The Benefits of Being Involved In Virtual Trade Shows

With the increased attention being put on technology, and the decline of the modern economy, there are a lot of corporations that are choosing to engage in virtual trade shows like that of the INXPO solution, as a way to save money. These shows emulate the real thing. The only difference between a virtual trade show and a traditional physical show is the fact that the show takes place in cyberspace. The primary advantages of engaging in virtual trade shows are:

  • Reduced costs
  • Smaller entry fees
  • Connect with targeted leads
  • Increase brand awareness

Reduced Costs

Money is one of the number one things that stop small businesses from being able to market their businesses the way that they want to. Virtual trade shows are a great way for smaller corporations that usually are unable to afford to participate in larger physical shows, to have the opportunity to showcase their products. Big corporations usually spend a lot of money to be involved in physical trade shows. Not to mention, these corporations have to be willing to travel from one show to the next in order to find leads. With virtual trade shows, there is no traveling, and the costs associated with setting up a booth are minimal.

Smaller Entry Fees

Exhibitors will not have to be exuberant fees in order to be able to engage in a virtual trade show. Physical shows can cost upwards of $100,000 or more to participant in. Attendees to these shows will also have to pay money in order to attend the event. Virtual shows have small entry fees that businesses have to pay, and little to no entry fees for individuals who wish to attend the show. The average costs for a business to engage in a virtual trade show is $3000-$5000.

Connect With Targeted Leads

Leads are the primary thing that drive small businesses, especially businesses that do most of their dealings with their customers over the internet. With virtual trade shows, attendees are able to interact with you. They can send you messages relating to the products or services that you offer, and also sign up for your mailing list.

With virtual trade shows, you also have the ability to see who visits your booth and the amount of time that they remain at it. Obviously, people that linger around your booth have some interest in the products and services that you offer. You can obtain their information, and add them onto your lead list, possibly allowing you to convert the interested patron into a paying customer.

Increase Brand Awareness

One of the biggest gripes that small business owners have is the fact that not enough people know that their brand exists. With virtual trade shows, you will be able to inform the attendees of your brand, and the different product and services that it offers. Getting your companies name out in front of the public eye is the best and perhaps the only way to increase the amount of revenue that your business receives. If people are unaware of your businesses existence, you cannot expect them to want to purchase anything that you have to offer. Virtual trade shows allow you to get your brand’s name in front of the right type of people, at the right time.

What Is A Virtual Tradeshow?

What Is A Virtual Trade Show?

A virtual tradeshow, also referred to as a virtual trade fair is a virtual event that takes place on the internet. The event will remain live for a specified period of time. Virtual tradeshows are in many regards, just like a traditional tradeshow or traditional exhibits. They allow exhibitors and visitors to connect with one another, but the connections are done on the World Wide Web, where geographical locations do not have any bounds.

The Origin Of The Virtual Tradeshow

The first virtual tradeshow was conducted by Randy Selman and Alan Saperstein, who own and operate Onstream Media. The first tradeshow was conducted virtually, well before the internet boom in April of 1993. The duo, videotaped tradeshows to show the different exhibitor booths in them, and later attached the files to an HTML floor map. Although the first virtual tradeshow was successful, the company closed its operations to open up a platform designed for virtual tradeshows, known as MarketPlace365.

What Makes A Virtual Tradeshow Different From Traditional Shows?

The structure of virtual tradeshows mimics the structure of traditional shows. Users are able to visit a virtual exhibition area, where specific capabilities and permissions are given to visitors. Exhibitors have the ability to build virtual stands, so they can showcase information that pertains to products that their sites offer or showcase some of the products that can be purchased through their websites. They display their products in the same way that conventional shows allow exhibitors to do. Users will usually create avatars of themselves that visually represent them, instead of displaying their faces.

Just like traditional shows, virtual shows may also include other components such as:

  • Web conferences
  • Web seminars
  • Educational Presentations

Users are able to interact with each other in many different means. The most common forms of interaction are through:

  • One to one
  • One to few
  • One to many
  • Many to many

Detailed tracking mechanisms allow organizers of the shows to determine the amount of traffic that their tradeshow has generated. Even though the wider majority of virtual tradeshows are conducted within specialized internet environments, there are some that are conducted within text based environments as well.

Virtual tradeshows can be utilized for many different reasons. Some of the top reasons why virtual tradeshows may be used are:

  • International tradeshows
  • Procurement fairs
  • Business match-makers
  • Product launches

There has been a lot of growth in the amounts of virtual tradeshows being conducted over the past five years. Many believe the increased popularity of these shows stems from the economic recession, which has forced the prices for products to increase immensely.

