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Make your exhibition marketing a paying proposition

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Posted by , 18th September 2018

Is your exhibition marketing a paying proposition? It should be. This post from Exhibitors Only explains how you can know for sure if your events are working

If your exhibiting spend isn’t producing revenue for you then why are you doing it? It should be a paying proposition for your business.

Here are 3 things I’ve learned from discussions with owners of small businesses about their event marketing

  • Many small businesses don’t have a written event plan
  • Those businesses that don’t have an event plan don’t effectively measure their results
  • Tracking of event marketing activities to see which things are producing sales isn’t really understood or followed

Tracking of activities helps you to see what’s working and paying

If you run a small and growing business where do you start when it comes to measuring your event results?

There are many things that you could measure over and above enquiries collected at a show.

“What do we measure, where do we start?” are questions that I’m often asked. To avoid paralysis by analysis my recommendation is to keep things simple.

1. Start by measuring enquiries collected

The number of enquiries collected is a good starting point. I’m sure many of you will be thinking it’s an obvious one. 

Log your enquiry numbers in a spreadsheet where you can compare all of the events you take part in. This will make it easy to compare year-on-year results. 

This is your base measure. Other simple measures might include; 

2. Logging the number of target businesses that have been seen

The number of target businesses that were seen during the show: These are businesses that have been listed as being key companies in your marketing and business plans. 

Hopefully, the shows that you participate in attract individuals from these companies as part of their attendance. 

How many, if any, of those target clients, came onto your stand? Did you invite them pre-show?

3. Recording the number of quotes issued

Leads are great but sales are better. That’s the Exhibitors Only ethos when it comes to assessing show success. 

Quotes issued are an important step towards achieving sales. 

That’s why I recommend that you record the number and value of quotes generated and the names of the companies that they were issued to.  

A list like this can be referred to later when you want to see how many of those quotes became orders. 

4. Orders taken at the show

Not all exhibitors can take orders at a show. Very high-value products and most services are not usually suitable for instant sales. 

But if you do make sales at a show, even small introductory offer type sales, log them all. And don’t just record their sales value. 

For accurate tracking in the future, you will need to;

  • Allocate within your CRM the value of this order and assign it to the right company
  • Record the name of the show where the order was produced. 

Some other things you could measure later on

There are tons of things that you could measure; Samples distributed; people attending your seminars; sales agents interviewed; the busiest day; the slowest day; your best performing team member for leads collected….

If you are starting out, keep things simple and go with the four items highlighted above. 

Measure the conversion of leads into orders

Converting leads into orders is what exhibiting is all about for small businesses. 

Hard sales are the biggest and best reason to exhibit and the trade shows you take part in should be providing a fast track to sales achieved. (See point 9 in this post for why this is the case). 

A simple example 

If you collect 100 leads at an event and 25 of those leads place orders, then your lead conversion rate from that event stands at 25%. 

Now we know that sales don’t all happen at the same time which is why you need to keep looking out for orders post-event.

As an order is confirmed, check the name of the company placing the order against your recorded list of leads from exhibitions. 

You might consider doing this tracking for three months after each event or whatever timescale feels right for your business and what you sell. 

Keep track of costs and measure the events that make the most money

For you to be able to accurately gauge the true yield of each event, you must record not just your results, but your costs too in a uniform way. 

A conversion rate for leads that turn into orders is one measure of success. And it’s an excellent one but you should also be aware of the events that generate the most money. 

These events may not necessarily produce the highest conversion rate when you compare leads collected that later turn into sales. 

You may find that you generate fewer leads at an event but those leads are of a higher quality in relation to the value that they ultimately deliver. 

There might be that one event that literally transforms the fortunes of your business. And that transformation may come from the only really solid lead that you took in a show.

Remember: Leads ARE great but sales ARE better 

Unfortunately, you can’t spend leads, but you can spend a lot of money when trying to generate them.

For you to know how valuable your event marketing spend is to your business, you need to know the important numbers highlighted in this post. 

This is the way for you to know whether your event marketing is a paying proposition or not. 

It’s a business that we specialise in so if you are at all in doubt, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

Tel: 0203 633 4665
Email: info@exhibitorsonly.biz

Posted in Trade show advice  /  Trade show budgets  /  Trade show marketing  /  Trade show sales

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