Studies show that over 90% of exhibitors attending a trade show share the same objective – capturing leads to generate new business.
Considering that exhibitions are among the most expensive marketing & sales activities (representing an average of 39.2% of B2B marketing budgets), it makes sense to look for proper return on investment.
Unfortunately, exhibitors often perform one or several of the 4 deadly mistakes.
Mistake 1 – poor planning & budgeting
A trade show stall isn’t something you can improvise in last minute. Picking the right location, carpet, lighting, electricity, decoration, samples, logistics, giveaways… takes time and preparation.
Moreover, all these expenses must be properly budgeted and recorded to avoid bad surprises.
Have you considered travel expenses, meals, transportation, drinks, internet fees, promoters costumes & wages or stationery? All these elements should be part of your budget sheet months before the expo.
You can’t envision return on investment without cost control and management.
Mistake 2 – poor lead capture
To generate business you need to convert prospects into customers. Hence, your first step should be to efficiently capture leads on your booth.
Your first step should be to digitally collect visitors details. Define a method to identify good leads (a prospect that actually shows potential to become a client) and take digital notes. Why digital? Pen&paper methods are not only outdated, there are harmful – they delay your follow-up, increase your workload reading hand-written notes and chances of human errors.
Your notes should contain basic contact details (name, position, company, email, phone, etc.) but also lead quality (hot, warm, cold), some “tags” to easily filters your leads afterwards and a few notes in regards to your conversation. When taken digitally, such data is easy to filter and organize.
Once armed with such report, converting leads will be a piece of cake.
Mistake 3 – poor or late follow-up
48h – is the golden rule.
Think about it: in average, a trade show visitor will meet a hundred exhibitors, see two hundred booths and review three hundred products. What are the chances he would remember you a week after your discussion?
Each minute that passes, the risk of him forgetting you and his enthusiasm dropping increases. Send an immediate thank-you email after he leaves your booth and complete it with a thorough follow-up email within 48h.
A follow-up email must contain a clear and unique call-to-action. What is the next step? A meeting? A phone call? A contract? State it clearly and send him the precise documents & information he will need to make a choice (don’t force him to ask for more information but don’t drown him under countless files either).
Your purpose is to push the prospect further down your sales funnel. Give priority to leads you have qualified as “hot” – send them the most urgent and thorough emails. Then, manage your “warm” leads. Based on their quality, your “cold” leads could be given to your marketing team for less customized follow-up.
All this is only possible if your leads have been efficiently captured and organized from the beginning.
Mistake 4 – poor or nonexistent tracking
Your goal is to get extra business as well as a positive ROI, right?
But how could you define success without proper monitoring and tracking?
To make data driven decisions you need data. Start with comparing your budget with your actual expenses and locate discrepancies. Now, look at how many leads you have captured on your booth and you will be able to calculate your CPL (Cost Per Lead = total expenses / number of leads). Is it realistic to assume these leads will generate an income AT LEAST equivalent to their cost?
Keep monitoring leads captured on your booth for a period of 6 to 12 months and evaluate the amount of money they generate. You can now estimate your total return on investment (ROI = total income – total expenses) and decide whether it was worth joining the event.
The most dangerous phrase in the language is, “We’ve always done it this way.” – you can now make data driven decisions and consider joining your next business event with proper data to backup your choice.
Read more at: www.myfairtool.com