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Technological advancements and the pandemic have forever changed the way we hold meetings and host events. Virtual events were in the spotlight in 2020. People quickly became more comfortable in digital spaces. That’s what boosted the demand of Hybrid Event Platforms in the following years.
Since the world is now opening up, hybrid events have been the talk of the town. Attendees can now choose how they want to attend meetings or events, whether in-person or virtual. We offer the perfect blend of virtual and in-person events; a hybrid option.
Read through this comprehensive guide to hybrid events and learn how to ace them with the right strategies.
Hybrid event is a seminar, trade show, career fair, conference or any other gathering that uses a combination of aspects from in-person and virtual events. They are fully prearranged events that allow the attendees, remote or on-site, to interact and engage with one another.
Hybrid events are one event, but it can provide two experiences for two distinct audiences.
The concept of hybrid events is not a new one.
A classic example of hybrid events would be the televised sports events, concerts, and award shows. Hybrid events help people with similar interests and common goals to network, learn, and share information with each other.
Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for hybrid events; event organizers have complete control of the event planning and execution.
The main difference between in-person and hybrid events is that live or in-person events are hosted in a venue where all the attendees are physically present. Hybrid events, however, are a perfect blend of in-person and virtual events.
At the in-person events, attendees can communicate and network face-to-face. With all the attendees being present at the venue, they can view and examine products and services offered by the exhibitors.
Additionally, this gives them an opportunity to provide immediate feedback at the event. In-person or live events provide attendees with a chance to develop relationships with the industry professionals and participate in live seminars and break sessions.
Hybrid events, on the other hand, offer better flexibility to their attendees by giving them the opportunity to attend the event physically or virtually. With some aspects of the event being virtual, companies can also request top-tier speakers to present remotely. Not to forget, hybrid events let attendees network with others from around the world, not just those present at the physical venue.
Virtual events or online events take place completely online. Virtual events can be a blend of live streamed or prerecorded content for the online audiences. Some common examples of virtual events would be webinars, web conferences, webcasts, product displays, and online meetings.
Virtual events provide companies with the chance to engage with the global audience and target thousands of people all around the world. With greater accessibility, the attendees can easily hop online from the comfort of their home making it much easier to attend the event.
Virtual events also allow enterprises to capture and gain engagement data, automatically with analytics through click details, watch times, and poll responses.
If virtual and in-person events were on a spectrum, hybrid events would place exactly in the middle. Hybrid events offer flexibility and convenience which allow the organizers to expand the impact of the event anywhere in the world.
Hybrid events come with great benefits and, consequently, are a great method for cost reduction for the organizers and attendees alike.
A hybrid event can take many forms and serve many different organizational goals. Let’s dive into a few of the most popular hybrid event formats.
Hybrid conferences are the perfect blend of physical and virtual conferences. Hybrid conferences are both where physical and virtual attendees can network, watch speakers share valuable information and enjoy panel discussions live and online.
Online attendees may only have access to a few live speaker sessions and panels with access to online breakout rooms for networking.
Planning hybrid conferences require some tools to help you get it all done. For hybrid conferences, the most essential tool is to have virtual event software that allows you to share the conference online and livestream the complete conference.
Management software is another tool that is much needed for a hybrid event. A combination of both virtual event and management software would be a great option for hybrid conferences.
A hybrid job fair can be the perfect approach to combining virtual and in-person hiring fairs. In a hybrid job fair, you can bring together recruiters and the local job seekers in a physical venue for a more intensive in-person communication.
It also offers companies virtual exhibit booths where remote candidates can view vacancies and apply for the available positions. With companies offering more remote job positions, hybrid job or career fairs can be a great opportunity for employers and candidates alike.
Educational institutes can host a hybrid job fair by partnering with the team of hiring managers and recruiters to find the right candidates at both physical and virtual settings. Employers are provided with all the relevant tools to gain meaningful analytics with candidate engagement and satisfaction.
Therefore, a hybrid event is a win-win situation for both the parties.
Hybrid trade shows are the new way forward after the pandemic. They can accommodate both, those who can travel and those who would like to attend but are unable due to scheduling, budget or a number of other concerns.
A hybrid trade show needs to predominantly showcase products & services, allow attendees to submit orders, and company reps to garner leads both in-person and virtually. Product listings, order sheets and live chats can be a great way to help sellers interact with attendees and generate new business.
A presentation that integrates physical and virtual events together seamlessly is known to be a hybrid presentation. Hybrid presentations engage both their audiences where they can listen to speakers, network with both online and offline attendees, and participate in multiple activities.
Having access to a digital audience online, speakers or hosts can share information in-person to local attendees and virtually to the global one.
With hybrid presentations, people attending virtually can always have engaging discussions for each session, participate in live polls, exchange business cards digitally and more.
If attendees are unable to travel for some reason, they always have the option to attend it virtually.
Hybrid exhibitions, it’s more about the creation of improved value.
Hybrid exhibitions can be a great opportunity for organizations like museums and art galleries to educate a worldwide audience. They can host their exhibits at a physical venue and let people around the world access it through virtual media.
Hybrid exhibitions can be great for nonprofit organizations and schools where they can showcase their work, and celebratory events. vFairs offers a poster hall for hybrid exhibitions where hosts can display research, projects, artwork, and more for attendees.
Hybrid exhibitions can be tricky to host, however. Exhibitors always want displays that can be easily accomplished. Displays should be easily assembled, have their own aesthetic, weigh almost nothing, and must have the ability to reconfigure in two more shapes and sizes.
