Many companies count on events to build business relationships, and the lack of in-person conferences during the pandemic has left them struggling for leads. Jim Sharpe, CEO at Aventri, offers suggestions on how to help sponsors and exhibitors drive more revenue and leads during virtual events.
Organisers often ask how they can create compelling exhibitor packages without live expo halls, networking parties or physical areas for branding. The truth is, digital events present countless opportunities to bring attendees and exhibitors together and encourage meaningful connections.
Try these recommendations below to add value to virtual exhibitor packages and keep satisfied partners coming back.
- Start by asking exhibitors to share valuable content during speaking sessions. Encourage attendee interaction via real-time chat, Q&Aâ€™s, polling and other engagement tools.
- Provide opportunities for deeper connections. During exhibitorsâ€™ speaking sessions, for instance, they might invite attendees to continue conversations in small-group video chats and one-on-one meetings with experts.
- Create immersive showroom experiences, like you have at in-person events. Build a virtual expo hall within your event website. Using the latest digital lead capture solutions, attendees can click on exhibitor booths of interest and connect quickly with experts. Exhibitors capture qualified leads. At the same time, attendees get prompt answers to questions during personalised, one-on-one video conversations â€“ mirroring the experience at in-person events.
- Encourage exhibitors to drive virtual booth visits before and during the event. They can use targeted emails, push notifications, social media and other channels.
- Set exhibit hall times during session breaks. When virtual sessions and showroom hours run concurrently, virtual booths can get overlooked. Make showroom hours convenient, too, not at the end of a long conference day.
- Offer engaging sponsorship opportunities that encourage attendees to spend time in the exhibition hall. Take gamification, for example. Participants can enjoy scavenger hunts for items at virtual booths. Challenge them to climb the leaderboard and win prizes. They can earn points for connecting with exhibitors and other attendees, reading sponsored content, watching demos and more.
- Finally, create robust exhibitor reports. When all attendee interactions are digitised, events generate a goldmine of data. Our industry has always looked to data to measure return on investment. This business intelligence also provides a window into attendee preferences and pain points.
- Deliver reports quickly to enable timely and personalise event follow-up. Data-driven insights help sponsors, exhibitors and organisers strengthen their offerings. So marketing gets stronger, event after event, year after year.