Visitor Options

Individuals that wish to visit virtual tradeshows, will normally have to fill out a registration form, before they can be admitted to the event. While filling out a registration form, visitors will be required to create a virtual badge, allowing them to enter the exhibit hall and view the items offered by the exhibitors. The booths that visitors view will usually contain several icons that they can click on to obtain responses pertaining to specific items.

Exhibitor Options

Individuals that wish to be virtual exhibitors at the tradeshows, will be given specialized online tools to upload all of the relevant content that they wish to display. The shows usually require exhibitors to pay a nominal fee to participate in. However, the fee that exhibitors have to pay is typically less than they would pay at a traditional exhibition.

Benefits of Virtual Tradeshows

What Are The Benefits of Hosting A Virtual Trade Show?

Trade shows are typically expensive for exhibitors to engage in, even though these shows are some of the best lead generating mechanisms that many businesses have. According to Forbes, the average amount of money that an exhibitor can expect to pay at a traditional tradeshow is roughly $25,000 per event that they engage in. This cost includes traveling, booth fabrication, shipping, giveaway materials, and collateral materials. Considering the fact that a lot of companies will participate in multiple tradeshows per year, this amount can add up. On the adverse side, an exhibitor at a virtual tradeshow, can expect to spend roughly $5000 to $8000 to participate in the event.

Virtual Tradeshows Save Companies Money

Cost is one of the primary reasons why companies choose to engage in virtual tradeshows in opposition to traditional shows. However, the problem lies if the show is going to be able to attain a company the leads that it requires. According to a market study conducted by Marketing Professors, virtual tradeshows are:

  • Visited more than any other type of virtual event taking place on the internet
  • 84% of attendees take some action
  • 59% of attendees visit the exhibitors website

Virtual Tradeshows Generate Leads

There are many business owners that are hesitant to try their luck at virtual tradeshows, because they do not know what expectations they should have. Virtual tradeshows will help businesses generate real leads that are not just virtual. The key to obtaining leads is going to depend greatly on how a business is able to effectively show their products and content.

Just like with a traditional tradeshow, exhibitors must understand the role that the placement of their booths plays to their success in this virtual area. The booth must be worked during the entire event, to ensure that the event is as successful as you desire it to be. Exhibitors have the ability to instant message individuals that show interest in their booth, and obtain contact information from that individual, to assist with their list building activities. Virtual shows can run a lot longer than traditional shows. Some shows may last a few weeks or even a few months in some cases.

The Hybrid Effect

There are a lot of business owners that are choosing to host virtual tradeshows and engage in live shows as well. This hybrid effect has proven to be beneficial to many business owners, because it gives them the best of both worlds. The business owner is able to:

  • reach their local and global markets
  •  differentiate between two different platforms
  •  and connect with demonstrators at the two different shows

The benefits that organizers of virtual tradeshows experience are similar to the benefits that exhibitors experience. Virtual tradeshow organizers are able to:

  • Save time and costs
  • Obtain better tracking information on attendees
  • Experience increased flexibility
  • Increase the time that their shows can run for

Prior to deciding to host a virtual tradeshow, it is implored that you take the time to visit some live tradeshows, so you can generate an idea about how to successfully run the show. In fact, in most cases you will be able to visit the tradeshows for nominal costs. There are many different types of virtual tradeshows that you can choose to host, therefore, visiting a few different shows will give you some ideas regarding the type of show you would like to host.

Get The Most Out of Your Next Virtual Tradeshow

What Are Some Ways To Get The Most Out Of A Virtual Tradeshow?

The recent interest in virtual tradeshows is attributed to the belt-tightening approaches that marketers are taking, in an effort to decrease their marketing budgets, and connect with prospective customers through greener means. Virtual tradeshows are also being discussed heavily amongst various online publications and business websites, that are attempting to test the waters themselves, to see if they can gather any leads through this virtual style approach.

If you are unfamiliar with the term virtual tradeshow, you are not alone. A virtual tradeshow is emulative of a physical tradeshow. The shows are set up to resemble virtual worlds, such as the Sims worlds or Second Life virtual environments. The shows can last anywhere from a few hours at one time or extend to span across a course of a couple of days. Just like with real world tradeshows, the shows will include:

  • Presentations given by speakers
  • Exhibition halls
  • Virtual lounges

Virtual tradeshows share a lot of the same features as a real trade show. Exhibitors are given the opportunity to converse with prospective customers and other exhibitors, and access various pieces of information such as:

  • White papers
  • Case Studies
  • Demos
  • Webinars

In many regards, virtual tradeshows possess a competitive advantage. Since these shows are done in a virtual environment, they are traceable. You will know exactly who has visited your booth, and what that attendee’s interests are. This will make the tasks of generating leads from the show an easier obstacle to tackle.

