Exhibitors – Calculating Your ROI

Calculating Your ROI

There is nothing more fulfilling -well, maybe some chocolate- than knowing how to do something yourself instead of relying on someone/something to do it for you.

And luckily for you learning how to calculate trade show ROI is easy peasy.

It’s one of the most empowering things you can learn, so let’s GEEK out on a little ROI, shall we???

Before The Math

I bet you are just dying to skip straight to the mathematical equation part of this whole article but first, we have to lay down a little groundwork.

If you sometimes feel like you are flying by the seat of your pants, rest assured you are not alone.

It can be tricky settling into your trade show mojo, especially if you are newer to exhibiting.

The easiest way to fix that is to make sure you are thoroughly defining your goals before you start exhibiting.

Defining Goals

Some of the most common symptoms of not defining your goals before every show are blowing the budget and missing deadlines – not a good way to showcase your business to the world.

Shift your energy to identifying your objectives and creating measurable goals in the areas of sales, leads, and brand awareness.

Accomplish this and you’ll be off to a good start.

Tracking Leads

One of the best ways to help you reach your goals is by utilizing your CRM software.  If you are unfamiliar with CRM and all of its charms, you can catch up by reading my previous post about it here.

Once you have created leads you can tag them with an event and track how many leads you have gained from each show.

Pretty great, huh?

Now here is the part where I start to geek out a little bit…

One of the best parts about being an entrepreneur is seeing (measuring) the fruition of all your hard work.

Calculating your ROI

First let’s go over a simple, non-math way to tell if you are gaining traction in your business…

To measure your ROI you’ll want to gauge the following at the three to six-month mark and yearly for each client:

  • First, weed out any contacts that didn’t engage or you weren’t able to convert into a qualified lead.
  • Did your leads become a client within three-six months?
  • Have your sales with that client stayed the same or have they increased or decreased?
  • Look at your total number of sales, have they actually increased?

Now for the not-so-secret formula…

Revenue – Investment      Example: $90,000 – $45,000 = 1, making the ROI 100%
Investment                                                 $45,000

After The Math

Do you feel empowered yet?

Fabulous.  Now what?

If you aren’t sure what to do with your newly acquired information, let me offer this suggestion…

Take your ROI and evaluate which trade shows are the best for your company and will offer you the best bang for your buck.

And because I don’t want to leave you hanging, here are some questions/tips that can help you with the selection process…

  • Evaluate your position in the current marketplace.  If you are debuting at a show as a brand new business then your goal would be to make as many new contacts as possible.  If you are already well recognized, your goal might be to focus on certain key relationships.
  • What type of audience would respond the best to your business?  Since different shows attract different people, doing some market research before you choose a show could be very beneficial.
  • Some exhibitors aren’t sure if their goals should change from show to show.  While some goals might need some tweaking here and there, it’s hard to measure success when there isn’t any cohesiveness to your goals.  If they are always changing it’s hard to gauge what strategies are truly successful and which ones aren’t. Do yourself a favor and try to keep some goals consistent.  Striving for better doesn’t always mean driving yourself crazy.

Here’s the deal, if you don’t think about ROI in the planning stages it could really hurt you down the road.  Now is the time to focus on creating a unified strategy to carry you across your entire year or show schedule.   Make a plan and start using your data to help make decisions on your current and future exhibiting schedule.

Fortunately, you now have the information you need to translate all your data into something meaningful.