With widespread shutdowns still in effect and further shutdowns imminent, virtual events will continue to dominate the business world. However, there is still interest and demand for live events as well. The future of B2B events appears to be a hybrid of the two. Even as the pandemic wanes, we can expect a virtual component to remain in place for many major events due to the overall success they have had. The challenge comes with merging both the virtual and live experience into one holistic event that provides value regardless of how you choose to attend.
Ensure Your Live And Virtual Components Are Equally Engaging
Live events offer many engaging activities that are sometimes not possible on the virtual side. This includes things like demonstration booths, pre, and post-event parties, lunches and dinners, and even just waiting in line to get into a session. Finding creative ways to ensure your event materials are interactive for your virtual attendees and that they are able to interact with each other outside of a simple group chat will be one of the most exciting aspects to track with hybrid events.
Make It Easy For People To Network Across Both Sides
When you're at a live event, you almost can't help but network with other attendees and sponsors. On the virtual side, discussion rooms have provided a good environment for networking with others who have chosen to remain at home. Bridging this gap so that all of your attendees are able to network with each other in a fun and engaging way will be something hybrid event coordinators and marketers will need to address in the near future.
Create Informative Emails, Social Media Posts, And Landing Pages
While the promotion for hybrid events will mirror the same tactics used to promote a fully live or virtual event, there will be a few differences. Since the experiences will be vastly different depending on how an individual decides to attend, the way you promote to each of those audiences will be inherently different. While you may be able to boast first-class accommodations and gourmet food to live attendees, that approach will obviously not work for those on the virtual side. Leveraging social media and email to promote both options will require a bit of creativity, and your landing pages for each will likely contain different information.
Allow Post-Event Networking And Content Sharing
Since there will be a lot of new technology being used on the virtual side of your events, one way to take advantage of that is to allow attendees to continue interacting and sharing with each other after the event has ended. You also have an opportunity to gather and share a lot of business intelligence with all of your attendees to help them get more value out of the event and meet with people they are most likely to do business with.
Recruit Dynamic Presenters And Key Note Speakers
Regardless of whether someone decides to attend your event in person or virtually, the content will play a significant role in the perception and success of your event. Ensuring you have engaging and relevant presentations, as well as dynamic presenters to convey the content, is still going to be essential. Outside of that, many people choose to attend an event simply based on a particular keynote speaker or entertainer being a part of it. Finding dynamic keynote speakers that can address your target attendee's topic of interest and importance is a must for hybrid events. And don't discount the significance of providing entertainment. While people attend events for business purposes, what keeps them coming back are the fun memories they create throughout the experience.
Winn has over 30 years of experience designing and promoting live and virtual events for B2B technology and financial firms. Contact us today to learn more!