Planning for trade shows requires a substantial amount of time and effort. And the cost of attending the shows, including booth space, displays, and travel expenses, can be significant. Too often, business owners dedicate valuable resources toward their trade show strategies without having a clear plan for closing deals and increasing revenue. Predictably, they return home from the shows, empty-handed and wondering why they bothered in the first place. Exhibiting can be incredibly effective with the right trade show marketing plan and proper execution. In this article, you’ll learn how to boost the ROI of your trade show marketing to make the entire effort worthwhile.
What Kind Of Information Do You Need?
The key to closing deals, increasing your company’s revenue, and enhancing your trade show marketing ROI is following up with the leads from the event. Your planning should begin long before the trade show arrives. Identify the type of information that you and your exhibit staff will collect during the event. This will obviously include each lead’s name and contact information. But, you may also want to collect their website and email address, along with their specific needs and whether they have the authority to make a buying decision. Your trade show marketing plan is incomplete without this follow-up system in place.
Training Your Exhibit Staff
Once you have identified the type of information that you and your staff will collect, devote time to training your staff. Establish the expectation that their purpose is to qualify visitors as leads. Train them to approach visitors and engage them in friendly conversation. They need to inquire about the visitor’s needs, collecting information as they qualify them. Your booth staff is the front line force of your exhibit. Their effectiveness at qualifying leads and collecting information is integral to your overall trade show strategies.
Setting Lead Goals
Before the show arrives, establish lead-collection goals for each employee who will be working the event. The goals will help your staff remember their purpose while encouraging them to hit their targets. Plus, by quantifying the number of leads that you expect your staff to collect, you can establish a performance benchmark by which to review future lead-collection efforts.
Developing A Follow-Up Strategy
It’s not enough to plan to call every lead that you collect at the show. You need to carefully organize how your follow-up system will work. It is arguably the most important component of your trade show marketing effort. If you neglect to arrange your follow-up system in advance, you’ll likely fail to act on all of the leads.
Assuming that your entire staff is not working the show, assign an employee who is remaining at home to follow up on the leads. The earlier this happens, the better. At a 3-day event, an attendee may visit your booth during the first day. If you wait until you arrive home after the show to follow up, the lead will have cooled. Each day, have one of your booth staff collect the leads and either overnight them or email them to your employee back home. That employee should begin the follow-up process immediately.
Your Trade Show Marketing ROI
The ROI of your trade show marketing is a direct reflection of your follow-up strategy. Identify the information that you need for each lead. Train your exhibit staff to qualify visitors and collect the information. Establish quantifiable lead-collection goals for each employee. Finally, formulate your strategy for acting on those leads. The process of boosting your ROI is firmly within your control. You simply need to plan and execute.