While the world is carefully starting to open, it isn’t likely to return to the pre-shuttered lockdown that was 2020. The past eighteen months helped us realize how much can be achieved by combining the digital and live; and the best part is, we’re only getting started.
As we still face restrictions around travel and budgets, all events including trade shows, conferences, job fairs, training, product launches and even weddings, worship or speed-dating, are all ripe for a hybrid experience. Suddenly, geographical restrictions are no longer the main reason your event only reaches a fraction of the right attendees. Hybrid and interactive virtual experiences will become the hallmark of The New Economy.
But they do require the right platform and understanding of how to increase engagement by displaying products and services correctly to drive attendees to sessions, events, and booths. “Build it, and they’ll come” only works in movies - in real life, high engagement rates are earned. Below, we’re sharing four top tips on how to drive engagement to your hybrid event.
Tips to maximize a return on experience for every attendee:
Understand Your Audience
Virtual audiences require more than just packaging up your convention center event and trying to replicate it online. Virtual attendees have different needs and more importantly, consume the event’s content remotely. Think countless distractions, juggling work and personal life while attempting to participate. Not to mention that the off switch is right there in front of them, and they won’t hesitate to log out if the event doesn’t live up to their expectations.
A successful hybrid event requires an interactive experience to not only raise attendance but keep people engaged once they get there. But without understanding who the average attendee is and what they consider to be a valuable experience or even how they grasp and absorb information, engaging them will become a major obstacle.
The hybrid experience needs to market to the senses, allowing for various kinds of learners – visual, auditory, or kinesthetic – to fully connect them to your message.
Develop Your Pre-Game
Attendees are craving engagement after 15 months of near isolation. They can’t wait to be “wowed” and thoroughly entertained! But it’s hard to be excited about something you know very little about. It’s crucial that you invest in a pre-event promotion strategy to build anticipation and excitement long before the big day.
Offer short, meaningful training through videos and surveys to understand exactly what they’re looking for to earn their attendance and ramp up their excitement to join. By providing attendees with pre-show materials, downloadable collateral, and on-demand content to help them learn more about the exhibitors and their organizations will help build their event journey and increase your sponsorship potential.
But don’t just stop there - share the “behind the scenes” of the planning process and encourage your vendors or speakers to promote the event with their audiences.
Personalize Every Experience
Great content or speakers do not guarantee the success of a hybrid event. Of course, they hugely influence it, but the entire experience has to feel as though it was perfectly tailored to attendees’ needs and expectations to truly connect with them.
One way to achieve this is by offering an interactive experience through Augmented Reality promotions and advertising that enhances the learning experience for attendees and product visibility for exhibitors or sponsors. Additionally, amplify the hybrid event by introducing in-session polling, live chat and Q&As, gamification and contests, enabling attendees to take an active role in the event rather than just watch passively.
The attendees will be engaged and the follow up will be tailored to their specific engagement while providing quality data to the coordinators, sponsors, and exhibitors. Win-win for a positive ROI.
Extend the Post-Show Customer Experience
A big upside for virtual and hybrid events is the ability to have a global presence, extending the geographic reach beyond who your typical audience would be. However, certain restrictions such as various time zones still pose a challenge - not everybody is up at 2 am be able to join and participate in their session of choice.
Expand your post-show reach by ensuring you’re able to reach additional prospects through multi-language options and that your virtual event platform of choice has a mobile companion application so those that couldn’t be there live can be there on any device via LiveX.
Finally, offer attendees to access the event’s content on-demand for a certain period of time once it’s over. That way, they can go back and re-watch the most interesting sessions or re-visit a company’s booth to gather more information about the product.
Nextech AR LiveX provides the platform to empower you to create events that inspire. Join Chris Burton, SVP Customer Experience at NexTech AR Solutions in the Digital Event Theatre with 3D AR Ad Network President, Hareesh Achi during International Confex for their keynote session titled “Restarting Our World with Augmented Experiences for the New New Economy; discussing how technology and AR are changing how we live, work, shop learn and play as me move beyond the COVID pandemic. With Nextech’s technology, International Confex will be the largest Hybrid program for the event industry.