Virtual trade shows have come a long way in the past five years. Due, in part, to COVID-19 restrictions and health concerns, taking what was previously an in-person event and transitioning to a virtual one is more widely accepted today. With enhanced marketing tools and promotional tools, virtual trade show and exhibitions have brought the online trade show to the forefront and made it more accessible and interactive than ever before. For example, live chatting with attendees, customized breakout “rooms” and real-time interaction with speakers is common now. Additionally, for many companies, virtual trade shows are a viable option to generate added exposure and gain access to attendees that are not interested in – or are unable to – attend traditional trade shows.

But just like traditional shows, virtual shows come with their benefits and challenges. Along with choosing the right online platform for your event, marketing and communicating your event and post-event follow-up, we have a few recommendations on ways to incorporate promotional products into your planning to give your virtual event a more personal feel.

  1. Brand yourself pre-event. Pique attendees’ interest in your brand before the event has even started. Your job is to capture attendees’ attention, enticing them to visit your virtual trade show booth. This is even more important virtually. Since attendees can’t wander a physical trade show floor, your brand’s offerings need to incentivize them to click through all the more.
    1. Market your event through both direct-mail and emails to encourage attendance
    2. Consider early registrations by providing lower-price point items for those who register by a specific date.
    3. Entice those who show an interest in attending the virtual show with a direct mail campaign that is sent a few days prior to the meeting. Vernon offers creative “trade show in a box” kits at Also, consider sending out an event t-shirt to registrants and encourage attendees to wear them during the virtual event. This makes for a fantastic group photo on Zoom or whatever platform you’re using for the event.
  2. During the event. Naturally, there are many opportunities for branding during your event, from drawing names from attendees, to prizes for hosted games and activities to daily drawings or sponsored education.
  3. Post-event follow-up. After the event, be sure to thank attendees with a special gift sent to them via mail.


Connecting with your event attendees beyond the screen takes being thoughtful and innovative. Set yourself apart in this new virtual world by creatively calling back to the familiar while stepping up to the challenges of being together-but-apart. Be sure to speak with your Vernon Account Executive to help you develop some creative solutions or visit our hand-selected collection that is ideal for both in-person and virtual events: