When exhibiting at trade shows, businesses often integrate a variety of strategies for interacting with customers, generating leads, and promoting their brand. Fortunately, the success of those strategies can be empirically tested; indeed, there are a number of specific measurements businesses can use to determine the success of their trade show appearances. Below we’ve highlighted three of the best measures for evaluating your trade show appearances.
1) Qualified Leads
Obviously, not every person whose hand you shake and email address you acquire during your show will make a purchase down the line. Since you’re unlikely to have time to pursue all your leads, it’s essential to have a system for determining which ones are worth pursuing (“qualified leads”) and just how valuable each one is.
While most companies have a strategy for evaluating leads, it’s worth paying attention to the system created by Moen, the faucet fixture company. Their system categorizes leads according to the number of projects the client completes each year, as well as the client’s decision-making power within their company; the more projects completed and the more money the client can spend, the higher that lead is ranked. This is a great system for determining the success of any show, allowing you to project the potential profit to be made from particular leads and spend your follow-up time appropriately.
2) Online Activity
Another way to evaluate the success of your show is in terms of your online activity. If your event was successful, you should expect to see increased traffic to your website and social media pages both during and after the show, including additional:
• Blog subscribers
• General comments
Traffic tracking programs, like Hubspot, can tell you exactly what people are saying about your product online and on what sites they’re saying it, allowing you to compare your views and mentions before, during, and after a show to tangibly measure consumers’ reactions to your event. While not everyone who connects with you online and via social media will become a client, don’t underestimate the impact of bringing new faces to your brand. Browsers could turn into buyers if you’ve showed a willingness to respond to feedback and answer questions during and after the show.
3) Customer Relationship Management
Of course, acquiring new leads is one of the primary reasons to attend a trade show, but the importance of strengthening already existing customer relationships should not be overlooked. Trade shows are the perfect time to show existing customers just how valuable you are and remind them why they chose you in the first place. Trade shows also present a great opportunity to meet with clients you rarely get to visit and find out if their needs have changed and how they feel about your service.
If you don’t already have a strategy for measuring the strength of your customer relationships, there are a number of ways to do it. These include simple means like asking clients how they feel and gauging feedback on social media sites to using more complex Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, such as Infusionsoft and Salesforce that help to manage sales, implement automated marketing initiatives, and even provide customer support. Such applications provide detailed analytics that allow you to confidently track customer behaviors after a show and determine their response to your event.