(Part 3 of 3)
I mentioned in Part I of this series that I had great results from the first virtual tradeshow I participated in as an exhibitor. That event was hosted by Microsoft, and they never ran it again. I think the feedback from exhibitors was poor, which at the time, was surprising to me. Now that Ive attended and exhibited at a few, I can see why many companies dont get out what they put into them…and why some attendees feel that their visit didnt pay off.
Here are 5 ways to ensure a virtual event will be complete waste of your time
In other words, dont do these things – youre killling a viable, extremely effective way for customers and solution providers to connect cheaply and easily.
1. Dont take the time to set up your booth so its usable by attendees
Hmm, lets see you have a booth that looks pretty, but youve provided no information or resources for your attendees to look through, browse, or download. You pounce on them via chat as soon as they arrive and launch right into your sale pitch. The virtual world is a little bit different than a real tradeshow – you need a software touch. Youre there to provide information, attendees need some time to be engaged and dig around for information before they can determine whether they should engage with you. Greet them and direct them where to look for information.
2. Set up Your Booth and Leave for The Day
Ive seen this time and time again. Nice booth, lots of info – Were glad youre here! Please leave a message and well get back to you. You need to be present in your virtual booth. You need to greet and direct visitors, you need to be ready to provide them with valuable information and most of all you need to be there when they have questions!
3. Send annoying chat requests to attendees that have no idea who you are
Heres how one of my experiences went…i was in the virtual lounge chatting with a former business partner. I received a chat from Susan at ABC company: Hi Lisa, Im at booth 432 come and see me and well talk Really? Talk about what? Who are you? Heres another example: Hi Lisa, looking for EDI solutions? Visit our booth. Ill be here till 3pm Wait for people to at least visit you and engage them then – you have to be able to relate to them before you can send a blind chat. Again, this is not a traditional trade show…you need a softer approach.
4. Stalk attendees on LinkedIn and freak them out in your chats
Hi Lisa, I see that youre a former OSU alumni and you know Joe from Company B. I used to work there and would love to meet you….Blechhk! dont do this…its just creepy. Enough said. (and dont follow up with a LinkedIn request…i really dont knowyou…and sending me a chat doesnt qualify as a weve done business together Link reason)
5. Dont market upcoming opportunities attendees can use to learn more about you.
Attendees might be looking for just one thing – or they might not be looking at all for what youve got to offer…today. Let them know about upcoming events and other things you have going on (or the industry has going on) that will keep you in front of them. Market educationally to these visitors after the show without being a pest…youd be amazed at how many times a little nurturing turns into a deal just a few months down the road.
Bonus: Dont reveal who you are
This ones just a pet peeve but I wanted to share it. It goes along with setting up your booth with no information. List who the booth staff are and a pic would be great too. Use your real name and provide as much information as possible so that attendees can learn who you are. Attendees will keep your name on file – but not if you are just booth staff. The virtual world forces us to be creative in bringing as much personalization to the table as possible in these events. You need to find the right balance of making a connection and a lasting impression without being ridiculous or well..creepy. You also need to keep in mind that attendees will be from all over the world and use these opportunities as one of the only ways they can connect with providers outside of their own country. These are real opportunities for you to connect so take advantage of them. The marketing and sales community should be taking more advantage of these virtual opportunities. They are cost effective for exhibitors and attendees if done right and with a bit of common sense.
OK so next question – whos going – even if just to check it out? Give me your comments would love to meet up with you at the conference (as long as youre not creepy). 🙂
Special thanks to the folks at MSDynamicsWorld for making Decisions possible. Marketing and Sales people listen up: This is a viable event that should be in your marketing mix…its targeted, measurable, and sustainable – what the heck more could you want??? (oops, I know the answer…leads and sales right?)