COVID-19 has turned a previously healthy and robust trade show and event business on its head. Everyone from the local Chamber of Commerce to large national organizations have depended on trade shows for revenue and critical networking with customers and vendors. While the country navigates new health and safety regulations in the midst of the pandemic, there is an opportunity for trade shows to reinvent themselves. As meetings across the country go online, why not trade shows? Virtual events can be successful for both the participating businesses and the attendees. Here’s how.
Taking your event or trade show online has definite benefits. There’s an opportunity to reach more people than a traditional in-person event because of the on-demand participation. The goal is to make sure that everyone participating has a positive experience and virtual events afford you a lot of flexibility, but do require just as much planning to be successful. Here’s Director of Sales Carrie Berkbuegler with a checklist of things to think about as you plan your virtual event.
2020 has been a challenge, to be sure. But innovative thinking and proper planning provide an invitation to step outside of the box and look for new ways to network. An online methodology for businesses, events and trade associations is a great way to extend the life and the value for vendors and attendees through virtual events.
Don't look at them as a lesser option. They can actually be a better opportunity for vendors by leveraging online traffic and driving leads to their website. And don't forget to build a marketing strategy by promoting the event through traditional advertising or digital retargeting to create yet another layer of promotional success for participants. Be sure to communicate closely with your vendors in developing a way to connect attendees with vendors online beyond the day of the event. After all, who says a virtual event has to start on Friday and end on Sunday?
For a great local example of a successful virtual event, check out the Mid-Mo Baby Expo. Bottom line, there's an opportunity hidden in every challenge, and for virtual events - we think the opportunities are limitless.