If you are interested in participating in virtual tradeshows, there are some tactical things that you should consider doing to ensure that your investment in the show pays off. Be aware, that not every platform that hosts virtual tradeshows is going to allow you to be as creative as you desire. Most platforms attempt to remain competitive by offering functionality and flexibility to their users.

Use The Chat Feature To Your Advantage

Almost every virtual tradeshow platform that you use will have a built-in chat feature that allows you to converse with attendees that visit your exhibit. This chat feature gives you the opportunity to sell your organization to the attendee, in the same regards that you would if you were face-to-face with the attendee. Do not miss your opportunity to connect with an attendee. Make sure that your booth keeps a constant product expert on call that will be able to answer any questions that attendees may have regarding your organization.

Organize Your Exhibit By Persona

A lot of virtual tradeshow booths will have built in tabs that are organized into buckets. These tabs give you the ability to fill in information about your company. Most virtual tradeshow tabs will already be labeled for businesses. They will have a place for you to write information about your company, show white papers, and also a tab that clients can go to view webcasts. The good news is you do not have to keep the tabs set up in the way that the virtual tradeshows have them laid out for you.

You can choose to alter the tabs, based on your businesses niche. For example, if your niche is health care related, you can arrange the tabs for the physicians in your office, the administrators, and the IT personnel. Booth visitors will then have an idea of where they can go to get answers to any questions that they have regarding your business, allowing you to streamline the information that the attendees obtain.

Let The Buyer Determine How You Follow Up

While engaging in a virtual tradeshow, you will obtain a wide range of leads. These leads will varying interests in your business. If your follow-up plans involve reaching out to each lead in the same fashion, you could end up missing out on some great opportunities. Arrange your leads based on their interest in your organization. Leads that you have obtained that show an immediate interest in your organization need to be treated differently than warm leads.

Using Virtual Trade Shows to Generate Leads

How Can Virtual Tradeshows Be Used To Generate Leads?

Virtual trade shows are commonly referenced as a cross between a webinar and an online game. Virtual trade shows are increasingly becoming a commodity in the business realm. However, despite their increasing popularity, only one percent of all trade shows are hosted in a virtual environment. Industry leaders are expecting this number to increase to twenty five percent, by the year 2015. With this expected increase, virtual tradeshows are quickly becoming something that the modern day businessman can no longer ignore.

The Features Of A Virtual Trade Show

Just like many other online meetings, virtual tradeshows, can be simple or possess a more realistic feeling. Some of the simplest setups will include:

  • A series of pages
  • One virtual booth assigned to a single exhibitor
  • Instant messaging capabilities

More complex virtual tradeshow environments can be jam packed with additional features that mimic the latest video game technologies. These features include:

  • Participant controlled avatars
  • VOIP services
  • Options to instantly email brochures to attendees

How Exhibitors Make Money From Virtual Tradeshows

Money is made at virtual tradeshows in the same way that money is made at physical tradeshows, by generating leads. Traditional tradeshows offer businesses the ability to generate a massive amount of leads at one time. However, the problem with traditional tradeshows and the leads that are generated through these efforts, is most of the leads obtained through traditional tradeshows are not properly followed up on. In fact, statistics reveal that nearly 80% of the leads that companies generate from physical tradeshows are never properly followed up on, eliminating the obvious potential that physical tradeshows are supposed to award business owners with.

Some of the main reasons why leads are not followed up with accordingly when businesses engage in traditional tradeshows are:

  • Disconnections existing between marketing and sales representatives
  • Difficulties reading hand-scribbled lead cards
  • The tedious task of having to input lead information into company databases

However, when it comes to virtual tradeshows, a lot of the complaints do not exist, or are almost entirely eliminated. Virtual trade shows will collect all of the data for you. In fact, a lot of virtual tradeshow environments have systems that are built into their solutions to help track leads for exhibitors. Suddenly, keeping track of the leads that your business is generating has become a lot easier.

Aside from physically tracking the information for participants, virtual tradeshows, will tag attendees and companies that visit your booth. This makes following up with those leads extremely easy to do. Participants also have the ability of keeping track of the activities that their staff and attendees are engaging in during the event.

