real-time
— Online-first event content that can be easily shared and presented again across multiple channels
The bottom line? Hybrid events combine the best of both worlds (in-person and virtual events) while eliminating some of the cons from each. Hybrid events allow marketers to connect with prospects in-person and build foundational relationships while also designing and presenting digital-first content.
Hosting successful hybrid events in 2021 and beyond
With so many benefits, we believe that hybrid events are here to stay. Here are a few things to remember as your team works to host successful hybrid events in 2021 and beyond:
— Plan your virtual and in-person strategies simultaneously.
Hybrid events require a seamless combination of virtual and in-person initiatives, so it’s important to plan both halves of your event simultaneously. If not, your hybrid event could come off as an in-person event with a virtual component or vice versa.
— Make it easy for your attendees to choose the option that they’re most comfortable with.
One of the most significant benefits of hybrid events is that they allow events to cater to all attendees, even those who may not feel comfortable attending in-person events quite yet. As you’re planning the registration and attendee experience, make sure both options are just as easy to complete.
— Technology can play a significant role in running a smooth event.
The success of virtual events is pretty contingent on the technology your team is using, but this is just as important for hybrid events. With the right technology working behind the scenes, your attendees will have an ideal experience regardless of how they engage with your event.