Top 10 Trade Show Tips for Exhibitors & 5 Ways to Measure your ROI

There are plenty of reasons to exhibit at a trade show: brand awareness, lead generation, sales pipeline acceleration, and more. However, exhibiting at a trade show can be costly, so you’ll want to ensure you’re optimizing your experience and yielding a positive ROI. Before signing any contracts, familiarize yourself with these trade show success tips and learn how to measure the event’s success. 

TIP #1 Ensure your booth is on-brand.

Ensure your booth reflects your brand. Think of your booth as a conduit between trade show attendees and your company. Work with your marketing teams to design a high-quality trade show exhibit that adheres to your brand guidelines. Things to consider are featuring your logo in multiple places, incorporating brand taglines if appropriate, and using on-brand long-range, mid-range, and short-range graphics to capture the attention of attendees regardless of their proximity to your booth.

TIP #2 Attract people with an interactive booth.

Attendees will spend more time at your booth (which gives marketing and sales reps more time to qualify them as leads) if you engage them in an activity. Consider offering gamification strategies such as, touchscreen technology, live product demonstrations, giveaways, prizes, games, QR codes, and more to encourage booth visitors to interact with your brand, content, products, and people. 

TIP #3 Make key messages bold and brief.

An excellent tip for trade show exhibitors is to select a few brief, high-impact headlines. Ensure these key messages are large, in an easy-to-read font, and displayed above waist height (ideally, above three to four feet) for easy viewing. Pop-up displays work wonders for this.

TIP #4 May I offer you a beverage?

Exhibitor guidelines permit you can attract potential visitors to your booth by offering food and/or beverages. Remember that cups, coffee sleeves, candy wrappers, etc., can also feature your logo, providing an additional opportunity to reinforce your brand.

TIP #5 Focus on the quality of the trade show experience, not the size of the booth.

It can be challenging to determine how much booth space you need during the trade show, but don’t worry if securing a substantial booth footprint is outside your budget. Your trade show ROI results from your interactions with attendees, which can take place in any size booth. Adding to your trade show success tips, ensure you’re not solely relying on the booth to attract prospects and customers. Your pre-event marketing should be well-planned, and on-site meetings with potential prospects and existing customers should be scheduled before the event begins.

TIP #6 Invite attendees to stop for a selfie.

A “selfie station” or photo booth is an excellent way to engage event attendees by providing them with a fun space or backdrop in your booth for taking and posting pics to social media. If you don’t have the physical space to pull this off - don’t despair! Various event technology and apps allow you to create event-specific digital backgrounds and overlays, which your booth visitors can access and use for social media via a link or QR code. 

TIP #7 Invite prospects and customers to visit your booth.

Two to three weeks before the event, execute an integrated marketing campaign using email, online advertising, e-newsletters, and press releases, inviting prospects and customers to visit your booth. If you’ve received a registration list from the event organizer, send reminders to all registrants a minimum of one week before, one day before, and the day of the event. Pro tip: many companies find an email sent right before the live event day is most effective.

Simultaneously, implement a social media strategy using LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook tools to promote your presence at the event. Find LinkedIn groups relevant to your audience and post invitations to visit your booth and/or attend your presentation(s). Schedule regular tweets to create a cadence of interest before the event. Don’t forget to use event #hashtags so people can find and reference it as they tweet.

TIP #8 Involve your loyal customers.

Another clever tactic is to leverage your customers. This could come in the form of making a customer available at the booth to answer survey questions, presenting a customer case study as part of the trade show event agenda, or even hosting an after-hours outing where prospects have the chance to meet and talk with current customers. 

TIP #9 Don’t forget the swag.

Last but not least, you should consider some promotional giveaways. Mouse pads, keychains, pens, tote bags, etc., are ad space! Make sure you have one to three pieces of your most relevant collateral: white papers, data sheets, etc., on hand. Remember that collateral should be timely and of varying types for attendee interest. 

TIP #10 Staff smartly.

Ensure the booth staff is prepared for the event to answer many questions, ranging from inquiries about your products, event presentations, and more. Also, ensure the booth is staffed appropriately, with more booth reps for larger events and fewer for smaller ones. Also, consider having representatives at other locations, such as the networking lounge, to conduct impromptu discussions with potential prospects.

 

How to Measure Your Event Marketing Success?

If you’re a trade show exhibitor, evaluating an event’s ROI may seem complex, but there are popular key performance indicators you can use.

TIP #1 Measure the number of new contacts and leads.

Think beyond badge scans. Ensure your booth staff account is not only for badge scans but also for new LinkedIn connections, business cards exchanged, and conversations started outside the booth. All contacts should be entered into your CRM and/or marketing engine (Marketo, Hubspot, etc.) for further nurturing. And, of course, all qualified leads should be immediately assigned to sales reps for quick follow-up. 

TIP #2 Measure engagement.

This trade show tip can come in many forms. Did you host a presentation? How many people attended? Or maybe you used a hashtag tied to an Instagram-worthy moment in your booth? You can quantify the number of shares, likes, followers, mentions, downloads, hashtags, etc. 

TIP #3 Measure the number of customer meetings.

How many meetings did you have scheduled, and how many actually took place? What were their outcomes? This is a good metric to measure event success.

TIP #4 Pay attention to press coverage and media mentions.

Pay attention to any press coverage or media mentions. This can include social media mentions, news articles, blogs, and other PR instances generated from the event. And don’t overlook the impact this may have on referral traffic to your website!  

TIP #5 Close rate.

How many of your trade show leads converted into a sale? Did attendees allow you to scan their badge to get free swag, or did your participation yield qualified leads ready to do business? 

To determine your close rate, take the number of deals generated at the event, then divide this number by the number of leads from the same show. Finally, multiply this number by 100 to determine the event’s close rate percentage. 

 

Tips for Trade Show Exhibitors Wrap up 

There are many ways to attract attendees to your booth during a trade show. However, generating huge traffic is not the only task in an event marketing plan. You also have to measure the event’s ROI and performance to determine whether the ROI was enough to justify future event participation. 

Ready to take your next trade show to the next level? Great! Let's start with a chat with one of our brilliant sales rep to walk you through any questions you may have with our open universe, engagement tools, mobile apps, in-person event technology, virtual venues, or hybrid platforms. Schedule a demo here.

 


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