In the absence of brick and mortar trade shows, virtual trade shows can help you maintain consistency in your networking and marketing efforts, engage with clients and business partners, and even gain access to a bigger audience. But the audience’s attention is not a given, in any industry. Viewed online, where users have a notoriously low attention span, the way you organize and customize your virtual booth can make a huge difference. In a brick-and-mortar trade show, participants have already bought a ticket and will be in the same physical location as you for the following hours, so even if they pass by your booth the first time, they might come back later. But online, their attention can be stolen by something else, and they might not always remember to return to your booth.
Even in the case of digital trade shows, it’s a good idea to include a few creative features that boost audience engagement, maximize opportunities, and give you a competitive edge over other participants.
So, what creative elements can you include? Here are six standout ideas that can inspire you to create a fantastic virtual booth.
The lack of real-life interaction doesn’t mean there should be no interaction at all between you and your audience. Remember, the purpose of virtual trade shows and virtual booths is to replicate the real-life experience as much as possible and modern technology allows that, and even more. Virtuality allows us to free ourselves from many of the real life constraints. For instance, you can easily have a car floating in the air in the middle of your booth, which you can move around like if you were Superman with only the click of a mouse! Gravity does not affect online virtual booth organizers and it can multiply visitors' amazing experiences. For maximum engagement, add interactive buttons that let visitors discover your products and services at their own pace, from the comfort of their homes. A virtual tour isn’t a static image. It’s a complex, panoramic environment, where as many objects as possible should be clickable, open popup windows, offer more information and create new, valuable interactive experiences.
Although music isn’t one of the highlights at trade shows, it can be one of those hidden secrets that makes the atmosphere more welcoming or dynamic. Why not include some music or background noise in your virtual trade show? Of course, your choice of “soundtrack” shouldn’t be random, and it should follow a few general guidelines:
The music should never be too loud or distracting to outshine your products and services. It should enhance them, not overshadow them.
The ideal background music should be neutral, suitable for the occasion, and not too loud, so it doesn’t become irritating for the user.
Users should be able to stop the music easily, so make sure the pause button is accessible.
To avoid copyright issues, choose stock music or music that you have the right to use commercially.
Chatbots or live chat
In a standard brick-and-mortar trade show, there’s a human representative in front of your booth to welcome visitors, hand them a brochure, talk about your solutions, and answer their questions. In a virtual stand, you don’t have that, but you have chatbots, which are becoming increasingly popular. For example, 40% of millennials interact with chatbots on a daily basis, mostly for customer support, and a growing percentage of people say that they prefer using chatbots for simple queries because they’re more straightforward and have faster response times. Of course, bots cannot replace humans, but they can multitask, offer quick information when needed, or forward a visitor of your virtual stand to the right company representative.
Help desk/Info booth
Just like in a regular trade show, virtual stands can require assistance, and it’s a good idea to address all possible questions in one centralized help desk. This way, users who need assistance can click on that section and gain access to all the FAQs, documentation, links, product manuals, and any other information they need. There’s always a possibility that their question is more specific and isn’t covered in the help desk, so remember to add a field where they can submit their own question, leave feedback, or get in touch with your company via chat or email.
Chat tools are very important because they help you convert your prospects into sales and meet your objectives.
Gamification is a growing trend at conferences. Adding light, recreational events such as contests and games boosts engagement, increases attendance, entertains, and offers your virtual booth a unique touch that makes it stand out. Of course, the exact content in the recreation center should always be consistent with your brand image, but regardless of the details, the ultimate goal of such a section is to offer digital users a reward or incentive. For example, you can create a scavenger hunt that requires users to find hidden objects around the booth and then offer them a discount or e-book as a reward. If games aren’t a part of your general marketing strategy, then you can simply add a virtual break room with interesting videos, such as interviews with company representatives, client testimonials, product demonstrations, case studies, and so on. The goal of such content is to offer the user a little pick-me-up while at the same time adding value and increasing their stay time.
Social media sharing
And last but not least, because every great booth deserves all the attention it can get, don’t forget to add social media buttons so that you and visitors can share the virtual booth on their favorite network. Facebook and LinkedIn buttons are especially beneficial because they have a high concentration of business users, not to mention that LinkedIn Groups are an essential space for professionals to share industry affiliations, advice, and recommendations.
As a final word, if there’s one important takeaway you need to remember about the development of virtual booths, it’s that there’s no reason why you should limit your creative ideas. Thanks to modern technology, we can utilize your existing booth design to create a stunning online virtual stand that can boost sales and visibility.