When preparing for your next exhibition you need a refined, results-driven master plan. One that covers all your bases to give you the best possible chance of achieving your exhibiting goals. That’s where this guide comes in.
Using our endgame blueprint, discover how to pick the right targets, create valuable KPIs, refine your strategy and manage your team properly to ensure success on the trade show floor.
1. Know what you want to achieve
Why are you exhibiting? There may be one or two core reasons, such as:
- Generating new leads
- Building brand awareness
- Gaining new partners
- Doing market research
- Engaging with existing customers
For the purpose of this guide, we’re going to focus on the top two reasons why businesses exhibit: to drive new business and gain brand exposure.
With a concrete goal in mind, your next step is working out the numbers needed – which we’ll also refer to as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – to achieve success. Why? Without the right numbers, you’ll be generating leads for the sake of leads with no clue on whether your investment was worth it.
2. Work out your KPIs
For lead generation
Let’s say your goal is to generate a specific number of leads at your upcoming trade show. To get that number down on paper, ask yourself: How much of that sales target do we want to achieve from the trade show? This helps you calculate the percentage of business you need to generate at the expo.
From there, work backwards to figure out the resources required to generate your desired result. You can do this by answering the following questions:
- How many people do we need to present to at the exhibition?
- How many people do we need to engage at our booth?
- How many conversations do we need to instigate to generate enough booth visitors?
Divide these numbers over the amount of days you will be exhibiting (if it’s just one day, you can ignore this step). Also, consider the peak times for footfall on each day as you may need more staff during these hours to maximise your reach.
For brand exposure
Measuring performance for raising brand awareness is a bit tricky, but totally doable with the right approach.
It’s vital that you discuss your goal with your marketing team. They can help you understand your past performance and what KPIs are indicative of success.
For instance, perhaps your main target audience is on LinkedIn. During your last trade show, you doubled engagement on the platform. This was measured via likes and shares, new page follows and traffic to your website.
This time, you want to boost engagement by 70%. By looking at your past performance, you work out that this translates to 500 email sign-ups and 450 new connections on LinkedIn – target numbers for your next trade show.
Historical data can also help you spot opportunities to improve, such as developing a better engagement strategy and hiring more experienced lead generators.
If this is your first trade show, consider reading our guide: How to Measure Exhibition Engagement. It teaches you how different types of technology, such as WiFi Analytics and A/B testing, can help you understand how your attendees are responding to your efforts.
3. Refine your strategy
With the numbers needed to accurately measure your trade show performance, you can use them to make your strategy more focused and results-driven.
Whether your goal is to drive business or brand exposure, your strategy should be built around face-to-face engagement (learn more). Understanding how your face-to-face engagement will work in advance gives your team time to prepare (and train up if necessary) so they can successfully qualify and convert at your booth.
First, you need to identify:
- Your target audience and their behaviours, traits and needs
- How your message is going to be articulated
- The marketing collateral needed for the event
- The presentations to be delivered
- Who’s going to deliver them
It’s also useful to deep-dive into your face-to-face engagement methods:
- Once you get people to the booth, what’s the process?
- What questions do you need to ask to ensure you’re talking to the right people?
- What technology do you need to offer an engaging experience?
- Are you going to do face-to-face presentations?
- Are you presenting to multiple people at multiple times?
This ensures your booth team know:
- Who they need to speak to
- How many people they need to engage
- The right questions to ask
Finally, your strategy needs to spell out how you’re going to measure success. For example, if your goal is to generate X number of leads, you could compare the number of meetings secured vs. your target KPI to gauge your performance.
4. Manage your team properly
There’s little more important than your trade show team. They are the ones interacting with attendees and representing your brand.
Briefing them on their responsibilities for the trade show is one essential step. You also need a manager present on the day to keep staff on track with their engagement targets.
What’s more, the manager needs to monitor staff during attendee engagement (where possible without impacting the attendee experience), making sure your lead generators are asking the right questions to qualify prospects.
To learn more about lead qualification, read: 6-Minute Trade Show Lead Generation. In short, you’re looking to spark customer-centred conversations that filter for high-value prospects. Here are some questions to make your staff more effective lead qualifiers:
- Determine their buying authority – “Are you a part of the buying team?”
- Identify their main problem – “What’s the problem you’re trying to fix?”
- Discover their buying time frame – “When do you need a solution by?”
- Find out what their budgets are – “What budget do you have allocated for the project?”
These questions will change depending on your core goal for the trade show. For example, if you’re looking to raise brand awareness, you’ll want to focus more on delivering intriguing conversations that spark interest and encourage people to interact with your brand online.
All the tools you need to succeed
We have them right here. If you need help working out your KPIs or gathering insights to improve your performance, our Engagement Calculator and Exhibition Scorecard are worth their weight in gold.
The Exhibition Engagement Calculator
Using this tool, get a personalised exhibition KPI forecast, define realistic goals and build a strategy to meet them.
The Exhibition Scorecard
The scorecard benchmarks your current exhibition performance against our proven blueprint for exhibiting success. Gain recommendations on how to improve each area of exhibiting, from lead-generation to choosing which trade shows to attend.
Is there something else we can help you with? Talk to a trade show expert today on 0161 834 9478 (UK) or +1 702 608 8362 (USA).