Businesses in any industry need to figure out how to get ahead. If all your marketing efforts are working toward the same goals as your competitors, then you might be lost in a sea of comparable brand voices. So if you want to step out from the crowd, you need to do something that sets you apart. One way to do this is through a hybrid event. A hybrid event allows brands from all types of industries the opportunity to showcase their unique value.
A successful hybrid event offers businesses to grow their revenue stacks providing new insight, information, or products. If you’ve never run a hybrid event (or any event for that matter), then you might be cautious to start one. However, with the right tools and event professionals on your side, you can leverage hybrid events to generate increased ROI.
One of the most significant ways to get your name out there is by hosting an online event. Brand awareness is a common marketing tactic where brands popularize their name and make it synonymous with the items, services, or ideas they are selling. For brand awareness to work, you need to put your brand and its assets front and center for your target audience to easily come across. Typically, brand awareness campaigns require large marketing budgets, and this is usually because it requires more time and a powerful advertising platform for it to be successful.
One way to bypass these issues is by hosting a hybrid event. A hybrid event is a lot of work, but it allows your name to get out there in front of your target audience, and you are, in turn, providing value to a large number of attendees. Similarly, if your goal is community outreach, you can use the hybrid event to drive your brand’s value to the community. The physical event is then the foundation for local audiences. The virtual component allows for more remote attendees during the busy events season or in circumstances like those caused by COVID-19. In either case, by increasing your brand’s reach, more people are likely to turn to your business when they need it the most, generating revenue long after your hybrid event.
Ticket sales are the most obvious approach when seeking revenue growth through hybrid events. Profiting off ticketing sales can be tricky. You must charge the attendees a fee that makes sense for the value that your hybrid event provides and enough so that you aren’t losing money in running the event. Many events offer ticketing tiers for their guests. For example, attendees can purchase a single-day ticket or an event-wide or weekend ticket.
Tiering tickets in this manner allows for greater flexibility in who can attend your event, boosting the chances of more people attending for smaller portions rather than forcing people into a one-size-fits-all approach. Additionally, when using a virtual event platform, ticketing is integrated, so you don’t have to worry about payment processing details and to use third-party apps. Tickets can also be separated by value, including between the in-person and the online audience.
Offering a basic ticket general admission and premium, VIP, and exclusive ticketing packages provide more exclusivity and value to those ticket purchases, increasing the sales revenue potential. From private one-on-one luncheons, networking opportunities, exclusive content, and more, you can drive interest (and FOMO) through the principle of exclusivity.
Hybrid events hosted through a partnership or sponsorship are usually more successful than forgoing a sponsorship. Using sponsorship to power your hybrid meeting, fundraising event, or hybrid trade show will increase your competitive advantage and boost revenue streams. Sponsoring a hybrid event can be broken down into different levels. If your business is hosting a hybrid conference through an event hosting platform, for example, you could have a primary sponsor for the entire platform, or you could have smaller sponsorship levels.
These sponsors can be promoted in virtual press rooms, at the awards reception, in a breakout session, on virtual event banners, in swag, on the AV equipment, on display computers, on tote bags, in educational programs, in one of the hybrid rooms, through specified advertising in the online event portion, through the keynote speaker, or VIP or exclusively sponsored rooms. Of course, when using sponsorships or partnerships, you want to be smart about promoting this information.
If a participant is engaging in an online chat room on the event platform and all they can see is an annoying brand sponsor, this could turn the virtual attendees away. Be smart about how you use sponsors. Partnerships can be a more eloquent way of using business relationships to promote brands. Seek a well-respected partner to boost your brand’s visibility, increase interest, and increase revenue.
Your hybrid event planning software will record and upload your sessions online so that the virtual participant can view them. As this is happening, your event team can record and save that content for later use. This content can be used in future marketing campaigns, support tutorials, or be part of a later course. Downloadable content like this is rare and often hard to make, so remember that the content you produce during the event should be valuable long after the hybrid event passes. Then, consider how it can be repurposed and used again and again for different target audiences. By leveraging this content, you could have a recurring revenue source! When re-using the content, place it behind a paywall or login; that way, you can collect email addresses for CRM purposes and then market more directly to that niche audience. If you want to allow free access, you can provide some free videos and then charge premiums for higher-value videos and other materials.
