With 2020 behind us, 2021 brings more hope to the trade show industry. Virtual events have taken off during this time, but they simply don’t replace the power of face-to-face marketing. Currently, there are many businesses that don’t feel comfortable sending their staff off to trade shows quite yet, and on the other hand, there are businesses that are giving their employees permission to travel with safety and precaution. A hybrid event combines both the in-person and virtual setting of your trade show or event.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE HYBRID EVENTS?You may start to see large trade show hosts offer a hybrid option. This allows exhibitors to meet face-to-face with attendees while also engaging with prospects online via a live streaming, interactive webinar, or other virtual platform.
If your business is not quite ready to exhibit in-person at a trade show you had scheduled, there is another hybrid option available that incorporates the use of your physical booth properties. Set up your trade show booth in your office setting (either the entire display, or a portion of it – whichever makes the most sense) while again using a live streaming or interactive webinar. This allows attendees to get a sneak peek of what they can expect to see at your shows later this year (or next year) while also making sure you are interacting and staying on top of their minds.
Hybrid events do not just have to be aligned with your trade shows! If your business participates in or hosts seminars, in-facility product demos, showroom tours, speaker events, or company outings—using a hybrid option can also ensure everyone feels like they at least have a choice to meet online if they cannot take part in person. This is a win-win as it allows for you to continue to offer these engaging marketing tactics, and your customers/prospects will appreciate being able to participate from afar.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR AUDIENCE ENGAGEDArguably your number one focus during your hybrid event is how to keep both audiences focused and engaged on your content. To start, make sure your sessions don’t exceed a certain amount of time. The rule of thumb will likely be around 45-60 minutes maximum per session. For your online audience, posting Q&A’s, surveys, polls and other forms of communication during your sessions will help make them feel acknowledged and keep them more engaged. If the online audience is regularly interacting, you can offer networking sessions, games, special prizes for answering questions/filling out online polls or surveys, or even offer a discount or promotion on your product or service. Here are more content ideas for your event.
When getting ready for your hybrid event, do a few run-throughs to make sure your digital platforms are operating correctly, and so that you can practice tailoring your content to both audiences.
WHY HYBRID EVENTS?We are all craving human interaction at this point—at least outside of our primary household or “bubble.” Hybrid events allow for the “best of both worlds.” You can still reach a multitude of your prospects in-person while also making your virtual attendees feel comfortable until we can all meet face-to-face safely once again.
An added benefit of a hybrid event is you may find it easier to track your engagement from the online attendees and see an increase in your ROI. If you already had a booth created and ready for 2020, you probably want to put that to use! Using this existing booth will increase your ROI by spending less on a brand new design, giveaways, travel expenses – and will allow you to reach a new or broader audience with the online option as well.
You can also record any demos, speakers, or sessions to send to your prospects to re-watch after the event, even if they were in attendance in-person.
Given these times, it is nice to know that there are options for your trade show marketing efforts to make you feel comfortable while also reaching a large audience. Need assistance with your hybrid events? Contact your local Skyline dealer for more information on how we can help.