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Imagine a world where you could sit back and generate qualified leads. No more tiresome run-arounds to set up the perfect virtual trade show and no more disappointing results.
As technology is becoming easier to use, businesses use innovative methods to maximize their ROI. They now get to keep more money in their pockets!
One such key development is the rise of virtual events, transforming the entire landscape of qualified lead generation. In fact, trends show that virtual and hybrid events will only get bigger from here. To understand what makes virtual trade shows popular, let’s have a closer look at their features and tools.
So, here’s everything you need to know about hosting through your own virtual trade show platform.
This is an online version of an event where goods and services are exhibited, for a particular industry. Various companies and organizations display their products and services, provide information on them, and can even make sales.
This is a great space to network and meet new wholesale sellers and buyers and thus create new leads. It is also a great space to tap into new global markets.
Reduced cost, maximized reach, excellent engagement and powerful lead generation and ordering tools.
These make this type of event a valuable opportunity for organizers, exhibitors, and attendees all across the globe.
Virtual trade shows are effective ways for businesses to interact with their direct customer base as exhibitors. Most virtual trade shows will cover all the same basics of an in-person trade show. Most often you will see a virtual exhibition room with various companies setting up their virtual booths. These booths can have a number of booth reps available for networking and answering booth visitors’ queries.
Virtual booths also offer document hosting so that you can provide the most valuable resources such as presentations, brochures, videos, etc., to attendees. Virtual trade shows are most often transactional and can also offer e-commerce platform capabilities. This way, you can make sure that you don’t lose any leads generated through your virtual booth and can close the deal within the same booth.
This guide will cover how to make the most out of your virtual booth, market your virtual trade show to a global audience, and also suggest some best practices to make your trade show successful.
Virtual trade shows can help exhibitors showcase and sell their products or services to a much larger audience and are happening all around the world. However, they can still be a new concept for many. If you are still on the fence about virtual trade shows, here are some of the key benefits you can consider.
The online nature of your trade show can help you qualify leads from across the world. Keeping your event on-demand enables you to gain access to more people in different time zones.
As long as your audience has a device, they have access to a truly exceptional event experience.
With lower expenditures than a physical event your event is going to have a definite higher ROI. With a greater global reach, ticketing options and more sponsorship opportunities, a virtual trade show is better bang for your buck.
On average, around 600,000 tons of waste are produced at trade shows every year. This increases the carbon footprint contributing to climatic change. Virtual trade shows eliminate the use of paper and other harmful materials. Turn your business green by hosting a virtual trade show.
vFairs has a Green & Global campaign to promote environmentally friendly and sustainable virtual events. Virtual events can be one of the best ways for attendees and exhibitors to reduce their carbon footprints as they can go completely paperless and still share information and resources.
Virtual trade shows are a great opportunity for people who are differently-abled. Unlike physical fairs, these events provide several options to assist individuals with impairments and other disabilities, allowing them to benefit as much from the event, as any other visitor.
These accessibility features are quite useful and can include features like translations, transcriptions, color contrasts, subtitles, etc.
When browsing virtual trade show platforms, there are some key features you should definitely be looking for.
Present your audience with an unforgettable experience from the second they walk into your virtual event. Build a phenomenal 3D environment, starting with a rich, visually compelling landing page.
Then, move on to a highly customizable interface for your exhibitors and attendees. Have your attendees enter a virtual lobby and explore the various booths in the exhibit hall.
Do this with immersive environments and a diverse set of custom avatars. In short, offer a fully personalized virtual trade show platform to create a lasting impression.
With event accessibility through a mobile app, you can have your participants tune in from anywhere on any device. This helps you to maximize attendee participation.
This could be in the event they do not have access to their laptops, are commuting, stuck in traffic or any such scenario. The feature at vFairs now provides timed scavenger hunts that keep attendees thoroughly engaged at your event. The mobile app is also great for elevating an in-person trade show!
Let’s admit it – setting up booths and chasing vendors to prepare marketing material are a hassle. Virtual trade fairs are the perfect alternative. They let you and your exhibitors make their brand presence known throughout the event. Your exhibitors can also customize their booths, and upload downloadable resources for the audience.
