Whether you’re a trade show exhibiting newbie or a seasoned veteran, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. You’ve taken the time to decide on a show to exhibit in. You’ve planned your budget, display and presentation. You’ve prepared the materials you will need at the show. Now you need to be sure you will achieve your return on investment (ROI). Trade show exhibition is an expensive form of face-to-face marketing, so it’s important to be sure that you get the best ROI as possible. There are a few things to keep in mind that can help improve your trade show ROI. According to CEIR, over 64% of heads of marketing agree the B2B exhibition channel is highly effective for multiple marketing activities. The value of trade show marketing is acknowledged, so let’s review a few tips to improve trade show ROI.
1. Have a Marketing Plan
To begin with, you should have a marketing plan for all of your marketing efforts. When exhibiting at a trade show, it’s a good idea to create a marketing plan for the show itself. This includes what happens before, during and after the trade show. This should include:
Let your target audience know you’ll be there.
Make your target audience aware that you will be at the particular show. Give them a compelling reason to visit your booth and meet with you. Social media announcements, email newsletters and maybe even a good old fashioned phone call are some ways that you can make it known to your audience that you will be exhibiting. New product/service introductions, giveaways and interactive displays and games provide a reason to stop by. Just remember to make sure that your giveaway or game, etc. falls in line with your company values, goals and message. On occasion, you have access to an attendee list. In this case, it could be a good idea to reach out to anyone who appears to be a qualified fit for your product/service. Try to schedule an appointment with them during or around the show.
Contact the Media.
Contact the show organizer for a media list of those that are confirmed to be at the show. Reach out to the press with information and news about your company, products and services.
Recruit your best staff for the booth.
You’ve got the pre-show down – you’ve done your pre-show marketing and have your booth designed and in the build process. Now consider what you will do during the show. If you’re not equipped for what’s happening once on the trade show floor, then all the pre-show marketing and stunning trade show booth display will be worthless. Make sure your best staff members are working the booth and are prepared with branded apparel, advertising materials, giveaway items, demonstrations and are trained on the in-booth interaction plans and anything they will need for success. The staff is working the front lines and will ultimately determine the success of the show.
Become a speaker at the event.
Consider signing up to be a speaker at the trade show. In many cases, there are speaking opportunities. By doing so, you set yourself up as an expert and this can really help drive qualified prospects to your booth.
Attend networking events.
Attend the networking and social events planned by the event organizer. Yes, exhibiting at trade shows is exhausting. However, attending the social and networking events that are planned is a great way to connect with prospects and help you maximize the value of face time. Make sure your staff is trained with an ‘elevator pitch’ to be able to quickly engage with prospects and be prepared.
2. Optimize Your Booth
The next step is to optimize your booth. If you plan on attracting new visitors and prospects (or even current customers), your booth needs to get noticed. Working with an experienced exhibit design company will help you make sure you get noticed and helps you achieve a greater ROI.
- First, make sure you chose a good booth space –contact show organizers early and choose a good booth location.
- Next, work with the exhibit design company to determine, build and supply the type of booth that best fits your needs, budget and space.
3. Post-Show Follow Up
Finally, post-show follow-up is your last step. Though this is technically part of marketing, and so important, it’s in a category of its own. You’ve made it – the show is over, your A-team generated qualified leads and your booth display was a huge hit! It isn’t over yet. One of the biggest mistakes made is a lack of follow up on leads. This is one of the best tips to improve trade show ROI.
Follow up promptly.
First, it’s a great idea to create and even schedule your email follow ups in advance so they are ready to go. Be sure to include a photo of your booth to help them remember you. Keep track of the leads generated at specific shows in a CRM. This helps you to track the journey of the buyer from lead to customer and helps you measure success.
Prioritize your leads.
Second, you’ll have some hot leads that you must contact as soon as you return. You may have some leads that are already tied to opportunities within your CRM. These you will need to contact right away. Others can wait a day or two for reach out, but not really more than that. If you let too much time lapse between the show and your follow up reach out, chances are slim that the lead will turn into a customer.
Create a lead nurturing campaign.
Third, you’ll have leads who have not yet converted to a customer. By beginning a lead nurturing campaign, you provide them with relevant, timely and exciting information. This will keep your company top of mind when they are ready for your type of product or service.
Trade shows are very effective ways to achieve sales and growth, but they are also the most costly. Use the tips to improve trade show roi above for success with your face-to-face marketing strategy.
For information on calculating trade show ROI, check out the Trade Show ROI Playbook.