Event planners and tech-savvy marketers rejoice!

The light at the end of the virtual-only-events tunnel is here. A lot of organizations are combining virtual and in-person formats to maximize results. If you haven’t already, it’s time to hop on the train to hybrid events.
The biggest benefit of hybrid events is network expansion (can’t be there in person? Join via Zoom), which has helped organizations actually GROW during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But a lot of marketing and event planners immediately fall into the trap of new format?! What’s the best hybrid events app?


Don’t focus on finding the best and usually most expensive hybrid-only events app on the market. Instead, save some budget and time by using the technology you already have. Tools like your CRM and marketing tech stack integrations can help you get the most people the right people to sign up and quickly.

Take college admissions teams like The HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht. By transitioning their visit days and chat with a professor gatherings to virtual using Zoom, they saw more prospects sign up than ever and made the transition happen in days.

Another perk was that even if the registrants didn’t join, The HU used their CRM to find other information gathered during registration (like major preference and graduation year) to connect prospects automatically to tailored content and actions via text and email marketing journeys.

So how do you use Salesforce and your marketing stack to run successful hybrid events?

Let’s break it down into 7 steps, from event start to finish.

1. Event Setup: Let Others Help You

The sooner the event is live, the more time you have to fill seats. You could use Splashthat or Eventbrite, but you become the bottleneck for all updates or changes if you’re the only one with access.

When you create an event in Salesforce using Blackthorn Events, your entire organization (or just a few people depending on how you set your Event User permissions) can view and edit that event. Details don’t have to be updated in multiple places, and event logistics like updates and actions can be coordinated and assigned via Salesforce chatter or tasks.

The best part? Regardless of their Salesforce knowledge, any person can build an event, just like they would in Eventbrite. Check out our Event Wizard, where you can go from install to live event in under 20 minutes.

2. Use Registration Forms That Put Attendee Data Automatically In Salesforce

This is a CRUCIAL STEP. If you have to import attendee data into Salesforce, you’re probably dealing with a massive headache: Time-consuming constant data imports, duplicates, field matching, and more.

Blackthorn’s registration forms do this and more. When someone registers, an attendee record and AttendeeLink is automatically created and related to lead or contact records (you have the choice of what type of record gets created).

Use the AttendeeLink to create a personalized and streamlined experience for future communications and event invitations. Find out more here.

3. Use Data Gathered From Registration Forms to Point Attendees to Relevant Information, Keeping Them Engaged, Pre and Post-Event

Blackthorn has custom questions that map back to attendee records through a Form Submissions object. This means you can use answers to put attendees into relevant marketing journeys automatically. Here’s a scenario example:

A prospective student chooses Business from a list of intended majors during the registration process. The next day, they receive an email from the Dean of the Business School inviting them to talk with a student or professor next week.

Quickly send simple email flows like invites, reminders, and sorry we missed you event communications directly from Salesforce. And if you don’t have an HTML/CSS person on your team, our Enhanced Email feature allows event planners create emails via a WYSIWYG editor.

Want to add your events to existing email journeys and track email metrics through marketing automation platforms like Marketing Cloud, Pardot, or Marketo? Just use our AttendeeLink and event objects and statuses in your email templates and journeys.

4. Set the Stage

Set up your event to overcome common communication barriers between online and in-person attendees. There are several ways to do this, but for large events, you can accomplish it with just a couple of cameras or computers:

  • Camera/Computer A: Points to the speaker or stage for virtual attendees. Place it so the virtual viewer feels like a member of the audience. If the device is far away from the speaker, use a mic and run the feed to the device.
  • Camera B: Set up this camera to look over the audience so virtual attendees can see audience reactions.
  • Projector: Find a space to project your Zoom meeting attendees on a wall near the speaker or main screen so both audiences can see each other.

5. Communication is Key

Use Zoom Chat to keep it simple. Give everyone (in-person and virtual attendees) access to the Zoom meeting link and ask in-person attendees to join on their mobile phones. Encourage virtual attendees to turn on their cameras after they join so in-person attendees can see their lovely faces. IMPORTANT TIP: Set zoom settings so everyone enters off-camera and on mute.

Another option is to use a cost-effective chat app like Discord to facilitate group and one-on-one chats.

Before the event starts, be specific with all attendees about the format and ways to increase communication flow. Invite everyone to ask questions and comment in the chat, just like a virtual meeting. Display the comment thread on the projector so everyone can chime into the conversation. You can even have someone ask pre-created questions to help keep the convo going.

6. Attendance Status is Crucial: Automate and Save HOURS of Post-Event Work.

How much time could you spend doing other stuff if your post-event emails went out automatically? What would you do if you didn’t spend hours gathering data to report on the success of your events?

Our Mobile Attendee Check-In app automatically updates attendee status when their unique QR Code (assigned via the AttendeeLink) is scanned. And for virtual events, attendance status updates once they join the virtual meeting.

7. Create reports that show how your events contribute to institutional goals like admittance and revenue.

Businesses need to know how their events positively impact larger goals. But often event reports are siloed from other metrics and reports. What if you could show how many attendees converted from prospects to students, or leads to customers?

Blackthorn has out-of-the-box, customizable Salesforce reports that allow you to tie your attendee and event records to leads, contacts, opportunities, and more. If you run paid events, you can show the revenue impact your events.

So there you have it! Hybrid events using Salesforce, from planning to reporting.

The best news: if you are using Blackthorn Events, coming soon, you’ll be able to use our Virtual Events 2.0 Experience to make your Hybrid event experiences even better. Get a sneak peek at 1:00 in the video!


Want to learn more from one of our Events experts?

Book an intro call today!