To fulfill the goal of a successful event, you need to ensure maximum interaction between visitors and exhibitors. Live chat tools help provide attendees information and assistance. This makes it easier to turn leads into sales.
Furthermore, you can improve your conversion rates by addressing FAQs in group chat rooms or reserved chat slots. This way, you can target multiple online prospects at once.
Look for engagement tools such as a real-time chat platform to educate and engage prospects at your event. A 1:1 text, audio & video chat can enable you to eliminate the hassle of long queues around booths. This way, your audience can keep the conversation going in chat rooms.
Use pop-up announcements to keep your audience informed at all times. You can enable mobile notifications on your mobile event app as well. Like any other event, you will need to keep your audience posted with live updates during the event. A virtual trade show allows you to grab the attention of your attendees using pop-up notifications.
So, you’ve got a global audience in one place at a single time. Next, you want to invite industry specialists and keynote speakers. They will provide your audience with significant value on one stage.
When you use a virtual platform, you don’t have to worry about the availability of your speakers or different time zones. Live webinars can be used to engage large crowds at one time. Then, on-demand recordings can help amplify that exposure.
Moreover, include a Q&A session at the end of each webinar. This can maximize the engagement at your event and nurture your leads.
Virtual trade shows let exhibitors showcase their products and services to the world. They basically help convert global prospects into sales.
Embed an online shop at your event. Attendees can add products into their shopping cart as they explore the event.
This way, you can eliminate purchasing delays, maximize conversions, and make transactions in real-time. You can use payment portal integrations to make the whole process easier for your audience and vendors.
“Lead capture and management may be two of the most important features for any virtual trade show. You don’t want all your hard work to go to waste so make sure to look for a virtual platform that offers e-commerce capabilities. Don’t waste a second and make on-spot sales!” said Carlos Herrera, Sales Manager at vFairs.
Every host wants to boost engagement and increase the time attendees spend at their event and event gamification features are a great way to achieve that. Host exciting contests and games such as scavenger hunts, trivia, and more. You can include a virtual leaderboard where attendees can track their scores. The attendee with the most points can win a gift hamper, gift card or anything you want!
You can also use the leaderboard to direct your audience to certain areas of the event. They will gain scores for partaking in certain actions such as visiting a booth or logging in at a particular time. This can bring more eyeballs to key sponsors or important event information.
In this era, you will lag behind if you don’t have access to real-time data. Unlike physical trade shows, online trade shows provide you with detailed reports at the end of your event. This allows you to measure your ROI for future strategies.
In addition, if your exhibitors want, they can closely monitor and regulate certain booths. You can offer this facility on request. Then, they will have access to real-time reports to improve the output they aim for.
You can keep your event up and running even after its live features have been deactivated. Unlike a physical event, a virtual platform makes this possible. Exhibitors can receive notifications of booth visits, queries, and purchases. Meanwhile, organizers can continue to promote the event using emails and social media in order to continue its activity. Furthermore, they can make webinars and other content available on-demand for maximum exposure.
“One of the biggest reasons behind the success of virtual trade shows is the constant availability of information even after live days are over! You can keep the platform live for however long you want, and that’s something in-person events can’t give you.” said Muhammad Younas, CEO of vFairs.
Virtual trade shows have all the above-mentioned benefits, but you can only get the most out of them if you know how to set one up. From choosing the right virtual event platform to finding the right target audience, sponsors, and exhibitors – it can be quite a task. Here are some easy steps to follow to make your virtual trade show a resounding success.
A virtual trade show can have any number of features as mentioned above. However, you don’t necessarily need them all. It is important to make sure that you first understand what you are trying to achieve from the virtual trade show.
Some event organizers only want to create a platform where they can showcase their services and products to a wider audience. Whereas others might have a more transactional approach with an aim to collect leads and convert them to sales. So, by focusing on your requirements, it can be easier to narrow down what features will be most important for your virtual trade show to have.
Content distribution is one of the most important steps for any virtual trade show. Attendees at your event want to gather information about the services or products being displayed. So, the next natural step to focus on is to create content that will add value to the attendees’ experience.
