How to Create a Virtual Trade Show Booth
For many companies, trade shows are a staple of their annual business plans. These events have enabled exhibitors and attendees to surround themselves in new and intriguing opportunities for decades. The excitement and energy of a trade show is intangible, and simply can’t be replicated. But with exhibitions on hold for the foreseeable future, many businesses are now entering the world of virtual trade shows.
There’s consensus in the exhibitions industry that virtual trade show booths are here to stay.
Even after in-person events return, they are expected to become a live and virtual hybrid. But as all of this evolves, how and where do you start? Here are some tips to help you create a virtual event that meets your needs now, and creates an engaging experience for your customers well into the future:
1. Make Your Physical Brand Your Virtual Brand
One of the distinct advantages of a virtual trade show is the ability to introduce a new look-and-feel to your booth without investing in physical booth properties. With a virtual event, you can try a new booth layout and introduce new show concepts.
Just make sure your company brand, colors, logos, and messaging are still recognizable. You want your attendees to identify and appreciate all your company offers on all of the platforms they might find you. It’s okay to be creative! Just be consistent so when live events do return, people will know it’s still you.
2. Set Goals for Your Virtual Trade Show Booth
As with anything, knowing what you want to achieve before you begin is the smartest approach. So, consider all you want to accomplish ahead of time and plan your virtual event accordingly. That might include lead generation, new product demonstrations, networking, education, brand building and more. That’s great! Making those goals measurable is even better.
Instead of simply setting your goal to say “generate leads”, set your goal for “generating 100 new contacts” (or whatever number best suits your business). You might want 50 people to watch your video. Or you might prefer that three specific key accounts watch that video. Not every goal has to be lofty but defining them ensures you’ll stay on track and helps you to prioritize.
3. Build Your Show Around Your Audience
With the whole of the world wide web as potential attendees, it can be tempting to try to attract them all. But that’s neither efficient nor effective. Make sure your virtual show is designed for and about your target customers and the problems they’re trying to solve. Then promote your product or service in a way that is engaging, relevant and meaningful for your attendees.
Is your product or service complicated? Plan for live chat. Do you want feedback from your audience? Create polls and gamify them. Do different decision makers have different needs?Create personalized tracks.
You can provide brochures or a downloadable presentation that summarizes your event. Offer a meeting scheduler or an RFQ form to entice conversion. Create a discussion board so your visitors can network with each other. And you can give visitors a way to share your event with others within their organization or on social media.
Remember – digital distraction is just one pop-up task reminder away, so you want your virtual exhibit to be immersive and interactive. There are so many options from which to choose. Don’t be afraid to explore the possibilities.
4. Create a Virtual Event Marketing Plan
Simply creating a virtual trade show booth doesn’t guarantee people will come. You need a promotions plan that will attract, inform, and continually engage your targeted attendees. Use email to invite them and send out reminders as your event date approaches. Utilize paid and organic social media to promote your event. Get your sales team involved. After all, this gives them an excuse to call that customer or prospect again.
Create an event schedule that encourages pre-registration. Offer an on-demand version on your website after the event. Post a banner on your site’s home page and incentivize your channel partners to do the same. Create a contest or sweepstakes for registered attendees to build excitement leading up to your event. Re-engage registrants who did not attend after the event.
Remember – a goal without a plan is just a wish! If you planned ahead and still don’t hit all your goals, that’s okay. The beauty of owning your virtual exhibit is your visibility into user interaction, and ability to re-plan and re-market it as often as needed.
With their relatively low cost, extended reach, and nearly infinite trackability, virtual exhibits will surely become a marketing mainstay. It's important you choose a virtual trade show vendor that focuses on your unique requirements and has the experience and flexibility to meet your changing needs. The team at The Rogers Company has a long history of helping clients create qualified business opportunities through experiential marketing. We would be honored to show you how.