Things have changed very much for the exhibitors as well. With hybrid events becoming the future, exhibitors now must merge the virtual and the physical world.
Hybrid exhibitions can provide the perfect combination of flexibility, portability, innovative design, and an event with two experiences.
Bernard Health has always been focused on solving health care benefits and HR challenges faced by individuals and employers alike. Bernieportal, is an all-in-one HRIS platform for small and midsize employers. It serves the purpose of managing people and building businesses that are easy and effortless.
Bernie portal hosted their 4th annual conference, Weekdays with Bernie, that brought together HR industry leaders and innovative thinkers for networking, strategic solutions and learning opportunities.
Bernard Health had been hosting virtual events since the pandemic. Now with the world getting vaccinated, they have inclined towards hosting a hybrid conference. They quickly understood how people were now comfortable with traveling and were willing to attend the conference on-site.
The conference was hosted locally in Nashville, Tennessee and online for remote attendees.
Ensuring the hybrid event experience was similar for both the in-person and virtual audiences.
What Was the Hybrid Conference Like?
The Bernieportal hybrid conference hosted breakout sessions for people attending in-person which was easier for them to set up logistically. For online attendees, sessions were livestreamed for which they used YouTube to directly embed the link to the events platform.
Attendees stayed within the platform and were easily directed to the conference.
Sponsors, already being acquainted with the virtual experience, responded constructively to the hybrid model. Although the onsite crowd was smaller, they did receive a good sponsorship turn out. Their booths were set onsite and online both and received good amounts of leads from their network sessions.
There was certainly a boost in the engagement seen at the hybrid conference. Attendees who were present onsite were thrilled to be there in-person. Online attendees were actively interacting with the CEO and other participants on the ground. Speakers made sure to address the questions of the remote attendees which spiked the engagement.
Following were the features of Bernieportal hybrid conference:
Bernieportal considered their hybrid conference an absolute success. With over 200 chats, 450+ booth visitors, almost 1000 document views and 600+ video views, the hybrid conference exceeded expectations.
Their favorite feature was the live streaming of the conference via YouTube.
Hybrid events should have a unique, yet simple event setup. Planning such events can be overwhelming since you have to cater to two distinct audiences. Therefore, for a physical venue, booths, product displays and a room for speaker sessions are set up.
For the virtual audience, a virtual event platform should take care of everything. Virtual event platforms offer multiple features including live streaming, polls, Q&A sessions, and networking chat rooms.
Hybrid events are the best of both worlds. For onsite attendees, you need to make a special effort to treat them as an absolute self-selecting group. Networking opportunities and interactive learning activities are essential.
On-site and online attendees have easier access to different types of content. Virtual attendees usually have access to takeaway resources such as white papers, and brochures. However, on-site attendees definitely have the advantage of being physically present and therefore, networking comes easy to them.
Live attendees can easily check-in online to see the activities going on. They have easy access to content hosted on the virtual platform.
Hybrid events are purposely planned for both groups of attendees to have thoughtful conversations and similar experiences. Here are some pointers for consideration:
A distinctive virtual environment adds value to virtual and hybrid events. It provides much more than just content streaming capability. A 3D environment is a meticulously curated, interactive platform.
Nothing can fully replace in-person events.
However, with customized 3D virtual venues, attendees can network, join breakout sessions, participate in activities, and explore products in a fully realized environment.
3D spaces are designed for interaction between attendees with common interests that may lead to new business opportunities. Visitors have personalized profiles with contact details and virtual business cards that can be shared with other attendees in the room.
A virtual 3D environment provides a platform for attendees to exchange opinions and network with the right people.
Questions on audience engagement and network opportunities have been a challenge for virtual and hybrid events. To make sure both audiences are equally engaged and have similar experiences, planning is essential. For the virtual aspect of the event, interaction needs to be planned, well explained, coordinated and intentional.
Networking chat rooms are the ideal solution for hybrid and virtual conferences. Virtual audiences can easily lose connection after the stream ends whereas in-person attendees can network or visit the exhibition stands. Therefore, for the virtual audience it is essential to plan activities to keep them engaged as well.
Communicating and connecting face-to-face keeps both the audiences interested and willing to participate.
Group chats allow attendees to search, connect and network with other attendees based on expertise, common interests, and job titles.
Here are all the ways attendees can chat and network with each other:
Hybrid event analytics need a coherent approach from organizers to interpret, investigate and report data from both virtual and in-person components.
Virtual Event Analytics
Virtual events offer in-depth data that goes beyond visitors’ attendance. With the detailed, perceptive graphs, virtual events data covers items such as event registration, logins, webinar and exhibit booth traffic, chat metrics, and other engagement data.
The data analytics are mostly available within the dashboard of the virtual events platform and can be easily exported. These analytics allow immediate monitoring of attendees’ behavior and assist with post-event reporting for the organizers.
In-Person Event Analytics
In-person components of hybrid events are mostly small since large gatherings are not a possibility. Therefore, organizers often center on collecting attendees’ feedback on-site. This helps establish whether the event was satisfactory or had exceeded expectations.
An NPS score is also a good substitute for evaluating attendee satisfaction. Hosts can send emails to the attendees who checked in on-site and ask them to provide feedback through NPS scores or quantitative feedback surveys.
Also, installing systems such as HappyOrNot can help hosts gauge the satisfaction of the attendees. These systems offer deep insights and analytics that can be extremely fruitful.
