Your Guide to Sponsoring a Hybrid Event
Sponsoring a hybrid event allows you to reap the benefits of both in-person and virtual prospect interaction opportunities. With more ways to engage and a wider reach, you can have more meaningful interactions that will convert leads more efficiently.
Hybrid events have been rapidly growing over the past decade and will likely become the norm as events recommence post-covid. In fact, 73 percent of event planners anticipate that hybrid events will be more common in the future. That means, if you don’t have a hybrid event sponsorship strategy in place yet, it’s time to start building one!
The world is going hybrid, and you don’t want to get left behind. If you need a little help getting caught up on the world of hybrid events, check out our past blog to learn about hybrid events and how to avoid common pitfalls.
With hybrid events, you’re able to connect with attendees before, during, and after the event for a comprehensive experience. Build a successful sponsorship strategy for your next hybrid event by leveraging opportunities at each stage.
Pre-event – Virtual
With hybrid events, you can reach attendees long before the event even starts. Make a strong first impression and accelerate the buying process with these key steps:
Drum Up Excitement With Your Audience
Help potential leads get to know your company before the event. Leverage pre-event content to give registered event attendees a taste of what you have to offer and peak their interests.
Get creative with your pre-event content and utilize different content mediums. On Social27 Event Platform, you can curate playlists with a wide array of content including videos, brochures, PDFs, and more to showcase your organization’s offerings and trigger a lead generation form to gather qualified leads.
Provide Compelling Assets to Visitors
Make informative resources available to download for attendees when they view your pre-event content.
Be sure to add the latest and most compelling information about your products and services. Downloadable content helps visitors remember you and gives them an easy way to read up on your offerings before scheduled meetings or demos.
You can also get creative with your assets and provide other resources or offerings that will provide value to the recipients. Information guides, ebooks, or other educational resources on areas related to your company and industry can be useful and help establish you as knowledgeable experts or thought leaders in your field. You can also provide more whimsical digital offerings like a downloadable virtual background.
Fill Up Your In-Person Event Schedule
At a hybrid event, you won’t be spending your event days chasing down random attendees to lure them to your booth. Instead, you can fill up your schedule with meetings with warm leads before you even arrive at the in-person event. If the event is being hosted on Social27 Event Platform, we’ll even direct attendees with relevant interests to your content and meeting sign-ups with our Recommendation & Prediction Engine.
Buyers and decision-makers have the opportunity to review sponsor content virtually before the event and schedule meetings with sponsors whose products or services they are interested in. Be sure to provide compelling content that effectively showcases what you can offer buyers to encourage meeting sign-ups.
It can also be helpful to engage with attendees prior to the event in order to answer initial questions and steer them to sign up for a meeting.
During Event – In-Person and Virtual
This is your time to shine! Your content should be prepared and your calendar should be filled up. Now it’s time to focus on converting leads. Here are some best practices for properly engaging both virtual and in-person prospects during a hybrid event:
Make the Most Out of Your In-Person Meetings
One of the greatest benefits of sponsoring a hybrid event is that you can spend a majority of the in-person portion of the event speaking with hot leads.
You can dive into more in-depth product and sales conversations, as your prospects will have had a chance to view your content and research your company before the meeting. Instead of giving a generalized, entry-level sales pitch, spend time learning about the prospects’ work and their needs. Personalize your pitch to showcase how your product can meet those customer demands and start working towards closing.
Keep Your Online Audience Engaged
It’s easy to become most focused on the people that are right in front of you in person, but don’t neglect your online audience!
It’s a good idea to have a dedicated staff member log on to engage with virtual attendees rather than having your in-person booth reps try to juggle both audiences. A virtual booth rep can be present at your virtual exhibition site to answer questions from online visitors and direct people to additional resources or meeting sign-ups as needed.
You can also have a representative moderate the chat during any sponsored sessions that are streamed to the online audience. Often it’s best to have dedicated sessions for your online audience, rather than trying to cater to both crowds during a live, in-person session.
You can also leverage video meetings to engage virtual attendees. If you’re having a good conversation with a virtual booth visitor, take it over to a video call and start a demo while you have their attention. On Social27 Event Platform, sponsors can host Roundtables to have one-on-one or small group discussions face-to-face with prospects.
