Posted by: Dennis Shiao | June 25, 2010

Beyond the Booth: Making the Most of Your Virtual Presence


So you’ve decided to sponsor a virtual booth at an upcoming virtual trade show.  Remember that an event is still an event and whether it’s virtual of physical, the more you put in, the more you get out. And in marketing, it’s all about starting the right conversations in the right way. That’s how great relationships are built. Here is a sure-fire three step approach to help start those conversations:

1. Start With Engaging Content
Good content will make or break your booth, so provide engaging content that engages by demonstrating an understanding of your prospects’ motivations and invites a response. Content should relate and build on the show’s theme and content. Consider the following kinds of content that connect first on an emotional level:

  • Motivating short video that relates to the show
  • Self assessment tools

2. Follow up with Relevant Education
Once your audience is engaged and motivated, they may be ready for a deeper dive on your content and benefit-driven solutions.

  • Educational papers, blogs and links
  • Seminars that relate to the show’s content

3. Close with a Call to Action
Always give them ways to interact with you and your sales team with self-assessment response delivery, questions that you can answer to add value or event games that offer rewards for answering relevant questions.

  • WebEx links for sales
  • Games or a “scavenger hunt”

In addition, make prizes available in your booth to further encourage responses.  Consider what actions you’d like visitors to take and make those actions a condition for prize eligibility.  For instance, ask visitors to complete a survey or a self-assessment questionnaire – both can help you further qualify their interest in your products and services.

Staff Appropriately
Quantity plus quality – first, ensure that you have adequate coverage for the number of visitors expected.  The virtual event host should be able to estimate how may live attendees the event will draw – so determine how many staffers you’ll need to support the crowd.  Next, make sure you have product-knowledgeable staffers! Prospects further along in the sales cycle may enter your booth with very specific product questions – capitalize on this opportunity by providing them with answers to their questions.  If you don’t, they may seek answers from your competitors’ booths.

Consider the Element of Surprise
Consider incentives and prizes. Distribute the excess goodies to virtual event attendees who answer trivia questions (about your company) in your booth’s group chat area.  Don’t schedule these ahead of time – do them on the spur of the moment, when there’s a critical mass of visitors in your booth.  Visitors will find it engaging and the chatter will spread throughout the event.  You may receive visits from other attendees, who enter your booth in anticipation of the next surprise.

At the End of the Day….
A virtual trade show, just like a physical trade show, is an investment – you’re putting dollars, resources, time and energy into the effort.  Make sure you achieve strong ROI by thinking “beyond the booth”.


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