Virtual Trade Shows and Expos


As the world becomes increasingly connected, virtual expos and trade shows offer a unique opportunity for exhibitors and delegates alike. By leveraging the right technology, these events are able to break down geographical boundaries and create an engaging experience that mimics real-life interactions.

Virtual Trade Show Vs. Expo: Understanding the Key Difference
It is important to note that, while the terms "virtual trade show" and "virtual expo" are sometimes used interchangeably, they do have some distinct differences. In particular, virtual trade shows are generally industry-specific and focused on connecting businesses with prospective buyers or partners. In comparison, virtual expos are broader in scope and present a wide range of products and services from various industries and organizations, making them more appealing to a wider audience.

How Do They Work?
Virtual Expos and trade shows provide businesses with the opportunity to interact with their direct customer base. These multi-session, multi-day events offer attendees a host of exciting activities, including live and on-demand sessions, networking with sponsors and guests, and interactive booths filled with engaging content. 

The Advantages of Hosting a Virtual Expo or Trade Show
With no physical barriers to entry, companies can easily connect with a global audience and break through language barriers with translation options. In addition, hosting a virtual show grants valuable data metrics like viewer engagement levels and participation rates, providing insights for improving future events. Attendees can access important information in virtual booths, such as presentations, brochures, and videos. And with the added potential for gamification, booth engagement can last longer and attract even more attendees.

How to Create Successful Virtual Expos or Trade Shows

  1. Define Your Objectives: As a show organizer, you must define your goals and objectives for the event. For example, are you looking to launch new products, drive thought leadership or generate leads?Having well-laid objectives will help you identify and target the right audience and exhibitors, set up benchmarks for success, and conduct an insightful post-event analysis to measure attendee and exhibitor satisfaction. 
  2. Set a Budget: Keep in mind that, while significantly cheaper to run, virtual events can still require investment in technology, marketing, and staffing. Consider the costs of setting up a domain for a virtual expo, virtual event production, and promotional campaigns. Identify potential revenue streams, such as sponsorships and exhibitor fees, to offset some of these expenses.
  3. Build a Schedule: A well-structured schedule that includes keynote speeches, presentations, demos, and other activities can help you keep attendees engaged and ensure that they get the most out of your event. Good features to have with your platform are customized attendee dashboards and an automated messaging capability which will help ensure attendees have access to your schedule. 
  4. Create Valuable Content: Once you have defined your objectives, you can begin to build content that will help you meet those objectives. Start reaching out to vendors, exhibitors, and presenters that will provide value to your attendees and help you reach your objectives. Consider adding keynote speeches, a live webinar, Q&As, networking sessions, or some sort of virtual conferencing element. The more you can do to highlight your presenters and vendors, the more you will distinguish your virtual expo or trade show from the competition, and the more you will improve the attendee experience.
  5. Maximize Technology: With the right event management platform, you can host virtual booths, oversee attendee registration, and stream the event live. Features such as chat rooms and Q&A sessions provide real-time interaction for attendees and exhibitors, closely replicating the in-person event experience. Furthermore, the addition of streaming tools such as live video and webinars can boost thought leadership and promote engagement with attendees post-event. These tools can also be utilized to create a virtual showroom where exhibitors can showcase their products/services and hold one-on-one conversations with attendees. By leveraging these innovative technologies, you can ensure a seamless and valuable virtual experience that captivates attendees and creates a lasting impression.
  6. Promote Your Event: In order to promote a successful virtual expo or trade show, it is important to have an effective marketing strategy. This should include both digital and traditional methods of promotion such as email campaigns, social media posts, advertising on relevant websites and magazines, direct mailings, radio ads, etc.Additionally, utilizing influencers in your industry can be a great way to draw attention to your event and increase engagement with potential attendees. Offering incentives such as discounts for early registration for those who attend can also help boost attendance rates.
  7. Additional Sessions: Without a physical exhibition hall where attendees can meet and discuss the trade show, it might be a good idea to offer additional networking opportunities. Virtual events allow businesses to offer additional sessions, such as virtual meeting rooms and breakout sessions, that provide meaningful and useful networking opportunities beyond just visiting a virtual booth.
  8. Follow Up with Attendees: Don't forget to follow up with attendees to foster lasting relationships beyond the virtual experience. One idea is to offer exclusive discounts on relevant products and services to encourage loyalty to your brand long after they log off. To keep the conversation going, consider providing personalized digital handouts like eBooks and whitepapers that offer educational value and help build connections between businesses and consumers. Let's create meaningful connections that go beyond online booth visits.
  9. Extend Your Event’s Lifespan: Use the platform's versatility and keep the energy alive with post-event surveys, and replaying previous sessions. Customized reports help you keep track of booth interaction and gather contact information from attendees who filled out forms, joined in-booth sessions, or viewed booth content. This allows you to extend your engagement beyond the initial event and keep your audience hooked even after the event is over.
  10. Measure Your Success: Success can be measured by assessing pre-defined objectives and key parameters, as discussed earlier. However, other metrics can be used to gauge success. These include the number of attendees, engagement levels, number of leads generated, attendance rates for various sessions and presentations, and attendee satisfaction. Analyzing these metrics provides insight into what worked well during the event and what can be improved on for future events.

Choosing Your Event Platform - Features To Look Out For:

Virtual Booths
When choosing a platform, look for robust features like virtual booths to create a memorable and valuable virtual experience for attendees. For instance, platforms like BlueJeans provide exhibitors and sponsors with the ability to personalize their booth with custom logos, messaging, and digital handouts, giving them a competitive edge. 

Session Management Tools
Managing an expo or trade show can be a daunting task, but with the right tools in place, it's possible to streamline the process and ensure that everything runs smoothly. Expo and trade show session management tools offer event planners a range of features that can simplify everything from video sessions to sign-ups, reminders, and reporting. By taking advantage of these tools, organizers can offer attendees an exceptional experience while gathering valuable data and insights for future events.

Automated Messaging
Messaging is a crucial aspect of any successful event. Automated emails can be used to both welcome attendees and remind them about upcoming sessions. These automated messages can be customized to meet the specific needs of the event, allowing for a personalized touch that can make attendees feel valued.

Live Streaming
Live streaming offers event organizers the ability to create customized and interactive experiences for attendees, closely mirroring the in-person event experience. This not only enhances attendee satisfaction but also boosts engagement levels.

Chat Features
Live chat is an important aspect of virtual events that helps to create an engaging and personalized experience for attendees. It allows for real-time interaction and communication. By utilizing the right chat features, attendees are able to ask questions and receive relevant answers, address concerns, and engage in discussions with exhibitors. 

Creating Virtual Expos and Trade Shows with booths is no longer a novelty. They have the capacity to attract and engage a wide and global audience at a fraction of the cost of the traditional event. And many of the features of a hosting platform can actually enhance the experience of attendees. It is also far easier to track the audience's specific interests and to follow up on this long after the event has passed. 

All these features are available with BlueJeans Expo and Events which allow you to host, manage, and customize virtual events with the greatest of ease. Contact us to find out more.