Businesses traditionally relied on trade expos to generate leads, increase brand presence, venture into new markets and drive in more sales. However, in all fairness, physical trade shows were becoming a costly burden for the organizers and exhibitors alike. Which is why, when Covid forced 87% of the organizers to cancel physical events, businesses were quick to move into the digital space to host virtual trade shows, virtual exhibitions and online conferences. But, one significant issue that bothered the organizers was the engagement rate of the participants.
Comprehensive engagement is a key factor in analyzing any event’s impact. In the context of B2B trade shows, there is a good chance that customers who interacted with the representatives will come back to work out business deals. And, as we will demonstrate here, a proper plan and collaboration with a robust virtual event platform will assure you on the engagement front. Stick with us till the end to know, how to boost engagement in virtual trade shows-
“49% marketers consider audience engagement the foremost indicator of an event’s success.”
Here are eight ways you can boost audience engagement and take your event to the next level. Read on-
When you are hosting a virtual trade show, the platform should reflect your brand image. Therefore, personalization should receive foremost importance. The reason is pretty straightforward- customization increases brand recognition by 80%! Organizers also remain very eager to offer a unique virtual events experience to the attendees. That can be done in a number of ways.
Ask the platform to integrate your custom template into their platform. If they are designing it from scratch, or even modifying their existing templates, be in touch with them. Convey your brand guidelines clearly so that the platform reflects the image of the brande and spirit of the event.
Moreover, exhibitors and vendors often want to customize their booths. An ideal online trade show platform will allow the exhibitors to add brand logos, buttons, social share icons and choose specific colors. All these are essential to draw in more visitors. Branding options also help customers locate a virtual exhibitor booth easily. So, in the end it’s a win-win scenario for both the exhibitors and the attendees. Therefore, having a platform that lets you customize and create unique virtual events is a must.
Polling is a simple yet effective way to boost audience engagement. Especially in the B2B market, it has become an integral part. 81% of virtual event organizers use polling and Q&A sessions to boost attendee interaction.
A pre-event polling can drive home the importance of a particular segment. Attendees further expect the event to be more interactive if there is pre-event polling beforehand. This in turn results in better turn-up and higher attendee participation rate.
However, to turn the pre-event enthusiasm to account, you need to ensure the actual event has interactive elements too. Contrary to popular belief, great speakers alone cannot make it more interesting. So, you need to hold live polling during the event. This will, one, ensure that audiences feel they are a part of the event. Two, it will further encourage them to interact with the speakers and reach out to the organizers afterwards.
It is no longer possible to attract an audience only with fascinating panel discussions. You need to be creative in other areas to hold the participant’s attention. The importance of gamification cannot be overstated in this area.
Everyone loves a friendly competition; especially when there is a reward in the end. This is why gamification works so well in improving brand presence on social media, boosting ROI, and generating leads. Is it a surprise that 59% organizers depend on gamification to improve engagement rate?
Choose a powerful virtual events platform that can pull off a great trade show utilizing the fullest potential of gamification. By fullest potential, we also mean that the platform should be transparent about the point structure. As an organizer, you need to look into that. The rules and goals should be clearly explained to the participants. To maintain transparency, on the leaderboard, everybody’s score and achievements should be displayed.
Don’t forget to use event hashtags during pre-event promotion. It has manifold benefits. Firstly, you can create a buzz on social media platforms. This will ensure greater audience participation.
Secondly, the attendees too can use them while sharing photos or posts on social media. By tracking the hashtag, you can run analyses post the event. Choose a platform that offers a dedicated social media wall and lets the visitors connect with the exhibitors on other platforms.
The principal reason why business persons prefer trade shows is networking. In the physical events, you could catch up with others, strike up a conversation with someone and exchange your business cards. These interactions help forge a greater connection with the sponsor as well as with the organizers.
Choosing the right online trade show platform guarantees that the attendees are able to do all these on virtual trade shows as well. Virtual chat rooms offer an interactive space to the attendees. Furthermore, attendants prefer to ask questions directly to the speakers, even in virtual events. Similarly, on virtual trade booths there should be a direct chat feature that lets them connect with the exhibitors’ representatives.
It is a well-known fact that session breaks help in driving away the monotony. You can inform the attendees about the break timing, and the resumption time via push notification. Push notifications have a higher opening rate than emails. On top of that it bounces information in real-time. As per a market report, .
On the other hand, announcements are a great way to draw attendees to a particular event or a segment. For example, if you want everyone to visit a particular section or want maximum attendance at a particular event, you can simply highlight that through announcements.
Effective CTAs in push notifications can boost the outcomes by almost 60%.
You can also create clickable notifications that lead attendees right where they should be. Ideally, it should be visible from every part of the trade show- be it a virtual exhibit hall, conference room or virtual exhibitor booth.
Any event without live interaction becomes boring. As an inevitable fallout, attendees start living early. But do you know live videos or even pre-recorded videos can draw in and hold more participants? You don’t have to take our word for it. Research concludes that 61% of marketers incorporate live videos as an interactive element. It increases both attendee retention and participant satisfaction index of virtual trade shows.
You can ask for feedback as polling questions. Or better still, ask them separately after each event. This way you will get detailed feedback of the event. As trade shows are generally more than a day’s affair, you can make course correction, improvements for the next event. Offer the attendees a certificate of participation after the completion of survey.
Feedback forms also double up as potential data mines. You can collect and collate diverse data such as demographics, employment status, gender and use them for a better understanding of the event’s impact. Needless to say, an ideal virtual events platform will have an in-built data analytics dashboard.
In the foreseeable future, virtual events will become an integral part of business planning and marketing. It’s about time the business community utilized the fullest potentials of this paradigm shift. As you can see it is a myth that audience engagement tails off in virtual trade shows. To a notable extent it depends on the platform. At Samaaro, the best virtual trade show platform, we utilize the latest development in the tech-world to offer a smooth and seamless user experience for virtual events. Our highly customizable platform has become the trusted virtual space for global business leaders, fortune 500 brands and leading giants in various fields.