How to Measure Trade Show Success

How to Measure Trade Show Effectiveness?

How to Measure Trade Show Effectiveness

 

Do you struggle to convey the ROI of trade show participation? The struggle exists because there’s a lack of knowledge regarding the right ways and approaches to measure the effectiveness of trade show participation efforts.

According to our Co-founder at Pure Exhibits, Utsav Kedia,

“The best way to measure the effectiveness of a trade show is by defining your KPIs and incorporating them into a certain set of SOPs to help you set the clear grounds and gauge the success of your efforts.”

Yes, our Co-founder feels that your trade show participation can be a total waste of time and resources without gauging the ROI potential and even if you just look at the immediate results like closed deals and leads generated. You should consider long-term benefits, too, like network expansion, brand positioning, online visibility and mentions from publications and social media users.

That’s why we recommend having a handy list of metrics that help you calculate the impact of such marketing activities.

This guide will help you measure the effectiveness of trade show participation and empower you with practical tips you can apply while exhibiting.

Let’s get started.

15 Metrics to Measure Trade Show Effectiveness

Go through this comprehensive list of metrics to assess the payoffs of your trade show marketing activities. Following these metrics and practical tips will guide your efforts for the next event in the right direction. 

1. Footfall to the Booth/Booth Visits 

The first factor you need to consider while measuring the effectiveness of your trade show booth is the number of attendees that have come into your branded environment (booth).

According to the report, the average attendance at US conventions and exhibitions was around 5,000, and it is increasing every year.

Graph showing average attendance at US conventions and exhibitions

Paying close attention to the people who engage more with your booth and sales representatives helps you filter the qualified visits to your booth. 

You can use multiple ways to assess the booth visits. Some ways include:

multiple ways to assess the booth visits

  • Collecting visiting cards, 
  • Placing the camera at the booth with analytics, 
  • Using an electronic/click counter,
  • Taking assistance from beacon technology and heat maps, 
  • Leveraging RFID technology and WiFi analytics, and 
  • Installing floor sensors. 

There are many ways to attract visitors to your booth, including using holographic displays, a 360-degree aroma experience, and a roaming interactive mascot. You can also carry out before-event activities like digital ads and content marketing to encourage attendees to visit your booth. 

2. Generated Leads

Lead generation is the highest and biggest priority of many marketers exhibiting at trade shows, and there’s a good reason for it!

According to Genny Nelson, research project coordinator, Center for Exhibition Industry Research, Dallas,

“Meeting a prospect at an exhibition is cost-effective, with an initial face-to-face meeting expense of $96, compared to $1,039 for identifying and meeting a prospect in the field. This results in a substantial saving of $943 per prospect.”

Some common ways to capture leads include, 

  • Leveraging badge/QR code scans,  
  • Collecting business cards, 
  • Getting forms filled, 
  • Conducting interactive product demos, 
  • Providing free and useful resources, 
  • Utilizing gamification for collecting information, and 
  • Providing free samples or trials. 

The leads generated through these activities support your follow-up activities and close more deals and sales. Moreover, establishing a Customer Relation Management (CRM) tool or lead tracking system is recommended. 

Using these tools will help you get an idea of how many leads you have generated and measure the effectiveness of the trade show.

Some trade shows also provide the list of attendees who have attended the expo, and if that’s the case with the expo you are participating in, you should definitely get it to charge up your sales funnel with more data. 

3. Network Expansion

Other than the two metrics mentioned above to measure the effectiveness of a trade show, network expansion is a good way to judge how well you have done. Network expansion examines the number of people you have connected with on LinkedIn or other social media platforms through an exhibition.

Let’s suppose you are participating in the IT trade shows happening in Las Vegas in 2024 to represent your new innovation in the field. Now, a sales representative from your company meets the Chief of Technology (CTO) from another company that offers complementary services/solutions to what you are offering. You can exchange your contacts, and LinkedIn handles with the decision-makers of these organizations for potential future business partnerships.

Similarly, you can network with like-minded people to exchange knowledge, discuss business trends and common challenges, and grow together.

Sometimes, trade show websites also display other organizations exhibiting at their event so you can connect with relevant companies’ decision-makers beforehand on socials to strike up better and more engaging conversations when you meet them at the expo. 

4. Numbers of Quality Meetings

To get a better return on investment (ROI) on your trade show marketing budget, it’s recommended to count the number of qualified meetings you have booked from the leads you have captured.

Your team needs to strategically follow up with the leads based on their quality and priority to book quality meetings faster.

You can use this primary set of questions to qualify a lead: 

questions to qualify a lead

  • What is the person's role in the organization? Are they decision-makers, or do they have access to the right people for the services/solutions you are providing?
  • Are they facing any critical challenges or need specific solutions that your organization can help them with?
  • Does your targeted organization have enough revenue, funds, or size to make your services/solutions available?
  • Are there any regulatory compliances that could hamper the deal's success?

Please note that you can modify this list based on your organization’s specific policies and sales cycles.

A survey indicates that it takes around three or fewer calls to close deals when the lead is initiated from a trade show.

 

survey of a trade show

Source

5. Generated Sales 

Another big reason organizations participate in exhibitions is to generate on-site sales if that suits their business model.

