As the exhibition industry continues to offer virtual events as a way for businesses to connect with their client base, whilst dealing with a world that is becoming increasingly fatigued with looking at screens, what is it that makes a virtual conference or exhibition worth it? The obvious answer to that question is simply the reach that a virtual event has… it can attract an audience from virtually anywhere that has internet connection, offering a broader more diverse audience to event planners and businesses. It is the perfect tool to expand brand awareness and create networking opportunities across the globe. Even when we return to face to face events, this benefit can’t be ignored and hybrid events will continue to be useful where travel may still not an option or even desired any longer.
How to make your virtual event useful
Run your virtual event over several days just like any event and use those days to generate leads, get new customers and retain your existing clients.
Entice visitors to the event by attracting key note speakers that are be well known in your industry – validating your online event to your audience
Build and strengthen your relationships with a variety of webinar based sessions… training, demos, live entertainment
Content is key to keeping your online audience engaged and to retaining them throughout the virtual event. Create quality, well produced sessions with varied content that are shorter than in-person events as there will be competition for attention, more on-demand sessions that attendees can visit at their leisure.
Combat boredom and screen fatigue by engaging your audience eg. with games, polls, live interaction and more
Create and strengthen networks with chat rooms, round tables, message boards, etc
If your content has been engaging, thought provoking and lead generating then the next step is building connections with your community. A booking system for scheduling sales meetings is a must… even making this available to registrants prior to the actual event, ensuring valuable leads can be established early. Break out rooms during your webinars is another way to encourage networking – pinpointing interest in specific areas. Round tables and forums encourage discussion and further networking, and message boards and chat facilities within registrants’ profile areas invite attendees to network with each other.
And absolutely make booking and chat (video or call) facilities available to your sponsors too.
More about your sponsors
Sponsorship can be important to help lessen the cost of an event whilst connecting your attendees with other great businesses/services. Have clear levels of sponsorship – eg, gold, silver, bronze, and let your sponsors know what they will get for their money. Create specific sponsor areas within your online platform to showcase your sponsors’ business cards, special offers and more. Other enticements could include virtual exhibition stands in a virtual trade show, ads throughout the platform, sponsored webinar sessions, logo prominence on webinar page and more. A virtual exhibition hall can be a great addition to your online events. Make it a dedicated place for sponsors and partners to add their logos, literature, videos and also schedule appointments. Also ensure that it is easy to navigate for attendees so that visitors can experience its full potential.
How did it go?
Data and analytics are a spotlight advantage of virtual events. Online platform software is able to capture a lot of interesting information allowing you to compare the performance of your online event with other virtual events and also face to face events, proving to you and your partners that virtual events are worth the investment. From registration to feedback, session attendance to live Q&A sessions, the platform is providing you with loads of useful data that will help drive revenue. It enables you to know your audience better and discover what ticked their boxes – which sessions were registered for and attended, how long they stayed and what appointments they booked, what they thought from live polls or feedback form and more much. Sales and marketing team members are able to use the information to follow up leads in a more targeted and effective fashion.
Go for it
The resources available to you now are phenomenal… the virtual events industry has moved forward with massive steps over the last 12 months because it has had to. As a result the advantages of a full virtual event, and a hybrid version once physical events are a goer, are fully evident. It is absolutely possible to make an impact using an online virtual platform. If you need to know more or get a run through of how our platform works, head over to https://www.plus-virtual.com/virtual-events and fill in the contact form, email [email protected] or call 01782 264110 and one of our advisors will be happy to help.