Host Sponsored Sessions
Set up times for attendees to join virtual Q&As, demos, Roundtables, or information sessions. Buyers that aren’t quite ready to sign up for a one-on-one sales call may prefer to be able to drop into a group session to learn more in a lower-pressure environment.
You can also host sessions on industry topics or concerns that interest attendees while integrating information about your company or products. Showcasing your employee’s knowledge on these topics can add credibility and allow viewers to feel like they are receiving value from the session rather than only being sold to.
Don’t Be Afraid to Step Outside the Booth
While you’ll likely have your hands full with virtual and in-person meetings and booth visitors, try to squeeze in some time to step outside your exhibition space. Some of the most authentic and persuasive sales interactions happen in more casual settings.
In person you may strike up organic conversations in the hallways while eating lunch, or at networking or happy hour events. This softer sales approach can make your targets feel more comfortable and open to discussion. We often become fatigued from being constantly marketed to in sales meetings or while visiting booths at events, but taking a more natural and humanized approach can break down those barriers.
You can take a similar approach online by joining virtual networking events. Events on the Social27 Event Platform feature a networking lounge where you can find attendees to engage with. Having a representative attend happy hours and networking discussions can help get your company’s name out further and attract visitors to your sponsor booth.
Post Event – Virtual
The event may be over, but there’s still plenty of work to be done.
Now, it’s time to push forward and close sales. It’s also a good time to start evaluating the ROI of the sponsorship and look for ways to adjust your strategy to get even better results on your next event. Here are the steps you should take once you’ve taken down your booth and wrapped up the event:
Make Use of Available Event Data
On virtual event platforms like Social27 Event Platform, all interactions with your content and virtual exhibition site can be tracked and reported. This means that after the event, you should be left with a wealth of data that can help you evaluate the success of the event sponsorship and understand who to follow-up with.
After an event on Social27 Event Platform, you will have data on:
- When an attendee scans their badge
- Engagement with content in your Playlist
- How many times a resource was downloaded
- Which attendees chatted with a booth representative
- Average time spent on the microsite
- The total number of visits to your virtual booth
Make use of this data to evaluate your content and show others in your company how much you achieved at the event!
Provide Nurture and Upsell Content
Sponsors can add nurture content to the virtual side of the event exhibition or incorporate it into their follow-up plan. Nurture content should help you nurture your leads by providing content that showcases how customers can benefit from your product or service.
At a hybrid event, leads will gain an awareness of your product during the pre-event phase and should leave the event itself with an understanding of how that product could meet their needs. Nurture content can help you push through to the final purchase phase. Utilize sales documents and footage of demos, workshops, or presentations delivered at the event.
Nurture content can also help you connect with any drop-in visitors or connections made away from your booth that may not have reviewed all of your content and are further behind in the buying cycle.
You can also leverage upsell content to show prospects and new clients how to level up their services with useful add-ons or higher-level packages.
Follow Up With Prospects Who Haven’t Closed
Consistency is key.
It takes several touches to close a sale, so be consistent in your follow-up messaging. Try to get your first follow-up email sent out promptly, while the interaction and your product are still fresh in prospects’ minds.
Following up after a hybrid or virtual event is fairly seamless. Instead of gathering up a ton of loose business cards, most of the contact information for prospects engaged should be accessible within the virtual event platform. You can download a list of those who scanned their badge to request follow-up or filled out the lead generation form. This makes it quick and easy to import prospects into your CRM system if needed and initiate follow-up.
Leave a Lasting Impact
Whether the interaction was in-person, virtual, or both, you want to leave a lasting impact on visitors that you engaged with.
Making recorded content from the event available for on-demand viewing can help you do this. Attendees can refer back to your content to revisit topics or features that you shared information on. You may even garner leads from those who missed your live sessions but found your on-demand content after the event.
Social27 Virtual Event Platform for Sponsors
Social27 Virtual Event Platform optimizes the hybrid event experience to give sponsors greater exposure to reach their target audience. Sponsors can curate compelling microsites that encourage interaction and present content in a persuasive and appealing manner.
Set up a demo today to learn more about what Social27 has to offer!