Gone are the days of planning your flights and accommodation to your overseas (or not-so-close to home) trade shows. Welcome to the new normal – virtual trade shows!
COVID-19 has clearly made a huge impact on how we do business and even though virtual trade shows have been around for a while, they are becoming the apex of trade shows.
What do you need to do to plan for a successful virtual trade show in 2021?
Find the right date for virtual trade shows
– now that virtual trade shows are a viable option you need to make sure the timing is right. What are competitors putting together? If people in the industry have just attended a similar themed trade show then there needs to be a gap between the times. The gap not only needs to fit in with your target attendees but it needs to fit with the sponsors and also the exhibitors. Is there enough time to organize the event? Is there enough time to capture the right audience?
It would appear that in a very short space of time virtual trade shows and hybrid trade show options went from a bit of a marvel and something worth considering, to full-blown events that could eventually take over the face to face trade show. The marketing strategy has to address multiple options for targeting the right audience. What channels do you need to use to get the event information out there? Is there a company that can assist you in doing this? We can’t be experts at everything and if your main goal is to get people to come to your event getting help on some aspects can be invaluable.
Relevant content for virtual trade shows
How are you going to cover the content information in a way that will keep your audience interested, informed and confident that the virtual trade show was as much of a success as a face to face trade show? How will guest speakers present their information? Will it be synchronous or asynchronous? Will you have an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and how will you create an environment that supports this? How will you promote the sponsors? How will you create networking opportunities for those attending? These are all very serious questions that need to be considered in order to make it a successful virtual trade show.
The virtual trade show can become a very one dimensional format for presentation if the content does not have variety or involve interactions. Don’t forget to include chat sessions, different opportunities for break out rooms or meetings for discussions, panels, a mix of media and of course a host that can help carry the discussion.
Device friendly Virtual Trade Shows
Will the platforms you utilize be mobile friendly? People may not be able to attend due to other commitments or country regulations on travel however that does not mean they are not mobile within their own space. Lugging the laptop around still is a convenience for some, others want to be able to listen while they drive to work so that they don’t miss a speaker in between their home computer and work computer so making sure it is mobile friendly is imperative.
How do you share the information related to the products and suppliers available? Being able to have sort options, filters and navigation tools that are easy to use helps fit the experience to the end user.
Are you set to sell? Not just the usual iconic items, but do you have an online store for purchasers and suppliers? Is this something that attendees and virtual stall holders would benefit from?
Language for Virtual Trade Shows
Have you considered your target population’s language and any requirements around this? Face to face trade shows sometimes offer translations but what will you do for the virtual trade show? Given the interest for the trade show may be larger because it is in fact virtual, will you be able to accommodate this?
Have you considered bringing the matchmaking tool on-board to assist with networking? This is a supplementary or add on tool that can be used to increase the experience of your attendees and help provide another dimension to your virtual trade show.
Team for Virtual Trade Shows
The people that put the event together are crucial to the overall success. Experience and a background in both face to face trade shows and virtual trade shows can make a difference to the success of your event. Utilize the companies that have succeeded and continue to show evidence of ongoing success in virtual trade shows. They will have all of the background information to help guide you to host your trade show and probably know a few tricks of the trade from their experience.
It seems like a standard thing to say or think to do but how will you know what your successes really are if you don’t ask for them? If this is your first virtual event it surely won’t be your last. What went remarkably well and what would be something you would leave out or plan for better next time? Ask your attendees, your sponsors and your exhibitors – they’ll all have something to offer (especially when there are incentives to provide the information).
AladdinB2B is a large leading trade show organizer offering virtual trade show services. Our team has a reputation for digitizing the experience and we continually evolve alongside the technology. With years of experience in the industry we have the background to support your next event. Contact AladdinB2B to start planning your virtual trade show.