What are hybrid events?
As a direct response to the pandemic, organizations were forced to switch from in-person events to virtual events. At first, this seemed less than ideal, but as time passed, organizations began to realize the benefits of hybrid events. These benefits are getting clearer every day, but this article is meant to shine a light on the challenges that come with them. For many, these challenges are too much to handle. But they don’t need to be handled alone. Let’s consider a few:
Choosing the Right Technology
Tech is moving faster than ever. It seems like every day there’s a newer, faster and better way to achieve something. A more efficient application to get something done. A brand-new piece of software that can make your business more efficient. But how do we sift through it all? In a sea of endless options, how do we know what’s right for us? For many, that’s the first and most important challenge. What platform should we use, and how will it serve our needs the most?
Once we overcome that hurdle, we need to make secondary considerations. What technology will we need for registrations, emailing participants, and then of course, promoting our actual event. There’s a lot to consider, and all before the event even begins, before we can even hope to reap the benefits on the other side. FCCF can alleviate the stress by delivering answers. We’ll consider all the elements that will make up your hybrid event, and make suggestions backed with experience, and expertise. It’s our job to keep up to date on event-related tech, it shouldn’t have to be yours.
During the actual hybrid event is where the bulk of the challenges will arise. We like to group them into four major categories:
Whether it’s broadcasting issues, connectivity, or audio and video issues, sometimes it feels like our technology is not on our side. What makes virtual and hybrid events so nerve-wrecking, is how reliant we have to be on technology. A disruption, even a minor one, can often feel catastrophic, and in some cases it is. A speaker losing connection, or not being able to share their screen, or unmute themselves, can often bring everything to a standstill. For many, finding a quick solution is beyond their comfort levels.
Hybrid events combine elements of a virtual event and an in-person event, but the experience for virtual attendees and in-person attendees will never be quite the same. A major challenge then becomes understanding how to keep your virtual audience engaged. How do you create a memorable experience for them, one that makes them feel like they’re participants, not just spectators? Although a major benefit of hybrid events is how wide your audience size can become, we still need to convert them into clients, fans or customers. We need to make a lasting impression, and FCCF can help with this. We can facilitate Q&A’s, polls, and live voting, and utilize digital tech to make your virtual audience feel valued and involved.
Hosting anything over the internet can have cybersecurity concerns. In April 2021, it came as a shock to find out that thousands of recorded zoom calls were accessible on the open web. Depending on the subject matter of your event, this can be a serious legal challenge. Our job is to manage registrations, ticketing, and invitation lists and ensure that the right people are in the audience. At FCCF we’re equipped with data-localized zoom accounts, which means all your data within Canada will remain on a Canadian server. We have systems in place to strengthen your security and give you that much needed peace of mind.
Lastly, there’s the challenge of knowing where, when and how to leverage your marketing. It’s knowing how to create a branded landing page, or an exit page, or knowing how to create a branded zoom background. There’s a magnitude of opportunities to incorporate sponsorships throughout the event. You can play short advertisements during the breaks, invite guest speakers from around the world, or sprinkle in logos throughout your presentations. Not only do we know how to identify these opportunities, we can leverage them. We can ensure your event is optimized from a marketing perspective, and further increase your return on investment.
Understanding Your Return on Investment
Before we can determine whether a hybrid event was successful, we first need to understand what we were trying to achieve in the first place. Was our objective to increase brand awareness? Increase sales? Were we trying to educate our audience on a particular topic? Or simply generate more customer and client leads? Whatever it is, hybrid events make tracking these key performance indicators a lot easier. With significantly lower costs, and much higher reach potential, your return on investment can be significantly greater. The challenge is making sense of just how great.
Implementing Your Call to Action
The work doesn’t end after the event. In fact, the conclusion can sometimes be where the real work begins. The challenge is how do we engage with our audience after they leave? What do we hope to gain from them? Often our objective is to convert participants into customers, clients, or at the very least, fans of our brand, business, or organization. But how do we achieve this? We make sure we have a strategic call to action. Whether we want more website visits, or purchases made, or subscriptions, we can ensure your call to action is clearly communicated, and seamlessly accessible for participants.
Hosting a successful Hybrid Event can be challenging. With so many moving pieces, and tech-related requirements, it’s no wonder so many people feel unfit to execute one. But as they say, nothing worth having comes easy, and nothing easy is worth having. Incorporating virtual elements into your next meeting or event can open up a new world of benefits. FCCF can help you experience these benefits, and navigate through the challenges.
Get in touch today and see why so many businesses are choosing First Class to host their virtual & hybrid events!