Last year, car shows were postponed, cancelled or they turned into virtual car shows. Popular global car shows moved to a virtual venue owing to restrictions on social gatherings. 

Regardless of the pandemic, times have changed. People are researching products online before buying. Since car buyers spend a significant amount of time researching online, it is only natural to take your next car show to your prospects through a virtual platform. 

What are the benefits of hosting a virtual car show?

Virtual car shows allow you to reach a global audience, boost engagement and monetize participation. Agents can engage in real-time conversations and even upload listings and promote their offerings.   

Exhibitors and attendees network and connect among themselves with the live chat tools that are available on a virtual platform. So even when the car show goes virtual, the level of interactivity remains unhindered. 

And let’s not forget the unparalleled advantages of getting detailed information on the success of your event. Key statistics such as the number of registrations, attendees, footfall on various parts of your virtual car show etc. 

But how do you plan a virtual car show? Where do you begin?

Do you want to understand how to kickstart your virtual auto show and how to make it a success?  

Then here we are! Your knight in shining armor! 

Let’s take you through the entire process of planning and executing a virtual car show. 

First thing is first, how to get started? 

Define event plan

The very first thing on the agenda is to outline your event plan. Set your goals, objectives, and map out the target audience. A successful event starts with a clear event plan. After that, all that is left is clearly executing your well-thought out plan. 

people scheduling and planning

Consider the following when you start to define your event plan: 

  • Goals: what you hope to achieve, setting objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your events success
  • Target audience: define who you are talking to, who are the decision makers and target groups you want to reach
  • Virtual events platform: research virtual event platform providers to see which one suits your needs and can translate your requirements to a virtual event
  • Event strategy: identify sponsors, sponsorship packages/tiers, ticketing processes, exhibit halls 

Pro tip: before you move on with your planning process, chart out your milestones. This will help you keep track of your goals, tasks and deadlines. As a result, helping you deliver your virtual car show well on time. 

Moving on, creating a plan for your first virtual car show gets easy, as you have all the underlying details sorted. 

The next step is figuring out where you are attracting your target audience? Where do they land? 

Of course, the landing page! Where else? 

Design an informative landing page

You should be driving your online traffic  to your landing page. From all your marketing efforts on various platforms, this is where your target audience eventually comes in to sign up for the virtual car show. It is the hub of all information your audience will need and the primary source of lead generation. Hence, your landing page must effectively convince your audience to sign up! 

In addition to creating a URL, designing banners, and writing compelling copy create an effortless registration form. Your registration form is key in gathering consumer data. Integrate with tools such as customer relationship management (CRM) softwares to ensure you collect basic information such as name, numbers and addresses. This information will be detrimental in future marketing and communication efforts. 

person with mind map around head

vFairs makes the entire set up process easy and hassle free, and has various tools that can be integrated into your platform to gather data.  

And now your page is ready to go live! 

Now, let’s tackle another question. 

How do you keep your prospects there, now that you have attracted them to your virtual car show platform? 

Adding in the following features will ensure your virtual car show turns out to be a huge success that you always envisioned. 

Develop engaging content 

Content is the missing piece in the puzzle that brings everything together. It provides tangible value to your customers and keeps them intrigued. Add in interactive videos and informational documents that will add value for your prospects. 

calendar and megaphone with a person

 

Keep in mind the following ideas when devising your content strategy: 

  • Event welcome video: welcomes audience, outlines agenda, guides attendees, sets the stage for the rest of the show
  • Types of auto vehicle: add documents that showcase information about new cars, or used cars that are available
  • News: any relevant information about newsworthy events in the industry
  • Videos: add interactive videos on car features
  • Car reviews: short videos on car reviews and various editions

You can either add documents, or videos, whatever you think will add value for your customers. In either case provide information that will help them and serve their end goals of coming to the virtual car show. 

