Business Tech

How to Incorporate Virtual and Hybrid Events in a Marketing Funnel


Virtual and hybrid events are now essential to every brand’s marketing mix. Not only do they build community, achieve a sense of belonging, and drive engagement for your brand, but they can impact your bottom line. The event industry is ripe for disruption and the brands that understand how to use event-led growth to integrate events at every level of an organization will create more opportunities than their competitors.

90% of event organizers believe that all large-scale events will be hybrid or virtual by 2023 which leaves a limitless untapped potential for marketers and event organizers.

The growth of remote collaboration has the possibility to fuel the demand for more immersive, engaging, and interactive experiences. Different platforms offer a variety of tools and they can help new-age marketers more meaningfully interact with their customers, prospects, and community, resulting in more effective lead generation and networking. The future of events will enable businesses and organizations to break boundaries, build highly targeted relationships and unlock new revenue streams.

It’s important to understand the key components of success when implementing a virtual and hybrid event strategy. These include:

- Ease of scale: You should have the bandwidth to scale up as your events do
- Immersive Engagement: Having an engagement suite with fluid spaces allows event hosts to have more interactions with attendees through chat, polls, Q&A, downloadable collaterals, and in-app and email notifications.
- Customization: A customizable attendee experience allows event owners the freedom to create exactly what they need at the exact moment they need it.
- Content on-demand: Having content on-demand allows for less downtime, more interaction, and engagement with attendees.
- Privacy and Security: Protect your prospective and current customers by ensuring their information is secure.
- Multilingual Support: We live in a remote world where anyone, from anywhere, should be able to participate in events.
- Platform Access: Is your event accessible via desktop, phone, and/or app? It’s important to think about accessibility.
- Built-in Analytics: Track your progress and success, while capturing important lead opportunities and customizing your event for attendees. What you track and how you obtain data matters.

When to Have a Virtual Event?

Virtual events are great for any business that wants to build community and engage with customers. Developing a community is especially important in the age of digital media, where customers are more likely to get their information from social media and review sites than from your brand itself. Whether you’re looking to host a meeting, a festival, or a conference, virtual events can serve as a great way to bring people together.

These types of events can be especially helpful for companies that don’t have the opportunity to host in-person events. It also allows for those who may otherwise not engage or attend to get the chance to interact. Statistics show that more than 80% of event organizers have reached a wider audience with virtual events.

Some additional opportunities to leverage hybrid or virtual events:
1. Launch Events
2. Roundtables
3. Trade Shows
4. Product Webinars
5. Award Ceremonies
6. Roadshows
7. Sponsorship Events
8. Networking Events

But one of the major reasons to start utilizing this technology and bring people together virtually is for brand growth. All businesses should be embracing virtual events and implementing them into their strategy to start developing those relationships and listening to consumers.

Event-led growth is something that is sometimes overlooked but can pay out dividends in the long run. Connecting with your community for one major event simply isn’t enough. Having those conversations and interactions periodically will allow the brand to grow with the customer.

By listening to the customers' needs and interacting with them frequently, there is also a higher probability of them being repeat customers or attendees. Since the pandemic began, people have been craving human connection so integrating these “virtual immersive” gatherings into a marketing funnel will satisfy that need for connection without asking too much from your community.

How to Execute

Next-generation event platforms designed for event-led growth are slated to enhance the virtual user experience and empower businesses and communities to move activities online with confidence. With every event, there is a planning, execution, and promotion stage.

First, get clear on your goals. Set specific objectives to determine your social, ROI, and brand awareness goals which become the blueprint for your event plan. To ensure the meeting goes smoothly, the team must define roles and responsibilities for proper event management. If it’s a hybrid meeting or event, it will require a more experienced team to organize and manage so setting clear duties and responsibilities helps prevent overlap.
Select a third-party platform to host and create a content plan that provides a similar experience to both the remote and in-person attendees. Treating the virtual component and hybrid event strategy as one and not separate entities will create a more cohesive experience for everyone.

Developing a promotions strategy pre and post-event will keep attendees engaged throughout the entire process. Social media, email marketing, and owned content on the company website are all great options to both build excitement and retain engagement long after the event is over.

The Future of Virtual and Hybrid Events

AI technology is also becoming a critical piece of the virtual marketing puzzle and is something to keep an eye on in the future. Even 70.6% of event organizers are looking for marketing automation integrations when selecting a virtual event platform. AI is the future of CX and can amplify customer experiences in any industry.

For example, Airmeet is currently deploying AI-driven smart speed networking technology to create faster, like-minded attendee connections and triple the rate of organic conversation.

Other MarTech assets such as DIY customization, replicating real-life events, video on demand, and extensive in-depth analytics are features that continue to exponentially enhance our customer experience. So even though more people are embracing in-person gatherings there will forever be a place for hybrid and virtual events. The way in which we connect may change but the purpose stays the same.

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