A hybrid event is a physical event and a virtual event in one. It is planned for audiences who like to enjoy the live event experience and those who may prefer an online experience due to distance, time constraints, safety reasons, or just for the convenience of connecting from wherever they are.
As breakthroughs with COVID-19 vaccinations bring us slowly into meeting in-person again, we can’t quickly forget the experiences virtual events provided, which were not previously possible when events were strictly in-person. Going forward, hybrid events will be the new normal as planners can cater to different audience types, extend reach to other parts of the world, capture new leads, and increase ROI.
However, you need a solid hybrid event marketing strategy to attract your target audience and host a successful event. This article provides some valuable ideas to build into your marketing strategy when planning your hybrid event. We will cover the following specifics:
- Hybrid event marketing FAQs
- Creating your hybrid event marketing strategy
- Hybrid Event Marketing KPIs to Watch
Let’s dive in to learn the tips and tricks of marketing your hybrid event!
Hybrid event marketing FAQs
Since hybrid events are still evolving, planners often ask what you should be the direction for marketing and what value propositions to make to target audiences. Let’s unpack a few:
What are the benefits of hybrid event marketing?
Some are still trying to find out the particular benefits of hybrid events over hosting in-person events or virtual events. So let’s consider some of these benefits:
Hybrid event marketing leads to a boom in registration. This is connected to the flexibility given to participants to choose how to attend and experience the event. With the options of attending either in-person or virtually, everyone feels catered for, leading to an increase in registration.
Higher engagements on your platforms
Hybrid events combine the powerful features of virtual event engagement with the in-person experience. With a virtual event platform and mobile event app integration accessible to both audiences, attendees can experience more engagement, interaction, and networking. Organizers can track attendees’ behavior on the platform and app and determine what resonates more with them. Your team can use such information to decide on the content, products, and services to offer attendees.
Attract new attendees from all areas of the world
Another great benefit of hybrid events is the possibility of attracting new attendees from different parts of the world. You can reach out to people with common interests as your current audience and ask them to experience your event virtually.
What are the best steps to take to prepare for your hybrid event marketing strategy?
Preparing your hybrid event marketing strategy will require focusing on the key aspects of your event and leveraging marketing platforms and partners to bring your campaign alive.
Start by establishing your goals
You have to be clear about your hybrid event goals to create a strong and effective marketing strategy. Here are some examples of hybrid event goals:
- Reaching new audiences
- Increasing registration
- Boosting audience engagement
- Providing cross-platform networking
- Creating more opportunities for sponsors and partners
- Increasing event ROI
Whatever your event goals are, you need a matching marketing strategy for each goal to achieve success.
Find the best hybrid event software
One of the major strategies is to find a suitable hybrid event software that will help you achieve your goals. Pathable provides an integrated hybrid event solution that can help you connect both in-person and virtual attendees in one organic event atmosphere. This is a solution you should definitely consider!
Seek out speakers and sponsors to advertise in your content
Find speakers and sponsors that are willing to promote their products, services, and causes, and ask them to use your hybrid event to reach out to target audiences. You can create special event sessions for them to speak. That will be an opportunity for them to impart knowledge and also promote their product or service.
You can also showcase such speakers and sponsors on your event landing page/microsite, pre-recorded event content, and event platform. This helps a great deal in generating additional revenue for your event.
Creating your hybrid event marketing strategy
In planning your hybrid event, you need to look at your target audience and how best you can connect with them. Options for consideration include social media, email, paid search, direct mail, and others.
What social media platform is best for hybrid event marketing?
There is no particular one that is best; it all depends on your target audience and how you want to reach them. However, it is essential to know how and why people use each platform so you can determine how best to get your message across.
Determine your channels
Your choice of platform depends on your audience and how you want to connect with them. If you have organized events in the past, you should look at your data to identify your prominent traffic and conversion sources. However, if this is your first event or you are exploring ways to attract new audiences, you can consider the following platforms:
Email remains one of the most effective ways to reach out to targets directly. However, to record success with emails, there are important things to pay attention to such as email subject line, content, and Call-to-Action (CTA).
You can also consider using marketing automation platforms (MAPs) to enhance the creation, testing, delivery, and tracking of marketing emails.
Traditional mails are still very effective in marketing as you can package and deliver your message directly to your target audience’s home or office address. If your target audience is into swag, you can consider including an item in the mails as an additional resource to attract them.
Connect with your target audience on the social media platform(s) they are most active. B2B audiences are mostly found on LinkedIn, while one can find B2C audiences on Instagram, Facebook. Twitter works for all audience types. However, it is only proper market research that can unveil where your specific target audience is concentrated.
Use a hybrid event platform to help with marketing
One of the strong points of your marketing is your hybrid event platform. The features available on the platform you will use to create exciting experiences for your target audience. You need to talk about these unique features and how they will provide the anticipated experience for attendees.
What to look for in a hybrid event software
You need a hybrid event software that will help you drive the entire event experience for virtual attendees and increase engagement for in-person attendees. It’s recommended to get one that can help you achieve synergy between both audiences and enhance their interaction. Specifically, look out for an event software with the following features:
- Interactive live-streaming with embedded engagement tools for live chats, Q&A, polling, and comments.
