You’ve probably heard the saying, “Communication is key.” The reason it’s such a popular phrase is because it’s true! Especially when it comes to events. So many events fail due to poor communication—whether that’s pre-communication with attendees, speakers, or vendors. Now that we’re producing more and more hybrid events, communication is even more critical than before. It is the key to seamlessly combining two simultaneous experiences into one cohesive and productive event for your business. So, how do you go about creating your pre-event communication plan checking off all your bases? You need to have a few different components to build the foundation.
Marketing Your Hybrid Event
All your pre-event communication begins with your marketing strategy. Because without attendees you have no event! Creating a marketing plan for your event you want to be sure to answer the 5 W’s—who, what, where, why, when. You need to use all your channels to get the message out to your target audience about what you’re going to provide your attendees with, spark a little FOMO to get them to register, and tell them what to expect from speakers, entertainment, etc. with some fun teasers to get them excited.
Your goal for your event marketing should be to indicate your unique value proposition (UVP) and make it so intriguing attendees have to register.
But, now that it’s hybrid, you need to make this twofold.
What is the UVP for the virtual attendees and what is the UVP for the live in-person attendees?
Then, create two separate campaigns for each demographic, plus a third that addresses your prospective audience as a whole and shows how the event will come together.
Check out our blog on how to market your hybrid event too for more in-depth tips and tricks!
Attendee Registration Communication
While some companies don’t consider their event registration form as a form of pre-event communication, it is. It’s the first place your attendees will engage with you and get a sneak peek of how well your event is organized. If your registration form is complicated, confusing, or takes too many clicks to finally get to the registration confirmation, you’re going to lose people.
When creating your registration forms, consider the following:
- Make the live event location, dates, and times crystal clear at the top of the registration form.
- Directly under that, prompt prospective attendees to choose In Person, Virtual, or Hybrid attendance (some multi-day events may have local attendees deciding to attend in person one day and virtually the next).
- Using automation tools in your registration system, ensure your attendees are then ONLY seeing questions that pertain to their unique attendance selection.
- Pro Tip: Add simple checkboxes for attendance add-ons like training, swag, etc. If you can’t segment this way, create two separate registration forms and link to them separately on your event website. This way, attendees can select the option that works for them. You don’t want meaningless questions on either option, as this can also impact your event data.
- Make sure you get consistent attendee information across all registration options including full name, email, phone, address, company, job title, reason for attending, how they heard about your event.
Then, once they’re registered, make sure your pre-event communications are geared towards reminding them your event is going to be the event of the year! Use those same teasers for promotion, just with different messaging geared towards those who have registered. Also, make sure they know what to expect and plan to have the best experience possible.
You can send emails including, but not limited to:
- Speaker announcements
- Reminders to build their virtual event personal agenda
- “What to Expect” and “Know Before You Go” emails for both groups
- Virtual: Remind of login details, not to miss sessions, fun break sneak peeks, etc.
- In-Person: On-site registration instructions, safety & health requirements, troubleshooting contacts, housing block details, etc.
- An intro to hybrid event gamification, what they want to participate in, prize sneak peeks, etc. – this is another great way to generate excitement and make sure that you’re generating leads through attendee participation on-site
- Sponsor email showcasing sponsors and who attendees can meet with on-site or virtually
- Event reminders, especially for virtual attendees
Your speakers are one of the major draws for your event. And their “performance” so to speak can really make or break it. Many hybrid events are having speakers attend in person to speak to the live audience while streaming to the virtual audience. But, that isn’t always the case. Your speaker communications should include:
- Once signed up to speak, a “thank you” email with instructions for their presentation. This should include:
- Presentation length
- Presentation location
- Any restrictions or requirements
- Whether or not it will be filmed with release forms attached
- PowerPoint template with instructions on use if you’re requiring a conference-wider template.
- Speaker Tech Check Day details & save the date
- Hotel and room block information
- Contact details for a sponsor liaison
- Calendar Invites: This eliminates ANY confusion, as you stick it right on their calendar for them to accept. Many speakers live and die by their Google Calendars.
- Speaker Tech Check Day
- You want to host a tech check day for speakers to test the virtual streaming, connectivity, and equipment prior to the event. Make sure this is written into your venue contract, too! Run through the entire conference, and their presentation.
- An email template they can use to send to their followers and partners about attending the event to see them speak – get those partners in on marketing, friends!
- A “What to Know” email – similar to attendees, with all on-site and/or virtual attendance details.
It’s a good idea to have a speaker liaison who is in charge of all speaker communications and questions. This way, one person is the expert on all things speakers, and they can filter knowledge down to all necessary stakeholders for your event! This goes for every area really. No one can plan a whole event solo without an insane amount of stress. When you have someone responsible for every area, fewer balls are dropped.
This is the final group that is a part of your hybrid pre-event communication plan. Vendors need to be looped in from the very beginning of planning so you can discuss what you can and cannot do in terms of space, virtual event platform, technology, etc. As your event planner works with them, you must provide them with specs for your event and requirements from them, timelines for event deliverables, and expectations for on-site execution. A great way to do this is to have a shared drive and project management platform like Asana or Monday to work with your vendors so you can communicate seamlessly!
When you’re upfront about all these things from your very first meeting, your event will be so much less stressful to plan! Again, this is just a high-level overview, but a great place to start.
Need Help with Your Pre-Event Communication Strategies?
Is your team struggling to communicate to produce a productive hybrid event? If so, you aren’t alone. This is a whole new ball game for a lot of teams planning hybrid events for the first time in 2022 and having a professional who is experienced in hybrid event production can help. Eventistry by Alecia’s team is expert in remote communication and planning, with team members producing events seamlessly around the globe every day! Want help streamlining your event communications? Let’s chat.