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6 good reasons to exhibit at virtual trade fairs in these times
With a virtual trade fair into a win-win situation
23.07.20 | 0 Comments | Author: Stefan Knecht

Virtual trade fairs and events are springing up like mushrooms at the moment. And, as always in times when markets change rapidly, a great deal of doubt and lack of understanding can be observed among those affected, in this case exhibitors, visitors and trade fair organizers. With this article I want to contribute towards giving B2B companies and their decision-makers more clarity about why they can only win if they exhibit at virtual trade fairs in difficult times like these.

What are virtual trade fairs?

We are seeing many different types of virtual trade fair formats evolving but they tend to have much in common. Virtual trade fairs are usually temporary events on the internet that allow exhibitors to present themselves at their own virtual trade fair booth, display selected products and share expert knowledge in online lectures. Chat functions enable the direct communication between visitors and exhibitors. Some virtual trade fairs also offer group chats to discuss questions at lectures or to bring trade fair visitors together for a debate on a specific topic. At the virtual trade fair booths the leads are generated in a variety of different ways, for example brochure downloads, contact forms, requests for quotations and lecture registration. An important feature of all virtual trade fairs is that access is for registered visitors only. This means that the trade fair organizer possesses the contact details of all the visitors and can track their route through the virtual exhibition center, all in keeping with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This can give insights and findings that, at the on-site trade fairs we have become accustomed to, have only been possible at great expense.

Reason 1: It’s 100% certain that a virtual trade fair will take place

As things stand, nobody can say with absolute certainty whether on-site trade fairs can take place in the next 6 months. There is a risk of a second Covid 19 wave, of local lock-downs and of cancellations due to low exhibitor or visitor numbers. This means that the market participants, mainly exhibitors, trade fair organizers and visitors, are currently waiting to see how the situation evolves. As a result, many trade fairs are advertised only half-heartedly by exhibitors and the trade fair organizers, which in turn means fewer visitors and therefore less success.

With virtual trade fairs, however, exhibitors and visitors have a 100% certainty that these events will take place. In my opinion, this is the most compelling reason to participate in virtual trade fairs. Virtual trade fairs break the vicious circle of waiting and uncertainty, and this does something very important: it gives everybody involved, the customers, trade fair visitors and the organizers’ staff, certainty and guidance. This helps all of us on our way forward to more growth and success.

Reason 2: Virtual trade fairs generate the sales leads that are now urgently needed

Due to cancelled or postponed trade fairs your company is not getting the all-important sales leads it needs. For capital goods, in particular, where purchasing processes typically take several months, these missing leads will become all the more painful when the upturn sets in. Your sales staff are still getting fewer important contacts due to travel and visiting restrictions. Virtual trade fairs show a way out. They are compact and time-limited – they generate many high-quality leads and new customer contacts within only a few days.

Reason 3: Virtual trade fairs increase your reach

Virtual trade fairs are particularly attractive to reach potential customers that never went to trade fairs even before Corona, either because their place of work was too distant, travelling was felt to be too difficult or the employer simply did not approve.

But especially now, in these Corona times, virtual trade fairs are the most important instrument for reaching visitors from around the globe. This is because travel restrictions and the enormous costs involved now do indeed prevent visits to on-site trade fairs.

If you use virtual trade fairs to supplement your on-site trade fair attendance, you can also reach the visitors whose reason not to travel to the on-site trade fair is Covid-19, be it because they don’t want to go for personal reasons or because they are not allowed to by their employer.

So in several ways, virtual trade fairs ensure that your virtual trade fair booth generates a large number of new customer contacts and thus many more business opportunities.

Reason 4: Virtual trade fairs strengthen the appeal of your brand image

Like you yourself as an exhibitor, your potential visitors are currently very tentative about visiting on-site trade fairs. Apart from the health issues, people have many questions:

  • Will my employer even let me visit an on-site trade fair?
  • Do I really want to sit so close to other people on the train or plane?
  • How exactly will it work out at the trade fair?
  • Will I have to wear a mask all day long?
  • And many other concerns

Participating at a virtual trade fair signals to your existing and prospective customers that you take such fears and concerns seriously by offering a modern-day solution. This is very good for your image and shows that you are flexible enough to adapt.

Reason 5: You’ll gain experience with a trade fair format that will still be important after Corona

Virtual trade fairs will not disappear once Corona is resolved. I’m not suggesting that virtual fairs will replace on-site trade fairs. Television never replaced radio, nor has the internet replaced print magazines or streaming services TV broadcasts. The question is rather how virtual trade fairs will expand and extend the scope of the on-site trade fairs to become hybrid events that open up completely new and additional target groups, generating added value for visitors and exhibitors alike.

If you participate in virtual trade fairs now, you can build key know-how about an online marketing instrument of the future. It’s the same as with all new media formats: only with sufficient experience will you be able to make your virtual trade fair a complete success.

Reason 6: Participating in virtual trade fairs will let you stand out from your competitors

Unusual times such as the current Corona crisis are always an excellent opportunity to stand out from the crowd of competitors and distinguish yourself in terms of innovation. Virtual fairs offer just that. They expand your know-how while you gain valuable experience in offering your existing and prospective customers a novel and promising way of getting in touch with you to find out more about your products.

You can only win with virtual trade fairs

So my personal conclusion is: with virtual trade fairs, you can only win. Even if you belong to those who have not been happy with their online events or believe that on-site trade fairs will soon be like they were before Corona, there’s nothing to lose by participating in a virtual trade fair. You’ll gain experience, receive urgently needed sales leads in the shortest of time, strengthen your brand image and gain a competitive edge. You’ll also be sending a strong and clear signal to your existing and potential customers as well as your employees that will give them certainty and guidance. So go for it now and decide to participate in virtual trade fairs. You won‘t regret it. You can only win!

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