March 2, 2021

Success factors for virtual trade fairs

With guaranteed success – this is how virtual trade fairs work best!

As a specialised digital agency in Stuttgart with a strong focus on content marketing, we very successfully ran various virtual trade fairs for our clients in 2020 and established them as a successful alternative to live events which are currently not taking place for obvious reasons. Thanks to our vast experience and expertise, we know what to look out for to ensure that a virtual trade fair event becomes a proven guarantee of success and a real competitive advantage for our customers.

An intelligent, integrated concept is the method of choice. Deliberately making up for supposed disadvantages of virtual trade fairs is the motto. Well-concerted media relations in relevant industry or LinkedIn newsletters – before and certainly during the event – are ideal for making new contacts in high-reach media and, for example, compensating for the lack of chance encounters at live trade fair events. Those who find answers and communication measures to the key question “If not at my trade fair stand, where would my target group most probably wander by on the web?” are well advised.

Sappi VTS 2020 Screen

The customer is king – even in a virtual world!

Especially now in times of social distancing, it is in a salesperson’s best interest to maintain contact with their customers. And this, at a high qualitative level that comes as close as possible to face-to-face contact. Evaluations of our own events prove that this can work exceptionally well, especially in the context of a virtual trade fair. With a well-designed and professionally staged virtual trade fair – and the right sales touchpoints – a “real” lead can be had for up to 75 per cent less investment. This fact very impressively dispels the reservations many of our clients have that virtual trade fairs are not a medium for closing sales.

A promising virtual trade fair does not mean that the sales department has less to do. On the contrary, it is precisely these special event formats that require great commitment and certain entertainment qualities – in the context of live chats and personal video conversations with customers and potential new customers. Technical content needs to be well prepared and aligned with the virtual trade fair’s strategic agenda. For the same reasons, video features and other moving image content should also follow a consistent storyboard and be produced by experts in their field.

Making of 1

The digital pat on the back

The “digital pat on the back” usually works as well. The protected space of a personal business meeting at a live trade fair can be perfectly integrated into the concept of a virtual trade fair. For example, in the form of personal video meetings or private virtual tours with rendered products or machines, which the company representative then presents in detail to their (new) customer. Even the live supporting programme missed by some company representatives at virtual trade fairs can be convincingly compensated for. If desired, live streams with key personalities from the company or the industry, among other things, can add a certain glamour to a virtual trade fair. Award ceremonies in the context of a virtual evening event are also successful occasions for socialising in virtual event formats, depending on how they are staged.

If the supporting programme is of an outstanding quality and attractive, high numbers of participants can be achieved. Those who create the greatest possible proximity and contact frequency to the registered participants in the run-up to the virtual trade fair also very effectively avoid visitors dropping out due to the anonymity and non-binding nature of a “normal” online registration. This is why the previously mentioned multi-stage communication measures prior to the event are so important.

Success factors for virtual trade fairs

  • Develop and plan supporting media and marketing campaigns
  • Offer personal contact and interaction spaces
  • Convey exclusivity
  • Bring the live and virtual worlds together in a way that can be experienced in a compelling manner

If, when planning a virtual trade fair, you take all these factors into account and transform supposed counterpoints into compensating measures, you will receive highly qualified leads and real follow-up contacts to close sales. The step towards a true hybrid trade fair is then actually not far away. We assume that the combination of the two worlds – a live trade fair and its simultaneous virtual mirroring online – will establish itself as a future state-of-the-art event format.