Virtual trade shows can host a bunch of different types of content in booths, exhibit halls, auditoriums, and networking lounges. Welcome videos, platform tutorials, brochures, webinars, and other useful documents will need most of your attention. You can create content that you can reuse on multiple mediums such as social media. The main aim should be to provide more value to your attendees and let the exhibitors share their resources in the best possible ways.
Industry experts as keynote speakers or panel discussions can be a great way to attract more attendees at your virtual trade show. Virtual event platforms can allow you to host interactive guest speaker sessions with live Q&As as well. You can add speaker bios and provide networking opportunities for speakers and attendees to improve their overall experience.
It can also be a great way to improve the content at your virtual event. You can ask the guest speakers to send a presentation or handouts your way that you can upload to the event platform. It is a convenient and effective way to provide more value to the attendees.
Once you have all the speakers, event platform features, and attendee experience aligned, you need to start marketing your event. One of the first things you will need is a customized landing page for your event. You can provide event information and gather registrations for the event through the landing page.
Virtual event marketing tools like email marketing, push notifications, paid ad campaigns, etc can make a lot of difference in increasing attendee count at the event. You can find more useful tips and best practices for virtual event marketing here.
Before you begin, ask your solution provider for a demo and test the technology yourself. Ensure that the platform is user-friendly for everyone across the globe, and not just techies. Try out multiple platforms if you aren’t satisfied. A platform that a friend raved about might not necessarily work for you.
The security options available for your event are vital to its success. Ask your virtual event provider about the security features that they employ. This is essential for attendee, sponsor, and host security.
Identify your objectives, set clear goals for the team, and align expected results. Then, you can move in the planned direction. This also helps monitor and regulate the event as it takes place.
Create a holistic marketing strategy that targets multiple channels. The next section will walk you through a detailed marketing manual.
Virtual trade shows let you host multiple types of content on your platform – whether it’s a document, presentation, or video. Make the most of this and get in touch with your team and sponsors. Then, brainstorm session ideas and content. In addition, collect sales collateral, marketing videos, and any other useful PDFs to showcase at the event.
Most trade shows go on for a few days. Therefore, your attendees need to have a schedule that shows the complete agenda. Furthermore, this schedule should also state the timings for when trade is open. Make sure your approach accommodates different time zones. Share the schedule on your landing page to make sure interested attendees and exhibitors are online when they want.
One of the key selling points for a virtual event is that you can monitor and evaluate your performance. Unlike a physical trade show, this can allow you to both quantify and justify end results.
A virtual trade show can be created for any kind of industry. Here is a comprehensive list of these kinds of fairs.
YallaMotor, a leading Middle Eastern automotive portal, went big with their recent virtual car show. Due to their diverse audience, this online platform was accessible in Arabic and English. This made it easy to target a larger audience, engage with them via live chat tools, and convert prospects into sales in real-time.
Hosting a virtual property show can help you to target a global audience. Take, for example, OGC who hosted a virtual property fair promoting overseas properties to North American buyers.
Not only were they able to showcase homes in desirable locations such as France and Spain, they could also connect with real estate agents and lawyers who could better inform them about the buying process and laws in the countries they were looking to buy in.
No matter the size of your business, the tangible and intangible benefits of hosting a virtual tech show play a significant role. You cannot yield successful outputs, but also rake in networking, advertising, and direct sales benefits.
In today’s business environment, tech industrialists are switching to virtual alternatives. Then, they showcase their powerful technologies on a larger scale using the best resources. This helps them surpass high costs and allows them to create a virtual landscape to engage with a wider audience.
Leading distributors & manufacturers like Nestle, Jake’s Finer Foods, and Centennial have recently conducted successful virtual food shows, boosting their profits, and adding value to the entire food industry.
Jake’s Finer Foods (JFF), in particular, strengthened its position as a progressive broad-line distributor by hosting the first of its kind virtual food show. It successfully achieved higher registration volume, extraordinary branding, and insightful communications. This helped create a win-win situation for both the exhibitors and customers.
