Trade shows are no longer what they used to be. In fact, now Virtual Trade Shows are whatever YOU want them to be.
In the pre-corona age, trade shows were specifically one of the most popular and profitable events to be conducted by organizers. They’d be the talk of the town way before they even occurred.
However, what used to be the talk of the ‘town’, has now become the talk of the ‘world’ in the form of Virtual Trade Shows. While the increased global reach is a great opportunity for organizers to capitalize on, it also signals towards an increasingly competitive virtual environment.
For this reason, your profitability as a virtual event organizer depends gravely upon the tactics you opt for while setting up a smashing Virtual Trade Show. So, let’s do what it takes to help you stand out!
12 Best Practices to Host a Successful Virtual Trade Show
1. Research Customer Needs to Create Shared Value
What does success look like for you? In simpler words, the first thing you’d want to do is set clear goals and objectives. Whether it’s brand awareness, conversion of leads, or something else, define your target audience as well as the event ROIs so your team can work towards a certain goal.
2. Position Your Virtual Trade Show Accurately
Trade Shows can be tricky to explain. They can be associated with a wide range of industries. Therefore, in order to attract relevant audiences, exhibitors and sponsors, it is essential to define the category or segment that you are targeting.
The name of your event plays a great role in doing so. In addition, your landing page must have all the information that allows audiences to know what to expect from the event.
3. Offer a Variety of Content at Your Virtual Trade Show
Before you make a content strategy for your Virtual Trade Show, ask yourself 3 things:
- What type of content should I include? Webinars, brochures, e-books, articles, videos, or more
- What is the reason that audiences would like to consume this content?
- What’s new in what I’m offering?
You need to remember that you’re catering to a remote audience and so, your content should be flexible enough to be consumed in different times of the day by people in various moods.
Lastly, yet most importantly, your content needs to act as a stimulus to a certain favorable response. Make sure there is a clear Call-to-Action linked to each piece that you are throwing their way.
4. Ensure Your Virtual Trade Show is Mobile-Friendly
More than 346 million new users came online in the twelve months to July 2020, equivalent to an average increase of almost 950,000 new users each day. Most internet users (91 percent) use mobile devices to go online.
It is the ease and convenience of your virtual trade show that drives people towards it. Make sure your event is mobile-friendly since most of your audience will be, without a doubt, accessing the event laying on the couch, or on the go, using their mobile devices.
This should therefore be a seamless experience for them.
5. Plan a Multi-Pronged Marketing Approach
Your event might have it all and more, but it’s not going anywhere till you promote it.
Take your event to your audience and maximize registrations. SEO, social media marketing, PR campaigns, sponsored content, banner ads, emails and SMS, and so on, can act as channels to drive audiences to your outstanding virtual trade show.
6. Provide More than One Option to Browse Through Product Listings
Not to forget, you’re dealing with a remote audience that can vary in terms of interest as well as the distractions surrounding them.
For those who would like to spend a good time exploring each and every virtual booth in the display, you might be offering listings at their respective booths. But for the quickies, make sure you accelerate this process.
Add a products tab on the main navigation bar and provide attendees with search options with filters to reach the categories they’re interested in. This approach will therefore support increasing conversions at the end of the day.
7. Trigger Push Notifications & On-Site Announcements to Maximize Engagement
This is another engagement tactic. Usually, to boost webinar attendance, push notifications act a reminder for attendees to hop in and join live webinar sessions.
Moreover, to increase booth visits, exhibitors can notify attendees about special discounts or offers using on-site announcements.
8. Discuss Appointment Features with your Virtual Event Provider
Virtual trade shows are not limited to standard chat options (which in itself is one of the key reasons to host one). In fact. there are more ways to boost engagement and precisely, targeted engagement.
Talk to your virtual event provider about not only allowing visitors to book a chat slot with exhibitors but also allowing exhibitors to search through the registrations and invite relevant prospects for a time to chat. This gives your event’s exhibitors an additional weapon to win the conversion game.
9. Accelerate Conversions using E-Commerce
You’ve attracted people to your event. The fact that they’re present at your event means you’re already halfway there to converting them. All they need is a slight push, at the right time, to qualify now.
E-Commerce sales are expected to reach $4.2 Trillion by the end of 2020, and is anticipated to keep growing as we move deeper into the 2020s.
Minimize the time between decision-making and their purchase by offering an online store within your virtual trade show. This option allows you to convert the lead that you had just nurtured before they left the event and forgot all about it.
10. Follow-Up with Attendees for Missed Opportunities
Double-check for unanswered queries. A lot of people miss out on a major area of opportunity by ending their event, and not following up with audiences.
Follow-ups not only act as a symbol of goodwill by the organizer but also increase the chance of converting targeted prospects who had experienced your virtual trade show.
11. Choose a Vendor that Facilitates Measuring Success
One of the key benefits of hosting virtual trade shows is their capability to measure the organizer’s ROIs. Make sure your virtual event provider generates detailed reports and analytics to not only help you with the current virtual event, but also to act as a benchmark for previous and upcoming events.
12. Test-Run to Ensure Impeccable User Experience
Once your virtual event is all set, it is highly necessary for you to do a complete test-run to ensure that the event does not face any technical difficulties on the day.
Once you’re fully equipped with the right support, and an unbeatable event strategy, there’s nothing that can stop your virtual trade show from standing out and making a lasting impression.
Read More: The Ultimate Guide to a Virtual Trade Show
Click here to view The Organizer’s Playbook to Hosting Amazing Virtual Events.
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