Meetings

Meetings Memo: Better Booth Business

By / Jul 26, 2021 (miakievy/Getty Images)

Help exhibitors close the deal at virtual tradeshows.

All associations want exhibitors to have a good experience and generate leads at their virtual events. So what can organizers do to help? After reviewing 461 virtual conferences, virtual and hybrid events platform Swapcard offered 10 data-backed recommendations in “The Business of Virtual Events: How to Close Business Deals at a Virtual Event, According to Data.” Here’s a look at five of them.

Encourage interactions before the event. Swapcard data reveals that in the days leading up to a virtual tradeshow, up to 28 percent of the time attendees spend exploring the platform is devoted to browsing exhibitors. That means exhibitors can capitalize on attendee interest before the show opens. Because of this, organizers should open the platform ahead of time and implement an effective communication strategy that urges exhibitors and attendees to use the platform in advance of an event.

Extend the event lifecycle. Inbound messages and requests from attendees to exhibitors peak after a tradeshow, meaning crucial business opportunities fall into their laps once the event is over. Organizers should consider creating year-round communities where networking opportunities remain available outside the confines of the live event.

Offer sponsored session opportunities to exhibitors. During a one-day virtual conference, more than 40 percent of exhibitor leads came from attendees who watched a sponsored session; for a two-day conference, it was 50 percent, according to the report. Associations should review their sponsorship packages and offer exhibitors the option to sponsor sessions. “Speaking at a sponsored session will position exhibitors as experts on a particular topic, making them more credible to attendees,” the report states.

Emphasize the power of virtual booths. The research shows that, of all business closed during virtual tradeshows, 30 to 45 percent happens at the virtual booth. Exhibitors should make their virtual booths immersive and interactive, while organizers should provide tips on creating virtual booths that are appealing and customized.

Promote subtle networking. Although there are many different sales styles, exhibitor messages in virtual platforms that are too pushy or “sales-y” don’t work. For example, according to the report, 64.8 percent of meeting requests that were accompanied by generic sales messages were not accepted. Organizers should stress to exhibitors the importance of subtle outreach and make them aware of the features on the event platform that will help them connect with attendees in this way.

Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director of Associations Now. More »

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