Almost everyone is comfortable interacting online today. People attend Webinars and online tradeshows, earn online university degrees, comment on blogs and rate products, and engage in social marketing such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Industrial professionals are no different. Your customers and prospects have largely migrated online for work-related purposes. And online events are one of the most effective ways to engage and interact with your target audience.
Online events such as online tradeshows benefit both you as a marketer and your audience who is seeking information about suppliers, products and services.
For marketers, online events:
- Help you reach a targeted yet global audience
- Provide you many of the benefits of location-based events, such as branding exposure and lead generation
- Position you and your company as a thought leader
- Help you get in front of a qualified, motivated audience early in the buy cycle
- Offer the convenience and productivity of allowing you to remain in your office at your computer while hosting and managing an event
- Generate important sales lead information on attendees such as their interest area and online activity
- Provide a greener alternative to location-based events
- Allow you leave the giveaways behind (no more booth visitors feigning interest just to collect the goodies!)
For attendees, online events:
- Provide opportunities to interact with suppliers in a comfortable online environment
- Avoid the hassle and expense of travel, hotels, meals, and time away from the office
- Offer a wide array of educational and professional opportunities
- Enable attendees to easily abandon the event if it’s not meeting their needs or expectations (marketers take note)
Exhibiting at an online tradeshow is in many ways like a traditional location-based event, complete with multiple vendors showcasing their products and services, branding visibility, and interaction with a target audience. Of course, there are no travel costs and time away from the office—for you, or your attendees.
Online tradeshows are highly interactive, allowing attendees to visit suppliers’ “booths”, chat with suppliers, ask questions, participate in online discussions, and access content such as white papers and collateral. Much like traditional tradeshows, these events allow for one-on-one conversations with attendees, and many attendees of virtual events gain a sense of empowerment and comfort in the ability to interact with you the way they prefer—online, from their own desks.
Before you exhibit at an online tradeshow, determine what content would be most valuable for attendees, such as white papers, data sheets, and other collateral—just as you would for a location-based event. Also, line up the people in your company who will staff the booth and interact with attendees. Then, be sure to choose an e-event that offers the following:
- Targeting of your audience and marketing to attract them to the event.
- Opportunities to visibly brand your company within the virtual environment.
- Rich opportunities to engage your audience, such as online chat, real-time Q&As, online panel discussions and more.
- Tools for attendees to interact with each other.
- Tracking and reporting of attendees’ online activity in your booth, so you can discover their area of interest.
- Complete intelligence reports on attendees with full contact information and other relevant data for your sales team to follow-up.
To learn more about online tradeshows, view the GlobalSpec Webinar on e-events.