If you’re still asking yourself whether virtual events are a one-crisis wonder, ask yourself again.
Thanks to the Coronavirus what was once a wonder has become the norm. Not only has COVID helped accelerate the development and acceptance of digital and virtual experiences, but it has turned it into the new norm.
What more, according to WHO it could take up to 5 years to control the coronavirus. A recent report also points to the fact that it may last for 2 more years.
HYBRID as the new (post) COVID Trend
The restrictions imposed by COVID have definitely pushed the event sector to re-invent itself.
As such, David Meerman Scott, a best-selling author and frequent public speaker who studies how neuroscience affects behavior, and David Adler, CEO of BizBash, as well as many others foresee a hub-and-spoke model, or hybrid model.
According to Adler,in the beginning people will still be wary of the virus dangers, and budgets will still be tight. That’s why adding value is the most important aspect when it comes to hosting a real-life physical event.
Hence a hybrid model is best for (post) COVID times.
What is HYBRID ?
It mainly consists of a mix of physical and virtual, meaning the event is physically happening with few people but being broadcast online at the same time.
For that to be a success, visual quality and broadcast control are a must.
Why Virtual Should be added to the Mix!
With virtual events becoming mainstream, not only will you be able to save money, and time, but you will also be able to reach a larger audience. This allows for more flexibility in terms of reaching different time zones, and allowing attendees to re-visit the experience. Additionally, the data gathered in such events can help gauge the buyer journey and nurture hot leads.
How to Make the Best Out of It?
According to Hubspot, to make the best out of any virtual event:
1- Create a Strategy
Define your goal & theme. Ask yourself:
- What kind of experience are you offering?
- Is it going to be live, on-demand, or both?
- How will you promote the event?
- Will attendees still have access to the event once it’s over?
- What KPIs will you use to measure the event’s success?
2- Select the Appropriate Time
Make sure there are no competing events at the same time. Check for time zone conflicts beforehand. If there are conflicts, pick the time that suits the largest number of followers. Check social media analytics to see when your target audience is typically online too.
3- Create Buzz
Identify your events’ key value proposition, in other words: what makes it so compelling for people to attend?
Is it the speakers?
the workshops offered?
the networking opportunities or the entertainment?
No matter what, make this key value proposition clear in all your marketing messages.
Make Sure to promote the event or create buzz by sharing all details through social media, and email.
Run ads strategically, and choose the appropriate channel, and format for your campaigns depending on your target audience.
Run them two to three weeks before the event, since event registration peaks around that time.
Make use of Facebook event ads, Instagram stories, as well as speakers and influencers.
Make sure your speakers are your event ambassadors since they can raise awareness about it twofold.
Create a hashtag for the event so that it is easily identifiable. What it is about, where it is ,who it hosts, and how it will take place are to be clear to everyone attending.
Make sure your ads convert by having the registration link to the event’s website or Eventbrite link to click on.
4- Anticipate Technical Problems
Test everything beforehand.
Your speakers should be familiar with the tech.
Prepare for glitches, and run a try-out before the actual live.
Think of all the problems your attendees may have especially, if they’re not tech savvy. Prepare easy to use guides, or assign a support team with resources to help attendees during the event.
5- Make your Event Accessible to All
For that make sure the design is inclusive meaning it delivers amazing user experience to as many people as possible.
Account for a range of diversity- including ability, language, gender, age, etc…
For that make your text as readable as possible allowing for text character size to be adjustable.
Provide description captions for images, and videos.
Add a descriptive transcript for video, and use a color contrast of at least 4.5:1 for your video.
Always remember Social media accessibility is not a FAD.
6. Create Engagement Opportunities
Make sure to include calls to action in your posts.
Ask a question, tag people, poll them and always respond.
Last but not least, don’t forget to ask for feedback.
Finally, If you need help in hosting your hybrid or virtual event, our team is a click away.
Contact us for more guidance.