December 2015 - Hytner

The Three Most Important Metrics for Measuring Your Trade Show ROI

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Was it all worthwhile? Find out how these three metrics can determine the success of your trade show presence

Now that you’ve put the work in, designed your stand, attended the show, and slogged over gathering those all-important leads. How do you determine whether or not it was all worthwhile? With trade shows, the results are not always instantaneous as you can only begin to see a return on your investment in the long-term.

However, there are important metrics that you can use to determine whether your trade show presence was successful or not. All of this can be achieved with three simple steps…

1. Direct Traffic & Organic Search

Part of having a successful trade show presence is making sure you generate brand awareness. One effective way to measure this metric is to look at the direct and organic traffic to your website – for example, Google Analytics is a great tool that you can use do this.

Direct Traffic measures how many people type in your company’s URL into a web browser. Organic traffic consists of visitors who found you within a search engine naturally – without any paid advertising. A trade show should positively impact on both categories as the more visitors you receive directly to your website the higher you will list in organic rankings within search engines.

Track the landing pages to which you send your visitors as well as the calls-to-action. You should do this before and after you promote and attend the show, then compare the two and see if there is a significant difference. This will help you decipher whether or not your promotions that directed to that specific landing page were successful.

Quick recap:

  • Create a landing page to send your visitors to
  • See how many visitors you have on the landing page pre and post-event
  • Calculate percentage changes and determine any significant differences

2. Measuring Social Media Reach

Measure whether or not the trade show helped you meet your social media goals. Have you noticed an increase in the number of followers you have? After the trade show, take a look at which channels were the most successful. See if there was a noticeable spike in Twitter followers, Facebook likes and members of your company’s LinkedIn page.

Has engaging with prospects through social media during the trade show driven more visitors to your website? There’s a plethora of social media intelligence tools which you can use to track these analytics.

You can track which channels were more successful, which is important when you’re figuring out your next steps and the most cost effective places to invest your efforts.

Quick Recap:

  • Track traffic on social media before and after the show
  • Utilise social media intelligence tools
  • Identify the most successful channels and invest your efforts

3. Converted Leads

Once you’ve gathered those all-important leads at the trade show you must focus your efforts on finding out how many of them converted and became customers. This will give you a clearer idea of how effective your staff manning the stand and landing pages were.

One method you can use to determine this is by looking at the journey of the trade show registrants and track their evolution from registrant into customer – for this you’ll need to implement closed-loop marketing.

You can take a look at the list of people who originally came to your landing page and filled out your form, then track how many of those leads ended up buying your product or service. This will give you a clearer picture of your trade show’s ROI.

Quick Recap:

  • Keep track of the number of customers you convert that originated as leads from the trade show
  • Measure the revenue you generated with those customers

Keeping that in mind…

Although your initial investment in the trade show may be rather sizeable, the long-term benefits outweigh the costs by driving more business to your company – this is why they still remain a popular marketing tool.  By using these three key metrics to calculate your trade show ROI you can generate quantitative proof that attending the trade show was worth the investment.

Trade Show: Attract More Visitors to Your Exhibition Stand

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In this digital age, the idea of exhibitions may seem a little old school but there has never been any doubt in the significant value that they add to a business.

Trade Show News Network reports that a whopping 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority. With the possibility of finding a new customer in 4 out of 5 people at any given show, the numbers seem to be on your side – the numbers do not lie.

The bottom line is that you’d be taking a huge risk by simply assuming the right people will find you on their own. Follow these steps and you’ll get more quality leads flocking to your stand.

Build Momentum Pre-Event

A common mistake exhibitors make with trade shows, is to rely on the random traffic passing by your stand, when in fact 7 out of 10 show attendees plan their stand visits before the show.

A little pre-show promotion can make all the difference and save you time and effort during the trade show – you can read our Ultimate Guide To Pre-Exhibition Show Promotions here.

Location, Location, Location

A key factor will be where your stand is actually positioned. Of course, the best location will vary by venue, but the positions that tend to be particularly highly coveted are;

  • Main aisles
  • Entrances
  • End of rows
  • Corner spaces which give you access to traffic from intersecting aisles

Though it may sound crazy, experts have suggested that Europeans tend to visit first stands  positioned on the left, while Americans visit stands located on the right. Remarkably, this is linked to the side of the road we drive on.

Of course, it’s not all about driving huge crowds to your stand. You’ll want quality foot traffic and leads instead of congestions and chaos. At the trade show, it’s best to avoid being near, food stands, public toilets and aim to be at the heart of passing traffic, somewhere along a major route.

Invest in Look and Feel

The look and feel of your stand definitely matter when attracting passing traffic but, more importantly, the stand will be a direct reflection of your brand so it needs to send the right message – welcoming, professional, slick, and to the point.

The look and feel of your stand at the trade show also extend to those who work on it. It mainly requires common sense: staying stood up, ready to greet your prospects, to smile and make eye contact etc. This requires you to choose the right staff and ensuring they’re well prepared for the event – if you’d like to read more we have a full Guide For Your Exhibition Staff on our Blog.

Demonstrate Your Products

As an online merchant and an attendee, showcasing your products in person is a powerful and unique opportunity to showcase your products live in action and quickly convert those impulse buyers.

This is particularly powerful if you’re launching a new and exciting product since 92% of trade show attendees say that their primary reason for attending is to look for new products. You’ll be able to create a real buzz and boost your brand awareness by rolling out a new product in front of a potentially large audience.

Also, remember, you can make it fun – create games and competitions to draw in a crowd, once you have a crowd more people naturally become interested.

Harness the Power of Technology

The potential for technological additions to your trade show are almost limitless and can help you deliver an unforgettable experience and look like the cutting edge brand you want to be.

