How To Drive Audience Engagement During a Hybrid Event
The digital event landscape changes fast. If you aren’t engaging, don’t provide an interactive experience — if your experiences aren’t expertly branded — your live and virtual attendees will start looking elsewhere.
That’s why each experience today must be high-quality, regardless of whether the touchpoint is digital or physical. This means that we, as marketers, need to have a universal mindset — one that unifies events under one channel with a singular goal in mind: to ensure audiences get an amazing, engaging experience no matter where they are.
Adopting a Universal Mindset for Hybrid Event Attendees
Rather than trying to create two separate experiences for our virtual and physical audiences, we need to adopt a universal audience mindset. But what does that mean? All a universal audience mindset means is that when we create our event strategy, we aim to develop a standardized experience across every audience touchpoint — physical and digital.
Using such an approach means adopting a holistic view of your event’s audience and how they interact with your brand both on and offline. For example, if you’re planning an upcoming hybrid event, then you’ll want to consider the whole event experience for both audiences and review elements like:
- Handouts and resources
- Polls and surveys
- Questions and Answers sessions
- Networking opportunities
- Entertainment and happy hours
A universal audience mindset means marketers must find opportunities to combine and streamline efforts (e.g., unified branding, shared touchpoints, collecting the same data, etc.) to ensure a quality, unified experience.
And, with unified experiences in mind, marketers can collect invaluable first-party data, see how engaged audiences and, hopefully, accelerate the buyer’s journey for a few attendees.
Ensuring Universal Audience Engagement
Engagement is essential to drive the most success from a unified audience approach. Below are some tactics to keep all audiences engaged throughout the lifecycle of your event:
Presenters need to know how to address both physical and digital audiences simultaneously. Thankfully, this isn’t as hard as it sounds. All your presenters must do is remember to:
- Acknowledge both in-person and virtual audiences
- Explain how both audiences can interact with one another
- Distribute eye contact between in-person attendees and the camera you’re broadcasting from
Activities help marketers drive event engagement. They’re incredibly impactful in understanding audience behavior and interest and aren’t as complicated as one might think. For example, event activities can include:
- Resource lists
- Accepting content handouts
- Show of hands
For example, you can use polls and surveys throughout an event to engage online and in-person participants. These engagement opportunities can also be strategically aligned with identifying prospects within your ICP, boosting NPS scores or for use in upcoming content.
What’s important here, however, is to ensure your in-person and digital event activities are aligned. Both audiences need to respond to the same poll, draw from the same content list and have the same opportunities to network.
Ensuring event activities are the same (or as close to it as possible) across both channels is essential. Doing so will help you understand your content’s performance and identify leads from both channels.
So your registrants turned into attendees and attendees turned into participants. Now what? Well, based on the engagement data you gathered, you need to work with your sales to keep conversations going after your event ends.
That’s why marketers often send post-event follow-up emails.
But you should take those emails a strategic step further. Don’t just ask participants to book a meeting, ask them what they thought and if they’d be willing to fill out a survey. Use these digital touchpoints to boost NPS, understand how your content is connected and plan out future events.
Finally, depending on the audience or purpose of the event, go the extra mile by sending swag bags or gift cards as a thank you for attendees taking the time to engage.
After leads are qualified, sales can reach out to them and have 1:1 conversations with those individuals. We can also add some type of incentive to encourage attendees to continue engaging with our sales team.
Deliver Engagement to Audiences Anywhere, Anytime
Successful events ensure every audience member is engaged and involved no matter where or how they choose to attend.
By changing our mindset and acknowledging physical and virtual attendees as one complete audience, we can deliver the highest quality experience to our attendees.
If we do all the above, we can ensure all attendees and our marketing team gain value from the events we produce.