Whether it’s a technology show, a travel show, they come packed with benefits for a global audience. Virtual events offer highly flexible options. They make it easier for organizers in any industry to showcase their products and services to a wider audience without spending an arm and a leg on a physical event.
Virtual trade show booths will probably be the most important element of your event. Exhibitors, sponsors, event hosts, and attendees will spend the most of their time in the virtual exhibit hall during a trade show. Therefore, you should know everything there is to know about setting up virtual booths and how to make the most out of them. Here is what a virtual booth can do for you as an exhibitor.
Virtual trade show booths can host documents, brochures, presentations, and can also redirect attendees to external website links. You can upload unlimited resources to your virtual booth and booth visitors can also be welcomed with a short video. Attendees can view and download these resources for later.
Virtual booths often have networking capabilities such as audio, text, and video chat capabilities. Booth visitors can set up meeting slots with booth reps and talk to them through one of the networking options available. vFairs also has some novel updates to the chat feature that allows a chat queueing option for booth reps. It can help manage even the busiest booths’ traffic.
Virtual booths usually have advanced levels of customization options available for exhibitors. You can design the booth to make it your own, add custom colors, logos, and other forms of company branding. You can also add inclusive avatars such as ethnic populations and physically challenged individuals as your booth reps.
Virtual exhibit booths can also have e-commerce features built into them to help exhibitors close deals immediately. You can showcase all your products and services and list their rates in the booth. Attendees can add products to the cart and place orders that you can follow-up later to close the deals.
Virtual trade show booths are fairly simple to set up. Most virtual event companies will set virtual exhibitors up with an online form. The main purpose of this form is to gather as much information about the booth as they can. It can include options for booth layouts, different choices for avatars, booth colors, etc. Booth exhibitors can also upload company logos, pictures, and other documents to be hosted in the virtual booth in the same form.
Once you have sent out all the information to the event host, the next steps will be automated for you. You may receive an email notification with the virtual event exhibitor login credentials that you can use to sign in. It is quite simply filling up a form and then logging in on the day of the event. The more accurate information you provide event hosts, the easier it can be to set up.
Virtual trade shows booths might be easy to set up but you have to put in some work to make them stand out. Here are some important tips and ideas to set up a successful virtual booth that can convert leads to sales.
Your company’s virtual exhibit booth and its brand should be the embodiment of your physical brand. That’s why you need to focus on branding it the right way. You can use all the customization options available to you and add company logos wherever possible. Using customizable and inclusive avatars can also help you stand out.
Virtual trade show booths and their performance will primarily depend upon how well your booth reps can communicate with attendees virtually. Clear audio and video quality can ensure that all communication is convenient, clear, and effective.
Virtual exhibit booths and trade shows will need promotion on multiple fronts and through various mediums. You should prepare marketing collateral like brochures and posters that you can post on the event landing page, the company website, and even on social media. Marketing drip email campaigns can also be very helpful to engage your audiences.
So, you want to host a virtual trade show. But how do you make sure people attend it? Great marketing is at the heart of a great trade show. Let’s see how to nail your marketing campaigns. First, we’ll take a look at marketing collateral for attendees and then, for exhibitors.
You want more leads at the top of the funnel so a greater amount ends up converting into sales. For this purpose, we’ll explore the following marketing channels:
To market your event, you’ll first need a landing page. This will provide you with an online space to do three important things:
To improve its visibility and engagement, you should:
To optimize your registration form for higher registration numbers:
Next, it’s time to leverage your existing email list. Create a vibrant event invitation in your email builder to send out to your list. There, ask them to register for the event. This list will be a quick and easy way to market to already interested prospects.
But what should the emails look like? You want your recipients to be hooked in from the get-go. So, you need crisp and engaging subject lines, informative copy, and relevant visuals. In addition, you can add exhibitor logos and include pictures of your speakers.
Here are some other details to remember:
Follow this simple schedule to send out your emails and subsequent reminders:
Another way to get more eyes on your event is by placing a sticky bar across your website. This will let other visitors know about your event. Plus, it will be on the top of your website on every page. So, every visitor to your website gets to see it.
But these sticky bars are subtle and offer limited space to companies. We recommend only adding two elements to it:
While there are other types of modules, a sticky bar will offer the least amount of interruption along with decent visibility for all your visitors.
