Measuring trade show success

Measuring trade show success

Measuring Trade Show Success By The Numbers…For Starters

Is your trade show exhibit and attendance delivering a desirable return on investment? When measuring trade show success it’s tempting to only consider by the number of business cards you collect, quality must be emphasized over quantity. Sure, visitors will gladly part with their business card if it means they’re entered in a draw for a tropical vacation. But all those business cards indicate is their desire for a tropical vacation. In fact, there are many other meaningful ways of measuring trade show success.

The most obvious indicator of trade show success is the number of leads generated, and those leads that result in final sales. There are several lead-tracking and sales management software packages that can assist you with this endeavour. Although revenue generation is always foremost in your mind, consider these other important methods of measuring trade show success:

  • Meeting with existing customers, which is an excellent way to reinforce your relationship. Contact customers who plan to attend, or cannot attend, and make arrangements to meet with them before, during or after the show. Build your existing relationships through individual attention to help increase your sales.
  • Did you sell products/services, or take any orders? Leads are the key measure of success, but at-show sales and orders must also be included. The same can be said for contracts, since trade shows are an excellent place to lay the groundwork for future contracts.
  • Count the number of visitors who stopped at your booth, or attended your presentations and/or demonstrations. These numbers are an indication of raised awareness of your company and what you have to offer. How does their attendance compare to other years?
  • Use trade shows to conduct your own market research. Solicit opinions and suggestions from your booth visitors. Take advantage of this captive and well-informed audience to learn what people really want in today’s marketplace.
  • Identify strategic partners. Trade shows are an ideal opportunity to meet prospective partners, and you can even conduct preliminary interviews. And remember to give some thought to the recruiting potential of individuals you meet at the show.

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Trade show lead capture methods

Paper Versus Paperless – Determine Your Ideal Trade Show Lead Capture Method

Good old-fashioned paper forms, fancy lead retrieval systems, and sophisticated computer-based applications all offer lead capture capabilities at a trade show. But which method works best for your company? For exhibit staffers who habitually lose documents as soon as paper falls on their desk, a lead retrieval system may be preferable. On the other hand, if your staffers resort to the “hunt-and-peck” method of typing, then a paper form might be more ideal. All three types of lead capture methods exhibit advantages and drawbacks. It’s time to weigh your options.

Paper forms are a flexible, low-cost and convenient trade show lead capture method. While paper forms may seem antiquated to some exhibitors, paper forms don’t rely on computers and/or internet connections, both of which can fail at the most inopportune time at a show. Booth staffers can also attach the prospect’s business card directly to the form, optimizing time and future lead tracking.

If your company chooses to implement a paper-based system trade how lead capture system, be certain to take advantage of check boxes to save time for everyone. Categories such as current customer, preferred contact method, purchase time frame, budget, followup plan, buying authority, product/service interest, and relationship all lend themselves to check boxes. You can also save time by pre-printing items on the form, including trade show name, date and location. Arrange your questions on the form in the same order as your database program to be kind to your eyes and improve accuracy when entering data after the show. If you choose the paper route, leave plenty of room for sprawling handwriting and some space for comments. Many managers opt for a tall, narrow form, such as 5” by 8” (think of a standard 8.5” by 11” piece of paper, with two forms printed per page). Paper forms are adaptable, easy to manage, and don’t require any special equipment – other than a pen.
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Trade show graphics tips

Grab Them With Great Trade Show Graphics

You have precious few seconds to capture the attention of trade show visitors. In the chaos of colours, scents, lights, and sounds present at a typical trade show, how will your company’s trade show graphics stand out in an arresting and convincing manner? Consider the following helpful hints as you contemplate your trade show graphics.

Text in your trade show graphics and signage must be kept to an absolute minimum. Few visitors take time to read the fine print, and instead it’s best to use pictures whenever possible to convey your message. Keep in mind that photography is always preferable to illustrations, as photos lend more credibility and have more impact. If you must have some copy, be certain the copy focuses on the buyer, stresses the benefits of your product or service, and uses strong action words. You are trying to deliver a convincing, meaningful message to potential customers, so messages must be brief and direct, and graphics must be simple and compelling.

Select one or two striking visuals, instead of several smaller graphics. Avoid clutter – it’s far more effective to have a single focal point to draw visitors. Keep your graphics clean and uncomplicated, and make them a powerful reflection of your company. Include your company logo to establish brand identity too.

What about colour? Blues, greens and whites are cool colours that look professional. Oranges, reds, and yellows are the attention-grabbers. Be wary of overwhelming visitors with these strong colours, though, unless they are an extension of your company’s image, marketing messages or sales efforts.

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