How to Shift Your Exhibit to a Virtual Event
2020 forced the entire globe to adjust to social distancing standards and stay-at-home regulations. The result? Rising popularity in virtual and hybrid events. Experts have been predicting that the trade show market is going to see an uptick in exhibit shows in the 3rd quarter of 2021–but that doesn’t mean virtual events are going to go away.
They’re a great way to garner more audience members for your event–and a great way to still host an event if you have to shut down the in-person one.
Keeping Your Virtual Audience Engaged
The number one reason businesses participate in trade shows is to garner leads and new clients. It’s easy to draw people in and keep them interested in-person, but it’s a lot more difficult with virtual events where your audience is most likely sitting down in front of their computer listening to presentation after presentation.
One of your biggest focuses in planning a virtual event is figuring out how to keep your audience engaged. Give these tips a try:
- Pre-recorded videos – Give leads access to your brand’s videos on demand.
- Animated education content – Look to produce 2D and 3D content to reduce the production costs found in traditional video.
- Live-streaming – Remote viewers won’t want to miss out on asking questions in this community format.
- Virtual event panels and forums – Hosting an online group is a great way to engage your audience with a live Q&A session.
Other fantastic options include “choose your path” activities and team workshops, or you could share solution demonstrations while answering questions from your online audience. By keeping your audience engaging, entertained, and educated by your virtual events, you’re closer to converting them into clients.
Lead Generation at Virtual Events
This leads us to our next topic, in the same line of audience interaction: lead generation. Leads are invaluable to businesses and generating leads via a virtual event is a special skill that must be mastered. Some ways to get your audience to buy into your brand are:
- Goals to guide your event
- Compelling messages
- Unique stories
- A format emphasizing customer experience
- Professional video design and production
Focus on engaging your audience–no one wants to sit for 8 hours and listen to presentations over and over.
Planning the Virtual Event
After you’ve developed the materials of your event that will entice your audience members, it’s time to organize the event. Basically, you have to get all the resources you’d use in a normal exhibit show–but virtual.
- You’re going to start by acquiring a virtual conference provider. This determines your attendee’s experience, so choose a provider that will best meet your objectives.
- Next, you’ll want to assemble your staff. They should have definite rules and responsibilities to attend to throughout the event. Your staff should have administrator access, as well as one person having super-admin access.
- How will you attendees experience your exhibit? Will there be virtual “rooms” to walk into or will they all view the same content?
- Make sure any presentations are short to accommodate for a shorter attention span.
- Use engagement opportunities to keep your audience active.
- Incorporate breaks into your event.
- Include only the essentials–a virtual event can become boring quickly. By keeping your event to the point you’re keeping your attendees entertained.
Lastly, think through the mechanics of your virtual event. by ensuring a smooth day you’re keeping your audience happy–and they should be your main focus.
If you’ve never organized a virtual event before, it can seem intimidating. But it’s a great way to keep your staff, your attendees, and yourself safe while overcoming any inability to attend an event.