Advances in virtual trade show software have paved the way for the exceedingly popular movement towards all-virtual sales experiences. Exhibitors and event marketing professionals everywhere are championing virtual trade shows for their relatively low costs and substantial ROI.
The ability to generate qualified leads directly from your office without having to run up expensive travel bills makes virtual trade shows extremely attractive. Lower barriers to entry also mean that virtual trade shows attract more diverse exhibitors and attendees, creating massive online audiences for companies to share their innovations with.
How do I know? The numbers prove it.
Virtual events rank as the 2nd most important source of information considered by big business decision-makers when it comes time to invest in new technologies, according to Forrester’s research.
If you haven’t considered working with virtual trade show software just yet, I think these benefits will change your mind. Let’s take a closer look at the top virtual trade show benefits.
You guessed it… more money in your pocket!
Virtual trade show events mean hosts and/or exhibitors can save a ton of money on travel, lodging, promotional items, and other costly expenses typically associated with trade shows.
The reduced cost of virtual exhibiting allows many more exhibitors to participate, which increases the value of the trade show itself.
But wait, it gets better…
The larger pool of exhibitors is only surpassed by the even larger increase in attendees.
Stay with me here. Virtual conferences are easier for attendees to join because there is no travel involved (particularly international) and there is no minimum space requirement, so you can fit as many as you’d like. Come one, come all, from the comfort of your laptop or smartphone.
The best part?
Online trade shows and exhibitions allow you to track those self-qualified leads in the following manner.
At physical conferences, you usually just get a standard attendance report.
At virtual conferences or virtual exhibitions, reporting and analytics track every move attendees make. You know how they came, where they went, what they did, with whom they chatted, what they tweeted, which videos they watched, etc.
Here’s the best part.
On the lead nurturing front, you can even run analytics on content located in the event. By knowing how many attendees viewed and/or downloaded a piece of collateral, you can tailor your future content and conversations around the content that your qualified leads found valuable.
Historically, this data has been virtually impossible to track.
Now, the aforementioned lead data collected at virtual trade shows can actually be collected and redistributed for all exhibitors. The data compiled is readily available to all of the exhibitors involved, which allows for smooth lead capture if you are using the right virtual trade show platform.
The 6Connex virtual trade show platform, for example, provides integration directly into many of the top customer relationship management (CRM) systems including Eloqua, Salesforce.com, and Marketo, making capturing leads and funneling them to the correct channels a breeze.
Virtual events and virtual trade shows have longer lifespans than their physical counterparts.
What does that mean?
Where a physical conference might last 1-2 days, a virtual conference can have as many live days as you’d like.
Not only can you go live longer, but with the right virtual trade show platform, you can also leave the event on-demand for 30, 60, 90 days, or opt for permanent access to booths, presentations, documents, videos, etc.
Here’s why that’s important.
Permanent access to your virtual exhibition online will create residual SEO juice for your brand and generate a substantial amount of leads LONG after the doors to a physical trade show would have closed.
Now that’s just good business.
What’s the fundamental goal of virtual trade shows?
I’ll tell you. It is to allow for the same type of interaction that is available at traditional trade shows without the high costs of travel and purchasing trade show booths.
Virtual trade shows often integrate instant messaging, seminar technologies, podcasting, and other means of communication into a single, smooth operating environment.
Is a smooth sales experience that important? The answer is a clear yes.
For this reason, virtual trade shows are becoming one of the most popular ways for companies to communicate their messages quickly and effectively, exhibiting their innovations to mass online audiences.
I can almost hear your thinking “…but my attendees want to network with other attendees and exhibitors!” However, this common misconception couldn’t be further from the truth.
Virtual trade shows actually make it easier for attendees to interact with each other and sponsors.
Attendees can now create their own online profiles, interact in event-wide group chats, and engage in value-packed conversations with other participants. Additionally, electronic business cards can be swapped with just a keystroke.
What about sales reps?
Chatting with booth reps becomes a breeze with virtual because attendees feel they can ask questions uninhibitedly, attaining all the information they need without ever fearing they’ll miss a seminar or keynote speaker.
The best part? All the data accrued from chats and interactions are stored in a database and allow you to better nurture your leads post-event.
So what’s my point?
The virtual trade show is a growing tool in the marketing and training arsenal.
Although physical exhibitions may never go extinct, reliable virtual trade show platforms make it easier than ever to extend your web of industry contacts and gain more qualified leads, all while effectively improving your company’s bottom line.
If you’re thinking about hosting a virtual trade show, download our free Virtual Event Planning e-book to get started. For more information, get in touch with a rep at 6Connex to see how we can help you get started today.