Virtual events from sponsor's perspective
Virtual tradeshow events are picking up and event planners are tripling their PRE COVID-19 attendance rates by moving to virtual conferences and hybrid events attracting a wider global audience. Virtual conferences and webinars reduce expenses, consume lesser resources, have a wider reach, and are relatively easier to manage from a marketing and analytics point of view. While all of this is true, there is also a sponsor side of the story and certain disadvantages that you need to factor in as an event planner to deliver the best value and ROI to your sponsors and exhibitors as well as for your attendees. We sourced some real-world insights into how sponsors look at virtual trade shows. Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org to exchange notes on how to make your next virtual event more conversion-centric!
1. The ability to drive traffic to the event site is a critical element. Unlike in-person events where you can grasp visitors' attention while they are walking by, with a virtual tradeshow you need to know how to use online marketing and lead magnets to attract more participants.
2. An exhibitor at a virtual event has to compete with other exhibitors in the same event as well as the attendees' physical environment and distractions for attention. No matter how good the online platform is, it will have to cope with potential distractions like power cuts, a bad internet connection, pets, background noise, etc. Some of your attendees might be working parallel on their screens and might not pay close attention to the exhibit items that you worked so hard for.
3. Replicating a physical venue with high-def 3D graphics might look great from a design perspective, but factor in the additional bandwidth it can consume at the attendee's end and whether it provides any real value from a conversion perspective. Too much tech and too many navigation items can lead to software vertigo rather than help with engagement.
4. Unlike physical events where the floor plan design matters a lot for the hosts, in a virtual event, attendees are more likely to discover and visit the booths that they have been made aware of during the registration process or through social media, or any other sort of online advertising prior or during the live virtual event.
5. If the sponsors and exhibitors have their own independent websites, virtual trade show organizers need to work hard on the incremental value that they can deliver beyond what the independent websites already deliver.
6. For exhibitor brands, it can become difficult to decide whether they want to drive their existing customers to their own brand website or to a virtual platform that might be crowded with potential competitors.
7. Brands that use their own in-house marketing outreach have the advantage of organically extending their outreach via their existing client's wider network. This might not the same case with a virtual event agency and virtual event planners need that offer a way to do this become more competent in their bid.
8. Sheer attendee numbers can no longer be a selling point for a virtual event. The real ROI for the exhibitors and sponsors is the ability to reach their Ideal customer Profile directly through these virtual events. Event planners need to factor in a way to target the right personas and direct them to the right conversion goals while setting up the virtual event. The fundamentals that apply to online website marketing and conversion rate optimization also apply to a virtual tradeshow event. Content and the streaming ability (the channel to deliver the content) form the backbone of an online event more than flashy 3D graphics. Live streaming sessions, gamification, smart matchmaking that promote more interactions and networking opportunities, etc will go a long way in convincing your remote global virtual attendees to focus on the screen in front rather than all the possible distractions around. Virtual event planners need to focus on attracting more traffic to the exhibitor booths and accept the fact that their attendees are no longer a captive audience.
Hit us up at email@example.com to exchange notes on how to make your next virtual event more conversion-centric!
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