They allow you to set targets, evaluate patterns, and forecast future performances. With such tools, hosts can utilize those results to collaborate in real-time to fix issues, and improve performance based on the data.
Footfall sensors and spatial analytics are good indicators of attendee engagement. Event organizers, thus, build quantitative performance reports to optimize the in-person experience.
In conclusion, virtual event analytics are considered in-depth and more accurate as compared to on-site ones. For hybrid events, data-driven event platforms can prove to be a significant solution, allowing centralized reporting from in-person to virtual audiences.
An event mobile app is essential when aiming to deliver a seamless event experience. The mobile app can be used to connect the attendees, both in virtual and in person sessions, to form a community. Attendees can share videos, images, thoughts, and experiences with each other.
They are given the opportunity to build profiles with their photos, interests, bio, and thoughts. Profiles can help individuals with similar interests to form strong connections.
In many cases, mobile apps provide features such as questions, polls, and the ability to measure attendee satisfaction, engagement, and return on investment.
The aim of an event mobile app is to offer both types of attendees a personalized experience with venue maps, exhibitor information, speaker bios, and notes in the app.
When planning a hybrid event, it is important to consider that you need to make arrangements for two venues – a physical and a virtual one. Therefore, you must take into consideration all the costs for the respective venues. This is what the line items and cost of each aspect would look like:
*cost is a rough estimate for an event of about 100 people. It may vary depending on the type of venue, décor, event management, catering, etc.
One of the most important benefits of hybrid events is the increased reach. Hybrid events are rich in data, sustainable, inclusive, and dynamic. They have the potential to offer greater ROI for hosts, and a mesmeric experience for the attendees.
Following are a few factors that you might consider for hybrid events ROI:
With a virtual experience, you can increase the ticket sales, brand awareness, leads, and ticket sales. Onsite encoders are the ultimate way to broadcast live presentations to the virtual audience.
To achieve a higher ROI, an on-site encoder is needed. An on-site encoder is the link between the virtual and in-person audiences and provides room to a much larger audience.
The event footage is essential for a greater ROI after the event. Investing in camera operators for your event streaming will serve as the beginning of ROI for your content. Your event sessions can be turned into gated content which can attract leads.
Marketing team can also turn it into a preview that could increase the attendance for the next event. The content could additionally be used to optimize a keynote for YouTube search to increase brand awareness.
When planning a hybrid event, it is essential to take into consideration the costs and the ROI. In order to maximize your ROI, you’ll need to set your goals and plan ahead of time.
When you’ve reached half of the equation, it is crucial to measure the success of the event once it’s over. This will help you find out how successful the event was, what the setbacks were, and how you can improve events in the future.
Event analytics help analyze your KPIs so you can manage the attendees and increase engagement.
Hybrid events come with new sponsorship opportunities.
Whether it’s the virtual booths, gamification or clickable banners, hybrid events are full of possibilities. Sponsors are usually provided with options to customize their booths with interactive content to connect with the audience in different ways.
The sponsors have access to all the useful data generated from attendees. This data is valuable to marketers and sponsors as it provides the full picture of attendee engagement. The better the data, the more the hosts can charge for sponsorship packages.
Planning a hybrid event is time consuming – even more so if it’s your first time. With the need to create one event and two experiences, hybrid events require in-depth planning and resources. The benefit of providing personalized event experiences to both audiences would create a deep impact.
With a great personalized experience, the attendees would remember the brand and will return for more.
Hybrid event is one event but can offer two experiences to entirely distinct audiences. With the ability to provide the best of both worlds, virtual and in-person audiences can enjoy various benefits. They can enjoy social interaction, have access to a virtual platform, perform games and activities, and produce cross-networking opportunities.
Hybrid approach provides attendees with the opportunity to either take part virtually and in-person, according to their preferences. This approach can provide massive audience reach.
An in-person event will have an upper limit to the number of virtual attendees the organizers can have but with virtual audiences, there is practically no upper limit.
Therefore, you can increase the reach and maximize the capacity of your event to its full potential.
This hybrid combination assists attendees who may have problems being physically present at the locations, to join virtually through an online platform.
Hybrid events technology comes with the ability to collect valuable data and insights from in-person and remote attendees. Remote and in-person attendees can provide feedback through polls, questionnaires, and surveys.
Consolidated feedback is more easily collected with a mobile event app.
Goals and analytics solutions of the event can provide the event organizers with in-depth data-driven insights that can be used to better understand the attendees’ behavior.
With measurable results, the organizers or the hosts have the opportunity to improve their events from time to time based on this feedback.
With massive audience reach promised by a hybrid event, sponsors are also at an advantage. Sponsors get extra exposure for their brand, on two diverse platforms that will both benefit them equally.
Sponsors can also participate in the virtual event by setting up virtual event booths and therefore, giving presentations through video conferencing. Moreover, sponsors are attracted to the digital component of the event where they can market and advertise their own brand.
A few popular options you can offer sponsors are:
Hybrid events provide a greater return on investment (ROI) because of the massive reach and scalability of the event. This leads to more attendees, more sponsors and more business for you!
Furthermore, it leads to an increased lead generation for the exhibitors as well.
Hybrid events provide you insights to the event including audiences’ behavior patterns and interests. You can easily track the digital footprints of the virtual attendees which helps them gain a greater understanding of their behavior.
Attendee feedback can also be taken through the virtual platform which makes it easier to analyze, interpret, and record attendees’ behavior, preferences, and feedback about the event.