A trade show represents a great opportunity to represent a demo of your website or product on a large led screen (Why Outdoor LED Screens?) or even provide a walkthrough demo – always a successful tactic at trade shows.

Promotional Giveaways and Perks

Promotional items remain a go-to technique for many trade show exhibitors, because after all, who doesn’t love freebies.

Of course, there’s the risk of handing out items to freebie-seekers who have no interest in buying your product but these people are generally the minority.

Ultimately, your giveaways should be very inexpensive items and can serve as great ice breakers when it comes to starting and establishing conversations and relationships.

Wifi Party

As we previously mentioned, giveaways work well for attracting visitors, but this issue needed its own section because Wifi connectivity is still a major issue at trade shows. To combat this, exhibitors can capitalise on the lack of good coverage by providing their own free wifi for attendees.

Complimentary wifi needs to be tied in some way to your product or service, this will be particularly desired by freebie-seekers. However, you can use this as a data capture exercise by having a login page where they enter their details in return for some free wifi.

Generate Leads

It’s a great feeling to have traffic flowing to your stand, but the next steps are every bit as important. To turn visitors into leads, you have to collect their details – here are a few ideas to get you started.

Trade show staples like the business card in a bowl work well but there are many other great ways to entice people. Friendly competitions tailored around your product will help ensure you gather the right crowd and the right leads.

Another thing to consider is, the show apps that most forward-thinking exhibitions are now offering. Each visitor attending the show will be allocated a badge with a barcode which contains all of their information. With a quick scan, you can make life easier and have instant access to their details without all the waiting around to fill out forms.

Final Thoughts

Over the years, we’ve seen many new and exciting ways to market your business – but trade shows remain an old time favourite because of the benefits and value it can add to your business.

Spread the word about your presence at the trade show, both before and during the event. Show off your product and use the technology available to deliver memorable experiences that help you stand out. Do something different and impactful so that you can generate good quality leads and grow your business.

All it requires is some creativity, smart communication and tech awareness. Following the tactics described in this post you’re giving yourself a great head start in driving relevant, targeted foot traffic, whether you are a beginner or an old hat when it comes to trade shows.

The Ultimate Guide to Pre-Exhibition Show Promotions

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Having a well-orchestrated pre-show promotion will vastly increase your number of qualified leads and result in a successful show.

Research shows 76% of visitors at an exhibition arrive with a fixed agenda. Meaning they have planned their visit, who they want to visit and what they want to accomplish at the event.

Chances are, if they don’t know you’re exhibiting, they won’t find you – especially during a large show. So, here are few effective methods you can use to promote your presence at an exhibition or trade show to get on your visitors agenda…

Promotional Tools You Can Use

To promote and raise awareness of your attendance at the exhibition, there’s a variety of tools that you can use and should already be using.

Try not to stick to one method but instead use a combination tools to maximise your reach and generate more interest and attention. 

Here are a few examples…

  • Direct mail
  • Email marketing
  • Social media activities
  • Website marketing
  • PR opportunities
  • Advertising
  • Sponsorship

Show Guides

A great starting point for your promotional plan would be to utilise exhibition show guides, catalogues, and preview guides. They all carry news and information about the companies that are attending – the majority do not charge for these services so it’s a good way to get your name out there in advance for free.

Invitations

Invite both your current and potential prospects to the show. These are the people who are already interested in doing business with you, so inviting them to visit your stand and seeing you in your best light, may be the final nudge they need to encourage them do business with you.

If you want your highest valued prospects to feel super important, you could send them VIP tickets: and let them know seating and refreshments will be available. This kind of attention to detail is sure to impress even the most difficult of visitors.  

Many of your invitees will already be interested in your service/product but may not necessarily be ready to buy. So, why not include a discount voucher valid for the next four/six months to encourage them to come back in the future.

Run Adverts

Adverts can be costly, so to minimise the spend why not dovetail any previews or features that the organisers may already be running. Be creative with it, include flashes or banners across the advertisement with relevant and useful information – e.g. ‘See us at stand 66’.

Work with the Organisers

As soon as you’ve committed to the show, get in touch with the organisers. There are many publicity opportunities that working with them can bring so seize the moment.

To promote the show organisers will sometimes make fun video reels and other promotional content. Make a point of being involved in any similar activities to generate a buzz.

Make Contact With The Press

Do the organisers use a PR agency? If they do, then great! Use their services and pick their professional brains to your advantage.

Get a press list of contacts and deadlines that you can use to promote your attendance. If you have a company newsletter, send mail and e-shots to key existing clients as well as a potential and past customers.

E-Signature

If you already have an email signature with the information about who you are and what business you’re in, update it to include information about the event. Some organisers will provide you with a custom e-signature, but if not you can always create your own.

It’s an opportunity to spread awareness to prospective customers and encourage them to attend the event and another way to boost traffic.  

Use the Internet

The internet is a powerful and well known tool, keep your website and social media accounts updated. Create landing pages with relevant information letting people know why they should come and see you and how they can find you at the event.

Be sure to include a hyperlink to the event’s website and have the organisers do the same vise versa.

Pre-Book Appointments

With pre-booked appointments you can predict traffic and busy periods. Of course not all appointments will be adhered too but at least you will have some guaranteed traffic to your stand, which is better than no traffic at all.

Be the reason prospects attend an exhibition …

If you’re looking to move your business in the right direction you will only benefit from attending an exhibition. With the right amount of promotion before the event, you leave yourself open to many opportunities of meeting the right people and generating valuable business relationships. Use your resources efficiently and work with the organisers and you will automatically give yourself a huge advantage.

Now that you know how to promote your attendance at the event, the next step is training the staff that will be manning your stand and generating those all important leads. For that, you will find everything you need on our previous blog post People Skills – A Guide For Your Exhibition Staff.