What to do When Trade Shows are Cancelled: Alternatives for B2B Marketers
B2B marketing thrives on face to face interaction. That's why we've come to rely on trade shows and fairs. These events bring together buyers and sellers, thought leaders, artists, and interested individuals from wider society.
By bringing people who matter together, they offer the perfect environment to find new clients and make sales. But what happens when trade shows are not an option?
Trade shows matter in the B2B world - but they are not everything
This question is haunting B2B based companies across the world. In the wake of COVID, our normal marketing channels are being tested and our networks frayed. Without shows, it might seem hard to find contacts and make conversions.
After all, research shows that around 90% of trade show attendees are actively seeking new products. And other studies suggest that it's much easier to close a sale from an exhibition lead than other sources.
However, even though trade shows are proven business tools, there's no reason to lose hope. There are trade show alternatives than can help B2B marketers survive (and even thrive) while shows are not taking place. Let's take a look at a few.
1. Stage or take part in a virtual trade show
The COVID pandemic has forced B2B companies to take meetings virtual, and the same applies to trade shows. For example, the Sirius Decisions Summit which focuses on B2B marketing techniques attracted around 100,000 viewers in May 2020 - more than most physical trade shows can boast.
These events tend to feature pre-published schedules of panel sessions, demonstrations and speakers - usually presented via Zoom or YouTube, but there may be other apps involved. Most sectors will see virtual events as time passes, and they can be very effective venues to present products or services.
That's especially true if you promote your virtual trade show appearances well via social media and newsletters, and pick events that have a high number of valuable attendees. So it could be time to sharpen up your digital presentation skills.
2. Invest in VR presentations
The advance of augmented reality also offers digital alternatives to physical trade shows and useful counterparts to more familiar virtual trade show formats.
For example, if you offer office design solutions, you could provide virtual tours of existing designs or let customers tour offices which meet their personal specifications. You can work this into your website design, YouTube channel, and trade show presentations with ease.
The Hyperfair "virtual congress" takes this even further, offering a kind of digital environment that attendees can wander around at will. If this kind of virtual fair can be linked with VR presentations, B2B marketers could find ways to sell their products that are more immediate and personalised than ever.
3. Get on the right platforms
VR is potentially expensive and virtual trade shows are not continuous, but these limitations do not apply to B2B platforms - our third suggestion for escaping the absence of physical shows.
These platforms are virtual spaces where B2B sellers can register, create an account and fashion their own presence for buyers to visit. Individual pages are online constantly, and buyers can browse and contact whenever they like - a little like a trade show that never closes its doors.
Enterprise League is a market leader right now, but other platforms are likely to emerge. If you want a regular stream of new clients, it's a smart move to join at least one B2B platform.
Work on content and find new B2B venues
Hopefully by now it's clear that the absence of trade shows doesn't mean that B2B brand building and marketing has to stop. Virtual shows, VR and B2B platforms all offer some form of alternative, and they are helping businesses deal with the dearth of physical events.
Feel free to explore the options. But when you do, don't forget that B2B companies will always benefit from smartening up their websites and social media profiles with relevant, well-written content. And that includes B2B platform profiles or virtual trade show presentations.
If you want to improve your B2B content, be sure to get in touch with greatcontent, and we'll find a solution. And good luck in your search for trade show alternatives. There's a solution out there for every B2B company - so keep looking and working, and business will come your way.
Text: Sam Urquhart
Image: Jeshoots on unsplash.com
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