Before you plan the hybrid event, it is essential to finetune the initial details. Following are the details that put you up in the right direction when you plan hybrid events:
Event goals and objectives are crucial to the success of the event. Without a purpose, the event cannot deliver. Following are the questions that one should ask as an organizer:
Keeping the purpose in mind, goals and objectives for the event can be defined. Later, KPIs to these objectives can be assigned to measure the success of the events.
You need to keep the principle of defining objectives in their mind. You need to have S.M.A.R.T goals.
The most important part of hybrid event planning is deciding on the time zones and the event venue. Since hybrid events must cater to two distinct audiences – on-site attendees and live attendees – choosing the right time zone is a very critical decision to make.
In most cases, time zones for the virtual audiences are entirely different. However, if the target audience for the virtual component is in a similar time-zone than the event location, there is no challenge and webinars can be planned based on that singular time zone.
Another way of dealing with different time zones is by running multi-sessions so the attendees have the opportunity to choose which sessions work best according to their time zones.
When thinking about event venues, virtual attendees will attend their session on the virtual events platform. The venue becomes a challenge in the case of the in-person sessions.
If in case any of the on-site attendees fails to show up for the event, they will be given an opportunity to attend the event virtually.
While there may be various approaches to identify your target audience, the basic and the foremost approach is to understand which is the most ideal audience for the event. Identifying your target audience can help you achieve the event’s objectives, provide a commendable attendee experience, and receive positive feedback.
One of the biggest factors in determining the success of the event is to not only understand your target audience but also learn about their behaviors, needs, and expectations from the event.
The winning factor will be to learn how to convince potential attendees to attend your event.
Therefore, developing and creating personas are essential. Personas are an imaginary model of the ideal target audience completely based on market research or from the data retrieved from the past events.
Personas are critical and therefore must be as detailed as possible and should include the following information:
Personas of speakers, sponsors and community partners will help you understand all the different sets of people connected with the hybrid event. The clearer idea of the target audience, the better they’re able to design a hybrid event that suits their needs and preferences.
As an organizer, it is important to assign a budget to each of your costs such as the venue, virtual events, speakers, food and beverages, equipment etc. Having a budget will keep you on track when finalizing the platform providers and the vendors.
The hybrid event has various stakeholders including speakers, exhibitors and more. Therefore, accumulate and gather all the data in one place to refer to when needed.
The budget can vary depending upon the type and the size of the hybrid event, but here are a few items that would be included in the list:
Once the budgeting is clear, you can have more options and ample time to negotiate with vendors, and speakers.
This can provide you with a clear roadmap to make sure the hybrid event stays within the budget.
Since a hybrid event provides two experiences, it is important to analyze whether you have the suitable event technology to execute a hybrid event strategy.
When deciding on software options, it is essential to choose the option that includes interaction, networking event engagement and more.
It is important to focus on features such as:
The ideal hybrid event solution would include the virtual events platform and the mobile event app in one solution. Such a platform would provide the attendees the opportunity to interact with each other, regardless of whether they are virtual and on-site attendees.
Here are some common technology tools to consider for hybrid events:
It’s important to start with a technology solution provider that allows you to sell tickets and manage online registrations virtually. Some virtual events companies also offer built-in registration features.
Mobile event apps are essential for hybrid or virtual events. With an event mobile app, you can enhance the attendee experience. With the event schedules available on the app, the attendees can easily cooperate and network with other attendees, event sponsors and exhibitors.
Live streaming solutions must be based upon the organizer’s budget and the event’s needs.
To have a successful hybrid event, you need to invest in project management software and other productivity tools to help them streamline their team’s collaboration.
Attendee engagement tools include, social media wall, event gamification tools and more that can increase the guest experience.
The right tools clearly depend upon the unique needs of each hybrid event and the goal behind it. These tools might not be used in every case; however, they are essential for most hybrid events.
To market the hybrid event, a detailed list of the collateral is important. A lot of branding material is required to fulfill the needs of both the in-person and online events.
In case of outdoor advertising, arrangements are to be made in advance.
In order to ace your marketing and advertising for the hybrid event, a spectacular content plan is essential. It is crucial to push out the relevant data before, during and after the event to target the audience at the right time.
The part of the event that makes the most impact is the pre-event marketing. As a marketer, it is vital to build anticipation for both in-person and virtual attendees by letting them know what they should exactly expect from the event.
Moreover, the purpose of marketing and advertising is to make them feel as engaged as possible so they may have a similar experience to the live attendees.
Since it is important to cater to both the in-person and live attendees, it is important to target both of them separately.
You should market the in-person component of the event by focusing more on:
For the virtual component, focus more on:
A best practice is to make a clear outline of the distinctive and common features to the two audiences so they would know what to expect of the event. This way the attendees can plan for which sessions are the most interesting to them so they may schedule their event accordingly.
Marketing the hybrid event on the website plays a very significant role in attracting the right prospects.
To market the hybrid event right, a landing page is needed. A landing page provides a registration form for the prospects to sign-up for the event. Therefore, it is important to have a landing page that serves the purpose and is attractive and striking enough to inspire the prospects to sign-up for the event.
Following are some of the items a hybrid event landing page must have:
Even after the prospects have signed up, they will still need the web page to look for further information regarding the event.
Another technique for event promotion is promoting the speakers to the fullest. There is no stronger pull than an influential speaker lineup. Therefore, showcasing the speakers at the event is a spectacular way to increase the number of attendees.
Just like many other events, social media can prove to be a valuable way to promote a hybrid event. Social media is the only way to reach remote attendees in masses. Social media marketing plan, therefore, must be very well-formulated for it to be effective.
