Between registration fees, travel expenses and exhibit costs, trade shows can get expensive. Show your management the ROI is worth it.
Use a Data-Based Strategy
As you research future trade shows, find out which shows your company has attended in the past – industry-specific, general or a combination of both? Gather data to show which have been the most effective in generating new business, then look for ways you can improve ROI by continuing to attend the best shows, dropping those that are less successful and adding new shows that will be a good fit.
Using your data, create a plan to evaluate your proposed trade show. Develop clear goals by asking questions about how you’re attracting an audience and what kind of impression you’re making. Then determine the best way to evaluate those goals, such as phone surveys, email questionnaires or exit interviews at the show. You also want to keep track of on-site sales at your booth.
Create a Budget
Make a detailed breakdown of expenses. Find out what funds are available for marketing and work with those to create a realistic budget for the show that fits with the company’s budget constraints. Showing that you can allocate funds responsibly and stay within a specific budget will make your proposal more tenable.
Prove the Value as a Marketing Investment
Trade shows typically don’t generate large numbers of sales over the duration of show – they’re designed to connect you with potential clients and build sales down the road. Pitching a trade show as a marketing investment will give your boss a clearer understanding of the value of trade shows and minimize unrealistic expectations.
Focus on the Power of Face-to-Face Conversations
When it comes to making personal connections, nothing replaces the power of eye contact. Trade shows are easily the most cost-effective way to meet a large number of people in a short amount of time. Facetime makes a difference not only to potential customers, but to your existing customers as well. Maintaining that personal connection makes a big statement about your company’s level of service and attention.
Emphasize the Free Publicity
Local media typically covers trade shows, making it possible for your company to get coverage on local channels or footage to include in your own marketing videos. Larger shows often receive national coverage. Trade shows are great opportunities to increase brand recognition, even among people who don’t attend the show.
• Scope out the competition – Visit competitor booths to learn how they market to attendees.
• Branding – Establish your company as a serious player through exposure and strategic marketing.
• Network – Meet other professionals in your field and build relationships.
• Product launches – The perfect way to draw visitors and evaluate their initial response.
• Find new employees – Recruit qualified employees already experienced in the field.
• Captive audience – More than 90 percent of attendees come to learn or see something new.
• Qualified leads – Gather contact information and be sure to follow up.
• Troubleshooting – Networking with industry professionals gives you the opportunity to learn.
Seal the Deal
Use our tips to focus on the positive aspects of trade shows and get leadership’s support for your proposal. As always, we’re here to help.