It's been over a year since the onset of the pandemic and, by now, most exhibitors have either joined or hosted a virtual event. While some trade shows have been held in a physical format in 2021, things are far from returning to normal: from health & safety concerns to budget constraints and travel restrictions, many factors will continue to affect brick-and-mortar events. In the absence of face-to-face interactions, virtual booths have managed to bridge the gap between audiences and exhibitors, offering infinite marketing possibilities.
If you've heard about virtual booths, perhaps even explored one, but you're not sure whether they are right for your business, here are 10 essential benefits they can offer you:
1. More affordable than physical events
Attending a physical trade show is a major investment that includes many costs: travel, accommodation, designing & building the physical booth, printing promotional materials , renting space at the venue, sharing goodies/food, logistics and transportation, insurance, and private security for the products you exhibit. In comparison, virtual booths are much more affordable, since you're only paying for the creation of the virtual booth. Then, you can use that booth for various digital events, and this way you don't have to make a new investment every time.
For a more detailed comparison of live vs. digital events, you can read this blog post.
2. They help you boost engagement
Online trade shows may be the future of event marketing, but the default options that organizers offer to exhibiting companies leave much to be desired. Virtual booths, on the other hand, allow you to promote your products and services in a unique, engaging way that is consistent with your branding strategy. To further boost engagement, you can add features such as live guided tours, real time animations, and webinars into your booth.
For more tips about how you can make your virtual booth more engaging, check out this guide.
3. Maximize business exposure
Do you want to advertise your company all across the globe? This would be obviously impossible with physical trade shows, since the costs incurred would be too high. But, by having a virtual booth, you can make your business known to potential clients all over the world. With one single investment, you have a booth that you can use for virtual events all-year-round, including those that you couldn't have attended under normal circumstances. In addition to promoting your booth during online events, you can also showcase it on your website, on social media, in email newsletters, and much more.
More on the branding benefits of virtual booths, here.
4. Generate quality leads
Physical trade shows may attract huge crowds of people, but, statistically, only a small percentage of those who stop by your booth will end up becoming paying customers. Meanwhile, virtual booths have a higher chance of generating high-quality leads. For example, guests who visit your virtual booth during an online event can leave you their contact details, and you can follow up after the event with a personalized offer. Some digital events even propose to share automatically detailed visitor analytics.
Also, by including features such as live chat and shoppable buttons, you can expand the customer journey beyond the booth, so that visitors end up becoming paying customers soon after interacting with the booth.
Virtual booths can be scaled up or down, depending on your needs. If you're on a budget, you can start by getting a basic booth based on a template and just customize it with your logo and company colors. Then, if your requirements change, you can easily expand your booth with more complex features. Once the design of your online booth was agreed, you can also easily change its content (videos, PDFs, texts, URLs, etc.) according to the online events you will participate in, without the need for building a complete new booth.
6. Live 24/7/365
Physical trade shows last a few days at most, and even then, your brand ambassadors can't be present 24/7. But virtual booths are. Apart from taking part in online events with the virtual booth, you can also display it on your website, where it will be up 24/7 for visitors from all timezones to explore. Those who like what they see can leave you a message via the contact section or chatbot, so you won't lose any sales opportunities.
Brick-and-mortar trade shows have a tremendously high carbon footprint and generate a lot of waste. From the air travel required to get there to the piles of plastic and cardboard that get discarded soon after the event, trade shows are needlessly wasteful and, as sustainability is taking center stage on corporate agendas, more and more companies want to try sustainable alternatives. Since they're online-online, virtual booths don't have a negative impact on the environment, so you can promote your brand without harming the planet.
8. High Return on Investment
For the longest time, it seemed that physical trade shows were the be-all and end-all of event marketing. However, what many companies discovered with the advent of virtual booths is that the return on investment of physical events isn't that high. After sacrificing a considerable chunk of their annual budget to trade shows, you may not even get enough leads and break even. Meanwhile, virtual booths have a higher return on investment: with one single investment, you have a high-quality, state-of-the-art booth you can use for many events throughout the year, and even outside of events: for instance, some virtual booths are being used by companies to train their international employees, who have been unable to travel since the COVID started.
9. Infinite customization options
Do you want your virtual booth to follow the template of your existing trade show booth or give it a complete makeover with two floors on 500 m2 each? Do you want a huge digital display showcasing impressive 360-tours of your best-selling products, an attractive front desk looking like a space shuttle, or a fun game where visitors can win prizes? You can have them. Since they don't have the limitations of physical booths, virtual booths have infinite customization options. They can become everything you want, so that you can make a memorable impression.
10. Easy to promote and integrate into your marketing strategy
The primary application of virtual booths is for them to be used during online events. However, virtual booths are quite versatile, and you can use them outside the event too, by integrating them into your digital marketing strategy. You can showcase the booth on your website, promote it on social media, include it in email newsletters, ads, press releases, webinars, and more - read all about them here.