Hybrid Events: A Complete Guide

Did I say the best of both worlds?! Yes, hybrid events have become the new “best of both worlds” movement! Organizers have the ability to retain the crucial human elements of social meetings and at the same time, leverage the unique benefits of pulling in a virtual audience. It creates added work and challenges for organizers, but the juice is worth the squeeze! 

Hybrid events are great because they provide specific audience access to some or all components of the event. It’s a way for people with similar interests or who work in similar industries to come together to network, make new contacts, build new leads and share information. 

So, if you are planning a hybrid event with two sets of audiences, the planning must be even more detailed and intricate. 

Have A Clear Vision 

It is important to have a vision of what you want your hybrid event to be like, so you  have to find the answers to the 6 W’s, which are as follows: 

  • Who is the event for? 
  • What will they learn?
  • Why will they find the event appealing? 
  • Where will it happen?
  • When will it happen?
  • Who will conduct the event?

This information will give clarity to the organizer and help plan and market your online event. It will also make your audience aware of what to expect from the event. 

Prepare A Detailed Event Plan 

Creativity is key! Be sure to create unique, meaningful, and engaging hybrid event ideas. You must create an event that meets your audience’s needs and plan to the minutest of details. Your plan should include the immersive experiences, speaker’s details, timings of the sessions, tech details, and much more. 

Also, it’s important to plan a different marketing strategy for both audiences, this may include exclusive sessions for diverse target audiences and a variety of marketing visuals. Having a detailed plan will help smooth execution and ensure that your hybrid event is hosted without any problems. 

Set Roles and Responsibilities

Teamwork makes the Dreamwork! Having a team with assigned roles and responsibilities will make your hybrid event flow and be flawless. For these types of events, you will need to have a bigger team of organizers and event managers. These people will set clear duties and responsibilities for your team and ensure that there is no overlapping. 

So be sure to build a team that shares your passion for a successful event. 

Content Creation 

Finding a middle ground when creating content for a virtual event is challenging, but not impossible! Consider that you need to create content for two audiences, for instance, virtual audiences prefer short, easily assimilated virtual meetings, while physical audiences prefer or expect detailed and elaborate content. So it is best to offer a couple of sessions that are common for both audiences, you can use a talk show or a Q&A format that will keep your audience engaged. 

Bottom line, you want to ensure that both of your audiences are provided a similar experience and are receiving the same amount of knowledge and information during your event. 

Seek Sponsorship 

Pay attention to who’s watching? Sponsorship opportunities and collaborations are important because they help in many ways and they come from those who share your beliefs and goals. Three sponsors you can seek are large companies that can cater to larger audiences and broaden your virtual reach, companies that can help with gifts and giveaways, and tech companies that can take care of your technical needs and strategy. 

Regardless of who your sponsor is, make sure to provide good visibility in all event-related communications. 

Post-Event Activities 

The fundraiser is over and you met your goal! Yay! But wait, you still have to follow up and nurture your audience into potential leads. Here are a few ideas: 

1. Follow-up Emails 

An email highlighting the major talking points of different sessions and attendee feedback is the best way to connect with your audience after conducting an event. Make sure to include: 

  • Links to downloadable content such as eBooks, white papers, presentations
  • Access to replayable, on-demand content like different event sessions and webinars 
  • Incentives to encourage attendees to attend future events 

2. Lead Activities Based on Attendee Engagement Score 

Attendee interactions and actions are important for both online and offline touchpoints to nurture leads. Here are a few lead generating activities you can consider: 

  • Schedule meetings and constellation calls to understand the attendee needs in detail 
  • Share relevant content to help them make an informed decision
  • Offer a free trial or live demo of the products and services from your company 

3. Share Online Marketplace Access 

Encourage attendees to join forums on event websites or social media platforms like LinkedIn. Also, an online marketplace can serve as a common platform to drive productive conversations, conduct business and provide a ready-made pool of attendees for your next hybrid event.

Ultimately, hybrid events are great because they can help reduce costs, create new and measurable opportunities to enhance the attendee experience, and drive increased value for sponsors- opportunities that can be limited at purely live or digital events.

Planning is hard, but it doesn’t have to be! This guide will help you create a hybrid event that both your virtual and in-person attendees will gain knowledge from and truly enjoy!