8 Steps to Run a Virtual Trade Show Successfully

Virtual Trade Show

Trade exhibitions are a sight to behold. Where else, in only a few days, can vendors meet dozens of enthusiastic prospects looking for answers under one roof?  There aren’t many. That’s why trade exhibitions remain a vital aspect of a company’s marketing strategy. According to research, 63 percent of exhibitors believe trade exhibitions are “absolutely” or “very beneficial” to their companies. And it’s no surprise: trade exhibitions encourage people to buy things. 

If the product or service presented is one that attendees want, 98 percent are more inclined to buy after experiencing a face-to-face event. (Image courtesy of GES Events) Your trade show involvement might be a giant whoop if you don’t pay attention and plan well. There is no replacement for preparing to guarantee that your trade show aspirations become more than simply desires.

If we have learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that every event may be virtualized. Every event, whether it’s a seminar, a workshop, or a virtual trade fair, has been offered online for more reach and profit. 

Trade exhibitions have traditionally been held in person to facilitate communication and generating leads. However, with the correct plan and approach, trade fairs may now operate well in both virtual and hybrid formats.

There are good virtual trade fairs and terrible virtual trade fairs, just as there are good and bad physical trade fairs. The success of yours is determined by the preparation and strategy that went into it. 

How to conduct a Virtual Trade Show?

A trade fair is typically an occasion where vendors display their most recent items and presentations at kiosks put in place by the trade fairs organisers. Customers may stroll through the trade exhibition, visit various booths, test items, and purchase things straight from the vendors if they are happy with the services. 

This concept has been implemented online with the help of a virtual trade expo, which allows merchants and customers to engage online. Attendees may have a comparable real life experience at the virtual event platform as they would at a regular trade fair.

1.     Make a list of objectives for your virtual trade fair

The first purpose of the virtual trade fairs organiser should be to establish goals and priorities. 

·      Will the focus of the event be on services or the most recent products? 

·      Is it about raising brand awareness, generating leads, or demonstrating leadership?

 The right answers will assist you in contacting your core demographic and selecting the appropriate exhibitors.

2.     Create engaging material to keep your audience interested

Work on developing helpful material to help you attain your objectives after you’ve established them. Reach out to vendors and exhibitors and explain the advantages of participating in your virtual event. 

To captivate the audience, allow exhibitors to present their products or services through highly immersive dynamic booths. Exhibitors can stream webinars on product demos or services they provide. Allow participants to view and download videos, photos, and papers from specific booths in order to learn more about the items. Allow dealers and buyers to communicate virtually at the booths through live discussion and audio/video calls. Organize a Q&A session or allow participants to submit questions online. 

The more you draw attention to yourself, the better.

3.     Select the most appropriate virtual trade exhibition platform

Another crucial step in having a virtual trade show is selecting the correct virtual event platform which includes all of the features you’ll need to make your event a success.

Do thorough research while choosing the appropriate virtual event platform. Do make sure that the following features are available:

Virtual Exhibition Booths– Virtual exhibition booths are a necessity for any virtual trade fair. Exhibitors may personalise their booths with images and branding thanks to technological partners such as Puaerte Visual, ON24, etc.

Live Chat- Attendees and exhibitors may communicate, talk, and raise questions and queries via live chat. 

Livestreaming– Using a virtual event platform to livestream an event captures the audience in a fantastic way. Exhibitors might use live streaming to attract more leads and add value to their material. Pre-recorded sessions should also be available on-demand. 

Audio/Video Conferencing- Virtual events do not allow for face-to-face engagement. As a result, the platform must include audio/video conference capabilities for buyers and sellers to network and connect. 

Extra Features- B2B Meetings Planner, Business Card Swap, Gamification, Live Polls, and Breakout Sessions are some of the extra features that certain systems offer to keep attendees engaged.

4.     Decide on a date and time that is convenient for you

Selecting a time and date for an event is just as crucial as picking a location. Pick a day and time that will attract the most people to your event. Avoid holiday time and festivals, when viewers will already be preoccupied with other activities and would rather not sit before a computer for your trade fair. Ensure your exhibition doesn’t coincide with anything else vital.

5.     Use social media and email marketing to promote your event

All of your efforts in arranging a virtual trade fair will be for naught if you do not publicise your event. 

Establish social media profiles on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Promote your posts on social media and include snippets from your event. Videos, photos, and GIFs may all be included in the posts. Continue to respond to comments and be involved. Consider the participants’ experience as well.

Sending attractive and engaging emails to a chosen audience so that people are likely to register after reading the email. You may also give them reminders before and after the event, as well as a thank you email.

6.     Runthrough  

Perform a trial run on the a virtual event platform to assess exhibitor preparedness, participants online experience, and technology utilisation. Make sure your system is up to date and appropriate. To live stream, make sure you have decent internet access and adequate capacity. To summarise, try out various things, test the system, pressurise the system, and see whether everything works; if not, make changes.

7.     Good Customer Service 

The event’s ultimate purpose is to provide participants with a smooth experience. Have staff who can check the discussion forums and respond to participants’ questions through live chat. Check to see whether your event platform offers tech help for troubleshooting at any moment. 

When the audience checks in, you might also play a Welcome video. This video may go through all of the platform’s features as well as how to use them. It will be a valuable resource for those that are beginners to virtual events.

8.     Analytics

Event organisers and exhibitors can use data analytics to gain insights into how the audience interacted throughout the virtual trade fair. The number of attendees, the volume of conversations exchanged, the number of videos seen, the number of photos and documents downloaded, and so on are all included in the report provided for the event organiser. There is a separate report for each exhibitor on how users interacted with each booth.

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