10 Tips to Set Your Virtual Trade Show Booth Apart
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Every year, businesses spend thousands of dollars to attend events and create trade show booths to meet new leads and industry connections. However, thanks to the current pandemic, many companies must now attend a virtual trade show rather than going to in-person events.
Believe it or not, there are many benefits to virtual trade shows. For one, they can save businesses quite a bit of money spent on travel, hotel accommodations, and booth reservations. Virtual events can also be easier to coordinate with employees who are currently working from home or unable to travel easily.
However, it does create a new challenge of connecting with conference attendees virtually. You cannot speak with leads face-to-face, hand out branded swag gear, or capture the attention of people passing by.
Additionally, companies are facing greater challenges in terms of the competition at these events. According to Statista’s research, the number of exhibitors in trade shows has increased by over 30% for the past three years. However, the number of attendees has declined by 46% between 2019 to 2020 alone.
This means that businesses need to go to significant efforts to stand out in a virtual trade show by creating a booth that attracts virtual attendees. So, how can you make a long-lasting impression in a virtual conference with your booth?
Here are a few tips to help you create a unique and memorable booth at your next virtual trade show to drive in new leads and customers.
Start Branding Before the Virtual Trade Show
Planning is almost always the secret to success when it comes to events like a business conference or trade show. You cannot just show up the day of and expect people to flock to your booth. This is especially true for a virtual trade show. You need to start planning and promoting your company’s brand well before the day of the virtual event.
Your first step is to reach out to the virtual conference about sponsorship opportunities. If you can allocate part of your budget towards sponsoring something in the virtual trade show, you will be rewarded with advertising opportunities. Generally, the partners will publish your company’s logo on most of their billboards and virtual advertising.
This will help to make your brand more memorable to attendees. Studies have found that it takes people between 5 to 7 interactions with a company’s name and logo before they remember it!
You should also focus on promoting your participation in the virtual trade show in the weeks before it begins. Reach out to your leads to invite them to join. Connect with other attendees to let them know that you will be operating a virtual booth.
Prepare Your Virtual Event Platform Online
Virtual trade shows operate through specific providers to accommodate for simultaneous virtual networking events, including webinars, presentations, and booths.
Any technical difficulties on the day could ruin your chance to make a good impression with attendees. Make sure that you run through everything ahead of time so you can work out any kinks. Check that the sound and lighting are optimal, get comfortable with the platform, and make changes to your setup as needed.
Create Virtual Webinars for the Day of
If you’ve run a webinar before, you know that a lot of planning goes into the production. So, treat this virtual trade show like a webinar that is focused on networking – as well as selling.
If your team has multiple speakers or representatives, you should have everyone record themselves going over their talking points. Then, have the team watch through it afterward to see what can be fixed.
It is much harder to keep everyone engaged in virtual meetings than when you speak face-to-face. Look for potential issues, such as unenthusiastic speech, awkward pauses, or troubles with slide transitions. Look for online tools that you integrate to make your webinar portions more exciting and interactive, such as:
- Live chat for questions and comments
- Mixed media (videos, audio)
- Polling prompts
This can help to get your audience more involved during the virtual event and make things more exciting and memorable.
Start With Basic Designs for the Virtual Booth
Virtual trade show booths will be laid out similarly to physical booths – but they are far easier to change and customize. Don’t go overboard with plastering your logo or adding in digital options. You want to create a virtual booth that is visually exciting – without it being overwhelming or tacky.
However, you do want to have your logo prominently displayed. Just be sure that it does not overtake the design of your booth.
Your virtual booth is a huge branding tool, so use it wisely. Incorporate your company’s color scheme and marketing fonts along with striking product images to make it more attractive. Try to avoid having lots of images and incorporate marketing elements wisely.
Start Early With Virtual Design Consultants
Although it may seem quicker to make virtual adjustments than physical ones, you need to allocate enough time for these changes before the event. If this is your first time presenting at a virtual trade show, you will want to wrap up your booth design as far in advance as possible. So, you may want to start designing with a consultant several weeks – or even months – before the virtual trade show begins.
You will want to go through several rounds of edits before arriving at the final design and have time to correct any bottlenecks. The earlier you get started on designing the virtual booth, the better.
Consider Responsive Virtual Design Elements
One of the benefits of a virtual trade show booth is that you can use technology to make it an immersive experience. This allows you to interact with groups of people at a time, rather than personally interacting with each attendee.
Easy navigation is key for virtual trade show booth design. Be sure you are laying out CTAs (call to actions) prompts so attendees can select options, such as speaking to a representative, seeing a video about the product, or signing up for more information.
You may also want to consider inserting auto-playing videos or scroll-on images. Eighty percent of websites with auto-play media features have longer swell times reported by visitors – the same can go for your virtual trade show booth.
Prepare for Virtual Networking
Since you cannot network face-to-face with attendees, it is wise to draw up a plan for ways to connect virtually. Set out lists of questions, answers, talking points, and conversation starters, such as:
- Are you familiar with our company?
- What kind of services are you looking for?\
- Do you have any questions about our product/service?
- How did you hear about our booth?
- What attracted you to this virtual event?
Be sure to research your audience beforehand and see what other companies are participating in the virtual trade show. Know who your competitors are and what sets you apart!
Send Out Virtual Invites and Reminders
(People will not “stumble” across your booth like they would at a trade show. They will not see crowds gathering or come across posters promoting the virtual event, either. So, you will need to coordinate with an email campaign system to send out invites ahead of time.
The average virtual webinar attendance rate is only around 40 to 50% of those who register – so you will need to keep reminding attendees of the virtual conference about your booth. Make sure that you include important information, such as the times of speaking events or Q&A sessions.
You should also schedule several reminder emails leading up to the virtual trade show to invite attendees to check out your booth.
Make It Easy for Virtual Checkouts
Eighty-one percent of people who attend trade shows have the authority to make a purchase. That means that eight out of every ten people you interact with through your virtual trade show booth could have the power to buy right then and there.
The point of your booth is to sell and drive in leads, so focus on making this step as easy as possible for all of your attendees. Create buttons for specific actions like “Speak with a Sales Rep”, or “Contact for More Info”, or “Ask a Question.” Be sure that your pricing models are clearly stated and sales reps are always on hand through live chat or virtual consultations.
Track Virtual Engagement and Adjust
If the virtual conference is happening over a few days, take this as an opportunity to adjust and improve. Track and analyze engagement data from your virtual trade show booth’s webpage to measure:
- Click-through-rates on specific CTA buttons
- Dwell time data
- Traffic to specific features or events
- Email responses, such as sign-ups or replies
Look to see which elements are working and what aren’t working. You may even want to allow attendees to submit feedback on things like the quality of the video streaming in your virtual trade show, ease of navigation, or any glitches they noticed. Then, try to adjust your virtual booth design based on this data to correct these mistakes.
Get Started With Your Virtual Trade Show
Participating in a virtual trade show online is a great way to connect with vendors and leads from all over the world. However, you need to make a big impression with your virtual booth.
If you have any questions regarding event booth design, displays, and marketing materials for an upcoming virtual trade show, reach out to our team of experts at Art & Display. We help to create custom trade show displays and booths. Our team will work with you from planning and concept to execution.
Let’s create something together!