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Lead Generation from Virtual Trade Shows is in a League of its Own


Did you know that about 72% of exhibitors participate in trade shows to generate new leads? Whichever method is used to collect lead information, whether it’s taking business cards, using badge scanners, filling out paper forms, or other unique tools, leads are a driving factor in the trade show world.

With a majority of attendees coming to see and learn what’s new, 81% of them have buying authority. With so much potential to interact with and win over buyers, the value of a trade show is quite powerful if a business has a strong plan for lead generation and well thought out follow-ups. For a few breakthrough tips on following up with your leads, we’ve got you covered here. Today, we’re discussing the benefits that come from lead generation through virtual trade shows.

Lead generation is one of the strongest assets of a virtual trade show.

We in the trade show industry understand the true power of face-to-face interactions, and it’s clear to us that virtual trade shows can never truly replace them. But while virtual trade shows don’t offer quite the same experiences, they still offer some beneficial marketing opportunities for businesses. One of these strongpoints is lead generation. It’s possibly the greatest asset that comes from exhibiting virtually.

Why is virtual so great for lead gen?

Opportunity for quicker conversions

When you have the attention of a prospect who is already in their work environment (whatever that may be right now) and likely sitting right at their computer, your chance for a conversion skyrockets. When it comes to having the perfect opportunity to nurture a lead and turn them into a buyer, virtual trade shows have quite an advantage.

As a virtual attendee engages and learns about your business, you have the chance to immediately turn them into a buyer if you play your cards right. Let’s compare this type of quick conversion to an in-person trade show where a trade show attendee visit your booth space – as well as a list of other exhibitors throughout the day – and then has a gap of time where they are traveling back to their hotel, home, and back into their office space. If you didn’t provide the attendee with a stellar booth experience, this gap could allow for some of the emotions they may have been feeling while at your exhibit to wear off. In this timeframe, you as the exhibitor are responsible for promptly following up with your leads to ensure you keep them interested (something that many exhibitors fail to do.)

With virtual trade shows, you have the opportunity to provide value to your prospects through digital marketing options such as live webinars, interactive booths, and live chats. The chance to swiftly convert them to a buyer on the spot is a valuable opportunity. So long as you keep their attention during these digital marketing initiatives, this type of lead-nurturing environment could be a fast-track opportunity to close the deal with interested attendees.

Gather information from every attendee

Beyond the benefit of a possible quick transition to turn prospects to purchasers, virtual trade shows are also great for potentially gathering information from every single one of your attendees. Before an attendee even begins engaging with your online exhibit, you should have access to their sign-up information. We say should because every show organizer is a little bit different. As an exhibitor at a virtual trade show, make sure that you are speaking with the show organizer beforehand and asking the right questions so you know what information/analytics from attendees will be provided both before the virtual show – and during the actual virtual expo hall hours. Also be sure to ask if you will have the ability to customize your virtual exhibit – or better yet – use your own external link to be sure you really stand out! This is especially important if the organizer isn’t providing analytics data on who “visited” your booth space because if you can utilize your own link, you will also be able to utilize outside analytics as well.

If someone at an in-person trade show doesn’t feel compelled enough to enter your booth space, or does – but doesn’t leave their information, that doesn’t mean that you can’t slowly convert them into a buyer through your traditional marketing efforts. However, unlike these instances of missed opportunities at an in-person trade show, with virtual exhibiting, you still potentially will get the information of the people who don’t attend your online event – if your show organizer provides it. Knowing that they took interest in the first place still gives you a good start at engaging them in strategic ways.

Gain much more in-depth insight on leads

At an in-person trade show, you should be training your team do their best to gauge the interaction, interest, and quality of each lead – including “rating” them on a pre-defined scale that you provide. However, this takes a good strategy and additional time on their end, and since you have the human element involved – it may not be 100% accurate depending on how different booth staffers are using your rating system.

So long as the proper analytics are being provided to you, through a virtual trade show, you can begin to better understand each prospect by seeing which elements they clicked on, how long they stayed for certain content, what they said in online chats with members of your team, etc. This information is extremely beneficial when aiming to understand the intentions and quality of each virtual attendee as an individual. This makes follow-ups more customizable to the specific needs of each person, and also gives insight into trends of your entire list of trade show attendees.

The extensive access to quality lead information that exhibitors can gain through virtual trade shows is beneficial to reaching potential buyers. While you don’t have all the same benefits of interacting face-to-face at virtual trade shows, the insight(s) you obtain on your virtual attendees can prove to be a very valuable asset. Remember that this all relies on being very clear with the show organizer on what will be provided to you as an exhibitor at a virtual show – which will ultimately determine if you are able to get the ROI you are looking for in the virtual trade show world.