The pivot from in-person to online events has forced companies to adapt quickly, leaning into new strategies for connecting with their audience and generating new leads.
For those accustomed to the ways of in-person events, this hasn’t been an easy task. Previously, attendees would purely pass by your booth in between lectures, invited to stop from the sight of a warm smile or a dazzling new product that catches their eye.
Now with online events, many attendees are left to their own devices - literally! In between lectures, they might go on their phones to check emails, make calls, or browse the internet. It’s hard for exhibitors to compete with all of the distractions that the digital world has to offer.
While it’s a challenge to capture leads, it’s not impossible. In fact, with the right tools and playbook, online events can actually be an incredible source for exhibitors to make connections with real buyers in real-time. Here is a proven gameplan for lead generation at your next online event:
1. Engage early
According to recent findings by Swapcard (a popular online events platform, used by Vet Show @ Home events), “the pre-event period is the golden moment for closing business.” They say that in the days leading up to an online trade show, attendees spend almost as much time browsing exhibitors as they do bookmarked sessions. Even better, Swapcard found that for a trade show lasting one day, over 95% of leads are generated pre-event. For 2-day events, almost 80% are generated pre-event, and for a 3-day event it’s a little over 60%.
By engaging early with users on the platform (i.e. sending connection requests, reaching out when attendees are online, utilizing AI-powered connection suggestions), you will have already acquired 60-95% of your leads for that event.
2. Level up your listing
Just like an in-person show, your listing is the face of your brand. It’s the first thing people see when they walk through the exhibit hall show floor, and it’s the first thing they’ll see when they come to your online listing. Customize your page with your branding, colors, and tone of voice to show attendees they’ve entered into a place where the business knows who they are and what they’re doing (this will catch their eye and make them more open to connecting).
Next, make sure to list out any products or services you’re offering, making sure to highlight any discount codes or free trials to encourage potential leads to try them out. And most importantly, list out any documents or resources you may have, like blogs, brochures, or guides - anytime an attendee clicks to download a document, you will automatically be in touch with this lead.
3. Always active
Again—same as in-person events—if you’re on your phone at your booth or not paying attention, you’ll miss loads of opportunities to gain the leads you need. As Swapcard says, “In a virtual world, you can and should reach out first.” Increase your chances of gaining more leads by adding as many team members to your listing as possible; this way, more people can reach out to attendees and increase your conversion odds.
Take advantage of the features online events have to offer, like AI-powered search that Swapcard and other platforms offer. This tool tells you exactly who is interested in your products, their job role, region, and where they work. Even better, the more connections you make and searches you perform, the more precise the AI becomes. If you’re active and online, you can see attendees who are also online (which is the best time to reach out). It’s never been easier to seek out potential buyers and decision-makers.
4. Value visibility
One of the best parts about online events is that all booths are the same size and in the same place, creating a level playing field for all participants: this means it’s more important to increase your odds of being seen. Simply being seen by attendees can improve your lead generation because it increases your brand awareness. Brand awareness (the act of being recognized by an audience) fosters brand trust and association with a problem to a solution. People will typically only connect with businesses that fall under those categories.
The best way to increase your visibility, with the best ROI, at online events is through sponsored sessions. Based on data from the Swapcard study, the most profitable investment on an online platform is a sponsored session. That’s where the most leads are generated during the show: “During a 1-day, a 3-day or a 5-day trade show, 40% of leads are generated during sponsored sessions.” The research also found that during a show, attendees spend 89% of their day watching sessions. Positioning your business as an expert in a particular topic increases not only your visibility, but your credibility to attendees. Other great ways to increase visibility and drive traffic to your listing include sponsored emails, push notifications, banner ads, and contests.
It may seem daunting to navigate this new world at first, but the right tools to improve your lead generation at online events are out there. By engaging with the platform early, creating a stunning listing, remaining active throughout the event, and investing in increased visibility, you’ll be amazed at all the things you can do with online events that you can’t in-person.The third edition of Vet Show @ Home is coming up June 21-23rd! Join us online for three days of veterinary magic. The second edition in March was the biggest online conference for veterinary professionals, with nearly 10,000 registered. Don’t miss out this time around. Talk to our team today!
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