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How to help exhibitors boost their ROI at your next virtual event?

As more events move online, event organizers are challenged to find new ways to offer great value for money to their exhibitors. The recent changes in event formats have dramatically impacted the investment that people (both attendees and exhibitors) are willing to pay to participate in your virtual event. To boost event attendance, many event organizers reduced their ticket fees as well as their exhibition packages costs.

Hosting online events is new for many in the industry, including exhibitors who, just like most of us, are still trying to extract the same value out of an online event, when face-to-face connection is not an option. However, virtual events can offer great new opportunities for them to engage with prospects and grow their sales funnel. Here are some tips to help you promote your next virtual event to your exhibitors:

1. Promote their participation in your event marketing communications - on social media, emails, pre-event landing pages, etc. For most exhibitors or sponsors, attendee impressions and engagement with their brand is the new event currency. Make sure you make the most of their investment in your event.

2. Let them personalize their virtual booth - This is their time to shine and highlight their services to your attendees. Provide them the opportunity to digitally distribute additional resources, marketing collateral and video content to anyone who stops by their virtual booth.

3. Give them the opportunity to engage with attendees through live video streams – While giving attendees information about your organization is beneficial, what’s even better is creating a connection with an attendee. Give your exhibitors and sponsors a real opportunity to build relationships and establish connections with their booth visitors.

4. Offer them their own session during your event – It’s always helpful for exhibitors and sponsors to have dedicated time to get in front of your event attendees. However, if you can find interesting ways to organically integrate them into existing sessions it will enhance the presentation beyond just a sales pitch. Use push notifications to promote the sessions to your event attendees.

5. Use awards & competitions to elevate their profile – participate in awards and competitions is a great way for exhibitors to showcase their top products and services. Give them the opportunity to enter relevant award categories and let attendees vote for their favourite supplier. Acknowledge the winner in a dedicated session for even more visibility.

6. Match exhibitors to attendees - match making isn’t new and online events allow for even more opportunities to create meaningful connections. Ask attendees to fill in their interests and preferences as they set up their event profile and generate network recommendations based on the information captured so you can connect them to the exhibitors that are the most relevant to them.

7. Provide exhibitors with event analytics – There is nothing more important to exhibitors and sponsors than knowing the value they got from participating in your event. They are looking for metrics like lead capture, video views, document downloads, messages received, attendee time spent in booth, and overall exhibitor ranking. Providing in depth metrics for exhibitors and sponsors have become table stakes for hosting any virtual experience to determine success and likelihood of future participation.

8. Keep the exhibitor booth active after the event – keep the momentum happening after your event. Offer attendees the possibility to watch the sessions on demand on your event site and keep your exhibitor virtual stands open so participants can go back to download brochures, watch product videos, grab contact details, and more.

As an event organizer, you must take more ownership over the success of your exhibitors and sponsors during your virtual events. When attending an onsite event, exhibitors have a lot of control over what they do and who they connect with. This is much different when participating in online events. You must be innovative and consider new ways to facilitate engagement between participants and sponsors and exhibitors. Flexibility and communication are key to a sustainable partnership, listen to your exhibitors and work with them to make sure they get the most out of your virtual event.