Any event planner knows that foot traffic is the big draw when it comes to physical trade shows, conferences and other similar events. But are the attendees that show up at these events really connecting with your company? There’s a lot of valuable time, effort and potential cost put into motion when it comes to creating a memorable event, whether it's a physical or a virtual one. With technology being so readily available and portable, companies are finding it hard to quantify the costs of coordinating a physical environment and users are reaping the benefits of not having to travel or lose valuable work time. So the question is - How is an online user's experience different than that of a physical event attendee? And does one produce better results than the other?
Removing The Physical From The Event
The answer is a resounding “Yes!” In a physical environment, you won’t know if your conversations are effective until you take the time to greet each visitor face-to-face. Anyone who’s manned a physical booth before knows how painful it is that many of the conversations you have are with people that are looking for research, tire kicking or worse, just wanting their badges scanned so they can win a prize. It’s exhausting, and there are no guarantees that you’ll come out with moving boxes full of collected leads.
Event coordinators and attendees tend to gravitate towards what they feel is a more natural way to connect – face-to-face. And it makes sense, because there’s always hesitation when branching out from what is traditionally comfortable. In this case, the lesser known virtual marketing pathway.
Digital options allow companies a conceivable solution.
All it will take is one online event experience for your company to understand the many benefits of what a virtual event can do for them and the idea of orchestrating a physical event will quickly become a moot point. With a virtual environment, a company’s networking and marketing has many advantages.
You can reach a broader audience
Big crowds mean a lot of conversations, but do you always know who you are talking to? In a physical event, with thousands of people in attendance, you have to wait for people to come to your booth to get the ball rolling. And then there are the lines! Conversely, it’s practically impossible for you to get out of your designated spot and explore (and check out the competition). In a virtual environment your strategies are limitless -You are not bound to the confines of your booth and there are no crowds to muddle through.
Logging in is easier than boarding a plane
With an online event, more people will be able to attend your show because they can log in from anywhere and without the added travel cost. It’s that simple. It’s also easier to expand your audience internationally because users can participate in a seminar without missing a moment of their own work and personal lives - hence the beauty of modern technology!
You’ll have alert attendees and speakers
Forget the hassles of travel – flight delays, hotel mishaps, costly meals. It’s easier for international attendees to participate in your event because it’s less hectic to travel and the cost is way more reasonable.
Chat away – Or don’t
In a virtual environment, you can captivate a large audience without losing your voice (or even your cool - Remember the attendee who just wouldn’t move along until you explained each and every product in great detail. Oh, and by the way – they were not officially registered, just working around the corner in the food court). In a virtual event, you can chat with anyone at anytime and invite them to your booth. You can also discreetly screen the attendees that are not buyers and hone in on the companies and decision makers that you really want to talk to.
Big data at your fingertips
With a physical environment, other than scanning a badge that will get you a participant’s name, title and company, you don’t get what really matters, such as where are they in the buying stage, what products they are interested in purchasing, and if they are looking at your competitors. In a virtual event, you can track every booth visited, every webinar attended, and every piece of content downloaded. That data can then be matched with the attendee’s profile and further filtered down to buyers vs. non-buyers. The ability to track and scrutinize data in this way allows you to determine a buyer vs. a non-buyer without wasting productivity.
Engage, engage, engage!
Your company can create and promote an engaging environment in a virtual setting without sacrificing precious time. For example, if you take the time to extensively talk to a person that you know is not a buyer, then your time may be wasted. On the flip side, a participant you know is a buyer may peruse your booth and grab some collateral and walk away before you can greet them and you’ve missed an opportunity. In a virtual booth you can have multiple chats going at once and never let a good lead walk away!
Constructing a productive, yet inviting user experience is a challenging undertaking that requires creativity and strategy. Although connecting face-to-face cannot be replaced, modern technology has steered the way users obtain information, socialize, and communicate, and it will only continue to grow. Digital environments allow users to expand their boundaries in a seamless and cost-effective way.