Hybrid event marketing strategies and ideas – the 2022 guide

The pandemic is on the retreat and with it, there’s a sharp resurgence of desire for getting back to business – and life – as it used to be. Live events are no exception, for the simple reason that nothing quite matches up to the experience of “being there” . . . think of a football match, a jazz concert, a corporate quiz show, or a product launch. In terms of attracting satisfactory audience numbers, one valuable lesson that marketers learned – practically forced upon them, as it were, by the pandemic – is that introducing an online option in event marketing does not detract from its overall success. On the contrary, while the holistic experience of being present at an event is unmatchable, an additional online version expands the reach of the event, drawing in attendees who are in far-off places and different time zones. The challenge for marketers, therefore, now lies in appropriately promoting this hybrid avatar of two different yet interlinked event offers and customising advertising campaigns for two sets of potential audiences, in-person and online. Here are some ideas to help you resolve the challenges of hybrid event marketing.

Understand your goals

It may sound obvious, but before you kick off your hybrid event marketing strategy, the first question to ask yourself is  – why is your organisation staging an event? The answer, most likely, is to accomplish a specific goal, for example:

  1. Adding to the sales pipeline
  2. Promoting/launching a product
  3. Fostering thought leadership/brand image
  4. Attracting new audiences/enhancing audience engagement
  5. Providing new opportunities for sponsors/partners

The second important question to ask is: Why should people sign up for your event?  What value will they perceive in it? How does the event fulfil their needs? How can it offer new ideas or solutions to their problems? Communicating the advantages provided by the event in clear and straightforward terms will give people a reason to consider attending it.

Your event will have other stakeholders too - partners, sponsors, and exhibitors. Keep their interests in mind as well while planning your marketing strategy. When you have a clear idea of what the real-time event is meant to accomplish, you can strategize on adding value to it with an online element. Identifying the larger objective will help you to customise your approach to both your target audiences, offline and online.

Planning a hybrid event marketing strategy

The idea of staying connected and networked* holds good here as well and before you start working on market strategies, your research on target audiences should be in place.  There are multiple options to choose from while considering how best you can reach out to your audience – email, social media platforms, paid search and more. Here is a quick run-through of some popular choices:

Email marketing to gain audience attention

Old-fashioned email still holds its own as a marketing tool against newer, snazzier media. For one, it is cost-effective. Also, email is an easy and productive means to engage with your target audience. For instance, you can begin promoting your hybrid event a couple of months before the date followed by timely reminders and updates. While developing content for emails, pay close attention to writing:

  1. An interesting and catchy email subject line
  2. Informative, clear, and concise content (date; online/offline sessions on offer; how to register)
  3. A compelling Call-to-Action (CTA)

Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) can help you in this task. These platforms provide ways to improve the delivery and tracking of your marketing messages.

Traditional mail for a personal touch

Believe it or not, snail mail works well too as a marketing tool that can directly reach your audience at their homes or offices. If the target audience is receptive to freebies, consider adding digital items with the mail to function as an additional “hook”.

Social media options

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or TikTok – which one will give you the most bang for your buck? In truth, there is no “ideal” option. To find out which social media platform will give you optimum reach, analyse your audience segments and understand why and how they use various platforms.

Tailor your content according to the social media platforms on which your audience is most active. For instance, LinkedIn is used extensively by B2B audiences while Facebook and Instagram attract a wide range of B2C audiences.

Hashtag power

A branded hashtag is a handy tool for your promotional campaign, one that both your organisation and your attendees can use when posting on social media about the event. It serves two purposes – drawing attention to your show and engendering a community feeling. 

Create and publish posts every week, always including the event hashtag, over at least two months leading up to the event. Continue to publish posts through the event as well, featuring highlights from the programme – this can make your audience feel more closely connected with the event. Additionally, encourage attendees to click and post photos with their comments on their social media, along with your branded hashtag, to further promote the event.

Promotional videos to evoke curiosity

Leverage the power of the moving image with teaser videos that amp up anticipation around your forthcoming event. Videos have an immersive effect, giving potential participants an enhanced feel of what they can expect from your hybrid event. A market study by Vidyard claims that teaser videos as a promotional tool lead to a 34 per cent increased conversion rate – an effective return on investment.

Hybrid event platform

When choosing a platform for your hybrid event, look for one that offers a seamless and engaging experience for online viewers while also providing an absorbing experience for the in-person audience.

Landing page

Design a dedicated landing page where potential participants can check out all relevant details about your hybrid event. This page can be used for several purposes. Here are some ideas:

  1. Showcase your teaser videos (in addition to featuring them on social media)
  2. Create a prominent one-click link to registration.
  3. Display attractive visuals and visitor reviews.
  4. Share relevant information on speakers invited for the event, and the topics they will cover.

*For organizations on the digital transformation journey, agility is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and exceed on organizational expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like a living organism, will be imperative for business excellence going forward. A comprehensive, yet modular suite of services is doing exactly that. Equipping organizations with intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, actionable insights based on real-time solutions, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility across functions leading to hyper-productivity, Live Enterprise is building connected organizations that are innovating collaboratively for the future.

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