No Trade Shows This Year? Here’s What You Can Do

Posted on May 22, 2020 by Kerry O'Malley

The COVID-19 pandemic has postponed or outright cancelled many B2B tradeshows across the globe. Chances are good that the ones you wanted to attend were affected. Even if your show hasn’t been postponed or cancelled, you may not feel comfortable sending employees to a large event, and you’ve decided to postpone shows for 2020. There’s no doubt that trade shows are a great way to showcase what your business can do, see what the competition is up to, and network with others in your industry. Zoom is fine, but nothing quite compares to shaking hands in person. We’ll show you how to make the most of your tradeshow cancellation below.

1. Best Trade Show Alternative for Exhibitors – Virtual Exhibit

You may have had an amazing exhibit planned for your 2020 tradeshows, and if you did, don’t let it go to waste! Create a virtual exhibit! A trade show booth can be quite expensive and easily range into tens of thousands of dollars. For a fraction of that you can have a professional video company shoot a promo video of your amazing new product or service. You can even set up your display, and use it for the background of the video. In addition to posting the video on YouTube and your website, consider advertising with a trade publication, online.  Be sure to tailor it for an audience watching on a phone or other device rather than an in-person demonstration. Best of all, you will have this virtual exhibit to use for years to come, rather than the one time at a trade show.

2. Best Trade Show Alternative for Attendees – Research

Were there any trade shows you were really looking forward to so you could do some new vendor research? Most trade shows and conferences publish a list of exhibitors on their website. You can easily look up the exhibitors you were interested in to learn more. In the current economy, we believe that most B2Bs will be happy to hear from you! You may also find that many B2Bs have followed the above example and have gone with an online exhibit for you to review. Your business may be slow right now, so utilize your time by researching what you would like to see, as well as what your competition is up to. Be sure to include watching all worthwhile presentations, downloading materials, and signing up for email newsletters.

3. Best Trade Show Alternative for Hand Shakers – Reach Out

Was there someone at your cancelled tradeshow you were looking forward to meeting? Whether you are the seller or buyer in the relationship, there’s other ways to reach out to them. Let them know you were disappointed you weren’t able to meet in person. You may then suggest further communication, a phone call, emails, or even a video conference on Zoom or another platform, to discuss a mutually beneficial relationships. With business slow for almost everyone, you may get more positive answers than anticipated.

4. Best Trade Show Bonus Alternative – Stay Open

You should also be aware that others may be researching your site, calling your phones, and generally using the slower business pace to be better prepared when the threat from the pandemic has passsed. Make sure when someone visits your site for the first time that all of the information is completely updated, including:

  • Updating your website with your COVID-19 policy
  • Ensuring your site is up to date with all your relevant content including latest services, products, etc.
  • Develop new content that is relevant and robust, especially as it pertains to COVID-19
  • Post all of your updates and new content to your social media pages
  • Test all forms of communication on your site from clickable phone numbers to working forms to complex sales funnels

Following these steps can help you get more exposure when trade shows are not an option. Be sure to also develop a plan of action for next year’s trade shows so you can hit the ground running!

Author: Kerry O'Malley

Marketects was founded in 1999 by Kerry O’Malley, a proven marketing communications professional in international, manufacturing companies. Working on the “other side of the desk,” she hired ad agencies to manage her employers’ advertising and P/R programs. Frustrated over the lack of attention and level of enthusiasm she was looking for in the marketing agencies she worked with, Kerry realized that there was a definite need for a full-service marketing firm that specialized in working with industrial companies. She resolved that her clients would always receive the highest level of service possible and never feel like the last kid chosen for the team.

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