So, how exactly do you calculate whether or not a particular show might be successful? There are five numbers to pay attention to when evaluating trade show ROI: attendees, % target, reach, conversion rate, and lifetime value.
Your estimated trade show ROI is the product of these numbers. If we take the following example:
Then your expected value from this event would be 15,000 X .1625 X .10 X .01 X 5,000 = $12,187.50. As long as your cost did not exceed this amount then your event would likely have positive ROI.
Similar to estimating cost, there are several numbers that can make a big difference in your trade show ROI calculation (assuming you have reasonable values for your conversion rate and lifetime value), these are % Target and Reach.
Because % Target is most often provided by the event itself, these self-reported numbers may not be completely accurate or, in some cases, inflated because they open the event to the general public.
Finally, your Reach is influenced by factors such as the size of the show, the number of salespeople who attend the show on your behalf, your location on the show floor, the size of your booth, and how well you market your presence at a particular show to prospective attendees. What is important to know is that your decisions pertaining to cost will invariably have an impact on reach.
In our spreadsheet, we link Reach to booth size since, as your investment in your booth increases, so will your potential reach. You should calibrate these values based on your particular audience (e.g. you might have an audience that actively seeks you out) and the number of leads you typically capture at a show given your level of attendance. In our previous example, you would compare the number of expected leads (15,000 Attendees X 16.25% Target X 10% Reach = 244 leads) versus the actual number of leads gathered.
Conversion rate and lifetime value figures need to come from your business. Ask around if you don’t have these figures (they are important). You can also approximate these values with the help of tools like Google Analytics (for example, you could start with the assumption that your trade show conversion rate is similar to your online conversion rates). Over time and with enough experience, you should be able to calibrate these numbers more precisely.
Next, learn how to find trade show value beyond direct sales >
This article is part of our ebook “Building a Better Trade Show”. Download our free ebook today.
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