Account takeovers by speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors is a terrific way to use influencer marketing to promote the event. With personal and two-way communication with the audience, social media creates the required buzz before the event. Share the speaker details, the agenda for the event, and the testimonials from the previous attendees to build trust.
Hashtags play an important role to pull the conversation together and provide the prospects the opportunity to learn more about the brand and the upcoming event.
A branded hashtag can prove to be a valuable addition to the promotion campaign. The attendees can use it when creating social media posts about the event. It is essential to attract attention to your event and give it a feeling of a community.
Creating a branded hashtag can help organizers achieve that.
Well-designed banners on social media platforms can bring a lot of attention to the hybrid event. Use social media platforms to the fullest to create the hype before the event, talk about the importance of it during the event, and share how successful it was after the event.
Here are some exclusive social media tips you can use to interact on social media:
Paid media ads can quickly promote the hybrid event with Google ads. To see rapid improvements in the hybrid event registration volume, it is vital to invest in paid advertisements. Higher traffic is a fundamental step to entice the identified audiences online. The targeted campaigns that reach out to the right audience makes a strong impact.
Demographics and geographical locations assist in building awareness and the event’s visibility on search engines. It is essential to make actionable ads that will out-do the competitors and attract traffic and registrations.
Ads also help to easily measure and assess the effectiveness of the paid ads via clicks and conversions.
With analytics, you can get insights on the ad performances based on various key metrics that aid the market strategy. Investing into websites and ads is the easiest course to get the highest traffic to the events registration/ landing page.
Just like social media marketing, email marketing is a core element to market any hybrid event right. A sequence of emails with the right content and attractive visuals can persuade the existing subscribers to re-subscribe and encourage the new ones to do the same.
Creating a proper email marketing strategy can be crucial, and therefore, you as organizers and marketers need to keep the following points in mind:
Use your CRM to fetch data from existing contacts and analyze it to learn more about your leads – demographics, likes and dislikes — the pain points they are trying to solve.
You’ll need a dedicated drip campaign for your event. Look at how frequently your readers expect to hear from you or use data to see how often they interact with your emails. As a standard, you can start promotions 3 weeks prior to your event and send two emails every week. Each email will reveal more information about the event.
Add 2 or 3 day delays between each event. You’ll see most of your registrations come through during the last week of promotions so make sure these emails pack a punch.
Send your final promo one day before the event.
Great subject lines are short and sweet, preferably between 4 – 7 words. Therefore, remember to make recipients feel important, invited, and exclusive with the subject line.
Make sure your subject line isn’t misleading. It should reflect the promotion of an event so it shouldn’t feel spammy. Use some examples of popular subject lines with open rates to ensure you’re on the right track.
Reveal all the important details in the body. What’s the event about, and who will be attending? What’s in it for you? Where will the live event be? Where will the virtual event be hosted?
Offer a link to the main landing page, and make it compelling. Examples include, save my spot, book a ticket, send me my ticket, etc.
Testing will help you optimize future campaigns. You can put forth a hypothesis that you believe could improve results such as adding a GIF will increase clicks. It is a good idea to create two versions; in this instance, you could create one with a static image and one with an animated GIF. Track their clicks, and choose a winner.
Email marketing campaigns have a different approach to target the right audience. The focus of the email marketing campaign should primarily be on the recipients and to invite them to the event.
It is prescribed to keep the campaign completely dedicated and specific to encouraging the attendees to register for the event. Therefore, filtering the recipient lists can help you target them better.
The emails should be able to provide complete details of the event and a set of instructions for the registration. Sending one or two reminders near the event would help them keep the event on top of mind.
Content marketing serves as a promotional powerhouse for the marketing of any event. The right content can serve the purpose of attracting visitors to the hybrid events landing page with the use of guest posts and highly regarded blogs.
The best advice for a hybrid event organizer is to turn their content into a gold mine.
One of the greatest benefits of hosting a hybrid event is the content that is gathered during the event. All the speakers, sponsors, and presenters featured at the event have been the ultimate reason to provide valuable content to the attendees as well as for those who could not attend.
These speaker sessions or talks can be integrated with website content or be featured on social media to promote the upcoming event. The event platform providers can help you transform their event into a virtual library.
This digital space gives the organizers the ability to distribute the content and dispense it according to their preferences.
Therefore, content must have quality, relevance, and clarity. The more engaging the content, the better the results.
Here are the types of content that make a difference with content marketing:
Blogs or articles that resonate well with the target audience helps pull in healthy traffic for the event. Therefore, an article or a blog that provides genuine value to the audience base makes a great impression.
It can be a win-win situation for the brand and the attendees if the useful blog or article has a line or two about the upcoming event.
The content, however, does need to be SEO optimized. Using the right keywords in the article or the blog, and ensuring on-page SEO requirements are met, are of utmost importance.
To make sure the content ranks on Google, it is important to use the right keywords in the content that would help generate organic traffic. This can be a cost-effective method to generate conversions on the landing page.
Another way to create awareness about the content put up on the website is to promote it on social media. This helps to spread the word and pulls in organic traffic.
Video content, be it on social media or the website, can work well to engage the prospects. Teaser videos can help build up anticipation about the event and create the much-needed hype. Such videos can be short and can hint towards a big reveal at the end of the video.
Gradually, the marketing team can announce the event, release some more details, and keep building the anticipation with more short videos at relevant stages.
Videos with speakers interviews and discussion about the content of their sessions would attract new prospects. Snippets of the venue and any past events catered by the brand can help give prospects an impression of what to expect.
