Virtual trade shows: The next big thing?

With the rise of Second Life and Web 2.0, business is finding new and innovative ways to use the Internet. Virtual trade shows offer an opportunity for businesses to meet and share ideas on a completely new platform.

The benefits of virtual trade shows are obvious – no airline tickets to buy to attend the show, no annoying booths to set up, and no wasted hours spend waiting for people to approach your booth.

The goals of virtual trade shows and in-person shows are the same – to come away with quality sales leads, connect with potential business partners and bump into some key media organizations while you’re there.

Online trade shows have an added goal to minimize cost while delivering the same benefits as their offline counterparts. With tight budgets, the push to show a positive ROI is harder than ever.

Deciding which offline trade show to attend and then convincing business leaders in your organization to pay for it is a difficult process. Those at The Lonely Marketer ask the question: “Are Trade Shows a Waste of Time and Resources?”

In the post, the authors devised a metric to help capture the costs and benefits of attending a show. Comparing the metric of an online trade show to that of an offline show could paint a compelling picture that virtual events are the more cost-efficient option.

While face-to-face conversations are tough, connections at online trade shows can still be made. Online chats and emails can help you get the materials you want and connect with potential sales leads.

Virtual events and trade shows can attract an average of more than 1,500 people who spend longer than two hours in the show, according to a report by FactPoint Group. With those numbers, online conferences and trade shows seem to be a growing trend.

If you’re comfortable with working and communicating online, virtual trade shows may be a less costly and more efficient way to achieve the same goals you would face-to-face.

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One response to “Virtual trade shows: The next big thing?

  1. Excellent! Thanks for doing this…it’s really nice to know that I’m not alone on a lot of these things.

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