Event exhibitors and sponsors expect to see a return on their marketing investment.
Whether you’re hosting a physical event, an online exhibit, or a virtual conference, effectively capturing revenue is a priority. You may encounter increased skepticism from sponsors and exhibitors while we are immersed in a world of virtual events due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can still provide a rich, memorable experience for your attendees and deliver an impressive return for your vendors, too.
In this article, we’ve assembled four best practices that will help exhibitors derive the most value from your next virtual event.
Provide ample opportunities to increase brand awareness.
Just because your event is now virtual doesn’t mean that branding efforts have to go by the wayside. The same identity and promotion opportunities you provide in a physical venue can be offered in a virtual venue, they just may look a little different. Think sponsor logos or ads displayed on billboards throughout the virtual campus, or in sponsor-branded areas, such as lounges and networking areas. Everyone loves a discount, so why not give exhibitors and sponsors a promo code to share with special guests to encourage their attendance? And of course, swag is always king. Consider delivering virtual goodie bags via email, loaded with sponsored items like dining gift cards or vouchers for online webinars or e-learning courses. You could even create physical swag bags and mail them to attendees’ homes. Sponsor-branded items like earbuds, snacks, journals, face masks, hand sanitizers, or home office supplies are sure to be appreciated.
Promote thought leadership.
Every organization wants to build brand authority and be recognized as an expert in their field. Utilize your virtual event platform to help your exhibitors and sponsors in this effort and gain their long term support. Prior to the event, you could give vendors the opportunity to develop and distribute sponsored content related to session topics, such as blog posts, tip sheets, and checklists. Then, promote this content on your association’s website and social media channels. You could also invite sponsors to share their expertise as presenters or forum moderators and present the live streamed sessions in a branded virtual meeting room.
Help them showcase their products and services.
Many people are more comfortable approaching others in a virtual setting. In fact, studies have shown that conference attendees are 30% more likely to engage exhibitors in a virtual booth than in a face-to-face environment. The online expo arena provides a valuable marketing opportunity for your vendors so it’s definitely something you want to tap into. As the event host, you have plenty of options at your disposal, such as the ability to offer exhibit hall booths and tabletops, offices, and meeting rooms. And unlike an in-person expo hall, your virtual exhibit can remain open as long as you wish. Attendees can visit it before, between, and after sessions to ask questions and view collateral. Encourage exhibitors to offer product demos at specified times and notify event attendees through engaging social media posts that will drum up a crowd.
Offer opportunities to schedule virtual appointments.
Many attendees look to the tradeshow floor for inspiration and solutions. Find ways to facilitate brief introductions between these interested shoppers and your exhibitors. For example, you might send a survey to attendees prior to your conference to determine which products or services they are most interested in. Then, you could pair them up with an appropriate vendor through a 10-minute virtual meeting. It may also be valuable for vendors to have a set of qualifying questions that can quickly assess how immediate the need is so they can engage in the most productive conversations.
Sponsors and exhibitors are your revenue partners.
Take steps to ‘wow’ them by providing effective, meaningful ways to fulfill their business needs. Get creative and help them make valuable connections, provide useful information for attendees, and generate leads.
About Intuitive Business Concepts (IBC): Since 2001, IBC’s cutting-edge products, unparalleled responsiveness, and award-winning technology services have helped associations, non-profits, and unions increase their operational and financial performance. Focused exclusively on and dedicated to delivering the most effective iMIS Engagement Management solutions, IBC is uniquely adept at identifying and applying the integration techniques that save membership organizations time and money. For more information about IBC, please visit the website at www.ibconcepts.com or call 443.603.0215.