With social media consumption consistently on the rise, be sure to leverage this channel. Here’s a little checklist you can use:
You most likely have a list of contacts already in your emails and extended network. Tap into those and send all the information you can about your event.
They need to learn how going online can benefit them more than a traditional event. Here is a list of benefits that you can share with your exhibitors:
Virtual trade shows are data-driven. You can greatly benefit from the comprehensive reports they offer. However, you’ll need to know what to track. This will help you understand your audience and optimize future events. Let’s see what you can do with these event reports.
To get more people to come to your event, optimize your registrations first. Closely track the performance of your marketing efforts. Then, track your conversions from your Google Analytics account or your virtual event platform dashboard. Next, identify the channels that are bringing in the most conversions and optimize accordingly.
Moreover, you’d want to see how well your landing page is performing in terms of conversions. How far down the page is the form? Do you need to change the positioning of the form? Does above the fold work better than below the fold? How many form fields get you the best conversions?
Running A/B tests with these options in mind is a great way to optimize your landing page and registration forms. If you start your marketing efforts early, you’ll also have more time to optimize them for the best results.
You should know your target audience well. This way, you can tailor their event experience for them.
To do this, ask your attendees questions such as the following:
Data from these questions will help you offer a more personalized experience to each of your attendees. However, long forms are only a hurdle to registration. Save these questions for after your prospects have entered your event funnel. Here are the options we recommend:
Once the event goes live, it’s time to learn what aspects of your trade show are fan favorites. Track attendee journeys during the event. Then, learn about the booths they visit, the representatives they talk to, the speaker sessions that get the most attention, and so on.
Remember to only use a virtual event platform that collects this data for you. This kind of platform will help you get in-depth attendee insights that you can use to optimize future events. Furthermore, the reporting module will provide data such as:
Each of these data points will tell you what aspect of your event was a success. In addition, it will show what kind of content performed the best at your trade show.
Another way to get more data out of your virtual trade show is to send an event follow-up survey. Such a survey will ask attendees how their experience with the event was and include questions such as the following:
Email this survey to all your attendees and analyze the data you collect.
Without a doubt, pricing plays a crucial role in deciding which option to opt for. So, if you’re here, you’re probably looking for a cost-effective solution that gives you more value in return for your money. Let’s break it down so you can see for yourself.
While physical trade shows have been popular for a number of trade show organizers in the past, the high costs and very limited reach have compelled most of them to switch to virtual alternatives. After all, the smartest business owners are the ones that optimize their strategies and use cost-effective means to generate huge profits.
Virtual trade shows can help you reach a larger audience and expand your reach to a global level. You can also open it up to an international target audience and businesses. Moreover, resources from a virtual event can be kept available on-demand for an extended period of time. It offers immersive networking opportunities with novel features like Spatial Networking, Roundtables, and Smart Matchmaking.
Hence, there are multiple benefits of virtual trade shows that might put them at par or even above in-person trade shows. Saving costs by going virtual shouldn’t mean that you have to compromise on the quality of the event or the networking opportunities that your event will provide. Therefore, depending upon your use case and how you implement the available features, virtual trade shows can be totally worth it.
A virtual trade show has a dynamic 3D environment, resembling that of a physical show, coupled with tools that engage a global audience. This makes it accessible for anyone with an internet device.
With a user friendly event builder, and a dedicated project management team, creating a virtual trade show could not be any easier.
A virtual booth is where an exhibitor presents their product or service. It is a much smaller space within a larger event. The aim is to increase brand awareness, and generate meaningful conversation with participants. One can include static text, logos, banners, video and chat options.
Trade shows are a great way of allowing businesses of all sizes to promote their brand and showcase their offerings to a diverse group of individuals. They provide you with an enormous opportunity to generate qualified leads and skyrocket your sales. But none of this is really profitable if it has to come at the cost of extensive resources and work.
Hence, virtual trade shows are now redefining the way businesses can maximize their profits and keep the environment healthy. And guess what? The opportunities are just beginning to blossom as your business is now growing beyond borders.
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