A tradeshow is a perfect opportunity to track stuff: sales, leads, visitors, and so on. Here’s a quick list of things you might consider measuring at each show. It’ll give you a chance to not only compare different shows, but it’ll help you track trends at different appearances at the same show year after year.
- Sales. The key indicator of your success. The challenge with tracking sales from tradeshows is that you may get a sale in another 6 months, year or two years as a result of a single appearance. Be aware of where sales come from and track them to their source if you’re able.
- Leads. Not quite as critical as sales, but a key indicator of the success of your overall tradeshow program. Identify cool, warm and hot leads and follow up appropriately.
- New customers. Sales are great, but what percentage came from new customers?
- Visitors. While many exhibitors don’t normally track booth visitors, if you can get a handle on at least an accurate ballpark number of booth visitors from show to show, that information will come in handy.
- Samples. Do you give away samples, such as food or flash drives or swag? Keep track.
- Demonstrations and attendance. Do you have a professional presenter at your booth? Keep track of how many are given each day and make a headcount of attendees.
- Social media content. How many tweets, photos, videos and blog posts are you generating as a result of your appearance? Check things such as how many times your tweets were re-tweeted, or how many times your hashtag was mentioned, the numner of times you received an @ reply. If you saw a spike in Twitter followers or Facebook fans or Instagram followers during the show appearance, track that information.
- Other online engagement. Do you steer people to your website during tradeshows? Did social media engagement drive traffic to your site? If you create a specific landing page for visitors, track the traffic on that. If you give away digital assets such as downloadable PDFs, white papers or product sell sheets, track that.
- Finally, track the ROI. To calculate the ROI, divide the gross profit minus the cost of the show by the cost of the show. It will look like this:
ROI = (Gross Profit – Cost of the show) / Cost of the show.
For example, if it cost you $200,000 for the booth, travel, lodging, salaries, food, parties, transportation, etc., and you know that six months later the business generated as a direct result of the show was $359,000, you’d write the equation like this:
ROI = ($359,000 – $200,000) / $200,000
ROI = $159,000 / $200,000 = 79.5%
Measure as much as you can. You’ll be glad you did!