Require the attendees that sign up and register for your event to provide an email address. Email addresses make sense for communicating to your attendees, but they are also a lead retrieval tactic that allows you to use the leads for later uses. Because these users were interested in your event, you know that they are interested in your brand. The event planning software that you use, which can integrate with CRM platforms, can easily synchronize each user’s email addresses for easy lead retrieval later on. Then use their email addresses and other statistics and demographics collected at the event to identify their level of interest and/or involvement with your brand. After the event, use these email addresses in an email marketing campaign. You can follow up with post-event engagement ideas that keep them thinking about your hybrid event, and you can send promotional emails as well (we will get to that later!).
Hosting a hybrid event to raise money, fundraising, or charitable giving is another great hybrid event idea. Businesses that aren’t nonprofits can still host charity events if they want to raise funds for a cause. Attendees love knowing that someone in need is benefiting financially because of their dollars and your brand’s thoughtfulness. This will also paint your business in a positive light, and your brand may be associated with giving back to those in need or supporting a community or cause. Consider offering a tax deduction slip for attendees that donate past a certain amount. You could also host free portions of the event, and attendees could decide to donate while in that session, therefore, increasing the likelihood of people attending that session but not forcing the remote audience to pay to attend.
Hybrid events are an excellent avenue for promoting a new product that your business is coming out with. If your company does not offer a tangible product, consider promoting new services, new partnerships, partnering with an exclusive brand to promote a product that you helped to design, or perhaps you want to launch a new movement. “Launches” are a great way of generating excitement about your brand, which could, in turn, increase the number of times that your target audience turns to you to solve their problems. Try to find ways to address their pain points during the event to know that you are a trusted member of the industry.
The post-event time offers brands some new opportunities for reaching their hybrid event attendees. After an event happens, you’ll want to thank your attendees for stopping by. You’ll also want to engage with them so that your brand stays top of mind. There are several ways that this can be done. Here are a few ideas:
Networking is an extremely valuable part of any event, even virtual events, and hybrid events. No matter what type of event you are hosting, whether it be a summit, trade show, or conference, offering networking opportunities increase interest for potential attendees. By raising interest, you are growing revenue through ticketing sales and the other marketable opportunities that you are leveraging from this event. There are several ways that you can do this. You could consider a paid, private networking session hosted during the event. Virtual attendees could pay to access the networking session where they would be able to meet and connect with like-minded individuals, experts in the field, or potential job opportunities. An exclusive, private networking session could easily be created in your event planning software and promoted even during the event to increase the appeal. Promote the value of attending this event in your early marketing materials as this will improve registration, the virtual experience, and the value proposition of your event.
A robust digital marketing avenue and social media campaigns are another potential marketing strategy where your hybrid event can be leveraged. A synchronized social media marketing strategy can allow your brand to connect with another subset of your audience, including Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels. By marketing ahead of time, promoting content during your event, or keeping fans engaged following the event, you will boost brand awareness, garner leads, and send out promotional campaigns as you see fit. The event planning software that you choose to host your hybrid event will sync up with social media integrations, making these social media campaigns more straightforward than ever.
Event-only offers are a great way to boost your hybrid event’s online attendance and increase your profitability. The event-only offer encourages more individuals to attend your event because they know that they are getting exclusive access to content, ideas, products/gifts, or opportunities. These are great incentives for a small business to take advantage of. Besides, everyone loves free stuff! Consider developing a little swag bag with your partners that can be emailed to each attendee or find ways to give them their exclusive offers from the digital realm. In either case, virtual attendees will find at least a little more value when the offer is there and makes sense for your brand.
Like ticket tiering and VIP networking opportunities, you can also create exclusive event sessions or exclusive content for select attendees. Try to categorize content or sessions by the target audience or interest and then market session hubs as another way to get in on the action. Each of these exclusive event packages can be offered in various ways, like through email marketing, social media marketing, and so on. In either case, appeal to exclusivity so that your event attendees know that there is value in this content.
This exclusive content can remain exclusive or offered at a cheaper value as downloadable content. Make sure to educate your prospects as to why it is more advantageous to attend the event session instead of accessing it later on. Try to bring in experts who will talk directly to the audience and answer their personal questions, which can’t be done later when members view the pre-recorded webinar content.--As you can see, there are a myriad of ways that a hybrid event can boost ROI.
All you need to do is be creative! When hosting your event, consider hiring an event manager who can plan out your marketing tactics and set you up for success. An event planner or event manager would have the foresight to sign you up with an event management platform as well so that the CRM, session hosting, and sponsorship tactics are easier to manage when the event time comes.