Does virtual exhibiting work?

Of course it does, says Angela de Souza of The Women's Business Club, and sometimes it works better than physical in-person events.

Does virtual exhibiting work?

Of course it does, says Angela de Souza of The Women’s Business Club, and sometimes it works better than physical in-person events.

We simply can’t escape the fact that the world has changed. The pandemic has forced us to approach business differently. We need to think differently and be prepared for anything. Those who won’t adapt will get left behind. 

As with all challenges, it’s our response to them which counts. They can either make us or they can break us. Many businesses have risen to the current economic challenges with great creativity and we’ve seen some fantastic innovations as a result. The Women’s Business Club, which runs networking events and business conferences across the globe, is one such business that has met this challenge head-on. We have revised our entire business model and embraced the brave new world of virtual events.

At first it looked like the pandemic would wipe our company out, as we rely very much on in-person events. When facing up to this challenge, we realised that we had both a problem but also an opportunity ‘ which I describe as a ‘probletunity.’ 

We could have thrown our hands up in the air, and given up the fight, or we could reinvent ourselves as a digital company. We opted for the latter. The result has been phenomenal and will have a lasting impact on all those involved during our ‘readjustment’ period.

We are now both in-person and digital. We can adapt to whatever the situation demands. But best of all, we have discovered that virtual events really do work and can even be better in many ways.

Why would a business exhibit virtually?

Exhibiting is always the best way to showcase your brand to potential clients and suppliers. And by doing this virtually, it offers a far greater reach at a fraction of the cost. It offers a personal touch and gives prospective clients a real feel for who you are. It increases your brand awareness and creates a lasting impact.

Doesn’t virtual exhibiting have less of an impact than greeting potential clients in person?

The simple answer is ‘no’. In fact, it may even be a better deal. Many virtual platforms allow extended use of an event before and after it takes place. Clients can go online and watch replays of speeches, as well as enjoy access to exhibitor stands long after the event has been packed away and dismantled. Even special offers are often accessible weeks after the virtual gathering has ended. 

How do I know that potential clients are interacting with my exhibit?

This is another example of why virtual exhibiting actually outperforms ‘in person’ events. Many platforms collect names and contact details of every person visiting a virtual exhibitor stand ‘ even those who click-in for barely three seconds. This data is then emailed to you, so you can start one-to-one conversations at your convenience.

Is there even any need for me to be at my stand in person?

There is definitely an advantage to being present, as you are available to chat with those who engage in your ‘chatbox’. Many platforms also have Zoom and WhatsApp integration, so exhibitors can talk face-to-face. But if you’re not available for a chat, then the details of those who visit your virtual stand are still forwarded on to you.

Is it expensive to exhibit virtually?

Not as expensive as attending in person. If you add up the usual exhibitor costs, such as hotels, travel and food for yourself and your team, then the final total is greatly reduced. You also save on printed materials, which is great news for the environment and the planet. Just think how many trees you are saving. All in all, virtual exhibiting can be a positive experience for both exhibitors and delegates alike. We, at The Women’s Business Club, certainly recommend it. I’m guessing it’s the future of exhibitions.

Angela De Souza
Angela De Souza

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