Why Exhibitors Benefit From Events Offering a Mobile App
The benefits of mobile event apps for hosts and attendees are well documented. Exhibitors at events are technically attendees as well and often possess unique goals at conferences and trade shows with a lot to gain from a mobile app. Keep reading to better understand the exhibitor-specific benefits of a native mobile event app for iPhone, iPad, and Android.
Options to promote an exhibitor booth are limited without a mobile event app. Signage at the event and paper program ads are helpful—along with e-blasts and online marketing, yet most of the traditional methods of promotion are less effective once the event begins. Attendees are less likely to check websites in the flurry of a two or three-day conference and many might only thumb through the program when needing to find a specific piece of information.
Mobile event apps, on the other hand, are a one-stop resource for everything event-related, from a city guide and travel logistics to the full schedule and social media. Attendees constantly visit the app and exposure from branded exhibitor listings and interactive maps with booth information—as well as sponsor ads—expose attendees to an exhibitor unlike ever before.
Exhibitor Listing Features
Traditional paper programs typically provide attendees with an exhibitor directory and little to no additional information. Bigger directories might include contact information, a brief company description, and a website link, but the ability to engage with attendees or immediately access information online is lost. Mobile event apps offer a searchable exhibitor directory with categories or tiers and highlighting a plethora of interactive information such as PDF brochures, in-app access to web sites, and videos. Exhibitors are able to provide attendees with most, if not all, of the information available at the physical booth, which helps attendees without time to visit the booth. Even those unable to attend the event can quickly access information in the mobile app used for research in making important decisions about a future purchase or partnership.
Navigating large floor plans without a visual aid often causes attendees to miss out on exhibitors. Paper programs might include a map of the floor plan and directory, but last-minute booth changes lead to confusion. Also consider the fact interactive exhibitor maps in a mobile event app enable attendees to bookmark booths or mark them as visited to keep track of must-see exhibitors and those who might warrant further consideration after the event ends. Changes to booth numbers and locations are easily made in real time by event hosts with access to the event app’s content management system to ensure a booth doesn't lose exposure. Attendees arrive at the exhibit hall armed with a resource to efficiently find and identify booths—along with other perks like note taking and the ability to send exhibitors emails directly in the app. Tablet-optimized exhibitor maps in native iPad and Android apps also take advantage of the additional screen real estate.
Many mobile event apps contain a full contact directory with attendee and speaker bios. These valuable resources for lead generation may be used in multiple ways to engage with potential customers and network before, during, and after the event. People stopping at a booth might not always leave a business card or full contact information, but even something as simple as a first name or facial recognition can serve to give exhibitors access to the person’s contact information after they leave for a follow-up message via social media, email, or phone. Attendee and speaker directories—searchable by name, company, or sorted into helpful categories—often include headshots and full contact information to use alongside business cards as a way to gather leads.
Events with a mobile app and social media integration utilize official hashtags to create additional buzz about the event. People talking about a conference or trade show, for instance, might tweet with #eventname2015 and these tweets are collected in a separate section of the app. Exhibitors are able to piggy-back on this popular usage of social media at events by discussing important happenings at their booth—along with general info and marketing posts—to reach attendees in real time in ways impossible for events with only paper programs. Social media tied into the event can also be used to generate leads and track what’s trending to better understand attendees and maximize marketing efforts.
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