Virtual tradeshows systems will run analytics on the amount of leads that you have generated, once the show has ended. Show times can last for a day or two, or extend to months in some cases. This alone, will give businesses an ample amount of time to generate some great leads for follow-up. Instead of having to manually enter all of the lead information into a database on your own, the virtual tradeshow software programs, are designed to enter all of this information for you. With this in mind, you will be able to begin reaching out to your leads expediently, greatly affecting your return on investment.

Save Money with Virtual Tradeshows

How Can A Virtual Tradeshow Save A Company Money?

Many savvy business owners know how to effectively grow their business, by always searching for new ways to expand their companies reach, bringing up to date information to their staffs, and remaining along the cutting edge of their niche markets, while progressively keeping costs low. For decades, tradeshows have provided a beneficial platform for businesses to represent their brands. By using tradeshows, businesses have been able to:

  • Introduce their latest inventions
  • Network with other business professionals
  • Generate new leads

However, due to the slimmer advertising budgets that most businesses are forced to work with, tradeshows are beginning to lose traction. Tradeshows can be expensive, and severely damage a company’s overhead. An organization can easily run up a tab of $100,000 or more, simply from participating in one tradeshow.

Virtual Tradeshows Minimize Overhead Expenses

In April of 1993, the first virtual tradeshow was conducted. The show went by the name of ConventionView, and was presented in a rudimentary form. After the success of the first virtual tradeshow, a few short years later, additional virtual tradeshow solutions began to emerge. This has forever changed the way that business personnel connect with prospective clients, and build leads for their businesses.

Virtual tradeshows mimic real-life tradeshows in many regards. The events are held for a specific amount of time. Exhibitors and the individuals attending the event have their same traditional roles. The primary exception to the rule, is no one meets face-to-face, and everything is done online. By engaging in virtual tradeshows, organizations are able to:

  • Network with hundreds of businesses in a few days
  • Interact with attendees in virtual chats
  • Watch videos
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Explore products

What Values Do Virtual Tradeshows Possess?

A lot of business professionals have familiarized themselves with virtual environments. They have already participated in a few virtual meetings, and used virtual platforms to communicate with colleagues and employees. Companies have readily adopted virtual platforms as a part of their regular business practices, to help cut back on the costs associated with traveling and eliminate wasted time.

Travel budgets have forced many business professionals to keep themselves grounded as much as possible. Forcing them to turn their attention towards utilizing interactive tools as their primary form of communication. Virtual tradeshows bring the information that businesses require directly to their personal commuters, accomplishing the same goals that virtual environments do, in regards to online meetings. Plus with virtual tradeshows, there is no need to have to print materials in order to prepare for the show.

Exhibitors that wish to participate in virtual tradeshows will see higher returns on their investments. They will invest less money into the virtual tradeshow, and be given a better opportunity to generate sales from their efforts and gather up promising leads. The average cost that an exhibitor has to pay to participate in a virtual tradeshow is roughly $5000. Not only are these costs astronomically low, but exhibitors will be able to capture their attendees information when they visit their assigned booth.

Exhibitors will be able to view:

  • The amount of visitors that came to their booth
  • The average amount of time the visitors stayed
  • The day and time the visitors came to their booth
  • The videos the visitors watched
  • The brochures the visitors downloaded for their perusal

With all of this information, it will be seamless to tailor a marketing plan that will turn all of the attendees that visited your booth into converted paying customers.

Virtual Trade Shows for Businesses

How A Virtual Tradeshow Is Helpful To A Corporation Or Large Business

The internet has forced companies to deal with an immense amount of competition that used to not exist prior to its boom. With the influx of competition, businesses are desperately seeking new inventive ways to market their products to wider audiences. This is where engaging in a virtual tradeshow can be beneficial to businesses, both small and large.

A virtual tradeshow, is just like a physical tradeshow, without boundary limitations. During a virtual tradeshow, business owners are able to set up virtual exhibits that internet users can peruse. Virtual tradeshows provide companies with the opportunity to:

  • Highlight their products
  • Increase exposure
  • Reach a wider audience
  • Promote their brand
  • Increase revenue

As the economy continues to sway back and forth, people are electing to hold onto the money that they have. Their budgets are running thin, making it impossible for them to travel to large physical tradeshows to view the newest and coolest products on the market. Business owners, are also afraid to attend physical tradeshows, because it forces them to take time away from promoting their businesses locally.

