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If you’re not new to the trade show industry, you’ve probably heard about virtual booths and how they’re quickly rising in popularity among business owners.
But what are they, exactly, and are they really worth the investment in a time of so many budget cuts?
A virtual booth is a space dedicated to promoting your business in an online environment. Just like the booth in a brick-and-mortar exhibition, it showcases your products and services in a creative way, engaging audiences and sparking conversations. Virtual booths offer limitless design possibilities and include innovative features such as immersive 3D tours, webinars, product videos, contests, and much more.
So, how can this new format help your business, and why should you include it in your digital marketing strategy?
It’s more affordable than attending a virtual event.
Let’s start with the one aspect that most businesses are interested in right now: money.
The past few months have been incredibly stressful for business owners, who were forced to make budget cuts, lay off personnel, and even rethink their business plan.
Virtual events have already proven to be more affordable than conventional trade shows, and they’re definitely a smart way of saving money – after the pandemic, the virtual event trend is expected to continue and businesses might transition to a hybrid event marketing approach. Still, attending a virtual trade show isn’t that affordable. The more prestigious the event, the higher the attendance cost, and no matter how much you wanted to showcase your products there, sometimes spending this kind of money isn’t feasible.
In this case, virtual booths provide the perfect middle ground. You will still have a stunning booth to impress audiences with but, instead of showing it as part of a large event, you can add it to your website, host it on a third-party platform, and promote it on social media. This way, you maximize your ROI and with one single investment, which is still much cheaper compared to a trade show.
Unlike virtual events, which only last for a few days, virtual trade show booths can be used by businesses all year round. So, after the booth has been created, you can keep it up for as long as you want and use it as you see fit. What’s more, you can incorporate it in your digital marketing strategy: you can share it on social media, in emails, customer proposals, and whenever you feel that you need a more immersive and professional experience than what a website can offer.
Gain qualified leads
Your website and social media profiles are excellent sources of leads. However, only a very small percentage of those who come in contact with them end up becoming paying customers. And that’s because when they visit your site or Facebook page, visitors may not be in the right stage of the purchasing journey yet.
With virtual booths, however, you gain more qualified leads because when people decide to visit your booth, they’re farther along the purchasing journey: they already know your products and services, perhaps they’ve even heard of you, they just need that final push. Plus, even if they don’t, the leads are trackable. So, for example, if a virtual guest contacted you while visiting your virtual booth, or attended a webinar, you can follow up and send them a personalized offer.
Boost audience engagement
Why showcase your products and services in a virtual trade show booth if you already have a website? Because, compared to a simple website, which all your competitors already have, a virtual booth offers a much more engaging experience. And engagement is key in customer communications:
- It makes the interaction more memorable, boosting brand awareness
- It builds loyalty and trust
- It grabs the audience’s attention
- It inspires emotion and encourages visitors to take action
- In the long run, it can boost sales and generate growth
Ensure marketing continuity in an uncertain landscape.
If trade shows were one of your main marketing channels before the pandemic, waiting quietly for things to get back to normal might not be the best course of action. It’s still unclear when large events will resume (late 2021 or early 2022, by the most optimistic estimates) and, by that time, clients may forget about you if you don’t do anything. Digital transformation is the key to survival in these uncertain times, so by presenting your products to clients in a format they already know and love, combined with the convenience of digital experiences, you can stay relevant and ensure marketing continuity.