Product launches, like so many other things, have been thrown into a world of uncertainty as the trade show industry continues to shift focus from in-person events to virtual platforms.

It’s hard to imagine how a virtual experience can compare to the lively hum of the trade show hall and the excited attendees stopping by to check out your new product release. 

We’ll have to do what business owners and marketers do best: get creative! Here’s how to do a virtual product launch in the age of social distancing:

 

Create value-added digital events:

For the foreseeable future, businesses will need to find a way to draw digital crowds instead of physical crowds. To do that, you can use the same strategy that works in your trade show booth: cool swag. No, we don’t mean you should mail out giveaways.

Here’s an example:

Swimwear brand Body Glove pivoted to a fully digital strategy to launch their first fully recycled swimwear line. Their brand representative, celebrated surfer Tatiana Weston-Webb, will be hosting 5 online workout sessions for Body Glove followers. Fans will get a great workout, and Body Glove will have a chance to show off some new swimwear.

Of course, we don’t all have a famous athlete to draw in the crowds, but you may be able to brainstorm a valuable virtual event that is aligned with your industry. 

For example, food and beverage companies could arrange a cooking tutorial from the home kitchen of popular foodie on social media. Send your products in advance and let the chef record their creation.

AV companies could set up a concert (using your newest product, of course) from the living room of a musician with a strong social media presence within your target market. 

Keep in mind that lots of people are looking for new ways to get to work in the era of social distancing. Aim high!

Most importantly, do a trial run first. A technological or connectivity issue could derail your product launch, so you’ll want to be very sure that you’re fully equipped for your virtual product launch. 

 

Send products or samples out for DIY test runs:

Letting people test your new product is going to be a little more complicated than handing out samples or inviting people to your booth. One key virtual product launch strategy is to facilitate a large number of “testers” who will be able to provide feedback that you can share with your audience.

For example, food and beverage companies can distribute samples for at-home tastings, complete with guide kits. You can even ask your testers to record their experience and/or reviews via video.

Partnering with influencers can be very helpful to this strategy. For example, you could recruit a few influencers to join in a live event while sampling your product. You could even use influencers’ followers as a selection of sample recipients by having the influencer host a giveaway, then asking for feedback from the winners.

 

Look for a virtual trade show:

The show must go on—even if that means virtually!

Major trade shows are already restructuring to go virtual. When the events industry puts its mind to something, you can expect exciting results. Take advantage of virtual trade shows being created to fill the marketing void left in the wake of social distancing.

 

Conduct virtual outreach to your existing customers:

In some industries, our target market for a new product launch largely includes our existing customers. Coordinate an outreach strategy with your sales team to introduce and explain your new product digitally.

A good example is Baudax Bio, a pharmaceutical company that was forced to rearrange their strategy of sales reps making in-person calls to hospitals and medical offices. Training staff to be efficient virtual salespeople and providing easy access to materials and support online were key to their digital product launch strategy. 

 

Amp up your rich media: 

Create a video gallery with product demonstrations, explainer videos, testimonials, and more.

Anything that trade show attendees would have been able to see, learn, or experience by visiting your booth or launch event should be turned into video content. You’ll also want to include user guides and “get to know our company” content (since your audience won’t be able to learn about you in person).

Unless your field is highly technical, you may not need to be concerned with having superlative production quality. Consumers understand that we aren’t able to produce studio-quality content right now, so don’t let it hold you back if you need to shoot a video from an iPhone or record a tutorial on your laptop. 

The most important aspect to your rich media content is that your audience can learn anything they want to about your new product or service. 

 

Create a 3-D Rendered Booth:

We may be biased, but we can’t picture a product launch event without a phenomenal booth.

 

The Exhibit Options design team can help you create a cohesive event by creating and consolidating branding items, and designing and rendering your virtual trade show booth.

Like a physical trade show booth, your 3-D booth can feature customized features specific to your new product release and your virtual event.

There are numerous ways you can do a product launch online. But the key is to have your distribution strategies planned out and making sure everything aligns with your sales and marketing goals. 

Want to see how your virtual booth could look? We can show you! Don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

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