The trend of virtual trade shows (trade fairs) started to gain momentum a long time ago. Back in 2014, The Guardian predicted that virtual trade shows would define the future for small businesses worldwide. It stated that virtual events would define how small businesses would communicate with international audiences. And, since virtual trade shows are cheaper to organize, you can clearly see the benefits for small businesses and startups. In 2020, however, it’s not just small businesses that benefit from virtual trade shows. Today, we already see huge corporations investing more in high-quality live streaming solutions for their events, and going online completely with live trade fairs. It is expected that over 80% of the companies will invest in virtual trade shows next year. Among these virtual events, the most popular are online discussions, webinars, online product launches, etc. Among the companies that are most interested in virtual trade shows are SaaS (Software as a Service) providers.
How Do SaaS Providers Benefit from a Virtual Trade Show?
Virtual trade shows are the realm where SaaS companies could thrive. Since SaaS companies are mostly oriented at the consumers who would use their services remotely, virtual events are the ideal solution to introduce consumers to a SaaS company. Besides introducing the service to a wider online audience, SaaS companies enjoy the following benefits of a virtual trade show:
- No expenses on exhibit displays – SaaS companies can save a lot of money on preparing professional exhibit materials as well as on the transportation of these materials.
- Creating a unique interactive experience – virtual trade shows allow the attendees to freely interact with each other and with the displayed exhibits.
- The implementation of technology improves sales experience – instant messaging, podcasting, virtual product experience, etc. unite together to create a unique buying experience.
One of the biggest benefits of virtual events for SaaS companies is, however, the opportunity to generate high-quality leads. The experience of different companies shows that virtual trade shows have been highly effective to nurture leads. Let’s dive into the details (with a few examples from SaaS companies, of course). 1. Putting an Emphasis on Education What do attendees expect the most from attending the events? Educational value and acquiring new knowledge. Apart from networking, the educational value is among the top reasons why people get interested in an event. “According to our survey, 65% of respondents say they would immediately leave the event if they feel that it brings no new knowledge,” says Claire Ferguson, a market researcher at The Word Point. Hosting a virtual trade show, with its capacity for interactivity, is a great way to educate the attendees. Sewio, a SaaS company from the Czech Republic that manufactures the real-time location software for different industries, makes education the main purpose of their virtual trade shows, which they hold in the form of webinars. Apart from having case studies and a blog, Sewio uses virtual trade shows to demonstrate the key characteristics and benefits of their product during the webinar. While describing and demonstrating their product, they answer the questions of the attendees, which they receive live.
Do virtual events help Sewio generate high-quality leads? Undoubtedly. The RTLS market, which Sewio is a part of, is quite small but rather competitive. However, with several key players already being popular on the European RTLS, only Sewio is not afraid to share insights on the importance of RTLS for manufacturers by demonstrating their product and how it works via a virtual trade show. People trust what they can see and can explore. Employing this principle helped Sewio generate high-quality leads and, as a result, work with over 170 clients in 37 countries worldwide. 2. Generating Big Data with Virtual Trade Shows Virtual events are a powerful source for mining big data. While it is hard to document everything during a standard trade show, the software that is used to organize virtual trade shows collects all the data automatically. Meister, a SaaS company that develops intuitive apps that support creative workflow and task management, was able to collect important sales insights during their first virtual trade show. This data revealed that there’s a huge demand for their software in Europe, the market that they haven’t explored yet. How did this data help Meister generate more leads? While Meister is a European company, their primary target market was the U.S. Acquiring big data from their first virtual trade show helped them expand their business and nurture leads that were already coming from the European market. For Meister, their first virtual trade show was an eye-opening event that brought leads they didn’t know they would get. 3. Investing in Increased Exposure Both Sewio and Meister invested in virtual trade shows because they were interested in increasing exposure. The obvious benefit of a virtual trade show is that anyone can potentially attend it since the virtual location can host a greater number of people than a physical location would ever have the capacity to do. For both Sewio and Meister, organizing their first virtual shows was just to test the waters. Right now, as they see the capacity of virtual events for generating more leads, virtual trade shows have become a regular event for these companies.
Over to You
A virtual trade show offers you what a physical trade show could never offer:
- increased interactivity
- access to groundbreaking technology
- more exposure and more leads
The software that launches virtual trade shows, creates visually rich environments, which ensures captivating and seamless experiences. Apart from that, you create your own unique brand experiences, with no middlemen or sponsors involved in the process. These benefits, together with lower event expenses, make a virtual trade show one of the most attractive marketing investments nor just for SaaS companies, but for all other businesses who want to increase exposure and attract high-quality leads. So, since the popularity of virtual trade shows continues to grow, don’t lag behind and join this trend as soon as possible. About the Author Erica Sunarjo is a communications professional with more than five years of experience. Erica runs her own blog BestWritersOnline and is proud of her uncanny ability to explain the most complex subject in simple terms.