How to Optimize Your Virtual Trade Show Booth

November 16, 2021

Emily Newton

Emily Newton is an experienced industrial journalist who regularly covers news and trends in manufacturing and related sectors. As Editor-in-Chief of media platform Revolutionized, she’s always exploring the impact technology has on different industries.

Businesses have relied on trade shows for B2B marketing for nearly 200 years, and it’s easy to see why. These exhibitions allow companies to network, discover new leads and form partnerships. The more connections you make, the more likely you are to turn a profit and become a respected brand.

Up until this point, these shows have been largely in-person events. Now, however, event organizers are taking a different approach, with a plan to increase spending on virtual events and trade shows by 37% and 30%, respectively. Thus, online expos will likely remain for the foreseeable future.  

This is wonderful news for companies that want to save time, money and resources on a trade show booth. More people will also be able to attend, which can increase leads and ROI. You’ll just have to get a little creative to ensure you’re still engaging and connecting with attendees.

Optimize your virtual trade show booth to captivate a global audience, make a lasting impression and add real value to attendees’ lives. 

Promote Through Social Media

Whether you’re introducing medical nanotechnology or presenting improvements to existing products, you must promote the concept on social media. Tease your audience with sneak peeks of new items before the exhibition takes place. Then, update your followers as the event unfolds. Will you be hosting a livestream or offering special promotions later? Let everyone know so they can join in on the fun. 

Include Visuals

Pictures, logos, posters and graphs grab viewers’ attention and encourage them to ask questions or offer input. Use bright colors and engaging artwork, but make sure the information is valuable and relevant. Feature livestreams and pre-recorded videos, too. Include subtitles so anyone who scrolls past can enjoy the content without having to click on it. Some platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok have auto-captioning capabilities to simplify this step.  

Monitor the Comments Section 

Regardless of whether you host a workshop or start a livestream, it’s important to have an extra person to help man the comments section. This way, they can answer questions and respond to remarks while the other person presents. They can also convey frequently asked questions so whoever’s speaking can save time and address them all at once. As long as you reply to your followers, they’ll remain engaged and you’ll likely stay at the top of their newsfeed. 

Engage With Gamification 

Gamification can go a long way in engaging your audience and ensuring participation. Create a challenge that revolves around your product or company or simply reward people for stopping by your virtual booth. You might also suggest that event organizers offer incentives for attendees to visit every booth. This idea is especially effective at virtual events, where attendees may need a bit more motivation to check out each business. 

Create Promotional Offers

Whether you gamify your booth or not, you can always create promotional offers to turn leads into paying customers or simply gain more exposure. For example, if your booth advertises a virtual product launch, you could give attendees stylish gift boxes filled with new items. Include a note with hashtags you’d like them to use if they post a photo on social media. Discounts, coupons and other special offers are equally effective and can turn interested consumers into loyal customers if you play your cards right. 

Host a Workshop 

If a new product or concept already has a following of interested customers, host a workshop for those who may want to use or purchase it. What kind of insider information can you give them? Answer questions directly and take note of who participates the most so you can gather leads and follow up. This approach allows for more one-on-one dialogue to boost engagement, connection and, ultimately, sales. 

Use a Virtual Calendar 

It can be challenging to engage with all attendees as they flood your screen. Handle load balancing by limiting the number of people visiting your booth at once. Use a virtual calendar and allow participants to sign up for a specific time slot. Request their contact information upon registering to gather more leads. You can also make your schedule available so interested parties know when you’ll be offline for lunch. This way, no one assumes your booth is closed when you step away. 

Maintain Your Exhibition Page

Continue to boost ROI and discover more leads by maintaining the exhibition page after the show is over. Leave exhibitor profiles open so attendees can revisit the website and connect with staff. Those who were unable to visit your booth during the event will also appreciate the ability to check out your brand at their leisure. Increase traffic by updating the page with new developments and information relevant to consumers. 

Adding Value With a Virtual Exhibit Booth

There are more than 5,600 trade show and conference planning businesses in the U.S., and each one is trying to find the best exhibitors. Make sure you’re one of them by adding value to your virtual exhibit booth. 

Share exciting new information and products with interested customers, potential investors and other professionals within your industry. Create an engaging experience that they simply can’t find anywhere else and, most importantly, show them precisely how your brand can make their lives better. If your virtual booth and featured products truly are valuable, you’ll have little trouble attracting and keeping the right crowd.

 

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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: