Our complete guide on hosting a virtual trade show in 2022

Are you looking for a cost-effective way to host your next trade show without the hassle of setting up booths, renting space or dealing with logistics? If so, then hosting a virtual trade show is the perfect solution!

This guide will walk you through how to create a virtual event and ensure it runs smoothly.

This guide will cover:

What is a virtual trade show?

A virtual trade show is an online event that mimics the look and feel of a physical tradeshow. Instead of attending an in-person event, attendees can log in from anywhere around the world via their computer or mobile device. This allows them to network with vendors, see demonstrations and learn more about products without travelling.

The main benefit of hosting a virtual tradeshow is that you can reach wide audiences without having to take on the expenses associated with an in-person event.

Benefits of a virtual tradeshow

There are several benefits to hosting a virtual tradeshow. Some major benefits we’ll go over are:

  • Global reach
  • Convenience
  • Cost-Efficient
  • Comfort/ Safety

Global reach

The first benefit is that you reach an international audience, which means more exposure for your brand. You can use this virtual trade show as a way to develop new partnerships with companies abroad or find potential investors if you’re looking for funding.

Cost-efficient

Another advantage of hosting a virtual trade show is cost. Since you don’t have to rent a space or hire staff, the only expense is creating your event.  This can be a great option if you’re on a budget.

In addition, the introduction of virtual venues as an alternative to virtual events software can provide attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors a highly intuitive and sophisticated experience with less overhead to planners and their clients.

Convenience

Attending an in-person convention can be stimulating and advantageous, but it’s not always the most convenient model. 

For example, many people are now attending events online with video conferencing technology that provides them with all manner of advantages even when they’re located outside close proximity to where there’s happening

A major benefit of hosting an online event is a convenience for the attendees. Since you don’t have to travel, people can attend the event from their home or office and there’s no need to take time off of work for this occasion.

A Hybrid or Virtual trade show offers you both worlds – accessibility without having to leave your house!

Comfort/safety

Finally, holding an online trade show is more comfortable than attending a physical one since it offers convenience with comfortability.

In 2020, it became necessary to shift the focus towards virtual meetings and events in order to avoid a possible spread of COVID-19. In 2021 though with restrictions being removed worldwide there may be less interest from your guests or key stakeholders when returning back into person-oriented socialization later on down the line.

With increased safety measures, it’s easier to feel safe when attending an event from your own home rather than a physical location.

Related topic: 4 benefits of hosting a virtual conference

6 steps to creating a successful virtual tradeshow

Now that you know the benefits of a virtual trade show, let’s show you the 6 steps to creating a successful virtual trade show:

  1. Set a goal
  2. Define your Audience 
  3. Create a budget
  4. Research proper data and time
  5. Choose a virtual event platform 
  6. Create a marketing plan

1. Set a Goal

Creating a goal is the first step to any successful trade show. Figure out what you want to achieve from this event and how it ties into your overall business strategy.

  • How many attendees do you want?
  • How many tickets will you try to sell?
  • How much revenue will you get from this virtual event?

You should aim to make SMART Goals so you can effectively see how well this virtual event went! 

2. Define your Audience

Be sure to take time determining who exactly will be attending your virtual tradeshow since it’s easier than ever before for people all over the world to participate. 

  • How will you reach this audience? 
  • How do they want to be reached?
  • What are they interested in?

You should be doing some target market research to tailor not only your event towards them but also your marketing campaigns!

3. Create a Budget

Figure out how much the event is going to cost and what kind of budget you have for it.

At the end of the day, you’ll still need to convince stakeholders of the company that hosting a virtual trade show will benefit the company and will be a great ROI (return on investment). 

Here are a few things to consider when figuring out your budget:

  • Marketing tactics 
  • Virtual events platform
  • Team costs
  • Speakers
  • Promotional items

You can use spreadsheets to organize the money coming in and out.

4. Research a proper date and time

Before you start promoting the event, make sure to find a date that works for everyone! Be sure to answer the following questions:

  • How long will it take to create an online environment?
  • How much time do people need to attend this event from around the world? 
  • How much time do you need to prepare for the event?  
  • How long will it take before people can watch your live stream?
  • What kind of technology and equipment is needed to host a virtual trade show? 

Choosing the right time and date can ensure you maximize the opportunity of getting the most attendees. 

5. Choose a virtual event platform

Now that you have a date set, budget and a goal, you’ll need to choose a virtual event platform!

Depending on the type of virtual trade show you want to host, different platforms can be used! Choosing the right virtual trade show platform will help you plan to execution can truly take the stress out of planning a virtual event.

