The Importance of Promoting Chat to Your Attendees and Exhibitors

Keeping your customers connected from a distance

During our current show climate, it’s a high possibility that all or part of your show is taking place online. Many people may have worries or doubts about the lack of interaction your customers will feel as you temporarily move to a virtual or hybrid event, but that does not have to be the case. Over the past few months, we have all had our eyes opened to the power of technology and how we can stay connected even from remote locations. So why should that differ for events? Utilizing a tool to increase engagement during your event, such as a chat feature, will ensure your exhibitors and attendees connect and develop valuable connections, even from a distance. However, offering a chat feature does not guarantee success. In order to maximize engagement, your attendees and exhibitors need to know about the feature and how to use it effectively. Having engagement features like chat available for your users can create a great foundation for buyers and sellers, with the potential to transform into long-term business relationships. 

Temporarily transitioning to online events can be a big change for your exhibitors and attendees. It is important to make your participants aware of any features or tools they have access to, especially when it comes to engagement or networking opportunities. Success of the event is often measured by the number of leads and connections created. Giving them an effective way to communicate will increase the likelihood that they will leave your event satisfied and consider returning when the next show occurs. Here are a few things to keep in mind when promoting a chat feature for your virtual or hybrid event: 

 

When and How to Promote Chat 

Prior to the start of your event, you will want to increase awareness about the chat feature and drum up some excitement. Here are a few ways to easily promote the feature to your participants: 

  • Place a prominent call to action button or link on your event’s homepage and/or throughout areas with high visibility 
  • Promote on social media frequently 
  • Start with an announcement about the feature offering 
  • Continue to post helpful tips, links to documentation or tutorial videos 
  • Post reminders for them to create their account and verify their email address if needed 
  • Place links to resources about the feature on the exhibitor checklist as a task for exhibitors to review prior to the launch of the show 
  • Place call outs on the login page of the planning tool for attendees (if your platform offers this tool) or the exhibitor portal homepage to increase awareness 

 

Direct Participants to Resources on Engagement Features 

Once the initial announcement has been made, follow-up with additional communication to show them where the feature is located and share educational resources and best practices. You may even consider offering some conversation starters to make it a little easier to for them to initiate their discussion. Here are some examples: 

  • Do you have any additional information on the product you demoed during [insert event]?  
  • I am interested in [insert product category] and I see that your company returned in my search results. Can you tell me more about your products/services?  
  • Could we schedule a meeting to discuss your products/services in more detail?  
  • Do you have any additional resources online that I could review before scheduling a meeting? 

 

Equip them ahead of time to ensure they utilize the feature to its maximum benefit by offering best practices such as: 

  • Use the chat to network, ask/answer questions, request/send additional information, or to set up a demo of a product/service. 
  • Don’t forget to save exhibitor contacts to your My Show Planner! These contacts will be saved under the My Saved Contacts section of your Browse Contacts tab so you can easily access them and see their online status. 
  • As you are browsing the online directory, a notification will appear at the top of your screen if you have unread messages. Click View Messages to redirect to the chat home page or select Close to view new messages at a later time. 
  • All chat history will be saved in the Archived tab so you can access important information previously exchanged at any time. 
  • Use the Filter and Sort options in your Browse Contacts tab to make locating specific contacts easy. 
  • If an exhibitor contact is not available, you can send them an email message by selecting the Email option. 

 

At the end of the day, creating a place for exhibitors and attendees to connect is one of your main goals. The more you promote chat, the more leads your exhibitors will receive and the happier your attendees will be. 

 

The Importance of Promoting Chat to Your Attendees and Exhibitors