Much like other forms of marketing, a trade show is an investment.
Given the amount of money funneled into selecting the perfect convention booth rental, travel and logistics for staff, and putting together the perfect show exhibit, there’s no point going through the entire process if there isn’t a sizable ROI at the end of the road.
A trade show is much more than setting up a kiosk in a corner and answering a few questions for your brand. It’s a way to generate new sources of revenue and be introduced to new potential customers. So, if you’re planning to attend a trade expo soon, here is everything you need to know about maximizing your ROI.
One of the worst mistakes you can make is setting up the perfect 20 x 20 trade show booth and twiddling your thumbs once you get there. To make the most of it, it’s essential to generate some excitement about your custom trade show booth before the day of the show.
Most companies have pre-show marketing budgets, ways in which they let attendees know that their brand will be on display at a particular event. This pre-show content should tell attendees where they can find your marketing booths and what to expect once they get there. It can be crafted to get maximum attention from social media, including any relevant influencers you would want to get on board.
It could also be used to schedule meetings with attendees, making them less likely to give your expo booth a skip on the day of the event.
As many as 85% of companies say they don’t rent trade show displays without some prior marketing, and over 80% noted that this marketing resulted in increased traffic.
Networking is a skill that comes naturally to some people, while others struggle even to get a conversation started. The truth is that good networking, much like any other skill, requires a lot of practice.
At a trade show, there is some method to networking. For one, cut short the number of people you intend to network with. Not every attendee at the expo will end up being a potential customer, and that’s okay. Identify customer profiles that fit your brand most, and target those individuals.
Before you arrive at the show, having some talking points ready is also standard practice. Once your pitch is clear and perfected in your head, it becomes a lot easier to communicate the essential points in casual conversation.
Practice your pitch, keep your business card at hand, and get out there.
Standing out of the crowd (for the right reasons) is easier said than done. A trade show booth can make a difference when maximizing your ROI at a show. Too busy, and attendees will avoid it for its clutter; too empty, and visitors will assume you have nothing to offer.
When deciding on the perfect exhibit design, your product must take center stage. At the same time, avoid over-the-top and extra gimmicky features that offer a lot of flash but very little substance.
If you’re struggling to put together the right custom exhibition display, consider hiring a booth design company that can help you stand out from the crowd. It’s a small investment but goes a long way when trying to maximize your ROI.
It may seem like basic advice, but it’s a mistake many trade show amateurs and veterans tend to make. Before you plan an interactive trade show display or start booking tickets for your staff, research which trade show you would like to attend. Find the expo that complements your brand the most, and avoid those that are full of uninterested visitors.
The tendency, in most cases, would be to go for the trade expos that see the most attendance, but the real question is how many of these attendees are actually interested in their project. By picking the right trade show, even if it’s smaller in scale than others, you reduce the time you spend following up with every business card dropped at your stall and increase your eventual conversion rate.
Once the dust settles and the trade show begins to wrap up, the real work begins. Most companies assume that simply setting up a custom exhibition booth will magically increase their revenue. But this is hardly ever the case.
Trade shows mostly facilitate meetings between two interested parties; the rest depends on you. After the show, your sales team and you must follow up on all parties that graced your exhibit display on the day. This should be an easy enough task if you collected a solid database of the qualified leads of the day.
To ensure that you’re having an impact, opting for an external CRM tool to input data about customers you successfully converted may also make sense. This way, you’ll be left with actual data on whether the money you invested in the event was worth it.
A post-mortem analysis can reveal important information about your performance at a trade show. How impactful was your trade show booth design in attracting attendees? How many of these visitors went on to become customers of your brand?
Collecting and analyzing this data is the best way to maximize your ROI because numbers rarely lie. If you find that you didn’t perform as well as you wanted to, look into the reasons why. Did your sales team not follow up enough? Was the staff at your display exhibit uninterested and not communicating with enough people? Or did you simply attend the wrong trade show?
When looking to maximize your ROI, it’s essential that you self-reflect and be open to making changes for the next event.
Getting the most out of your trade show is a complicated process involving several factors. A trade expo can be a solid marketing tool, provided it’s used right and actually impacts your returns. Otherwise, it’s another wasted investment that could be better used in other areas.
Keep this trade show checklist in mind, however, and you’ll go a long way in maximizing your ROI in the future. So keep calm, do the math, and keep networking till you see the success you deserve.
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