Create a marketing plan

There’s no point in hosting a virtual trade show if no one knows about it! Be sure to create a marketing plan that is targeted towards your audience. Some effective marketing tactics to create hype for your virtual event are:

  • Social Media
  • Email Campaign
  • Influencer marketing
  • Proper Landing page
  • Get sponsors and speakers to spread awareness
  • Promotional items like videos and images
  • Press release

Read more: Virtual Event Marketing

7 Tips for hosting a great virtual trade show

Now that you know the benefits of hosting a virtual tradeshow, and the steps needed, we’ll go over some tips on how to make sure everything runs smoothly:

  • Start planning early
  • Find the main focus of your trade show
  • Keep track of your expenses
  • get your sponsors ready
  • Keep track of your analytics
  • Be prepared to troubleshoot
  • Keep your audience engaged

Start planning early!

This is one of the most important tips for hosting a virtual trade show. How can you create an event that hundreds of thousands will participate in if it’s not planned out?

You want to make sure everything goes smoothly and there are no technical difficulties, so give yourself plenty of time before your big day!

Find the main focus of your trade show

The beauty of hosting a virtual trade show is there’s no limit to what you can do.

You could host an event and talk about business, sports, fashion or any other topic that interests you!

However, it’s best to narrow down your focus so attendees have something they want to learn more about. You don’t want to overwhelm them with too much information.

Keep track of your expenses

Your virtual trade show doesn’t have to be expensive! How can you make sure it stays that way?

Start keeping track of each expense before and during the event so nothing gets lost in the mix.

You don’t want to get a surprise bill after your event is over.

As mentioned before, be sure your expenses are within the budget that you set when planning your event!

Get your sponsors ready

A great way to help cover some of the costs for your event is to find sponsors for this experience! You can use sponsor opportunities to use your trade show as a marketing channel as you will have the same target audience. 

How can you make sure they know what’s going on and how they’ll be involved? It’s important that both parties are prepared so the experience runs smoothly. From the initial agreement to the end of the show. 

Get your sponsors ready and what they can expect being a sponsor of the event.

Keep track of your analytics

How can you tell if hosting a virtual trade show was worth it? How will people learn about the next one you host? How many are attending? How much time are they spending on each page during the event? All these questions and more can be answered through analytics.

It’s important to keep track of your analytics so you can use the information to improve, learn from it and grow!

Did you reach your SMART goals? Using analytics will help you with that!

Keep your audience engaged

The most important thing about hosting a virtual trade show is keeping everyone involved!

It’s easy to get distracted with other things going on, but this experience should be all about engaging your attendees and having fun.

You want them to come back to future events that you hold so they can have a great time and connect with you.

Be sure to post fun content, keep track of analytics, and take in all the feedback from your participants!

Be prepared to troubleshoot

As you host your virtual trade show, you may encounter a few issues, so be prepared to troubleshoot!

You never know what kind of problems may occur. It could be something small like uploading delayed or even larger like connectivity issues.

The best thing to do is keep calm and ask for help if needed. You’ll feel much better knowing that you’re not alone and the problem is being handled.

Some event planners and virtual platforms will have a team to handle all of the technical issues so you won’t have to worry about troubleshooting any problems yourself!

Read more on the Best Practices for a Virtual Trade Show

What virtual event platform features should you look for?

What should you look for when choosing a virtual events platform for your trade show? You should look for features to help you connect and engage with your audience.

Customizable solutions

Great virtual platforms will give you the option to customize many different features. You can choose how you want your virtual event to look, what type of content will be shared and more!

You don’t have to settle for a simple solution when there are so many customizable options available. How else would you know if this platform is what’s right for you? It all depends on the features included!

You should be able to customize a variety of things like:

  • event website
  • registration
  • presenter profiles
  • interactive exhibitor booths
  • sponsorship recognition

Features that give a better guest experience

Not only should you look for features that make it easy for you to host an event, but you should look at features that give your attendees and guests a better virtual experience!

Some guest experience features like:

  • Easy navigation sessions
  • Network lounge / virtual tables
  • Attendee profiles / social eco-system
  • Gamification / engagement options

Measurement features

How will you know if your event was a success? Or how can you gain valuable feedback from your guests?  How can you measure the impact of your event? How will you know if it was worth hosting one in the first place?

How do you answer all these questions and more through analytics? You’ll be able to see how many people were involved, what pages they spent time on during each session and much more!

You should look for virtual platforms that offer measurement features so everything is tracked accurately throughout the entire experience. You should look for features like:

  • Event analytics
  • Surveys
  • Third-party integrations

 Let us help you with your virtual tradeshow!

We want to help you every step of the way. How can we do that?

Not only will our platform give you an easy-to-use interface, but it offers all the features included in this blog post!

With Ineventors, you’ll be able to create virtual events and trade shows based around:

  • your brand and target audience
  • Your budget
  • track analytics throughout your event so you know if it’s successful
  • and much more!

We also offer third-party integrations like surveys which make gathering feedback easier than ever before.

How else would you host an invigorating virtual trade show experience? Start looking at the benefits today!

If you need help hosting your virtual trade show, Inventors can help! Feel free to reach out for a free demo! 

Need some extra help? Reach out to Ineventors at any time!
We’d be happy to share our knowledge and give you a free demo of our platform!

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