Participating in virtual tradeshows and events has become more commonplace over the last few years but not everyone is comfortable manning their virtual booths. The preparation and skills needed for a physical tradeshow are different than what will be necessary for a successful virtual experience. Let’s spend a bit of time understanding the four key factors that go into a successful virtual booth sponsorship.
- Preparation and Setup
The virtual space needs to be branded and stocked with interesting information, materials and people to entice people to visit and chat. For a virtual space, this can include things like a welcome video, relevant documents and links, group chats, prizes or timed chats with subject matter experts. The important thing to remember is that, just like a physical show, a virtual booth needs pizazz and an eager, friendly staff to greet visitors.
Once the staff has been identified, make sure they understand how to use the technology. The booth staffers should understand:
- How to start communications with booth visitors
- How to tell if someone else from the booth is already chatting with that visitor
- How to exchange virtual business card information
- What features/functionality are available in their booth
- How to navigate the booth
Additionally, the staffers should know when they are scheduled to be staffing the booth and plan to be dedicated to the booth during that time. While it may seem easy to multitask during a virtual event, it’s best to make sure the staff are fully present for any new visitors or opportunities that may arise.
- Working the Live Event
During the live event, the booth staffers should be actively greeting guests as they enter the booth, finding out what brought them by and offering guidance on what information is best for them to view and/or add to their show briefcases. Every guest should feel like they’ve had a personal experience with the booth staffers.
Additionally, during the live day, there will be a variety of other activities taking place at the virtual event which can include presentations, group chats or other interactive engagements. A smart booth host will send some of their staff to attend these various mini-events to increase their presence and drive traffic back to the booth.
- Post-Event Follow Up
The wonderful thing about a virtual event is that all of the conversations, business cards, booth visitors and booth engagement information is stored in a post-event report. These reports allow hosts to easily see the people who were most engaged at the booth versus the people who were just “passing through”. It’s important to reach out to the booth visitors within 5-7 business days of the event to follow up on the virtual interaction and take the next steps in closing a deal. Similar to a physical event, booth hosts should try to strike while the iron is hot and the lead has forgotten about the event or their interactions with the staffers.
While the preparations and activities for sponsoring an online booth are different than that of a physical event, the most important thing to remember is that virtual events can account for huge increases in sales. It’s important to treat virtual events with the same level of gravitas that a host would for a physical tradeshow.