By Jessica Day
Covid-19 has changed the world in many different ways, from how many people we can socialise with to how we create an effective marketing campaign. There aren’t many things that haven’t been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thanks to the incredible power of technology, virtual events have enabled us to keep going in a world that seems to be on stop. Although our doors have been closed, we have still been able to open up communication with anyone from anywhere in the world, whether it be for professional or personal contact. There are no two ways around it; virtual has broadened our horizons and made it so much easier to live and not just exist through these incredibly challenging times.
Say Hello to Hybrid
Everyone is craving “normality”, yet the fact is normality has changed. And then some!
From one-to-one Google meets to large attendee virtual events, digital communication has come so far that there is no turning back from it. In quite a short space of time, the way in which we work, market, and run events has changed dramatically. But at the same time, in quite a short span, people have also hit webinar fatigue.
That is why hybrid events are seeing a massive upward trend; they offer a perfect balance of digital and in-person attendance and engagement.
Sounds good, but we know what you’re thinking…
How do you create an effective marketing campaign for a hybrid event?
We get it; you’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into building your business, and you’ve put years of hard work into perfecting the marketing strategies. You’ve studied everything from amazon fba to encrypted video conferencing. Now you’re expected to learn a whole new marketing set-up and convince your audience to jump on board with your new way of working.
Take a breather; it’s a lot easier than it sounds. Just follow our tips below, and you will be running an effective marketing campaign for your hybrid event faster than the panic buyers hit the toilet paper aisles in March 2020!
Top Tips on Launching an Effective Marketing Campaign for Hybrid Events
Identify Your Goals
Instead of getting caught up in how to create an effective marketing campaign for your hybrid event, you should, first of all, think about why you’re doing it.
Before you do anything else, etch this advice in your brain like a carving on a tree.
Knowing how to attract the masses to your hybrid event is wonderful, but what is the point if your event doesn’t benefit your business?
Think about the specific goals that you want your business to achieve from your event. Perhaps you want to promote a new innovation or product. Maybe you want to improve your brand reputation or even reduce your average bounce rate for ecommerce. With a clear understanding of your overall goal, you can create an effective marketing strategy that attracts the right people to your hybrid event, not just boosts the numbers.
Take Advantage of Marketing Channels
Once you’ve identified your overall objective, you should now think about what channels you can use to drive in-person and digital attendees. The important thing here is remembering the different needs of your physical and virtual attendees and creating your campaigns accordingly.
Guests who have previously attended your in-person events may be interested in reading long-form blog content or even watching video highlights from past events. This type of marketing will not only drive in-person attendees through FOMO (no one likes missing out, after all!) but will also help to improve your site’s organic SEO.
Of course, putting out content that shows how awesome your in-person events are isn’t going to work too well on virtual attendees. This new audience needs to be educated on the benefits of attending your virtual event, which will inevitably have quite a few different elements to your physical event.
It’s also a good idea to add helpful tips that may add to the appeal of becoming a virtual attendee. This could mean sending information on the different types of video conference set up or highlighting the benefits of encrypted video conferencing. The more specifically you target your content to your two groups of guests, the larger amount of trust you will instil in your audience.
Who are the most important guests at your hybrid event?
Your answer should be “all of them!”
Every single guest at your event (whether in-person or virtual) brings an opportunity for you to move closer to your business goals. Virtual attendees want to (and deserve to) feel just as important, wanted and valued as your in-person guests, so it’s vital that you give them the same amount of attention.
We’ve already established that in order to launch an effective marketing campaign for your hybrid event, you should deliver tailored content to your two groups of guests.
But…the amount of time and effort you spend on both should be the same.
Your virtual audience isn’t going to sign up again if they feel like they’ve been plonked in the shadows of your physical attendees.
Use Your Sponsors!
Got sponsors or partners? Use them – it will help to market your event exponentially! Whatever channel you use, from Instagram marketing to email campaigns, using your sponsors and partners can significantly help you to launch an effective marketing campaign.
When taking this route, think about the partners and sponsors that you have aligned to different hybrid areas and ensure that they are notifying their followers and contacts about their involvement at your event. Think about how your different partners can benefit your two groups of guests.
A food sponsor, for example, will be able to take part in face-to-face conversations promoting their product. A more tech-focused sponsor, such as a company that works with an enterprise cellphone system, may be better suited to promoting their product virtually. Once you determine which sponsor is working with each group, you can provide them with bespoke marketing material that will convey two different messages but benefit your event as a whole.
Make Use of Email Marketing
Do not underestimate the power of email marketing. Even with the ever-increasing use of other digital marketing strategies, email marketing remains one of the most effective strategies.
The wonderful thing about email marketing is that you don’t have to be a professional copywriter to do it well. What you do have to be is committed to providing consistent, engaging, and valuable content that is specific to the needs of your audience.
Let’s break this down…
You wouldn’t send out an affiliate marketing email to people you don’t want to joint venture with. You wouldn’t write an email campaign on tech in the workplace and send it to a group of people whose jobs do not require the use of technology! The point we are making is that you can construct the most well-written and informative email there has ever been, but if it doesn’t benefit your audience, your words will have about as much impact as a snail chasing a cheetah!
Going back to your hybrid event, you should segment your email marketing between your virtual and physical attendees. This way, you can deliver personalised and engaging messages that work towards driving action from your target audiences.
Remember to keep all emails consistent with your event website and marketing material to ensure brand consistency. This means ensuring all your colours, fonts, logos, and themes keep in line with your brand.
The Bottom Line
One of the most important business lessons that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us is that while virtual events have their benefits, in-person events still have a great part to play in all of our lives.
Hybrid events combine both in-person and virtual experiences and are quickly becoming an essential element of the “new normal” and our new way of working and communicating. By following the simple advice in this post, you can launch an effective marketing campaign for your hybrid event and easily adapt your strategies to accommodate this different world in which we live.
About the Author
Jessica Day is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad, a modern business communications platform providing cloud PBX services that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns. Here is her LinkedIn.