The videos, however, do need to be optimized for YouTube and other channels it will be posted on.
It may be possible for many people to not be able to attend your event. On-demand content can be equivalent to giving them something valuable that would give them a taste of why they should be attending the next event.
It is important for you to remember that the content you have is of great value and is worth charging for. You can charge different rates for people who signed up for the event and for those who did not.
Even though visuals are a good way to go about it, videos are known to be the most impactful. Depending upon the event, a mix of entertaining videos and educational ones can do wonders.
Snippet videos are always preferred. However, it would be fruitful to release a mix of both short and full-length videos with speakers’ content.
Another idea could be providing subtitles to the event videos and snippets so the content is clearer, impactful and interesting.
Content partnerships & backlinking can help you reach out to partners or brand advocates. They can assist you further by reaching out to the right audience to see if they’re open to a content partnership, link exchange or promotion of your event on their channels.
Here’s how content partnerships work:
Brands collaborate with other brands for content partnership mainly for two reasons – to expand their reach and to receive benefits of SEO and backlinking. Make sure when pitching a partnership that you can also deliver that value back to the company you want to work with.
Social media marketing and email marketing campaigns are what makes or breaks the marketing for the hybrid event. Creating a buzz on social media and sending appropriate emails to potential clients through email marketing is a great technique to advertise the event before it happens.
Following are the types of content that goes into consideration for each event:
Social media content requires detailed planning of how to distribute content effectively. Therefore, it is important to segregate it into pre, during, and post-event buzz.
This works as a magnet for the target audience and helps you collect registrations. Attendees feel connected across channels, and you can easily communicate key takeaways after the event. However, not all items need to be included in all events. You can pick and choose whatever best serves your needs.
Social media content serves as a great communication tool for both on-site and online attendees.
Email content plays an important role in developing your relationship with your subscribers. Content is the core of marketing, and therefore, professional marketers benefit from it immensely. Content not only brings in results, but is cost-effective too.
With the right email content, you can organically grow your brand and create a process that directly impacts your sales. You can do this by creating impactful content that people look forward to reading. People who would like your content will be motivated to build a relationship with you and will always consider you when it’s time for them to buy. You’ll be on top of their head.
Onsite signage plays a crucial role in how an attendee perceives your event. Therefore, it needs to be proper and should be able to advertise your brand in the best possible way.
Printed collateral includes all the marketing collateral provided to the attendees during the on-site event. Examples include newsletters, corporate magazines, products catalogs, branded content, and more.
Similarly, online signage and digital collateral is equally important. Digital collateral includes testimonials, case studies, white papers, ebooks, blog posts, and explainer videos.
Online ads are a daily part of a marketer’s life. They play a huge role in targeting the right market, creating awareness, and generating sales. Online ads include Google search ads, PPC ads, Mobile ads, banners ads, retargeting ads, and more.
Outdoor advertising otherwise known as home advertising, exposes consumers with the brand’s content outside of their homes. Outdoor advertising can be seen everywhere and has the potential to reach millions of people in the most impactful way.
When placed in the right spots where people can easily see them, outdoor ads cannot be bypassed. Therefore, outdoor ads can be a great way of getting in front of the local audiences where the event is being held. This will extend your reach within the given area.
Event listings are events and ticket listings created by sellers that are for sale. These listings include digital content created for a certain event. Some of the event listing sites include Eventbrite, Mainevents, Eventsget, Hook2events, and more.
vFairs also has its event listing platform named Discover, where you can find top virtual and hybrid events to learn, network and grow.
Scripts, slideshows and notes for presentations serve as the support guides for attendees. Providing them with all the material will help them understand and look back at the content from time to time.
Virtual event venue designs and custom graphics help you create a unique branded event experience. This is a very powerful tool to increase brand awareness. Just like any on-site event, everyone who attends the event should immediately become submerged to their surroundings.
Therefore, an average looking event won’t do. You’d have to make good use of your brand colors, fonts, and imagery to create a unique branded event experience. Your goal should be to wow attendees from the first glimpse.
You can also create a distinctive event experience with branded menus, home screens, and videos that can create a great impact.
Following are different ways you can promote your event with website items:
Pop-ups across your website can also assist with the event marketing. Pop-ups make sure that the new and the returning visitors on your website can learn about the event and be persuaded to sign-up.
Popups at the homepage with compelling call-to-actions can boost the attendee sign-ups.
A sticky bar is a horizontal bar that you can put up on the top or the bottom of any page on your website. It serves as a website conversion tool and can be beneficial for attracting registrations. It is easily customizable and helps display your message prominently.
Menus display a list of items users can access on the website. Menus are easy to open, close, and use. Temporary menu items can help advertise some items or services temporarily and can be differentiated or highlighted to make them more visible.
Blogs, articles, and other resources with the mention of the event serve as a marketing tool where your event is being promoted. By reading the blogs or articles where the success of the event is discussed, potential customers will be encouraged to register.
Call-to-action boxes can be put up on specific website pages. Preferably, they are placed at site pages with high traffic and relevance to the subject matter of the event.
PR and branding are two peas in a pod. PR is equally important as is social media, SEO, and influencer relations. With successful PR, brands can build relationships with potential customers, employees, media, and investors within the industry.
A PR campaign, therefore, is an extension of your brand. While brand messaging focuses on customer’s needs and wants, PR makes sure they’re heard and responded well.
