When should you use a hybrid or virtual event?
Hybrid and virtual events are the ‘new normal’ of the events industry. Here’s how and why to deploy them.
The definition of a hybrid event can be deemed complex however, it is essentially an event that uses a combination of digital and in-person elements which is tailored to each individual audience to give them an optimal experience. To create a hybrid event that will help your company meet their goals, it is important to understand what it is and when you should use it.
So when should you use a hybrid event? In short, essentially when you have a strategy put together that will provide both your physical and virtual audiences with an engaging experience at the event. That however, can be easier said than done.
Here are five instances when you should consider running a hybrid event.
When you want to run training events within your company
Internal training is essential for most businesses, however busy schedules are inevitable and can more often than not lead to conflicts within workers calendars and therefore mean that attending these one off events is not always possible. This is where hybrid events can solve the issue of attendance. People are able to tune in and participate in the training no matter where they are or when they are watching. With these internal hybrid events, remote attendees can still take part, this will just be in a different way. Questions can still be asked which can be answered or followed up via the likes of email if a person is watching the session via demand, resources can be downloaded and the same training video can be watched by people who are both there in person or virtually.
When you want your event to have a bigger reach
If you are wanting to extend your reach with a live event then hybrid events are a great way to do so. Include top of the funnel prospects, get your extended community involved and provide your virtual participants with a time and budget friendly option to attending live.
When you want to offer more reach to sponsors and add more value
Hybrid events are great for providing unique opportunities to sponsors and are a great way to provide incentives. Firstly, these events provide the opportunity to measure the engagement of participants and provide the opportunity to identify reliable leads. Secondly, they are able to use the digital environment to put their brand out there. The direct audience engagement and digital properties gained from this adds a tremendous amount of value to a sponsor’s brand and allows them to interact with their audiences directly, whether virtually or in person and also provides them with resources to follow up new potential leads.
When you want to extend an event
You will usually have a pretty good idea on how long you want an event to run for when you are in the planning stages. Depending on the size of the event, over the course of a few days, weeks or months you will promote your event, run it and then end it. However, hybrid events are very different and can change this dynamic considerably.
By adding in digital components into your event, you can not only hold pre-event events but you can also extend the life of your event and the virtual content that you produce. You should plan to re-purpose elements of your event including sessions, recordings, re-mixes and panels amongst others. By extending your event, you are able to integrate event messages and additional information that you pick up and integrate them into additional or future campaigns or events.
When you want to deliver a large event across a number of geographies
Hybrid events allow you to change the dynamic of an event and it allows you to scale your event anywhere. Otherwise, running your event onsite can greatly limit your reach, no matter how large this is. People have to make a greater effort to attend in person events, especially when they have to fund their own travel and transport. It also isn’t guaranteed that they’ll want to take the time out of their busy schedules to do so. Scaling your event dynamically can be helpful when considering your target audience and the specific region they are residing. You will not only be able to host your in person event but also reach out to a wider audience in multiple geographies who are not able to be physically present.
When not to use a hybrid event
Hybrid events are a great way to expand your brand out into a wider audience that would otherwise be difficult to reach. However, it is not always such a great idea. So when should you not use a hybrid event?
This may not always be a clear cut decision but it’s important to recognise that just because you have opted out of hosting a hybrid event it does not mean an in-person event is right for you or your brand or service. An all-digital approach may still be the best option for bigger success.
When you need an experience fast
Despite hybrid events coming across like that they are an easy option, they actually take a lot of coordination and planning and if this is a last minute event or one that hasn’t taken much effort, you run the risk of alienating your target audience. If you are in need of a last minute and fast event, digital is the way to go. Considering what your goals are will help you to imagine what kind of event would be beneficial for your brand or service. If you have certain goals to meet, then a virtual event, such as a webinar wouldn’t be a bad option.
When you want to provide an equal experience for guests
A physical in-person approach to your event may be the best option if you are wanting to engage and interact with your audience. Hybrid events should probably be avoided if you cannot offer an engaging event equally for all people attending your event.
When you want to avoid travel implications of an in-person event
Travel has been an issue in recent times but even prior to lockdown restrictions travelling to events for many people is often expensive and monotonous. Using the hybrid approach or going fully digital for certain events is very beneficial for many people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend an in-person event. Logging into an event from the comfort of your own office or home whilst feeling like you haven’t missed out on elements or insights from the event is deeply appealing to many people, especially in today’s busy and unpredictable world.
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