Events are a necessity for business growth. They encourage engagement with your brand in ways that advertisements and promotions just can’t duplicate. They offer memorable and exciting experiences that resonate with your target market.
But the reality is, the pandemic has essentially changed the dynamic of events around the world. The popularity of events hosted over the internet has skyrocketed in recent months, mainly because of the safety these online events guarantee.
Now that the world is slowly moving towards how it used to be, the question emerges for business – which is better: online or in-person events.
The short answer is it depends. This article will discuss considerations surrounding this decision. If you own or manage a business that’s planning to host an event, this piece offers the insights you just might need to help you decide.
Events can only be a success with ample planning. There’s no way around that. Whether you want to host an online talk or an in-person conference, planning is key to success. That said, planning for these two have a lot of differences between them.
Fundamentally, you will need to determine a budget, pick a venue/platform, and market your event accordingly, regardless of whether it’s online or in-person. The differences stem from the nature of these basics.
Either way, good planning requires enough lead time for you to actually set the plan in motion. You can use something like a festival management software to make the process easier.
The first item on any event plan is the budget. If you’re hosting an in-person seminar, for example, you will need to take the cost of the venue, the sound system, the food, the safety measures, and the speaker into account. Then you also have to set a budget for contingencies.
Despite what it seems, there are still costs associated with hosting events online. If you’re hosting the previously mentioned seminar online, you will still need to consider the costs of the software, the hardware setup, the speaker, etc. Although these can be ultimately cheaper than in-person costs, they definitely do still add up.
Set your budget, but don’t let it be the deciding factor between your options.
Venue or Platform
Aside from the cost, venue or platform considerations vary wildly between online and in-person events. You need to factor in how many people you can realistically expect to show up if you hold an event in-person. The nature of your event or business is also important here. If you sell highly tangible experiences that won’t translate well to online media, then you may be better off choosing to host an in-person event.
If, for example, you’re showcasing a new program, on the other hand, you may be better served with an online event. If this is the case, you should choose the right platform to highlight that program.
Your target market plays an integral role in making your choice between online and in-person events. If you have a business that caters mostly to locals in your area, an in-person event may be the better way to go. You’ll also need to mount offline marketing campaigns like billboards and posters.
If your business caters to clients from all over the country or the world, there’s not much point in holding an in-person event. This should also be reflected in the way you market, with digital strategies like social media and email marketing.
If you have the budget, the expertise, and frankly, the patience, you can host a hybrid event with both in-person and online components. This doesn’t guarantee a better turnout than its alternatives, but it will give you a chance to accommodate both preferences. Of course, the planning and actual logistics are also doubled.
Weigh your options well and consider the key things mentioned in this article for a successful event. If you’re keen on hosting one online, here’s a Forbes article that can help. Good luck!