During the last year, event organizers hosting a virtual trade show faced different challenges with the new format. Many experienced difficulties with connecting attendees and exhibitors, delivering the promised outcome to sponsors, or even juggling attendees attention between expo and event. In this article, we explain what actions an event organizer can take to host a successful virtual trade show that every attendee enjoys.
1. Choose a versatile event platform
Choosing a platform for your virtual trade show, make sure that except for the basic features such as exhibitors virtual booth info and contacts review, it enables participants to set up demos, chat or make video calls. The right tool and functionality will facilitate communication between exhibitors and attendees. And in reverse, limited functionality will reduce it, so keep an eye to pick a good one. Also, avoid too complex platforms with an extensive amount of bells and whistles that confuse the audience and make navigation harder. You can learn more about the Worksup expo feature here. It enables online visitors to easily connect with booths representatives, set up calls or meetings.
2. Have a contextual message
Nothing fosters the communication between two sides better than shared interests. Sometimes preparing for a virtual trade show, exhibitors don’t align their offer and messages according to the audience needs and thus, feel a lack of attention. To make the messages more contextual, exhibitors may think about the challenges participants face nowadays. And from this point, they could polish the offer to match the audience needs better.
For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses dramatically changed the way they cooperate: from a new business model to the customer acquisition process. It brought new challenges and new opportunities, and the homework of virtual exhibitors would be to carefully discover the pains to create a spot-on message.
3. Make the expo more visible and attractive
Learn if a platform you use allows making your partners or sponsors more visible. It’s important that it should be easy to navigate to the expo area but also you may want to think about additional visible boosters that would encourage attendees to enter the area.
As an example, at Worksup we enable event organizers to list sponsors’ or partners’ logos banner at the bottom of the agenda which is seen all event long. Clicking on a concrete logo, a participant is redirected to the company’s booth where they could discover potential cooperation opportunities with each other.
Another positive outcome is that linking the expo to the break sessions and virtual booths to particular presentations also boosts traffic.
4. Activate partners
Partners often take a very passive role in virtual expo thinking that most of the work should be done by event organizers. But in order to have a lively and engaging expo, in addition to the more personalized message and materials, you need to encourage them to proactively contact the participants, too. Instead of waiting for the audience to approach partners by themselves, partners could review the attendees’ interests (if the platform allows to), start a conversation and make a value proposition. If connect with the right person, it will bring more fruitful outcomes at the end for all stakeholders: attendees, partners and organizer.
5. Activate and guide participants
Another common mistake that affects virtual trade show results is acquiring great functionality and not explaining how to use it. In this case, no matter how cool your exhibitors are, no one will enjoy it if they don’t know how to access it. Even if something seems to be obvious for us, very often it can be seen not the same way by other people. Therefore, you may want to build a clear vision for attendees on how to access virtual expo, what possibilities it provides and how to use it. The best way would be to announce it before the event. Or if the platform functionality allows, you can even attach a quick guide on how to use it for those who missed this explanation in the beginning.
Also, tech tools can assist with virtual trade shows in many ways. The real impact could be done when the platform and organizer combine their efforts. For that, reach out to your audience with quick announcements in-between sessions to encourage visiting the expo area. To seed interest, you can briefly describe a few companies listed, what they do or name some promotions they offer during this event.