Obviously, as a business, your first question out of the gate when determining whether to attend a trade show will be: What is my likely return on investment? Since trade shows can be expensive and complicated affairs, you want to make sure that you can recoup that cost (and more) in future profits. Well, if you are smart about choosing which expos to attend, have a strategy and stick to it you can easily get a great ROI out of exhibiting at your next show. Here’s how.
Be Seen And Heard
When attending expos, you don’t just want to be another face in the crowd. Sure, you need to take care of the important items like getting a good booth space, focusing on exhibit design and making sure you take care of all the basic logistics of exhibit set up. But, you also want to raise your profile in order to garner positive press, establish your company as an industry leader and effectively set the ground for networking, partnerships and lead generation. To do this, make sure that you get all your PR ducks in a row and issue a press release (or two) prior to the show. If at all possible, try to develop a presentation and get a spot as a keynote speaker or at least a presenter of some kind. Make sure that you leverage social media and that your exhibit design is engaging and attractive to attendees.
Have Measurable Goals
If you are going to actually get the best ROI for exhibiting at expos, you will need to make sure that you are actually tracking your ROI. In order to do this you need to set goals and measure your progress towards those goals. Then you need to evaluate your performance afterwards and consider where you need improvement and where you did well. While good exhibit design can certainly help you attract eyes on the show floor, you will also need to make sure that you are focused on generating good leads from interested attendees. Establish a way of tracking visitors and a target percent of attendees that you want to qualify as leads. Then make sure that you hit these numbers. If you don’t hit the numbers one day, go to the presentations afterwards, hit the bars or visit with others in the industry in the more informal locations. These can be excellent places to find leads, or just to network with others in the industry.
Evaluate And Follow –Up
After the expos are over, you need to make sure that you look back and accurately gauge and evaluate your performance. What leads did you generate. A month later how many of these have become customers. What about 3 months later? Tracking all of this will let you accurately determine the ROI from visiting that trade show. Make sure to factor all of the costs of the show, including exhibit design, exhibit set up, staffing, travel costs, accommodations etc.