Every trade show exhibitor deals with budgeting issues. To successfully capture leads and gain exposure, you have to pay for renting floor space, putting together displays, distributing promotional materials, staff hours and more, which can end up costing thousands of dollars for each show. Increasingly, businesses need to justify each expense and show that they are generating a positive return on investment.
Unfortunately, estimating the ROI for trade shows can be difficult, as there is not often a clear path to sales generated from a single event. Someone may visit your booth during a show, take a pamphlet and then call the company's sales team several months later. However, there are ways to calculate the value gained during trade shows.
Determine what you are measuring
The first step of calculating the ROI of an exhibit is to determine what the exhibit is designed to accomplish. The International Center for Exhibitor and Event Marketing Blog stated that there are several factors that could make a show a success. In addition to generating revenue through sales, you could gain new leads, face time with industry experts or potential partners, brand awareness and more.
Measure changes to sales in every channel
Trade show exhibits are often incorporated into other marketing efforts. The social media campaign used to generate excitement for your booth could lead to additional brand followers. This increases the opportunities to capture repeat sales and build a positive reputation. Business 2 Community reported that variations in email, telephone calls and other sales channels can be an indication of how successful a trade show visit was. The source noted that when overall profits increase, this is a sign that you have a good marketing mix. Trade shows can directly influence the number of sales made through each channel.
Follow up on every lead
Each trade show will likely result in a list of potential customers. Taking steps to continue conversations and improve lead retrieval can help you accurately determine which sales resulted from a trade show. If you take the steps to reach out to high quality leads, you know where they first entered the sales pipeline, creating a clear path that can be used to calculate costs and revenue generation for each client over time.