Virtual trade shows will dominate 2021
Trade shows are one of the last events to move over to the virtual world in the wake of COVID.
After all, trade shows exist to showcase new products, host demonstrations, and collaborate with peers. With traveling for traditional events becoming increasingly difficult, and even illegal in some states and cities, organizations that are quick to evolve into the virtual trade show space will have a jump on the competition.
The good news is, you're still launching products and expo shows are still necessary. They’ve just gone virtual - and there are experts to help you adapt as well.
So, what are the benefits of virtual trade shows?
Well, virtual trade shows have a lower barrier to entry for guests - meaning that more people will be able to attend because they do not need to leave the comfort of their home or office.
In addition, a virtual trade show will save you money. You won't have to deal with the hassle of renting convention centers, working with expensive print companies for branding needs, or hiring event day staff.
Lastly, virtual trade shows create more retention of information. Instead of cramming information into a short few-day window, guests can absorb content on their own time and it will lead to higher retention. Your guests may not be able to touch and feel products, but they will be able to learn more about them over the course of time.
But what should an online trade show look like?
The toughest part of virtual event planning is reimagining what's traditionally worked. As you explore virtual trade shows, it's important that you put the same effort and care into your online event as you would with a rented venue.
Basically, don't just toss a Zoom link into the universe and trust it to sell your product.
You should be on the hunt for a capable software solution that'll give your event a pristine, professional look.
Here are three things to look for in virtual trade show software.
1) Professional audio/visual and technical support.
Guests have attended numerous virtual events over the last 6 months, and they can tell a quality production from an inexperienced show. Shaky livestream links, bad lighting, and the dreaded "Can you all see my screen?" is leading to virtual burnout.
If your viewer is annoyed at your technical presentation in your virtual trade show, they won't have time to focus on the products.
You need to make sure the demonstration of the products looks flawless when it’s time to go live. Audio and visual support will be a huge part of that.
Rock solid connections are also important. You don’t want to lose the connection in the middle of the stream and you want to minimize the chance that a guest would experience any interruptions in the broadcast.
Something most people do not consider when diving into the world of DIY virtual trade shows is transitions of presentations during the event. Unless someone on your team will be in charge of the run-of-show for your virtual trade show - you might want to look for an online expo platform that will control transitions, cues, and technical switching when you go live.
2) Viewer interaction and engagement tools.
We've all been on tons of streams in the last year and let's be honest: most streams are boring and unengaging.
That's why you should pick a virtual expo software that focuses on engagement.
Breakout rooms, Q&A, and private messages for networking purposes all keep your viewer engaged on the product presentations. This gives you a chance to allow the imagination of your guests to go wild as they picture all the uses of new products.
You might have been limited in a traditional trade show environment by a 10x10 vendor booth or a conference room screen. Technology pushes the bounds of this with tools like augmented reality, placing products directly into the rooms of your virtual viewers.
In addition, one of the major benefits of virtual expos is the trackability of guest interactions. You’ll be able to tell where guests click, what videos they watch, who they talk with, and what products they are most interested in.
You can use this data to target interested leads after the laptops have powered down for the day. Make sure your virtual trade show has as many chances for interaction as possible so that you can keep your guests engaged, and re-engage them based on their interactions.
3) A customizable, branded presentation.
Zooms and Google Meets often feel impersonal. The more they’ve been done, the lazier they feel.
Make your virtual trade show feel custom, a unique event that's must-see for your viewers.
That means leverage a custom landing page. Send personalized email reminders about the event. Make each breakout room have its own look and feel.
By choosing a software with these features, your trade show will feel professional and thought out instead of thrown together at the last minute.
Get ready to save a lot of money by white labeling a virtual trade show platform instead of working with print and signage vendors to transform a hotel.
With virtual events, every interaction a guest has reflects your brand perfectly. Say goodbye to outdated carpet or curtain backdrops. Say hello to your colors, your images, and your own unique twist on virtual events.