“How will you drive traffic into the exhibit hall?” is probably the most common question asked by exhibitors. Three months ago, you would have spoken about marketing and signage, dedicated hours and meal services. Now, you need a new answer.
Yes, most, if not all, virtual conference platforms will include a virtual exhibit hall. But what does that mean for exhibitors? And how will they benefit from participating?
It’s crucial to recognize is that a virtual exhibit hall is not the same thing. Your exhibitors attend your events for many reasons – with “quantifiable leads” being at the top of that list. How does your shift to a virtual platform continue to provide them with the opportunity to do so?
So many of the sponsorship and marketing opportunities they had counted on to build awareness – i.e. signage, hotel key and lanyard sponsorships – don’t translate into the virtual space. Neither do scavenger hunts.
Now, more than ever, your exhibitors and sponsors will want to stand out. Here are a few ideas to help them connect with your attendees, members and even non-attendees:
- Digital Advertising Placements: Publishing a digital daily newspaper and corresponding daily email newsletter will not only showcase conference content, but also generate advertising revenue. Exhibitors can capture leads with landing pages, promote content downloads and announce new products u multiple advertising opportunities.
- Each issue of the digital daily newspaper would promote the virtual exhibit hall, with hours, special event schedules, company listings and more.
- Banner ads in a daily email newsletter sent to both attendees and members will be very popular with exhibitors and sponsors.
- Exhibitor Directory: Perhaps you’ve eliminated your program book or exhibitor directory, and only included company descriptions in the mobile app. But for your virtual conference, you will need to promote your exhibitors as many ways as possible. Your exhibitor directory would include company descriptions, logos and contact information – and could be either a standalone publication or part of your digital daily newspaper.
- Advertorials: Offer the opportunity to publish case studies in the digital daily newspaper – they can be more powerful than a display ad.
- Trivia Contests: Many virtual conference platforms will integrate gamification. Promote the contest in the digital daily newspaper. Is there a leaderboard? Include that too!
- Product and Services Showcase: Product launches are one reason that companies choose to exhibit at a conference. Product and Services Showcase listings are not only budget-friendly but provide your exhibitors with the opportunity to highlight products that they want attendees and readers to know about. Don’t forget to add this as an advertising opportunity in your digital daily newspaper.
- Social Media: Schedule posts that both promote your virtual exhibit hall and thank your exhibitors across all your social media platforms. You can also provide exhibitors with content and images that they can post to their platforms.
- Sponsored Eblasts: In the past, you may have been hesitant to offer sponsored eblasts, but this may be the year to make limited eblast placements available. Exhibitors will see value in opportunities that connect them with their target markets. Did you know CustomNEWS offers this service?
- Platform Training: Before your event launches, conduct training sessions to help your exhibitors prepare to get the most out of their participation.
Your exhibitors and sponsors know that this is not “business as usual.” Showing that you’re thinking about them, and their need to reach attendees, will go a long way towards capturing their interest and support.