Speakers, sponsors, and the audience are the most important stakeholders of the event. Each of these stakeholders can prove to be highly fruitful for the marketing of the event.
The sponsors of the event can be a great help to spread the word out. When sponsors get on board, organizers should explore other ways to collaborate with them to quicken the marketing efforts.
It is also in their best interest that the hybrid event attracts relevant audiences and that their sponsorship goals are met.
Therefore, it is important to:
Once again, you need to make sure that they work closely with the sponsors to get the content and the messaging right. The stronger the content of the marketing material, the greater results will reap.
Involve your Speakers and the Audience
Speakers are the event ambassadors of any hybrid event.
The top secret behind a successful marketing campaign is to make sure that the hybrid event is talked about through word of mouth, online, or through any print media channels.
Therefore, incorporating the details of the special guest speakers at the hybrid event can prove to be a great marketing pull. Spokespeople and ambassadors are the main fascinations of any hybrid event and therefore audiences love to connect with them and hear about their experiences.
Thus, it is absolute for any event marketing strategy to build their marketing plan around the ambassadors of the event. To make it easier for them, pre-made posts and images can be provided to them for accessible social media sharing.
You can further encourage event promotion and inspire attendees to spread the word themselves with different tools that can motivate them to spread the buzz with pre-made content.
Hosting quizzes or live contests can help the engagement surge high. You can divide the audience into smaller groups and can conduct quizzes and contests on the mobile event app. The contest can then be aired on the hybrid event platform.
In-person attendees can perform the quiz in groups with the virtual attendees.
Hosting quizzes and contests is one of the easiest ways to include both the attendees. However, they must have an even playing ground. For that, alternate hand raising between both the types of attendees does the job.
To do this, it is essential to provide tablets or any other devices to the in-person attendees to submit their answers.
You or a chat line monitor can read the questions out to the presenters, so they don’t feel overwhelmed with multiple tasks. You can also be the mediator between the in-person and the virtual attendees.
Exhibit booths are where the business actually happens at virtual and hybrid events.
Major leads come directly from the virtual booths therefore, sponsors and exhibitors should never undervalue them. Exhibit booths can be customized according to the exhibitors’ preferences.
Virtual booths come with an option to offer exhibitors the rights to upload videos, photos, branded images, logos, marketing materials, discount vouchers, social media accounts, links to their own site pages, and much more.
However, virtual booths can reflect the on-site ones. On-site attendees can share printed collateral with QR codes linked to similar resources as the virtual booths. These collaterals include PDFs, videos, links to websites, and more, just as they would at a physical booth.
Personalized virtual avatars also contribute a whole lot to the success of the event by humanizing the exhibitor brand and increasing elements of inclusivity within the platform.
With the ability to personalize, exhibitors can design their booths with the goal of drawing more attendees in and can follow up with a responsive team who can interact through live chats and video calls.
With a virtual booth, attendees can take pictures of themselves and can post them on social media with the events’ hashtag. This helps build a community at different social media platforms and serves as a free marketing tactic to approach a larger audience. These photos can also be uploaded by the hosts in the same online gallery for everyone to see.
The on-site attendees will have the opportunity to take group photos using props and the online ones will feel like a part of the fun as they will be able to see their own pictures in the digital photo gallery.
In the world of virtual and hybrid events, breakout rooms are the focal point of innovative tech advances.
Breakout rooms are the vanguard of keeping attendees engaged and excited about participating at the event. They allow the attendees to have a more personalized and collaborative event experience.
Breakout rooms are small groups where attendees can have discussions after the speaker, or a live learning module ends. The virtual attendees can have a conversation on what they have experienced and learned during the session.
Each group requires a discussion leader who can make sure to have the conversation in the group going.
The group discussion leader should be provided with advanced controls to mute participants, record conversations, display slide decks and open chat rooms and polls.
How a breakout room will work completely depends upon the event platform’s capacities. Therefore, organizers need to ensure that the technology provider can host multiple sessions at once and assist multiple speakers in a dynamic group discussion.
These breakout rooms can easily be arranged by you.
After the group presentations and keynote speeches, attendees can see a link on their screen that would help them join their respective break out room. Group discussion leaders will be in charge of guiding them towards positive and constructive conversation, making sure the technical implementation of the chat rooms, Q&A, and polling are in check.
The virtual events platform providers also offer a team of technical support staff or moderators who administer the technical implementation of these breakout rooms.
After the allotted time for the breakout rooms is over, the attendees are redirected to a larger group at the event. You have the option to bring the attendees in and out of the breakout rooms as many times as they want, throughout the event.
Breakout rooms can create an interactive and engaging experience for both the in-house and virtual attendees alike. They can accelerate collaboration, enhance attendee participation, and provide real-time feedback to the organizers.
Breakout rooms can help attendees network and build a community with this shared experience.
With the conversations in the breakout rooms, the attendees can remember the content and information shared even after the event has ended.
To get the most out of these conversations, it is essential to utilize chat rooms, live polling, and video chats to the fullest. The session leaders can provide information and feedback to the event organizers at the end of the event to let them know how the attendees felt about the event.
Chats play an important role in bringing the attendees together. Event participants can keep the conversation going with embedded live chats through the chat bar.
Group and private chats facilitate attendees by helping them interact with exhibitors, representatives, and admin. They can get into 1:1 discussions over text, audio, or video chats.
The best way to make your attendees explore the venue, be it virtual or on-site is by making them participate in scavenger hunts. Offer clues to your attendees and let them find the items to become a top leader on the leaderboard.
