5 Steps to Recover Lost Leads & Sales Online After an Event Cancellation

Examples, Facebook, Ideas, Tips

53% of respondents to a Demand Gen Report say in-person events and tradeshows are the most effective channels for conversions. So, what happens when that revenue-generating event gets canceled? Should you lock away all your trade show booth and materials in storage until next year?

No! You spent time and money on your swag and event materials. Get a return on your investment (ROI) by promoting your virtual booth. Sure, it’s tough to deliver a similar experience and sense of community using a remote format. But it’s quite possible.

Transform your on-site booth and demonstrations into a virtual lead generation tool. Follow these steps to connect with your potential customers and recover lost leads and sales online.

1. Identify Reasons People Visit Your Trade Show Booth

Business owners and consumers travel to trade shows for many reasons. Some have specific companies and booths in mind. They create a plan using a conference-supplied app. Others walk the aisles and search for exciting new products.

When your conference gets canceled, you lose out on valuable networking time. Some conventions convert to a virtual show. In this case, a business may participate in the event’s remote platform. But what if your expo isn’t offering an online version? Recuperate your costs by creating your own virtual trade show experience.

Start by finding out why attendees visit your physical trade show booth. Each of the following reasons below can be replicated with a virtual experience:

  • Product demonstrations
  • One-on-one conversations with your sales reps
  • Swag giveaways, exclusive deals, and coupons
  • Question and answer sessions
  • Meet and greet with your sales reps
  • Interactive games and activities

reasons people visit trade show booth

2. Choose Promotion Channels Where Expo Attendees Gather

When a trade show gets canceled, how do you find those attendees online? First, see if you have access to an industry list or a conference registration guide. If not, start with your existing market research to identify popular social media platforms. Plus, don’t forget to reach out to your email subscriber list.

  • LinkedIn is your go-to source for business-related products and services
  • Choose Instagram for gorgeous photo and video displays
  • Your Twitter crowd enjoys purpose-driven services and solutions
  • Facebook is a must-have regardless of your business or industry
  • Upload your video content to YouTube as it doubles as a search engine

3. Turn Trade Show Goals Into Virtual Objectives

Evaluate your trade show goals and key performance indicators (KPI). In most cases, you can transition these objectives into remote booth goals. Take note of what you want to achieve with your virtual booth and how you’ll measure outcomes. Many business owners demonstrate at a trade show for a variety of reasons including:

  • Host brand awareness activities
  • Offer educational sessions
  • Network with customers and leads
  • Increase direct sales
  • Boost website traffic
  • Collect leads via forms

Even though your conference was canceled, you can still aim for a high ROI with a virtual booth. In the example below, Virteom used a digital event to boost website traffic.

virtual event trade show goals objectives

4. Develop Remote Trade Show Opportunities

So, now you know where your potential trade show attendees hang out. You know why they wanted to see your booth at the expo. And you’ve reviewed your goals and turned those into virtual objectives. With that in mind, it’s time to develop your virtual trade show experience.

Start by going back to your reasons why people come to your booth. Then, brainstorm ways to turn those ideas into an online attraction. Let’s review some ideas.

Present Product Demonstrations

Here’s the thing. You can dump a lot of money into creating an interactive demonstration. But, low-budget options exist. Your sales reps can practice social distancing while recording a five-minute elevator pitch or showing off your latest product. For best results, set up your trade show booth at home or in your office.

Record a video. Ask your top presenters to create short videos describing your solutions. Use free or low-cost software to piece together videos from your team into an overview. Consider repurposing existing content, like animations or online guides, to support their presentations.

Go live on social media. Your sales reps already have a presentation ready for the conference. Practice and revise that demo for a livestreaming session on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

For more inspiration, check out Hubspot’s list of impressive product demonstrations. Plus, don’t forget to:

  • Use company swag, signs, or banners as a backdrop
  • Wear company-branded attire
  • Tell viewers what to do next
  • Upload the video on YouTube and your website

Offer One-on-One Conversations With Your Sales Reps

Attendees appreciate opportunities to connect with your team. It’s a way for leads to discover how your solution adds value to their business. Your sales reps personalize each conversation to the needs of the company. One-on-one chats form new relationships and build on existing ones.

Set up an online scheduling tool like Calendly. You can open up 15 or 30-minute slots for each of your team members. This gives your leads a chance to sit down remotely with your sales reps and have a one-on-one conversation.

Give Out Swag, Special Deals or Coupons

Some event attendees wait all year to get a special deal on trade show products. Sure, the price discount is great. But, for many attendees, it’s all about the fear of missing out (FOMO). Your company offers a coupon or special unique to the trade show.

Do the same thing online. Create giveaways to pass out your swag. Then, develop landing pages for your trade show coupons. Consider adding a countdown timer and using wording like:

  • One Day Only
  • Limited Time Deal
  • Coupon Ends Tonight at Midnight

Set Up Question and Answer Sessions

Before you tackle a question and answer session, get help from your online audience. What pressing concerns do they have? Use a poll on Facebook or share a quiz. Ask questions that relate to your product and current market issues. Also, talk to your customer service, sales, and marketing teams. They’re on the front line and may notice an influx of new questions coming in from customers. Once you have a list of questions, then prepare for a few different online solutions:

  • Host a livestream question and answer session. Take new questions from those who comment on your post.
  • Create an updated frequently asked questions page for your website or product pages
  • Ask different team members to pre-record their answers to top questions. Then piece it together into one on-demand video

Host a Meet and Greet With Your Sales Reps

When you go to a trade show, you get a lot of people who shake your hand and say, “Finally, I can put a face to your name or voice.” After all, you speak to or email customers all year long, but many you never meet in person. You can opt for a special meet and greet session with your team, all done remotely. Or boost your “About Us” page on your website by adding individual videos.

Excite Fans With Interactive Games and Activities

People are drawn to a trade show booth by the promise of something exciting. It may be an hourly giveaway. Or an instant win contest. Do the same thing with your virtual experience.

Go live on social media to announce a comment giveaway for a swag bag. While you have their attention, share a short video or from a previous user-generated content contest. That way, you add a peer-to-peer testimonial along with a chance to win.

5. Promote Your Online Expo Booth

So, now that you’ve figured out ways to take your booth online, it’s time to fill up your calendar slots and boost awareness of your virtual sessions. The best way to do that is by taking advantage of social media and running a series of engaging campaigns.

Start by creating campaigns that send folks to your desired platform with a strong call to action. For example, if you want to fill your one-on-one calendar, develop an awareness campaign that directs people to your landing page. Or start with a lead gen form to collect their email address so you can notify them when the next session is available. Other fantastic promotion ideas include:

  • Share social media snippets of your available on-demand videos
  • Add giveaways and sweepstakes to pass out swag
  • Write blog posts for each of your videos and demonstrations
  • Develop search and social media ads highlighting your event
  • Create high-quality photos and videos using your print materials
  • Collect UGC via hashtag, photo, or video contests

Use a Virtual Experience To Recover Lost Leads and Sales

A canceled event doesn’t have to mean lost leads and sales. With the right mix of giveaways, demonstrations, and one-on-one sessions, you deliver your trade booth experience virtually. Your leads learn about your company and ask questions from the comfort of their homes. Fill your time slots and get more sign-ups by creating campaigns that send leads to your online sessions.

Need Help Promoting Your Virtual Trade Show Booth?

Capture leads with engaging Woobox campaigns. Get help generating leads by contacting Woobox Support with your questions. We’re available from 8 am to 5 pm PST, Monday through Friday at 1-360-450-5200 and support@woobox.com.

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