Trade show exhibitors should know whether they’re getting their money’s worth from their custom display booths. That’s why the return on investment, commonly referred to as ROI, is a big concern for exhibitors even before deciding upon a project’s budget. Because a professionally-designed custom display booth can be a significant expenditure, you may be tempted to think you can cut corners and save some cash by renting a basic booth and emblazoning it with your own printed graphics. You can probably see where that’s likely to lead: an underwhelming first impression.
Your trade show ROI hinges upon a number of variables. First and foremost are your goals: What do you wish to accomplish at the trade show? How many signed contracts or strong new leads do you expect to land? Once your goals are in place, you can figure out what it will take to consider your trade show appearance a success. A custom display booth will most likely prove worth the expense and effort—as long as you do it right. That’s why partnering with a professional design firm is critical to delivering ROI.
Calculating Your Trade Show ROI
Calculating your trade show ROI is, on the surface, pretty straightforward: Subtract marketing expenses from your profit and divide that sum by the expenses. Multiply by 100, and you have the best indicator of what your efforts have yielded, expressed as a percentage. Repeat with every show, and you’ll start to see which exhibit elements and tactics are the most effective.
While the formula may be simple, sorting and analyzing your data to reach a conclusion can be tricky. It usually involves accounting for multiple variables, so it’s no wonder that there are software plugins devoted to the task. “Cost” is easy to write in a formula, but it covers a lot of individual elements that get factored into your trade show expenses, including—but by no means limited to—the following:
- Space rental
- Booth construction
- Marketing and swag
- Registration fees
- Special events associated with the show
Just to make ROI calculation still more complicated, “revenue” can often be something other than a simple dollar amount calculated by the number of sales or viable leads you receive as a direct result of your trade show participation. If your trade show goal is to debut a new product or to raise awareness of your brand, your ROI will be calculated in terms of the number of brand or product impressions made at the event. Placing a dollar value on that becomes tricky, though not impossible. Using criteria you’ve set well in advance of the show, you’ll have to determine the marketing value of your trade show exposure, then use that number as your revenue. In the end, it’s all up to you—whatever result you decide to target, you’ll need to find a reliable way to measure it.
Trade Show ROI: Choose the Right Show
Make sure you’re appearing at the right show for your goals. You’re not likely to see a good ROI if you’re not presenting your brand or product to the correct audience. If your product or service is strictly designed for or geared to a local customer base and you present it at a big national show, even the best custom booth in the world probably won’t be enough to give you a strong ROI.
Avoid mismatches by researching the show well before committing to exhibiting. Make sure your targeted customer base is likely to attend. Ask the show organizers to give you attendee demographic information. Find out what types of exhibitors have had successes—or failures—at this particular show in the past. A few screener questions up front can help save you wasted effort and expense.
Trade Show ROI: Announce Your Presence
Have a plan in place to market your show presence in advance of the event. Get the right people there: Set appointments in advance, send out direct mailings or emails, and post about your upcoming show appearance on social media. If there’s a prospective client you specifically want to meet, send them a personal invitation, then follow up to make sure they’re planning to attend. If you’re unsure about the best ways to reach your target audience, relax: In addition to planning and building your custom display booth, a full-service professional exhibit design company like ProExhibits will be able to help you shape your trade show marketing strategy as well.
Trade Show ROI: Get Results from a Custom Display Booth
You have your budget, and you’ve projected low, medium, and high possibilities for leads, sales, or any other criteria you plan on measuring, and you can’t wait to start mapping spending to results. How do you make it happen? What will drive everyone in sight—or at least your targeted prospects—to your exhibit?
When you work with professional custom display booth makers, you’ll be working together from the earliest planning stages to achieve your strategic goals. Whatever your goals—which will be well-considered and reasonable, and will make you look great when your team crushes them—your exhibit design will be purpose-built to reach them. The idea is to get the right booth for your goals.
A professional design company will help you shine. For the best results, partner with experienced professionals who know your goals and your target ROI. If you need dedicated space for a meeting room or a presentation area in your booth, a design company will make sure it’s worked seamlessly into your display. Professional designers will help you maximize every square foot of your booth. They’ll give you guidance as to the best booth size for your goals to make sure you’re not wasting money—and thus lowering your ROI—on space that won’t be optimally used; they’ll know precisely which booth elements will work best for you. They’ll be an invaluable resource on your path to trade show success.
Trade Show ROI: Track Your Progress and See Results
During the trade show, make sure you’re proceeding according to your predetermined plan for calculating your ROI. In all the chaos of the show, keep meticulous records—don’t lose track of important leads or data. Have a foolproof system in place for gathering contact information from your visitors, then follow up on every lead after the show.
Getting a return on your investment at a trade show can be complicated. You’ll need to have a strategic plan in place, which you will then implement and follow. Take away some of the effort and uncertainty with a custom display booth from a professional trade show exhibit design company. Their skills and depth of knowledge will give you a big leg up on achieving a strong ROI.
ProExhibits, an EXHIBITOR Top 40 company, has helped the world’s best brands achieve their trade show goals for decades. If you have questions about display booths, ROI, or anything related to your upcoming trade shows, contact us today.