With most of the in-person events shut down in 2020 and slowly increasing in 2021, many business owners have omitted in-person events from their marketing and growth strategy. While the health crisis may account for some of the declines in the in-person events, the lack of events is usually from a fear-based place from the Executive team. The fear of not having enough people show up. The fear of not being able to get the word out to the right people. The fear of not making a profit or at least breaking even. These are all valid fears, and often overshadow a great strategy for business growth. It's less scary to host an event virtually. It can feel easier and like less pressure, and sometimes come with a lower investment.
But I promise in-person events are not as scary as you may think, especially if you have hosted an online event. In our experience, our clients who hosted virtual events in 2020 and then hosted in-person or hybrid found greater success with their in-person events.
Let’s talk about why your event should be in-person in 2022 if you’ve already done a virtual event.
The Foundation Has Already Been Established
Honestly, the foundation is the hardest part and you’ve already done it. Pat yourself on the back and celebrate. You aren’t starting this whole thing all over and that should alleviate a significant amount of stress.
You already know how to host an event that is successful, even if it’s been virtual thus far. With a solid framework already in place, you simply have to change up some of the logistics. Knowing what worked well at your virtual event, combined with attendee feedback, will actually simplify the planning process because you know what your audience expects, how they engage, what their pain points are, what content resonated the best, and what you need from vendors to make it successful.
You don’t need to know everything yet (that’s where Be Bright Events comes in). Just knowing how you envision this event based on data points from your previous virtual experience will make it easier for you, your event planner, your speaker, sponsors, vendors, and your attendees!
Memorable Concepts Are Easy To Create
One aspect of the event planning process and a question we ask our clients about is their concept. Knowing who you serve (combined with your mission and purpose) and the overarching event goals are crucial to guiding your concept. Your concept should enhance the main takeaway or attraction of your event.
Hosting your audience virtually gives you some great insight into what your audience enjoys and what the major takeaways are. You’ve been able to collect soundbites from attendees which can help you hone in on what your concept is for this event. Using past data and insight from your attendees, you can formalize a concept that translates into an in-person event that is sure to leave your audience in awe and ready to come back again next year.
Amit Kalantri said, “An event shouldn’t be just an experiential thing, it should be an emotional thing.”
Your concept can create that emotional connection your audience needs to make your event and brand a memorable one. Having the insight from your past virtual event allows you to create an even better concept and experience for your attendees that will propel your business into the next level on a multitude of levels. A good concept is the difference between an event where your audience feels seen, heard, and understood, versus an event that turns your audience off forever.
Your concept is the backbone of your event and you can rest easy knowing that you already have a solid and validated starting point.
A Head Start On Marketing
One of the more daunting tasks for your event is the marketing of the event. The marketing team needs to create more assets than many event hosts realize in order to launch a successful event. One of the biggest hurdles marketers face is a less than clear idea of who the event is for, what assets are needed, and what the outcome is supposed to be. Without those clearly defined, the marketing will miss the mark and your biggest fears about hosting an event has the potential to become a reality.
However, you already hosted an event virtually. Now you can take this information and give it to the marketing team to work their magic. You have all the tools necessary to succeed because you already did the work.
There is a starting point for email marketing campaigns, social media copy, and graphics- all with data to support the best marketing efforts. Your marketing team can assess what worked in the past, leverage metrics, and maximize the marketing efforts for the in-person event. While no marketer can guarantee a result, knowing what worked (and what didn’t) is super beneficial to your future marketing efforts.
If growth and loyalty are on your priority list for your business in 2022 and beyond, an in-person event is a solid strategy to hit those goals and even surpass them.
If you have already hosted a virtual event, use this as your opportunity to create connections, live and in person! You can bring to life everything that was planned for your online event and then some.
Having an in-person event after hosting virtual ones is a great way to take advantage of what you know works best for your business and expand upon it.
This is also another amazing way to expand your audience while providing them with more opportunities to engage with your brand. You already put in the hard work for your virtual event, it’s time to take it to the next level.