Virtual Trade Shows: The Optimal Option in the Age of COVID-19

Many businesses view virtual trade shows as a necessary evil during the coronavirus crisis. 

They see them as the only way they can recreate the trade show experience at a time when no one wants to get on airplanes, stay in hotels or congregate in crowds.

The truth: Advances in software, technology and connectivity were making digital trade events efficient and effective opportunities for many industries and businesses prior to the pandemic. 

Here are six reasons why they’re attractive, whether a pandemic is happening or not.

1. Virtual events are less expensive.

For event hosts, exhibitors and attendees, online trade shows don’t cost as much as in-person ones. Everyone spends less (or nothing) on transportation, lodging, handouts, booths, food and many other standard trade show budget items. Tech expenses may be higher for virtual events, but compared with other things, they’re relatively minor.

Just because something costs less doesn’t mean it’s inferior. Why? Because of the lower cost of admission, it makes it more likely that participation and overall attendance will be larger. In other words, you could be spending LESS to network with MORE prospective vendors and customers.

2. Lower costs aren’t the only reason virtual events attract more people.

Eliminating space and time barriers makes it possible for virtual events to be bigger than real ones could ever be. People can sit at their desks — or more likely these days, on their sofas at home — and attend trade shows and related events when it’s convenient for them. Plus, there are no attendance limits. Even the largest convention centers or resort hotels can’t handle as many people as an online event that’s well managed, using the right technology.

3. You’re able to capture more data than real ones.

At real-world trade shows, you may get basic information about attendees along with some business cards from the people you interact with.

At virtual conferences or exhibitions, you are able to track everything attendees do. You can record:

  • How often they showed up
  • What marketing techniques and messages got them to attend
  • Their path through the experience
  • What they did
  • What they showed interest in
  • Who they chatted with
  • And much more.

So, once you have all this information, what do you do with it?

Use it to kickstart marketing and sales. The data you can get from a virtual trade show is beyond anything you could ever imagine from a real event. It lets you share content and experiences throughout the event and after that are tailored to people’s needs and expectations. This could be the most powerful marketing opportunity available to you today.

4. Virtual events aren’t once and done.

Online trade shows have longer lifespans than physical events. A real world conference might last a few days and then it’s over. A virtual one, with a few tweaks, can live online forever, long beyond the “live” part of it is over. Booths, presentations, documents, breakouts, panel discussions, videos and other experiences could be made available for months and years to come. They can also be refreshed and reused over time.

Whenever people search online for information on a topic related to the trade show, it’s possible — or even likely — that they could be connected to some aspect of the virtual event. This makes an investment in online event marketing far more efficient than one in real-world trade shows.

5. It can take your social media marketing to the next level.

Virtual trade shows are highly dependent on social media for promotion, to attract vendors and attendees and connect people together. For companies and individuals that find it hard to grow their professional social profiles, virtual events present opportunities to max things out. 

When you attend in-person events, you probably have strategies for gathering as many business cards as possible. It increases your contact list and many of those people could turn into leads and sales. The same should be true when you participate in virtual events. Have a plan for how you can make as many social connections as possible. 

One option: Leverage Mobile Locker’s platform to develop engaging virtual trade show experiences that encourage social connections while gathering intel on participants.

6. Virtual events keep the focus on what’s REALLY important.

Real world events are full of distractions. No one is sure what they should do next to maximize networking opportunities and drum up business. 

Virtual trade shows typically make it easier for attendees and exhibitors to interact with each other. People can create online event profiles, interact in group and individual chats and participate in virtual lectures and panel discussions. In addition, electronic business cards can be exchanged instantly. 

Interactions with booth reps are enhanced because attendees are able to choose how they prefer to interact. Shy people can meet individually to get answers to their question. Those who learn more through group interactions are able to do so. No matter what happens, it can be recorded and the data saved so you can use the information for ongoing marketing and sales efforts.

Getting started.

Need help planning a virtual event? Mobile Locker’s platform will provide the support you need. It will allow you to easily collaborate with the people on your marketing and sales teams to develop customized collateral and experiences. You can use it to track, monitor and respond to leads instantly. Plus it makes it simple to track results in real time, which is critical in the dynamic world of virtual trade shows.
Ready to get started? Contact a friendly and helpful Mobile Locker rep to find out how we can help you maximize your investment in digital trade shows.

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