- Personalized features such as user profiles, custom event agenda, and more to provide attendees unique event experiences.
- Custom event branding and design to give your event its unique identity and boost attendee experience.
- Interactive networking tools such as messaging, meeting scheduling, 1:1 video chats, and public discussion forum.
- Gamification enabled to provide a fun experience for attendees.
- Interactive sponsorship and exhibition features such as virtual booths and 3D exhibition floors.
- Multi-screen solution that is responsive on all kinds of devices.
- Mobile accessibility, a mobile event app that provides on-the-go access to attendees.
You need a software with a full suite of features that supports engagement, interaction, and networking across the board.
How Pathable meets those requirements
Pathable’s hybrid event software comes with all the features and tools you need to crush your hybrid event marketing and production. Pathable provides not just the software but also the technical support and advisory you need to create a memorable hybrid event experience. Pathable’s state-of-the-art technology helps you to create synergy between your onsite and virtual audiences thus giving them a truly hybrid event experience.
Optimize your content
Be strategic about your marketing content and optimize them to convey your event’s most important messages to your target audience.
Announce speakers and topics
Thrill your target audience with a range of speakers and topics lined out just for them. You can do some pre-marketing research to create focus areas and topics that will resonate with your target audience. Also, enlist speakers who can speak well on the topics assigned to them.
Post material from previous events
If you have hosted events in the past either in-person, virtual, or hybrid, you can post materials from such events on your event landing page to showcase what you are capable of offering. They could be pictures, video reels, or testimonials from past attendees.
Provide clear details for registration
Don’t leave attendees wondering what to do next on your event landing page. Provide clear guidance on how to register for the event. Include CTAs on your page and something to click that will take them to the registration page. You can place CTAs in multiple places on the page and you can use hyperlinked images to boost their visibility.
Hybrid Event Marketing KPIs to Watch
There are key performance indicators (KPIs) that you should watch to determine whether your hybrid event marketing strategy is effective. These KPIs have to do with your marketing channels and the important data to track when using those channels.
Know how your targeted audiences are interacting with your email marketing campaigns by tracking the following metrics:
According to a 2020 report released by Mailchimp, the average email open rate is 20.51% for the events and entertainment industry, You should always strive to do beyond this average. However, if your result is below the benchmark, it probably means that your strategy is not effective.
You can try the following ideas to adjust your strategy:
- Personalize your subject line
- Create curiosity
- Improve your demographic targeting.
- Be strategic with CTA
You can also automate email delivery to deliver the emails when targets are most likely to open and read them.
Click-through rate (CTR)
Email click-through rate is the percentage of clicks on a link in your email. It is a metric that measures the number of clicks on your landing page that are received from your email targets. A good CTR is an indicator of:
- Right demographic targeting
- Good email content and length
- Captivating CTA
The average CTR is 2.36%. If not getting the desired CTR in your email campaigns, adjust any of the indicators above and track your progress.
Email response rate is the percentage of direct replies to your marketing emails. It is determined by dividing unique email responses by the number of emails delivered successfully. A good email response rate is around 5-10%. The response rate shows how your target audiences are engaged with your email. For example, when people reply and request additional information, it means that your email is effective.
As you track the success of your emails, you can keep track of direct mails as well. However, you need to optimize the direct mails before they are sent out. Build a dedicated landing page for your direct mailing campaign and include custom URLs on your mailers to link recipients to the landing page.
You can also include unique QR codes that can be read by a smartphone’s camera and direct recipients to a targeted URL.
By any of these arrangements, you can track the response rate of your physical mails when you measure how many people visited the landing page through the created URLs. Data from the Direct Marketing Association puts the average response rate for direct mails at 4.4%.
What to track on social media depends on the platform and whether you are using paid ads. However, you can focus on the following data:
- Click-through Rate: This measures the number of clicks your ad received for a given number of views or impressions. A good CTR should not be less than 1%.
- Conversion Rate: Your conversion rate is the number of event registration you got through the clicks on your paid social media ad.
- New Follows: This tracks the additional page followers recorded during the time your campaign was on.
- Sharing of event materials: Track your event content on social media and take note of retweets and the use of your event hashtags.
You should also take note of other qualitative data such as comments on your post, direct messages received, and questions asked in your social media campaigns.
You need to know which platform gained the most traction and which one led to the most event registrations. Tracking these KPIs will help you adjust your strategy and get better marketing results for your event. The data will also help plan your marketing strategy for future hybrid events.
The goal of your hybrid event marketing is to attract audiences for the in-person experience and the virtual experience. You will need different value propositions to attract these two audiences.
Your emphasis for in-person attendees should be more about the event venue, the ambience, and the unique experience to meet face-to-face with speakers, sponsors, and other attendees, and the fact that nothing can replace the live event experience.
However, for the virtual audience, draw them in by emphasizing the state-of-the-art technology that enables them to connect from wherever they are, the top-notch livestream quality, unbeatable interactive and engagement tools, and cross-platform (hybrid) networking experience.