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4 Tradeshow and Conference Alternatives During COVID-19


COVID-19 has wiped away any chance for large gatherings this year, especially work conferences and tradeshows. If your business counted on these events for new business and networking opportunities, we’re sure you’ve been scrambling for ways to connect with other attendees.

Luckily, GreenMellen is here to help you discover new ways to build a deep connection through these tradeshow alternatives.


If you were planning to give a presentation at a conference, the obvious solution would be to give this same talk during a webinar. While many conferences are giving their speakers a platform to still present, some are charging admission for users to watch this, which results in a low turnout rate.

Consider hosting this webinar yourself via Zoom or through other platforms like Crowdcast. You could even play around with live stream options on Facebook Live (or another social media platform where your audience spends their time). Either way, you should not let this content go to waste; give the presentation or repurpose the content into something valuable like a whitepaper, blog post, or video.

Virtual Tours/Demos

Vendors and sponsors that bring their booths to tradeshows make up a big portion of the attendees, and just because you can’t give your “pitch” in person doesn’t mean you still can’t connect with attendees. Consider offering virtual tours or demos from your booth like you would at an event by doing the following:

  • Set up your booth like your would for face-to-face interactions. 
  • Create a live, virtual tour of your booth and recite a pre-written script you had prepared for the event. On the flip side, you could record this presentation and distribute it across social media, emails, and your website.
  • If you are offering demos of your products and want to show them live, allow users to ask questions during your demo like they would in person. 
  • End your tour/demo with the option for users to download a one-pager containing the information you just presented. 

While these tips are a great place to start, remember that you can get creative with this tour or demo! People are looking for out-of-the-box ideas during this time, so wow them with your creativity. 

Networking Happy Hours

At the end of any conference, there is usually a networking happy hour for you to meet other attendees or ask any additional questions you had for speakers. It may be worth hosting an “unofficial” networking happy hour for all attendees. Get the word out either through social media or email, and create an easy way for people to sign up to join the happy hour. You could even plan a couple of ice breaker questions to get the conversation going and also give attendees a chance to continue the conversation after the happy hour by sharing the attendee list with everyone. 

It’s certainly not a conventional way to have a networking event, but something is better than nothing.

Direct Mail Options

We understand that all of the mentioned virtual solutions are not feasible for everyone. If you fall into this category, you can still explore direct mailing ideas to give your audience a tangible piece of marketing collateral

Using some of the ideas above, you can create a direct mailer piece that highlights your products you were going to showcase at an event. Or, you can repurpose your content from your presentation into a pamphlet and encourage people to contact you to learn more. If you believe you would have a greater chance of engagement with physical mailing pieces, it would be wise to look into this option.

Tradeshows and conferences will happen again someday, but in the meantime, these four alternatives will help your business get the exposure you were looking for. 
To learn more about digital and physical alternatives to your tradeshow or conference needs, contact GreenMellen today!

About the Author

Brooke Desmond

Communications Manager
With a passion for all things digital marketing, Brooke aims to give a unique perspective on the latest trends and ideas in this ever-changing space.

View Brooke's Profile

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