5 Ways to Improve Your Trade Show’s ROI

Most of you attend trade shows, and if you’re on the manufacturing end of things, you have booths. Trade shows are not an inexpensive proposition and you really want to get the most out of them. To that end, I’ve asked a friend of mine, Vince Tricomi from PFI Displays, to give us some hints on how to improve your ROI without spending any money.

Here are Vince’s suggestions:

With the start of the 2011 trade show season, many companies find themselves facing a third year of tight budgets. How can you revitalize your trade show exhibit ROI without spending one cent of your budget? 

1.  Do Your Pre-Show Homework: 
▪ Analyze last year’s “A-Level” leads, and get a list of this year’s attendees.
▪ Have your sales team start calling weeks before the show to schedule in-booth appointments.
▪ Consider other types of outreach, from social media to direct mail.

2.  Strut Your Stuff: 
▪ Volunteer as an expert for the educational seminars at your trade show. You won’t be “selling” your company, but you will be building your credibility with the audience.

3.  Improve Your “Boothmanship:”
▪ Consider the body language of you and your staff.
▪ Avoid matching outfits that make attendees feel like they’re walking into a used car lot.
▪ Ban the use of cell phones in your booth space (that’s right, BAN them!)
▪ Practice an “elevator pitch” and make sure everyone working the trade show knows, understands, and can communicate your company’s USP.

4.  Social Media is Your Friend: 
▪ Use it to extend the show by building interest before, during and after.
▪ Special promotions during the show are a great way to drive additional foot traffic to your exhibit.
▪ One great place to start: typically, show organizers have a Twitter account set up for the show. See who’s following that feed and interact to let the audience know you’re there.

5.  Post-Show MEASUREMENT:
▪ This is the most important AND most overlooked way to radically increase your exhibit ROI. If you don’t know what works and what doesn’t, how can you evolve your trade show program? 
▪ Within 2 weeks of the show’s end, gather all the company’s stake holders and discuss best and worst practices and what to target for next year.

We’ll talk in the future about setting measurable goals for each of your trade shows. Suffice to say, there are many more trade show metrics for success than just the quantity of badges scanned at your reception counter.

Please feel free to comment below. Let’s expand the list of Free Exhibit Improvements, and we can delve into more details, too.

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0 Comments. Leave a comment

  1. Mike Thimmesch

    Nice, solid ideas, John. The top idea that I’d add to the list is to make sure you follow up with your leads after the show: Respond to what they asked for at the show, repeatedly attempt contact with prospects, and circle back to your sales team to ensure they are keeping in contact with those valuable leads. That’s an essential step to boosting your trade show R.O.I.

  2. David Gascon, Vantage Advertising

    We work with a large number of smaller companies where “boothmanship” isn’t their strong suit. I agree this is an important part of getting your product and services out there and would recommend that your readers look into hiring booth professionals for assistance. Sometimes it can save smaller companies the travel expenditures (hotel, car, meals, & airfare) of bring additional personnel to a show, while at the same time provide them with experienced and out going greeters/hostesses to that can help them initiate conversions and deliver short sales pitches.

  3. Pingback: What Are You Doing to Get the Most Out of Trade Shows? | Tradesmen Insights

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