3 Impactful Ways to Promote your Virtual Exhibit
July 24, 2020
Who would have thought that in 2020 we’d be having virtual trade shows instead of our usual in-person gatherings that we’ve grown very fond of? Whether you’ve been in the trade show industry for years or you were just starting to get the feel of things, virtual trade shows were a curveball that none of us were truly prepared for.
It’s new territory for everyone. Even if you have been finding great success at your trade show marketing events, it might not have a direct impact on how your virtual exhibits perform, as this type of exhibiting is a whole new ballgame.
You’re making the best out of the circumstances given. You’ve shifted gears, made the most of what you have at the moment, and found a way to make a very interactive virtual exhibit. Maybe it has extremely high-quality video messages for your visitors, or amazing brand messaging and great content, or even a great lead generating system. But what good does all this effort do if you’re unsure of how to promote it successfully?
Here are three impactful ways to promote your virtual exhibit.
1. Send a bulk mailer.
You may wonder why you’d want to send something in the form of physical mail when everything is so electronically focused these days. But studies have shown that 98% of people sort through their mail every day. If you want to get the attention of your prospects, this is the way to do it. The chances of someone reading your promotional item in the mail are much greater than opening it in an email, as the average open rate for an email marketing campaign is only 22.86%. To top it off, when you think about it, promotional emails are often redirected to the spam folder! This makes emails a difficult way to reach a massive audience.
To get the most bang for your buck with a bulk mailer, select a large number of targeted prospects with an item that makes sense for your brand message. Be sure to make it clear on where to go by having your TinyURL in view and easy to spot. You could even draw them in with a teaser or incentive. For example, you could say, “Click hotspot number three to be entered to win a…” Make sure this giveaway item is related to your brand or industry!
To make your direct mail campaign a memorable one, pick a promotional item that stands out, is fun, relevant, and worthwhile. Here are a couple of eye-catching ideas (just be sure that they tie into your industry).
- branded calendars
- webcam covers
- earbud winders
- luggage tags
- microfiber cleaning cloths
- post-it notes
If there’s a theme to your exhibit, tie it in with your mailer!
2. Email the list from your canceled show.
If your trade show was canceled, it’s great that you’re still finding a way to promote your brand through a virtual exhibit. You probably had a list of prospects eyeing you up before your show was canceled, so don’t let this interest go to waste! Reach out to those who were planning on attending your canceled trade show to show them that you care about finding a way to connect with them regardless of the circumstances.
Obtain this list of attendees from the show organizers if you can! If you are unable to gain access to that list, use last year’s lead list or attendee list. Do whatever you can to find these qualified leads and get in touch with them!
If you choose to do an email campaign, include an image of the virtual exhibit along with a hyperlink to get them signed up. Make sure to give them some insight on what they should expect to see if they visit.
You could also consider featuring a live video chat (scheduler) with your sales team during designated times to increase the immediate communication rates with attendees.
3. Share about it on social media.
Most likely, some of your best prospects and current customers are following you on social media. Don’t waste this platform by forgetting to use it to promote your virtual exhibit!
Social media also can reach the masses, even beyond your following. Create something share-worthy and engaging, and you will likely see the interest in your virtual exhibit gain traction.
Be sure to use relevant hashtags so that your posts are easily found by those who are interested in what you have to offer. Hashtag research can help tremendously, rather than just slapping in a few random hashtags that you find relevant. You could find a whole new audience if you widen your hashtag use and put some effort behind it!
Here are a couple of tips to remember when choosing your hashtags:
- Be sure that they’re relevant and match up with the content of your posts. If you share something about a medical device, but use hashtags like #family or #inthistogether, the people searching these hashtags will find no significance in your posts. Instead, you’d want to use hashtags like #medicaldevice, #medicalprofessionals, or #medicaldevicesales.
- Include hashtags with a wide range of post counts. This means that you’ll want to use hashtags that have as little as 500 posts and even up into the thousands and millions. This gives your post a better chance of being seen, as it could perform well and be shown to more viewers in the higher post categories, or not perform as well, but still be seen by some in the lower post categories.
- Don’t use hashtags that no one else is using right now. If no one is using them, it’s likely because no one is searching for them.
- Make your own hashtag. Your most loyal customers will sometimes use your hashtag in their posts, giving you some free brand recognition.
Stay adamant in your promotional efforts.
Remember that promoting virtual exhibits is a new challenge for most exhibitors. Just keep in mind that finding where your target audience is will always be key in promoting your virtual exhibit. Taking the time to create a plan to reach this audience is where you’re going to find success.
While we deal with the reality of virtual exhibiting, don’t lose hope! Keep promoting your virtual exhibit and finding what appeals the most to your target audience. Test your content and the wording you use to promote it, some wording may resonate better than other wording.
You can also extend the length of your virtual exhibit for additional months by changing up your content so that it can be used in various ways to inform, educate and build relationships with prospects and existing customers. For example, you could extend a 30-day virtual exhibit to be online for 6 months, changing your content up to 5 times. This will fill the void in your trade show marketing plans for 2020.
We hope these tips are helpful as you continue to embark on this journey of virtual exhibiting. We’re so excited to get back to the in-person trade shows that we are all so familiar with again! In the meantime, feel free to check out our virtual exhibit example, or reach out for any other questions about trade show marketing and let us know how we can help!