Are you thinking of hosting a food expo online? Are you unsure if you’ll be able to have that same wow factor that you had with in-person events? Worry no more! We’ve hosted our share of virtual food shows with some of the world’s leading foodservice distributors, wholesalers and retail suppliers. So we have some great tips to share with you. 

Read on if you’re ready to blow your attendees out of the water with our best tried-and-tested tips. 

Create immersive marketing content for your virtual food show

First thing’s first. You should have a plan that entices your audience to sign up, gets them interested and excited leading up to the event, keeps them engaged during the event and gives them food for thought once the event is over.

Beyond this, you have so many opportunities to create an experience for your audience across channels. People love seeing content about food and beverage! According to Condiment Marketing, of all brands mentioned on Twitter, food and drink brands made up 32% of those tweets. That’s just one channel you should be using to communicate before, during and after the event. 

Pre-Event

Put in some time upfront to understand who you’re targeting. Then, create a miniature mood board that encompasses all of the event branding and content that could capture your audiences’ attention. You undoubtedly have a repository of eye-catching imagery available to you. If you don’t already have high-quality video to share, think about creating some short video clips to share across channels. Infographics, product showcases, and other highly visual content are all great options too. 

Once you have everything ready, think about the messaging you want to share on each channel before, during and after the event. Pre-event communications will likely include a lot of promotional content, an event landing page and special sneak peeks to those who have registered. 

Harbor Wholesale's Event Landing Page
Harbor Wholesale created visually appealing branding, which they included on their event landing page pre-event, as shown here.

During Event

During the event, leverage the social media content your attendees are posting. Set up a unique hashtag. Include a social wall, like walls.io, to encourage attendees to share their own posts. Additionally, have automated emails on hand for registrants who haven’t logged in to the event by a certain time. vFairs offers this with our email builder tool in the virtual event backend. 

Sample of walls.io social wall at a vFairs event
walls.io offers highly visual user-generated content from across social channels

Post-Event

Don’t forget the value of follow-up communications after your virtual food show. Send an automated ‘thank you’ email to those who logged in to your event, asking them to complete your feedback survey, covering key takeaways, and providing useful documents for more information. You can also send a separate email to those who didn’t log in, providing recordings of the webinars, infographics with key concepts covered and inviting them to reach out to your team to learn more.

Additionally, repurpose your content to create an unlimited amount of new material for social media, newsletters and your website. Content such as highlight reels, infographics and downloadable PDFs can be created from your webinars, Q&As and event statistics.

Diversify content in your virtual food show’s exhibit booth

Extend the immersive approach to your virtual exhibit booth by matching your offerings to unique content types. Share product spec sheets that attendees can download. Show off your products with 360-degree views. Share a behind-the-scenes look at your production facilities with an HD video. There are so many types of content you can share or link to within a virtual exhibit booth, brainstorming what to showcase is the easy part. 

Include similar designs, content types and products you’ve been using in your event promotion to create a seamless experience for your audience. Consistency in design will help make your exhibit booth easily recognizable in the exhibit hall to those who have seen your promo materials as well. And eye-catching imagery will help entice those browsing the exhibit hall who aren’t familiar with your branding. 

harbor wholesale exhibit booth sample

Conduct product demos with target attendees

Product demos are a valuable sales tactic you can use right within the virtual event. There are two ways you can go about this, depending on your level of involvement in the event. If you have the opportunity, you could host a webinar presentation outlining your best products and services. This is usually reserved for the event host, or high level sponsors. If you’re participating as a sponsor, look into whether this is an option, or reach out to the host organization to see if it’s a possibility to add a webinar slot on to your sponsorship.

As an exhibitor, you also have the opportunity to search attendee profiles and request meetings. If you have a target persona that you’re looking to connect with at the event, this is a great opportunity to do so. You can search by any field they’ve filled out on their registration form. So, for example, you may be able to search by industry, job title or location. Once you’ve found the contact you want to speak with, send them a meeting invitation and let them know you’d like to discuss how your products could help them!

Collect orders with our shopping cart

Let’s talk about features. One of the most valuable features you can include in your exhibition booths are shopping carts. You’ve spent all this time marketing your products online and within the event. Now it’s time to close those sales.

Upload your product inventory to the virtual platform so that your booth visitors can place orders with you. Alternatively, you can always link to your websites ‘Shop’ page to collect orders. Offering an option to place orders within the event will round out the experience for your visitors. 

By this point they’ve seen all the best you have to offer, heard from you through meetings or webinars, and scrolled through your product sheets. They’ve got a ton of information to make a highly informed decision, and they’re caught up in the excitement of the event. When given the opportunity to easily place an order, they’re much more likely to. 

 

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