It’s your company’s annual event. The biggest showcase of the year and it’s a big deal (like “Catalina Wine Mixer” big deal)! You’ve done this several times over the years and your guests know what to expect…..the typical trade show with booths, a fishbowl for visitors to leave their business cards, some handouts to take with them and maybe a swag bag. So is it time to dust off the old table cloths and tv monitor, or are you ready to jump into the next big thing….virtual engagement!
Now don’t get me wrong, virtual engagement does not automatically mean virtual tradeshows. These can be virtual job fairs, virtual training, even virtual sales kickoff events. Regardless of what the purpose of your event is, there are very important questions you need to ask yourself in determining if your event is ready to go virtual. And that is what we’re going to discuss in this post. These are the top 5 questions to ask yourself when choosing between a live virtual event vs. on-site event.
Is customization important to you?
One of the coolest aspects of virtual engagement events is the level of customization that is available to you and your exhibitors. As a booth exhibitor you have the ability to create a look and feel that shows off your space exactly how you’d like. From your logo displayed proudly above your booth to the welcome video that guests see when they visit, you create and customize the exact experience you want your visitors to have. You can greet and engage your guests via live video stream or private chat…..whatever you prefer! For event hosts, you have the ability to sell sponsorship packages as well. Imagine selling signage packages where sponsors can display their logo in the main conference hall. Or maybe one of your vendors would like to sponsor a live webcast event that is happening in the auditorium. The level of customization is only limited by your imagination!
Is 24/7/365 access needed?
A key differentiator between a virtual event and a live on-site event is accessibility. Where an on-site event might be limited to a weekend in Orlando from 8:00am-6:00pm, a virtual event can be available to visitors 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. During that time you can run an unlimited number of live streamed webcast events to engage your guests on a personal level. With this level of accessibility your international visitors dispersed across the globe can join your event when it’s convenient for them, which increases your audience dramatically.
Is detailed reporting important to you?
Reporting is another area where a virtual engagement event is superior to the on-site event. Gone are the days of a fishbowl filled with business cards from people you met over the weekend at the on-site trade show. You remember that, right? You get back to the office and have the intern input the business card info into your CRM for email blasts. Well times have changed. Imagine getting detailed reporting on your virtual trade show that not only showed you who visited your environment, but every single move they made while they were there. Tracking of what booths they visited, what pieces of info they downloaded, what webcast videos they watched, what they purchased, even how long they stayed at a specific area. These are the kind of analytics you get when hosting your event with a virtual environment. Imagine the kind of targeted marketing campaigns you could run with that data!
How long do you want your event to be?
Where a standard on-site event usually lasts a long weekend or maybe a week at most, your virtual event can literally be available to guests 24/7. This flexibility allows your audience to visit your event on their own time which will make them much more productive while they are there. They will be more inclined to stay longer and visit multiple booths, conference halls and auditoriums if they are there when it is convenient for them.
What’s your budget?
This is a pretty straightforward part of the puzzle. You know exactly how much that on-site event will cost each year. From the event company you source for staging through the A/V firm you use for sound and lighting, you have a ton of vendors that drive up the cost of on-site events. This is not the case with virtual engagement events. You will invest in the platform itself but it will be a fraction of the cost versus an on-site event. Plus, selling vendor booths and signage sponsorship packages will allow you to recoup that expense before the environment ever goes live!
At Lighthouse we are seeing a major shift in how live events are being hosted and how guests prefer to attend. This shift has inspired us to embrace the virtual landscape and provide our clients a state of the art solution to share their big ideas!
To see how Lighthouse can take your boring on-site event and turn it into a virtual engagement masterpiece
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