How to Utilize a Hybrid Model to Maximize Your Event Marketing Efforts
December 13, 2021
In-person trade shows and live marketing events are back! However, in some ways, event marketers are navigating the same level of uncertainties as in 2020. That’s why it’s important to plan to incorporate hybrid strategies in trade shows and corporate events moving forward. The best way to achieve this is by utilizing a virtual event environment pre-show, during the show, and post-show — to ensure that you’re meeting your target audience wherever they are.
While in-person events are happening, one undeniable fact is that participation and attendance numbers are down from years past. There are several reasons for this, including venue capacity limitations, budgetary restraints, and personal comfortability with travel and large gatherings. Regardless, what we do know is that brands still need to reach their full audience potential. This is why, when planning your exhibit or corporate event strategy going forward, you should learn the best ways to marry your physical presence with a virtual environment.
Let’s discuss how a hybrid event model is an effective asset in your event marketing strategy for your pre-show, during-show, and post-show outreach and engagement.
We love the idea of using digital marketing to start relationship-building in a timely fashion before the live event.
When brands personally invite guests to events, it lends a feeling of exclusivity and personalization leading up to the event. Your guests are more likely to set aside the time to visit your booth, whether in-person or virtually. It’s a great way for event marketers to really hone in on that list of the target audience who wants to buy. Mining for this gold is much easier to track in a virtual environment or with digital marketing.
Our favorite ways to utilize a virtual environment for your pre-show are:
Build hype: If your brand plans to launch a new product or service at an upcoming trade show, use your virtual environment to build hype for the launch. The excitement of a “sneak peek” is usually too juicy to pass up!
Book meetings and demos: Now that you’ve got your exclusive group hyped on what to expect at the show, let’s get them booked to meet with a member of your team!
Create intrigue: Unlock the inner detective in your clients and prospects by inviting them to participate in a scavenger hunt or your own version of a game of Clue. Your pre-show teaser can start in your virtual environment with the final clue or prize revealed at the live event.
Inform and educate: If you’re planning an educational or information session at the live trade show, why not invite your customers and prospects to a preview version of the session? Creating a mini-session in your virtual environment will build hype AND intrigue for participating in your brand’s educational sessions at the live event.
Virtual Show Engagement
During the trade show or live event, you can open your virtual environment during the same days/hours as the live event to create an interactive, digital experience for the portion of your audience who cannot make it in person.
Think about having a designated staff member as a host, facilitating the virtual environment for attendees who are not able to physically attend. The host is an essential human connection to your brand, while in a virtual setting so that more clients and prospects can be included. Some ideas include having live stream sessions from the event in the virtual space and offering exclusive giveaways for the virtual audience.
The show has come to a close, but don’t power down the virtual environment just yet!
Event marketers know that post-show outreach is probably the most critical, yet most overlooked step in event marketing strategy. The connection with your brand does not end just because the event has come to a close and everyone is heading home. In the few days, up to a week, following your event is the time to convince your audience to take the next desired step.
In a hybrid event setup, you can use your virtual environment to your advantage to stay in touch with ALL of your attendees, not just the people who attended your virtual event. Here are few suggestions:
Provide downloadable recaps of speaker sessions to keep the learnings fresh.
Have a downloadable library of pamphlets or information given out at the booth. Bonus — this is also way better for the environment!
Access to digital business cards for all of the team members who worked the booth. Trade show attendees collect so many business cards in a short period of time — help them remember who they spoke to instead of getting lost in the shuffle.
Use a follow-up appointment setting option so that prospects can quickly and easily set up a meeting time that works for them.
Create a brief post-show survey or a quiz for a chance to win a prize.
If the wheels are turning on how to create an exceptional hybrid event, let’s set up a time to discuss your next trade show and see if a virtual environment can help maximize your event marketing outreach and engagement!
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We understand how frustrating it can be to create and manage a trade show booth, and how much pressure there is to make it truly impactful. Let us worry about the details so you can start forming new relationships and growing your business.