Interactive exhibit booths 

Your exhibit booths are where your clients will flock to. Ensure they have all the information they  are looking for. Consider the following when mapping out your exhibit booths:

  • Brands: outline the brands that are coming to your virtual car show so they can each have their individual booths
  • Network with buyers: a button within the booth that allows exhibitors to network with buyers
  • Shopping cart: allows buyers to add in the products they are interested into the shopping cart, create an order sheet that sellers can process off the platform 
  • Promotions: any promotions that are being offered by various car brands
  • Drop business cards: give an option for users to drop in business cards, facilitating networking 
  • Chat scheduler: users, buyers can schedule chats online within the platform 

exhibition hall

Encourage networking 

Moving your car show to a virtual space does not mean you have to compromise on the level of interactivity. Your chat room allows attendees and exhibitors to engage and connect with each other. The information desk is another platform that provides all day live support. 

You can also set up meetings with potential buyers. A 1:1 interaction can help you understand their needs better, in return making provisions accordingly. 

people in online conference

Incentivize audience

You can utilize your platform to offer an incentive to your attendees. You can add in gamification features such as lucky draws, scavenger hunts, or leaderboards and offer prizes to winners. This will boost attendee participation. 

couple winning prize

Plan speaker sessions

Your speaker sessions can be a real crowd pull. Leave no stone unturned. Invite industry professionals. They can talk about new features, updates, models, and even the future of the automotive industry. 

Plan out details such as who will be invited, then create a session schedule. Set those up in the virtual platform, with reminders to facilitate your attendees. These sessions can be: 

  • live sessions, where speakers can host a dialogue with their audience
  • semi-live sessions, where a pre-recorded video is played but speakers are available via chat function, or
  • pre-recorded presentations and webinars, where the audience can watch the presentation on their own time. 

speakers video conferencing

 

Make your virtual car show accessible

Attending a car show from the comfort of your own home is quite tempting. So, make the platform accessible to all. Enable people with a disability or who speak a different language to just as easily participate in the virtual car show. Make your event accessible for the deaf and blind community. From navigation to colour contrast, large font size to page narrations and captioned webinars, these small additions can allow everyone to feel welcome. 

Since a virtual car show allows a global reach, people will be joining in from various countries, speaking different languages. Thus, enabling people to comfortably participate is of utmost priority. Integrating with KUDO will allow you to conduct multilingual webinars and Q&A sessions. It will also help you cater to the deaf community as it allows translations in sign language.

online conference

Ensure your virtual car show platform is mobile-friendly. Keeping in mind the target audience, many may be attending from work with no real access to desktops.

Promote your virtual car show

As everything starts to come together, maximize all your marketing and promotional efforts. Use email marketing, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to generate buzz and virality around your virtual car show. 

Engage influencers and sponsors to help you promote your event. Even the car brands scheduled to participate in the virtual car show could use their social media channels to spread the word. 

online marketing

And now comes the event day. 

What to do as the final hours approach?

The last leg

Your virtual car show is ready to host attendees now. Be prepared with your action plan for a few hours before the event, your strategy for the event, and post-event.  

Pre-event day

  • Run through the virtual event with your project manager.
  • Check if all features are in place and running smoothly. 
  • Run tests with all speakers through the presentation platform.
  • Campaign rigorously on social media.
  • Send out an email reminder for the event.
  • Use a powerful Call-To-Action button compelling people to participate. 

Event day

  • Make sure attendees can easily navigate through the virtual venue.
  • Monitor the event closely, incase of any technical issues, immediately report to your project manager.
  • Manage the information desk.
  • Check reports regarding attendance and foot fall in hotspots. 
  • Keep an eye on which of the pre-registered people have not joined in and send them an email reminder.

Post-event 

  • Thank registrants who attended.
  • Send thank you emails to those who attended the virtual car show.
  • Also send emails to people who did not attend; add in a few helpful documents.
  • Get insights from your project manager on how the virtual car show went and what improvements could be made for next time, and technical issues that could be avoided. 
  • Understand event statistics and analytics.

man woman working on statistics

All through these critical stages of your event your project manager will be your best friend. At vFairs, project managers are there for you through it all, taking care of everything making sure you can sit back, relax and let the event run smoothly. 

Key Takeaways: 

The virtual car show is the perfect platform to bring all car enthusiasts and industry professionals together under one ‘virtual’ roof. This not just allows them to network among themselves but also helps them stay up to date with industry trends and news. Design your platform to ensure your audience gets what they came looking for to maximize the value they get out of it. 

 

How to start planning for your virtual car show?

Start here.

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