How to Track and Improve Your Trade Show ROI

Trade shows are a significant investment. When you take into account the cost of your display, travel expenses and employee time, the numbers add up quickly. How do you know that a trade show is really worth that time and effort? Fortunately, tracking your trade show ROI isn’t difficult. When you track, you’ll not only know whether or not a particular trade show was worth the investment, but you’ll also find ways to improve your strategy and boost your ROI at future events.

Check out these 4 simple steps to track and improve your trade show ROI.

Define your goals.

Before you can meet or surpass your marketing goals, you have to start by defining those goals. Consider what measures you track with online marketing or other initiatives. How can you adapt those measurements to your trade show event?

Potential ROI goals could include:X new lead

  • X face-to-face interactions with prospects
  • Average customer value for trade show leads
  • Lifetime customer value for trade show leads cost per lead when all expenses are accounted for
  • X% increase in social media followers or website visitors

Don’t limit yourself to only tracking the number of new leads you acquire. Challenge yours
elf to dig deeper into the long-term value of those leads. Do they spend more over time than online leads? Are they more likely to provide referrals? Write down a variety of goals to capture valuable outcomes, then be prepared to track some measures over the course of weeks or months for accurate results.

Track all expenses.

Tracking ROI allows you to answer a simple question: Did I make more money than I spent on this initiative? Of course, to answer that question, you must first know exactly how much was spent. As you prepare for your trade show, track your expenses, including display costs, travel expenses, marketing collateral, employee time, etc.

Keep in mind that you won’t make back all of this money in one day. Depending on the length of your sales cycle, it could take weeks or months for your new leads to purchase from you. That’s why it will be important to track these customers over a longer period of time to see how they perform before you calculate how much money you’ve made.

Take advantage of your CRM software

In order to track those customers over time, use your CRM software to stay organized. How you track your leads at the event itself will be up to you—it could be as simple as a stack of business cards or list of names—but once the trade show is over, you’ll need to log them into your database.

Tag each customer as a trade show lead so that you can follow trends in that group over time. Do they convert at a higher rate than other leads? Do they buy faster? Do they spend more over time? If you reconnect with past clients at the event, you may want to use a unique tag for them as well. Do they come back and spend more after connecting with you at the trade show?

Track your conversion rate, lifetime customer value and other goals you defined in step one. As you determine the value of your trade show leads and compare that to the expenses you calculated in step two, you’ll be able to calculate the exact ROI for your event.

Meet to review your data and refine your strategy.

Numbers are just numbers until you use them in a practical way. After a few weeks or months—giving yourself enough time to track the spending habits of your new leads—have a post-trade show meeting with your team to review the expenses and results. Discuss which goals you met or missed, then brainstorm ways you can improve at your next show.

You can also use your data to refine your specific goals for future trade show events. For example, if you find that a trade show lead is ultimately worth more than other leads, you may lower the number of leads you need in order to make your next show worth the investment

As you attend and track multiple shows over time, you’ll learn what goals are realistic and what exactly you need to accomplish to make an event worth your investment. Use what you learn to create tangible action steps to refine and improve your trade show marketing strategy.

Do you need help developing and implementing a trade show marketing strategy that is brand-driven and customer-focused? Let us help. Contact us today to speak with one of our trade show consultants

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