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What is a managed webinar (and the benefits of hosting one)

A managed webinar is a wonderful way to achieve all the benefits of a self-serve virtual webinar but...

What is a hybrid seminar? (and how they’ll benefit your organisation)

When like-minded people gather together to learn at a seminar, there are endless benefits for the hosting organisation and attendees alike.

But is it possible to have the same experience when some attendees join in-person and others participate online?

With the right technology and a guiding hand, a hybrid seminar can help increase your organisation’s ROI, attract great sponsors, skyrocket attendance and become an enviable thought leader in your industry—all without the need for extensive experience.

In this article, we’ll show you everything you need to know about hybrid seminars and how to ensure yours is a great success.

What is a hybrid seminar?

Before discussing how hybrid seminars can benefit your organisation, it’s important to define what they are so that you can establish your goals and properly prepare and market your event. 

We know that a seminar is a gathering of people who wish to learn about a particular topic. This could be an intensive training course, group discussion or learning from an expert—usually hosted by an academic institute, professional or commercial group. 

A hybrid seminar is simply a mix of a live and virtual seminar. In theory, the live element of your event stays the same as always. You’ll still invite an in-person audience, offer interactive content, and have speakers in a physical location. However, rather than simply streaming your event for attendees at home to passively consume, a hybrid seminar facilitates engagement and conversation. 

This means that your at-home audience is given the opportunity to interact in real-time while still enjoying the same experience as those who are in the live audience.

Hybrid seminars are made possible through managed virtual event software. This means you’ll need  a virtual event platform with features that facilitate interactivity such as managed Q&A sessions, live polling and the ability to make comments electronically. 

The benefits of a managed hybrid seminar

While there are plenty of great benefits to seminars in general—such as building brand recognition and strengthening your community—we’ll be focussing on the benefits of moving your live seminar to the hybrid model.

Increased reach & attendance

Offering a hybrid solution improves the reach and attendance of your event—and this brand exposure can have lasting effects. In a recent study, 23 percent of respondents said that by holding a hybrid event, attendance at future face-to-face events increased.

This is partly because hybrid seminars are a way for audiences who are still sitting on the fence to have a taste of your event without the commitment of travelling to your seminar in-person. 

Even if your intended audience is 100% committed to the idea of attending your event, they may not have the time or means to travel to your location. By offering them the same opportunity to participate but with the convenience of joining in from their desk or home, you’ll increase your reach to a wider—perhaps even international—audience. 

Attract great sponsors

When you open up your event to both virtual and in-person attendees, your appeal to sponsors also increases. Some of this is due to increased reach, but it’s also the flexible sponsorship opportunities that come from having both a digital and physical presence. 

Sponsors want tailored packages that help them meet their own organisational goals. So by offering either physical, digital or combined packages, you’ll attract a wider pool of eager sponsors.

Trackable metrics for valuable insights

As soon as you include a digital element to an event, your ability to track valuable data and measure your success becomes easier and more accurate. This isn’t just a bonus for your own marketing and business insights, potential sponsors also look for valuable data that will persuade them to invest in your event. 

With the right managed virtual seminar platform, you’ll be able to:

  • Track audience numbers
  • Measure session engagement
  • Identify drop off points
  • Send post-event reports 

Improve audience engagement

A good virtual seminar platform will have a raft of features designed to encourage audience engagement. This is important for creating an environment where your online audience feel as involved as those attending live. Some personalities—especially many millennials—are more comfortable interacting digitally, so many organisations find that by offering both means of communication, engagement increased significantly compared to purely live events. 

Audience engagement features to look for include:

  • Q&A sessions
  • Live polling
  • Breakout sessions
  • The option of a professional moderator or host

Moving with the times

The ways in which audiences use technology have changed significantly in recent years. With so many of us working remotely, there’s an expectation that organisations can accommodate workers and their ever-changing environments.

Managed hybrid seminars give your business the opportunity to meet much of your audience where they are. And for the foreseeable future that’s not going to be at the crowded events we’ve known pre-COVID. And with so many live events facing the threat of last-minute cancellations, hybrid seminars offer you a safety net for your in-person event.

What to expect when hosting your own hybrid seminar

The benefits of hosting a hybrid seminar are clear. But what can you expect from hosting your own?

You don’t need as much technology as you’d think

Depending on the format of your hybrid seminar, you’d be surprised by how little technology you need to start streaming. Rather than focus on the technical aspects and tools you’ll require, work with a managed virtual event provider who will guide you through your options. At Express Virtual Meetings, our virtual seminar technology delivers a seamless experience from the initial planning to post-event reporting. 

You can expect:

  • HD video and audio conferencing
  • Custom branding
  • Capacity for up to 14,000 participants
  • Features such as live polling/voting/Q&A sessions
  • The ability to record and transcribe your seminar
  • Hybrid event management including end-to-end support and a dress rehearsal

Have a guest registration system

Organising guest registration is one of the more challenging and time consuming tasks of a hybrid event—especially when you’re juggling both in-person and online attendees. Save yourself the stress by working with a virtual seminar manager who will manage the entire registration process for you. 

Focus on content

By leaving the technical details up to your managed virtual seminar provider, you’ve got more time and budget available for producing excellent content and hiring quality speakers that will impress your audience and grow your brand. With Express Virtual Meetings, our post-event reports demonstrate what content audiences interacted and engaged with, helping you to improve your content and offering year-on-year.

Ensure your seminar is mobile and desktop compatible

Some of your attendees may need to join on-the-go. Make sure that your hybrid seminar technology is mobile and desktop compatible so that you can attract and engage the most attendees possible.

Questions to ask your hybrid seminar provider

If your organisation is ready to enjoy all the benefits of a hybrid seminar, here’s some questions you and your provider should consider to make sure that you’re set up for success:

 

  1. What is the goal of your hybrid seminar?
  2. What requirements will help make those goals achievable?
  3. What promotional channels will you use?
  4. Will you personally invite participants via email?
  5. Will you require a moderator or host?
  6. How interactive will your seminar be?
  7. What special requirements do you have?

At Express Virtual Meetings, we’ll put together a thorough plan for you based on questions just like these. Our experienced team can guide you towards the options for your unique requirements.

The takeaway

Hosting your own hybrid seminar has many far reaching benefits for an organisation, but it’s essential that the provider you choose to work with has the experience and features to guide you towards success.

At Express Virtual Meetings, our managed events team are highly-sought after for their ability to unravel your ideas, help you set goals and then bring your event  to life through engaging and effective virtual and hybrid solutions. As a result, we’re trusted by some of Australia’s leading organisations.

Book an obligation-free demonstration of our managed virtual seminar solution and receive 10% off your first event.

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