Virtual trade shows are here to stay. I am sure there will be a place for live trade shows. As an example, you can't taste virtual food. For industries like travel, you can probably do most of it virtually. The most exciting thing about a virtual trade show is that distance no longer matters. We can exhibit at a Las Vegas trade show without leaving our homes. We can also show at trade shows in China and trade shows in Dubai without jet lag or Visas.
8 tips for setting up your first virtual trade show.
- Staff your virtual trade show booth with your most knowledgeable staff. Your staff needs to be able to answer a lot of questions quickly via video chat and text chat. They need to be able to do this all at the same time.
- Use a computer, not an iPad or a phone. You need a keyboard and you need space.
- The camera that came with your computer isn't good enough. Buy a high quality web camera from Logitech. 1080p is probably the highest resolution you will need. No reason to get 4K yet. I use a Logitech Stream cam.
- Buy a good pair of headphones. If you don't use headphones, the noise from the speakers will go back through the mic and create feedback. I have a number of different headphones that I use. Most are DJ related. Make sure you can plug the headphones into the laptop or they are Bluetooth compatible. I use a DT 770 by Beyerdynamic.
- Get a microphone. You need to make sure your sound quality is good. You can use a headset with a microphone or you can buy a separate mic. Blue Yeti is a brand owned by Logitech that makes good mics.
- You need lighting. Go buy some additional lighting so people can see you. There are many options on Amazon. I have not found the perfect solution for this yet.
- Drop ship promotional products like hats, pens, shirts to people who come to your booth. Give the prospective customers something they can touch and reference in the future.
- Take advantage of advertising opportunities. The big guys no longer have a bigger booth than you do. If you out advertise them, you might be able to get more traffic than they get.
You are looking about about $800 to get a good camera, microphone, headphones, and lighting. Our first virtual trade show is the PPAI Las Vegas trade show this January. We are already signed up and we have started to "decorate" our booth. We loaded product 8 products from our SAGE data base. We added an old photograph of our booth and we added a video we happened to take in 2013 talking about our top 3 products. It isn't professional but it is exactly the information we want people too hear that go to our booth. We still need to add our literature. All of our literature has been digital for the last 10 years. We actually just ran out of catalogs a year ago. We ordered 100,000 about 25 years ago. The first 100,000 had an error so they gave us another 100,000 even though we didn't ask. We used them all up.