Swapcard’s general manager, Walid Bengeloune offers tips for monetising the hybrid model
- Put your website to work for you
Having a clear understanding of the benefits associated with attending an event in-person versus virtually is the first major step towards increasing your audience size.
By taking the time to design different experience levels (freemium to premium), planners are able to customise the journey and level of access for each persona (attendees, speakers, sponsors, media, and so on). This is where your website plays a strategic role in appealing to your two different audiences.
Having an intuitive and responsive event website is a must-have when appealing to your potential audience. The website should instil FOMO (fear of missing out) whereby each participant will quickly understand why they don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to be part of an amazing event experience.
It’s also important to use your website as an opportunity to educate potential attendees about the benefits of participating in-person versus virtually. Make it clear what they will gain from each type of attendance, give them talking points to convince their boss that they should pay to join, and also bring in quotes on what the previous year’s attendees have to say.
2. Capitalise on sponsored sessions
Content is king and it can include: pay to play or click to play for live, simulive, pre-recorded, on-demand.
According to Swapcard’s latest research in the Business of Virtual Events, sponsored content is the most important element for a partner’s ROI.
Sponsored keynotes, workshops/roundtables, leadership sessions, masterclasses, certification programmes, training and/or product launches will place sponsors directly in front of the audience they are vying for.
Allowing sponsors to speak in-person or virtually is also an interesting and flexible way to expand a sponsor’s reach and visibility.
3. Find ways to network strategically
The goal before an event is to accelerate interactions between the most proactive audience members. The first meeting could be managed by a facilitator/matchmaker/super concierge to optimise the experience of each VIP attendee and make sure that they will meet the right people in-person and/or virtually.
Alternatively, consider having a platform such as Swapcard that offers AI powered matchmaking. This makes pre-event networking effortless for your proactive audience.
Instead of wasting time manually going through participant lists and guessing who would be the best match, the AI does the work for them. All they have to do is log-in, fill out some information, and the AI will suggest customised matches for the best networking experience.
The event is your time to shine, so be sure to design diversified networking spaces that will enhance your audience’s matchmaking opportunities.
Some ideas you should consider having include: individual and group workshops with speakers, outbound/inbound meetings with peers, pro-finder (smart filters based on job title, industries, region, and so on), a knowledge hub (smart filters based on topics and participation interests), or a group chat room. These are just some ideas that you can put into practice to help the attendees build their own networking journey.
4. Generate brand activation with ads
Onsite advertising is here to stay. A sponsored networking lounge (and all the brand activations that come along with it) is the most common experiential marketing strategy that will create an immersive and vibrant in-person experience.
That’s in addition to the traditional banners, strategically placed logos and other marketing materials that draws eyes to your brand during an event.
Even though onsite advertising is highly successful, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore online advertising. Online advertising will also allow sponsors to get more exposure before, during and after an event.
Some ideas to integrate sponsors into online advertising include: logos on invitations and reminder emails, sponsored push notifications, logos and banners in all the sections of the event platform.
5. Use data and reporting to your advantage
Key reporting indicators that you should look for in order to maximise your prospects include: virtual booth visits, in-person lead versus virtual leads, meeting notes, gamification results, inbound lead boards, and event follow-up (Export, CRM, Linkedin Sales Nav, etc).
6. Build on momentum with a year-round community
Extending the visibility of sponsors through their content, products and services allows them to connect with members all year round, not only at an event.
It also gives organisers the ability to implement and automate a subscription model (monthly fee or yearly fee) for access to this worthwhile content, a monetisation opportunity that didn’t exist before.