Companies Find Their Return on Virtual Trade Show Investments is Greater Compared to Live Events
Not even a year ago, companies who buttered their bread at live events, like trade shows, were grappling with what “going virtual” meant. Transforming a live event to a virtual event was a new phenomenon that raised questions, such as:
- Can a live event even remotely be replicated on a computer or device screen?
- What value will a virtual trade show actually be able to provide to exhibitors and attendees?
- Is attending or exhibiting virtually even worth the time and budget?
- Can we afford to sit this year out or should we invest in hosting or participating in virtual events?
Turns out that companies are finding their return on virtual trade show investments is greater compared to live events on more levels than expected. And, here’s why…
You “Meet” Every Attendee
At the end of a trade show, how much do you really know about the people who visited your booth? The nature of trade shows gives you a few names, a stack of business cards, and maybe a few great leads. The reality is that hundreds of prospects may have wandered through your space, interacted with your brand, and scoped out your products or services. In the real world, it’s impossible for your trade show staff to engage every single prospect one on one.
Creating a virtual trade show experience results in unparalleled engagement and efficiency. For every virtual trade show attendee, you see exactly where, how and for how long each one interacted with rich media points. And more importantly, generate more qualified leads. You’re no longer limited to engaging as many people as humanly possible. Your virtual trade show exhibit is a one-on-one experience for everyone who visits. No one can slide in or out without you knowing who they are and where and when they left.
You Fill Your Sales Funnel Faster
A virtual trade show event with CRM integration fills your sales funnel. The contact information submitted for “entrance” to your virtual trade show is invaluable and can be directly fed into your CRM for targeted and ongoing sales and marketing tactics. With your virtual trade show designed for maximum interaction, you’ll get the data you need to develop or hone a powerful sales and marketing strategy.
One-Time or Occasional Events Become Interactive, Multi-Use Sales Tools
Live trade shows are lead generators. The problem is that generating leads is restricted to when the event is taking place. By offering elements of your live trade show in a virtual space, you have an arsenal of multi-use sales tools that are independent of the trade show calendar. Invite your target prospects to explore your brand and interact in the virtual experience anytime, anywhere they want, not for 3 days in October in Vegas.
You Learn What You Couldn’t Have Learned Before
A virtual trade show experience comes with powerful, dynamic analysis. Detailed reports show where traffic to your virtual event originates, as well as what visitors do and for how long. That’s impossible in the “real” world and your trade show staff can misread cues. Based on data, updating your virtual event experience to focus on what you learn from your visitors’ behaviors can be as simple as a web update. For example, if the report indicates visitors spend more time engaged in one element than another, you can make fact-based decisions on what should be emphasized. After all, sometimes people surprise you.
That being said, to reap the benefits and ROI on going virtual with your trade show, you need a strategy and a forward-thinking partner, like E3 interactive, behind creating the event. Keep the following in mind about virtual trade shows.
Virtual exhibiting is still relatively new to the show as well. Prior to COVID-19, almost every trade show in the world was a live event. Shows and exhibitors alike are scrambling to navigate in a virtual world. Understandably, not all shows are positioned yet to host an engaging experience online for thousands of people. The result? Some, if not most, shows are offering very basic “cookie cutter” virtual booths, typically with limited content and branding. If you want your company to stand out like it would on the live show floor, you need a partner experienced in the virtual world.
It’s still about engaging with your target audience. You’ve probably spent months working with your exhibit partner, targeting your desired audience, and strategizing about how best to engage them in your exhibit to create a memorable experience. This is just as important in a virtual space. Virtual trade show experiences require the same level of planning, strategizing and creativity.
You don’t have to sacrifice branding and design. Having your own virtual exhibit can help you maximize your branding opportunities and create a virtual design that represents your real booth. Or, you can go bigger since there are no physical space limitations when designing a virtual exhibit.
Measuring results from a virtual event is different than a live event. At a live show, you can scan badges, shake hands and count how many people are in your booth. In a virtual space, you need to incorporate content and interactive features to do the same thing. Virtual exhibits can actually be advantageous in this regard – some clients have even reported getting MORE leads from their virtual event than at a live show.
The time to start discussing your virtual strategy is now. Companies that sit out of the trade show circuit now will be left in the dust later. There is market share to be gained, and customers who want to feel confident that you can serve them. Disappearing from the scene until live shows return is simply not an option. And frankly, who knows what the new normal will look like?
So, What Is the First Step?
Find the right partner. The E3 interactive team has a well-defined process in place to design and develop a successful custom virtual exhibit. We bring together years of live show experience and best-in-class interactive virtual development. The result is a unique solution that is yours to market and use not only at every trade show, but anytime, anywhere. Get in touch with your Marketing Consultant today to kick off the conversation!
Grimco’s customers attend the company’s annual distributor conference to feel products in their hands and see how solutions work with their own eyes.
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