When you decide to put the time, money and effort into marketing through trade shows, it only makes sense that you would want to know whether all that you put into the show is worth it. While you can walk out of any show with a list of contacts, contacts are not the only measure of success—you need to take a hard look at results and of course your return on investment. Data can help you discover what worked, what didn’t and how you should proceed. Let’s discuss five of the most important metrics for measuring your trade show marketing ROI.
One of the primary goals of many companies who attend trade shows is to collect leads. Therefore, one of the most important metrics you will measure is the number of leads gathered. How can you do this? Probably the simplest is to use a lead capture app during the show, instead of an old-fashioned fish bowl. Then, you will know exactly how many leads you gather, how well they qualify and how to personalize your post-show follow-up strategy.
Cost Per Lead
Once you know how many leads you’ve gathered, you can divide your total cost of trade show attendance with this number to calculate your “cost per lead.” How does this stack up with your other lead collection methods?
New Customers Gained
While traffic and leads are good, the most important thing you can achieve from your time at a trade show is gaining new customers. The best way to do this is to follow the full “life” cycle of all your trade show contacts. One simple measurement is to compare the number of people who registered with you using your lead collection app to the number of individuals who later go to your landing page to the number of people who then became customers. When you determine exactly how many leads wind up working with your firm after the show, you will have a good idea of what your ROI is.
One of the most important things you will monitor is traffic to your website or landing pages. If you do not already measure this metric, you should be. That way you can easily see if there are any changes post event. Two ways that people find your website is through direct traffic and organic search (i.e., typing your name into the URL bar and searching for your company through Google or other search engines) Measuring the changes in both types of traffic is important. Also, if you create a landing page specifically for your trade show visitors, you will want to track visits to that URL too.
Social Media Influence
A trade show should be a great way for you to build your reach on social media. Once you have wrapped up your trade show, you will want to look at each of your social media channels and see which have shown an increase and by how much. It is possible to track the simplest numbers yourself, or there are free and paid tools available that can make it easier to dive into the numbers and see exactly how effective your trade show was at building social media influence.
Once you’ve figured out your ROI from trade shows, you can decide how useful this method of marketing is for your firm. It may be time for you to book a few more shows in the coming months, or perhaps for you to retool your methods of connecting with attendees. No matter what your current ROI, the future can only be brighter when you have hard data on your side.
Also published on Medium.