Virtual and hybrid events have taken off in recent years. Many big events have gone virtual, making it clear just how well the concept can work. Could it be effective for your company? It’s a tough sell if management isn’t yet convinced that it’s the right move. Being clear about the potential benefits of virtual events and hybrid events can help you state your case.
1. Expand Your Audience Base
No matter how effective your company’s current marketing plan is, it’s still highly likely that you could be reaching a wider audience. This can be the case even with multiple live events on your annual schedule. There’s one very simple reason for this, and it’s not necessarily because your marketing campaigns aren’t effective. It’s more about how live events can be self-limiting because there are always people who would attend the event if they could. But they’re unable to due to practical concerns like time constraints or travel costs.
Opting for a virtual or hybrid event instead makes this a non-issue. If people can attend the event online, they can do so from virtually anywhere in the world. And even if they don’t have time for traveling or attending a multi-day live event, they probably do have time to login to an online event and watch a few sessions on-demand or see some virtual exhibits.
In short: Your audience potential is considerably expanded because it’s easier and less costly for people to attend the event. That means you’ll not only have more attendees, but you’ll also have more individual companies attending and exhibiting. Smaller companies that can’t afford to send people to in-person events may have the budget to buy virtual tickets. That’s a win for everyone—hosts, sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees.
2. Create a Year-Round Revenue Stream, or Gain New Customers
If your company isn’t already doing so, it’s beneficial to start treating events as year-round revenue streams. The potential value of an event doesn’t start just before the event and stop just after. If your event content has value, people will want to access it after the event is over. They may be willing to pay for it, which allows you to create a new revenue stream and add to the ROI of your company’s virtual events.
Another option is to offer free content in exchange for contact information. You can then shift new subscribers into your sales funnel, and, in the future, those people may become customers.
3. Enhance Your Industry Reputation and Brand Awareness
Live events generate lots of short-term buzz, but all that hype dissipates quickly once the event is over. Hybrid and virtual events give you a much better shot at turning that short-term hype into long-term brand awareness. With that comes the opportunity to enhance your company’s reputation as an expert in the industry.
Virtual conferences and events have the potential to generate long-term interest because online content is easy to reuse. For instance, if your virtual event includes a keynote speaker, roundtable, panel discussion, or education sessions, recordings of that content can be repurposed in multiple ways. It continues to provide valuable information for clients and customers long after the event is over. As you continue holding events and building up your content library, your company website benefits from increased traffic. At the same time, your company develops a reputation as a source of quality education and information. It doesn’t necessarily happen overnight, but as you continue producing quality content, you’ll secure your position as an industry thought-leader.
4. Use Enhanced Analytics to Get to Know Your Customers Better
One of the most significant advantages of virtual and hybrid events is the sheer wealth of data they generate. When virtual attendees visit an event website, every action they take generates data that you can record and analyze. It’s vastly easier to track an attendee’s movements online than it is to track how people move around a live event venue. At live events, it typically requires the people attending to opt-in in some way, and that’s not always easy to accomplish.
Online, the ability to track what attendees do is baked right into the events platform. You can understand:
- What sessions they watch and for how long
- What event features they interact with
- And more
Each attendee’s behavior is tied to their individual registration identity. This means you can sort individuals into all kinds of demographic groups. Want to know which demographics were most interested in your keynote speaker? No problem. Which attendee groups spent the most time interacting with your company’s product demos? No problem. For online events, data analytics are a piece of cake.
Can’t Give Up the Benefits of a Live Event? Go Hybrid.
Clearly, virtual events have many benefits, but in-person events do too! Most people still prefer to network face-to-face rather than virtually network. It’s generally considered easier to keep attendees engaged at a live event, as compared to a virtual one. And big industry trade shows and expos will always be massively popular physical events because people love to see the amazing booths that the biggest brands have devised for that year.
If your company is reluctant to give up the benefits of a live event, holding a hybrid event instead could be the perfect alternative. A hybrid event gives you all the advantages of a live show, and since event content is also available online, people who can’t get to the physical venue can still take part.
Learn more about whether a hybrid event is right for you here.
The Benefits of Virtual and Hybrid Events Are Clear
If your company currently holds one or more physical events every year, there are some clear benefits to adding virtual or hybrid events to the schedule. Whether that’s instead of or in addition to live events, there’s plenty of potential there. Virtual conferences and events can boost your event attendance rates and give you not only a bigger audience, but a more globally diverse one too. Plus, enhanced data analytics also offer the chance to understand your audience better than ever before.
Need more ammo to convince the higher-ups that going virtual or hybrid is the right choice? Reach out to our XtendLive team today!