Virtual events, like conferences and trade shows, can provide a lot of value to both attendees and to event exhibitors.
At a physical event, exhibitors have the ability to create their own lead retrieval strategies, and while this remains partially true for virtual events, it is likely that you, as an event organizer or planner, will need to take steps to support this particular process.
Lead retrieval allows exhibitors to access the vitally important personal data shared by attendees at registration. Without this data, there are no solid sales leads and your event will have little value to your exhibitors. This can hurt you in the future. If you develop a reputation for not providing value to exhibitors, they won’t sign on for your trade show or expo. Without exhibitors, your event cannot succeed.
When shifting to the digital realm, event attendees will not be able to approach an exhibitor booth and drop their business card in a fishbowl or fill out a paper form. You have to support exhibitors in this process.
For starters, event planners need to choose an events platform, like Accelevents, that provides lead retrieval and lead capturing tools.
Once the platform is set up and the event planning has begun, here are some important things every organizer needs to consider in order to support lead retrieval for exhibitors at a virtual event:
Provide Valuable Content
When it comes to the overall event experience, one of the most significant things you can do is provide valuable content. Without it, you will not be able to attract attendees.
Valuable content is relevant to your target audience and offers insights or experiences useful to a particular industry or area of expertise.
In terms of lead retrieval, valuable content leads to more booth visits. If you pack your virtual event with exhibitors that are thought leaders in the field, on the cutting edge of industry advancements, or they are industry giants that people look to for education and support, an attendee is going to engage with an exhibitor more deeply and is more likely to present as a qualified lead and offer up their virtual business card or supply contact details.
Generating interest in your exhibitors starts with providing value. The more interest you can generate, the more interactions each exhibitor is likely to see and the more leads there are to retrieve.
Enable Live Chat and Video
Lead retrieval is not just about providing exhibitors with easy access to attendee registration information. It is also about making it easy for attendees to interact and connect with exhibitors.
Enabling live chat and video means that attendees can ask questions and learn product or service details in real-time. This also means that exhibitors can immediately begin qualifying visitors, collecting contact information, and passing those details on to their sales team.
A lot of attendees at physical events will provide phony contact information which protects them from solicitation but wastes time and resources for exhibitors. Allowing easy communication during the course of the event will help eliminate some of this waste.
Make It Easy
At in-person events or physical trade shows, many event planners have taken to using event apps to help support exhibitors and attendees both. An event app makes it easy to track booth visitors but it can also help attendees navigate the exhibit hall and find the exhibitors that they are interested in.
This does not necessarily hold for virtual events and so it is important to go out of your way to make connections and information sharing easy.
Typically, each person is given an attendee badge at registration that is equipped with a QR code. When visitors come to the booth, the exhibitor can scan badges and immediately retrieve lead data that was supplied at registration. At virtual events, this retrieval process will require a little more creativity.
Some exhibitors will have a lead retrieval system in place that is perfect for the digital setting but many will have a system or lead retrieval app that is no longer applicable in this setting so it will be important to help them adjust.
Event gamification, for example, is one way to encourage attendee engagement and assist with lead retrieval. Attendees and participants will have to provide details to exhibitors in order to qualify for the competition, helping exhibitors to capture more leads than they may have otherwise. Things like virtual scavenger hunts are perfect for this type of situation.
Create a database that exhibitors can access that allows them to view attendee behavior and movement through the exhibit space as well as view general event data so they can further qualify and understand the leads that have been captured through booth visits.
When setting up virtual booths, be sure to make it easy for visitors to request information. With a click of a button, they should be able to access product details, demo videos, and white papers. At the click of this button, attendees get the information they need and their contact details are automatically captured for the exhibitor. Not everyone is interested in having a conversation so this allows both parties to get what they need without having to actually communicate.
One of the biggest benefits that can come with lead retrieval at virtual events is the speed with which the data can be collected, collated, and shared.
It is important that you provide data to exhibitors in a timely fashion.
Exhibitors have a narrow window of time (usually up to a week after the event) to reach out to leads before a lead loses interest and a potential sale is lost. The ability to provide real-time data will be of significant value to exhibitors.
Immediate access to attendee data means that the details can be passed along to an exhibitor’s sales team and follow-up emails or phone lists can be created. Personalization plays a significant role in the ability to turn leads into sales so the sooner you provide data to exhibitors, the more time they have to create personalized and branded follow-up content.
Attention spans are short these days and they are even shorter when connecting online. Eliminate this concern by doing everything you can to support immediate data sharing.
Virtual events like conferences and trade shows provide vendors and exhibitors with a greater ROI than physical or in-person events. Exhibitors do not have to pay to send staff to the event and they do not need to pay travel or other expenses related to these trips. Virtual events often draw a much larger audience which means increased lead captures and increased sales opportunities.
But, given that so many of us are inexperienced in the virtual event space, it is important that we work together to make sure that everyone is getting the most from these events. As an event professional, you not only need to host and plan the best event possible, you need to support your vendors and exhibitors. By following the tips laid out above, you can help support lead retrieval for exhibitors and help them meet, or in most cases, exceed their sales expectations for your event!