Highlight Your Products

It is difficult to operate a successful business, if your targeted customers do not know that the products that you offer exist. Traditional marketing can help you obtain prospective customers. However, virtual tradeshows put you in a prime position to showcase your products and content to a larger audience.

Increase Exposure

Every single day, there is a brand new company launched by an entrepreneur that one day hopes to make it big. However, internet businesses are suffering because there are influxes of people that choose to open one every single day. Marketing your business locally is a great start. But, in this global economy that we reside in, the only way to maximize your businesses earning potential is to increase its exposure to the entire world, not just your local market.

Reach A Wider Audience

You know that the product that your business offers is great. However, if you are not making the type of money that you believe you should be making, you need to widen the amount of people that know about your product and services. The internet is a great medium to reach people, only if they are looking for the type of products that you offer, and your product is a top ranking item. If not, then your chances of reaching a wider audience are slim. Virtual tradeshows put you in front of a wide group of people that do not have any geographical boundaries.

Promote Your Brand

Your brand is what people will come to know you by. Have you taken the proper steps to actively promote your brand at every possibility imaginable, but you are still not as widely known as you want to be? Virtual tradeshows allow you to set up your own exhibit, and customize that exhibit however you deem necessary. You can virtually plaster your brand name all over your exhibit, to gravitate some attention towards your booth.

Increase Revenue

No one decides to open a business without considering the monetary aspect of their work. The only way to increase revenue is to get your brand in front of the right people at the right time. A virtual tradeshow, allows you to do just that. You can choose to sell your products at the tradeshow, or direct interested customers to your website, where they can submit their purchases for your items.

Virtual Tradeshow Solution Providers

Who Are Some Of The Biggest Solution And Software Providers Of Virtual Tradeshow Technology?

Choosing to engage in a virtual tradeshow is a big leap for many corporations. With many businesses avidly attempting to get ahead in the virtual markets, it can be difficult to make your company stand out amongst other companies that offer products in the same niche as yours. Virtual tradeshows give you the opportunity to:

  • Connect with prospective customers on a global level
  • Stand out in your niche market
  • Meet other like-minded entrepreneurs

Perhaps the most daunting decision for an organization to make is concerning what virtual tradeshow solution that they should use. Different platforms will charge different prices, and offer differ services, based on the needs of their clients. Prices generally differ based on the amount that the organizer wants to charge for their expo. The three biggest virtual tradeshow solutions are provided by:

  • InXpo
  • Unisfair
  • ON24

InXpo

InXpo assists businesses with communicating with prospective customers. They utilize next generation webcasting products that can help businesses reach out to their targeted niche audience. The InXpo platform hosts between three hundred to four hundred virtual tradeshows per year. One added perk of doing business with this virtual tradeshow platform, is the fact that exhibitors have the option of linking their booths directly to their social media accounts.

InXpo generally engages in niche virtual tradeshows. Niche virtual tradeshows allow individuals that have a product or specific service in a certain niche to purchase a booth for the show. Recent tradeshows for InXpo have included a Digital Marketing show, dental hygienist show, and a cellular phone service show.

Unisfair

Unisfair, a company that now calls themselves InterCall, proclaims that they are the leaders when it comes to virtual environment events. They have worked with some of the leading names in the industries for tradeshows and other virtual meetings. Unisfair, boasts that they make it easy for anyone to create an interactive environment on their platforms. Unisfair hosts three hundred virtual tradeshows per year.

The Unisfair platform supports up to sixteen languages. The languages that the platform supports, includes:

  • Turkish
  • Chinese
  • Czech
  • Etc.

ON24

On24 considers themselves to be the leaders in transforming virtual communications. They utilize cloud-based solutions along with virtual environments that are designed to help businesses achieve the results that they desire. ON24 has worked with over one thousand organizations. Some of the organizations that this virtual tradeshow solution has boasted about working with, include the names of several fortune 500 companies.

ON24 hosts two hundred fifty virtual tradeshows per year. One unique feature about this virtual tradeshow solution is they utilize profiles that attendees complete prior to entering a virtual tradeshow, to suggest exhibitors that may match up with the requirements that they have. ON24 has a proven track record, and a 99.9% satisfactory rating amongst their customers.

Just like many other virtual tradeshow solutions, ON24 hosts niche virtual tradeshows, for specific industries as specific times. Some of the most recent virtual tradeshows that ON24 has hosted include:

  • Oracle Resellers and Vendors
  • Vaccine virtual congress
  • Virtual arms trade show for the medical industry