Virtual trade shows are a revolutionary tool for online lead generation. They offer a dedicated platform to prospects where they can conveniently access products/services in a digital landscape, negotiate with booth reps and perform transactions from the comfort of their homes. But pulling off a successful virtual trade exhibit is no easy feat. It requires event planning, consumer profiling and developing a strong follow-up strategy. Read more on how to set up a great virtual trade show here.

The objective of the virtual trade show will define how to gear it towards delivering maximum ROI. A trade exhibition focused on establishing digital presence and brand awareness will be strategically different from one that aims to generate quality leads or revenue. Given the tact that goes behind planning and executing an engaging virtual trade show, this article explains the four things you should cover to deliver a virtual event that actually generates solid leads.

1) Take generic chats to the next level

Cater to your visitors’ apprehensions regarding the virtual setting by having your product experts conduct scheduled sessions in the live chat forums. These experts don’t need to be present round the clock and rather, by having scheduled sessions where they deliver information on specific subject matter, your virtual trade show will achieve a more focused and ongoing conversation. This will also lend an air of exclusivity to the virtual event because you’ll be elevating it from a run of the mill ‘take it or leave it’ market visit to a truly immersive transactional experience.

You could also use webinars to deliver similar impact. By having product experts conduct audio/video sessions where they explain product features and answer visitor FAQs, you will win the respect of the audience by promptly answering their queries and exceeding expectations on delivering product knowledge. By having your best employees head these scheduled discussions at the trade show, you will ensure that your attendees become more comfortable with the booth reps, the products and the general absence of physical interaction at the virtual event.

2) Organize booth tabs by personas

booth layout

Instead of organizing information in generic buckets at your virtual booths, create tabs that contain information for consumer profiles where visitors belonging to archetypal clusters can reach relevant information instantly. For instance, if you’re a clothing retailer running a virtual trade show, instead of having generic tabs at the booth like ‘About Us’, ‘Products’ and ‘Pricing’, include tabs specific to your audience by categorizing products by age groups, gender and sense of style, among other things.

You can also organize these tabs by topic, pain points, and motivators if your company delivers a service. By developing a virtual trade exhibition that delivers browsing convenience and caters to specific audience needs, you will create a lead-nurturing environment at the event where people engage with the products in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Note: To do this, it’s important to perform a persona development exercise prior to the event so that you can develop content and landing pages geared towards satisfying specific consumer profiles.

3) Make your Call-To-Actions (CTAs) unique and interesting

You will observe people exhibiting different levels of engagement at your event. Some will bounce back right from the lobby and others will stick around to explore the booths, view videos, attend webinars, interact in chat discussions and make purchases. With people showing interest in your products across a spectrum, it doesn’t make sense to present the same call-to-action to all of them, does it? Since no two leads are the same, they should not be followed-up with the same way. Therefore, put some effort into developing high-value CTAs for high-value prospects.

Developing tiered CTAs depending on where a prospect lies in the sales funnel will also give you ample room for personalized communication with your visitors. By classifying visitors on their engagement with your trade show components, share relevant marketing collateral like webinars, e-books, and articles on their topics of interest to keep them tuned into your products long after the trade show is over. Remember, you are far more likely to develop rich leads by sharing targeted content to a niche set of prospects rather than by shooting blindly in the air and sharing standardized material with everyone who registered for your event.

4) Cross-check for missed opportunities

A great post-event practice is going through event interactions to find any queries that were left unanswered. Reaching out to these visitors with answers to their queries works for two reasons: it comes across as a gesture of goodwill that the recipient will appreciate and it gives you the opportunity to get the conversation going with a new prospect who now stands the chance of converting into a lead. If significant interest is shown, you can share other marketing collateral with these visitors to engage them further with your brand and your products.

Takeaways

When planning for an engaging virtual trade show that contributes to your lead generation strategy, ask yourself three things:

  • Does the event deliver impeccable user experience?
  • Does your event content deliver real value to the visitors?
  • Can your team execute targeted post-event follow up?

Before you embark on conducting your virtual trade show, ensure that you have a resounding yes to all the above. Stay committed to your objective before and during the event and remain persistent after wrapping it up because some leads take years to convert but once that happens, they make all the effort worth it.


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