Such a healthy mix of activities and interaction can be an appealing activity for hybrid events. Such activities allow the attendees to have some fun during the event and be able to earn prizes and recognition on the leaderboard.
Leaderboards help award points for attendees who complete specific tasks within the event. Anything can go up on a leaderboard. You can reward attendees for attending a webinar, watching a video, completing a segment, or even for downloading a document.
Attendees with the highest points at the end of the event receive prizes.
Surveys and polls are a great way to get immediate feedback from your audience. Hosts can use polls during live presentations which can serve as an icebreaker for the networking events.
Hosts can also have polls after board meetings to quickly gather feedback. vFairs can easily integrate with Slido so you can include various polling options.
This feedback will give you a better idea of what concerns or challenges attendees face and will help you improve future events.
Social media event walls serve as an engagement tool that allows you to view valuable content posted by speakers and attendees using event’s hashtags. A social wall also provides attendees the ability to upload content directly on the wall.
The wall facilitates the interaction between attendees, sponsors, speakers, and administrators. You can display your curated content on a screen at the physical venue, and embed it into the event’s website to show it before or after the event.
Moderated Q&As can be used during webinars, within the exhibit booths. Attendees can submit questions and you can publish their answers within the chat function. Administrators, however, do have the ability to approve the questions if they deem them appropriate and beneficial to the rest of the audience.
Moderated Q&As can help you manage unwanted and irrelevant comments, create connections through meaningful conversations, and curate a list of FAQs for your booth visitors.
Downloadable documents and videos give attendees the opportunity to reflect back at the event and relive it. They can go through them from time to time and refer to them as resources.
With user profile search and contact sharing, attendees can effectively find people they’re interested to communicate with, or refer them to other people.
The search filter helps them filter people to match their interests, professions, educational background, and more.
As mentioned earlier, contests can directly affect engagement of the attendees. Contests, games, and competitions engage exhibitors, attendees, and sponsors alike. The organizers can make them as interesting as they like and new ideas are welcome. Organizers can also host a contest between exhibitors to make it more fetching.
You can create contests based on other features, such as leaderboards and scavenger hunts.
Touchpoint mapping is where physical and virtual attendees can connect and share the same event experience, and network opportunities. These touchpoints are extremely important to make sure both the attendees have a similar experience.
After all, a hybrid event is one event, but offers two experiences.
Some of the examples of touchpoint mapping include:
When catering to two diverse groups of attendees, it is vital to represent both in the physical space. Therefore, it is essential to align your on-site attendees with the virtual ones.
Hybrid events provide various concrete experiences to engage the on-site attendees. Examples include exhibitor booths, showcases, and face-to-face meetings. Since the virtual audience has a ton of disturbances to deal with, it is highly crucial to work on how to keep them engaged at their best.
You must ensure that the online attendees are well represented on-site through breakout rooms, chat rooms, and Q&A sessions.
However, a good way to encourage virtual participation to on-site attendees is to engage them in virtual activities that are fun, engaging, and informative. One example includes social media walls where both attendees can post and share valuable content. This would encourage networking through channels outside of the event as well.
Another opportunity is to ask the on-site attendees to fill in their user profiles and contact information on the mobile app that would help them network, and make connections with other attendees – virtual or in-person.
When planning hybrid events, it is essential to plan according to the two distinct types of attendees: in-person and virtual. The content should be relevant to both the attendees and should not have joint activities that would make one group feel isolated from participation. Therefore, it is important to keep both the attendees equally engaged.
Here are multiple ways to repurpose your content so that it resonates with both your audiences:
Hybrid events software is where a business can produce and manage events that combine in-person events with the virtual components. With two diverse sets of audiences, a hybrid event software is the platform that allows them to attend, contribute, and engage in events from anywhere.
A hybrid event cost can only be determined with the number of attendees and whether a hybrid event is small, mid-sized or at larger scale.
However, an approximate cost of a hybrid event is $35,000, including physical venue cost at around $20,000 and virtual venue costs at approximately $15,000.
The answer to this question varies from one organization to another. Some organizers may charge a different fee for online attendees and on-site audiences. However, this may not be the case for some.
Since one hybrid event is able to provide two similar experiences, charging different prices for different attendees may not be considered a good idea. This would make attendees prefer the cheaper option for the next event.
This might also affect the attendance of people on-site and they might start opting for the virtual option in case they find it cheaper.
However if some organizers do charge different ticket prices, then they should offer different access to content for both types of attendees.
With many options to choose from, hybrid event apps all have some unique features. However, vFairs is the recommended one.
Being one of the top scorers at G2 reviews, vFairs has certainly made its mark in the events industry. We have been named the industry leader in G2 Reports, with an average rating of 4.7/5.
One of the main challenges of hybrid events is to keep both the attendees, virtual and in-person, equally engaged and have them enjoy a similar experience.
Choosing the right on-site venue and deciding upon a high value adding virtual events platform is a great challenge as well.
The first and the foremost technology that is essential to have is a virtual platform where the feed can be hosted live.
For production, high quality cameras, lighting, and microphones are essential. For live streaming, the production team directs a live feed through the control room or AV equipment.
In-person events only focus on a physical event where the attendees have face-to-face sessions. However, hybrid events are a perfect blend of both in-person and virtual audiences. They cater to two distinct audiences in one event.
Virtual events are those where everybody joins in virtually through a virtual event platform and there are no physical attendees. However, hybrid events are the best of both worlds and combine virtual audiences and on-site attendees in one event.
Here are the key takeaways from our hybrid events guide:
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