However, businesses in IT and healthcare may not generate sales on-site due to many factors, including complex and unique client requirements, bigger sales cycles, and bigger deal packages.

If that’s the case with you, you can try the below-mentioned creative ways to generate sales at the trade show.

For IT companies: 

  • Exclusive trade show discounts, 
  • Exhibition-limited offers, 
  • Bundle deals to register for only at the trade show, 
  • On-site consultations, and 
  • Quick implementation packages. 

For healthcare companies: 

  • Health screening or check-ups, 
  • Package wellness programs limited to attendees only, and 
  • Limited-time membership sign-ups at a discounted price. 

You can measure the effectiveness of these offerings at trade show exhibitions by monitoring the discount redemption, lead conversion rates, number of sign-ups, and post-event surveys. 

6. Number of New Customers 

While exhibiting at an expo, there will be two scenarios: 

  • Your existing customers close a new deal with you
  • A new customer discovers your brand and closes a deal with you 

To measure the effectiveness of your trade show marketing efforts, it’s super important to track records of new closed deals and monitor how your organization is benefiting from them.

Here are some useful ways to track new deals done through the expo: 

Track expo deals effectively

  • Utilize a powerful CRM to help you centralize and distinguish between new and existing customers within the database.
  • Use unique promo codes or custom URLs to attribute sales directly to the new clients from the expo.
  • Talk with your sales team to gather more information and insights about the new clients.
  • Compare data of new clients closed in the current trade show with the numbers of new clients closed in the previous events to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies over time.

7. Average Deal Size 

The next metric you need to consider while measuring the effectiveness of your trade show is the average deal size. You may close more clients than expected, but if they are low-ticket, you will not reach the revenue goals you set for the exhibition.

Remember, it’s never about the amount of deals you close but the value you get per deal. And that’s why it’s important to set your revenue goals clearly before participating in the exhibition. 

To get a better average deal size, set the sales output you are expecting from the trade show and get an average arrangement size based on it. This exercise can help you determine if you are on the right track during the event. You will know whether you need to maintain that rhythm or push it to the next level during the remainder of the show.

Here is the formula to get the average deal size: 

Average deal size = Number of Deals Closed/Total Revenue GeWin Ratenerated

8. Calculating Win Rate 

The win rate is another important metric to measure the effectiveness of trade show marketing. To calculate the win rate, you need to divide the number of successfully closed deals by the total number of opportunities you have gathered at the expo.

So, the formula would be:

Win Rate = Numbers of Successfully Closed Opportunities/Total Number of Opportunities

For example, if you had ten sales opportunities at the expo and closed two deals, your win rate would be 20%.

Another way to define the win rate is by comparing the number of closed opportunities with the total number of sales-qualified leads. Sales-qualified leads are customers who have expressed interest in your products/services. Calculating the win rate by dividing it by the sales-qualified leads provides a more focused view of success.

The formula for calculating the win rate based on sales-qualified leads is:

Win Rate = Number of  Successfully Closed Opportunities/Total Number of Sales-Qualified Leads 

You can also assess the win rate based on the deal value. It involves dividing the total quantity of closed opportunities by the total value in the pipeline. This approach considers that a single significant deal could greatly contribute to achieving your goals.

The formula for calculating the win rate based on deal value is:

Win Rate = Total Value in the Pipeline/Total Value of Closed Opportunities

9. Meetings Per Deal Closed 

Counting meetings per closed deal is another way of measuring the effectiveness of your trade show. All exhibitors try to schedule as many meetings as possible, but they must also be effective and beneficial for your business.

Analyzing meetings per deal closed helps you gauge the effectiveness of your meetings. With this metric, you can assess the capabilities of your sales team. You can either count meetings per deal closer per sales team member of an entire team. Measuring both ways will give you a better understanding of the strong and weak points of your sales team.

Pro tip: Calculating meetings per deal closed per salesperson can give you a better idea about where to position each team member to get the maximum sales results. 

10. Cost Per Lead

Measuring cost per lead is an amazing way to judge the success of your trade show marketing efforts while comparing its effectiveness with other marketing activities.

To calculate the cost per lead, you need to divide the total cost of the trade show by the number of leads you have captured. The number you get determines the cost per lead.

If you have participated in a trade show before, you can compare the cost of that with this new cost and see if it has improved over time. You can also compare the cost per lead with other marketing activities to see which marketing channel is more effective for your business.

The formula to calculate cost per lead is: 

Cost per lead =  Number of Leads Captured/Total Cost of Trade Show

11. Website Traffic

When you participate in a trade show booth, the attendees are more likely to visit your website to learn more about your business. Looking at the traffic you get on your website during and a few days after the trade show can determine the effectiveness of your trade show exhibition.

You can access Google Search Console (GSC) or other third-party tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to get an idea about the website traffic during the trade show. Analyzing your website traffic data of that particular timeline can give you a better understanding of the people who have visited the website.

12. Social Media Engagement 

Like website traffic, trade show attendees visit your social media profiles to check your presence before they make a purchase decision. To measure if your trade show marketing impacted attendees, you can check the interactions on your socials during that time.

Here are the important metrics to consider for social media:

  • Reach,
  • Impression,
  • Mentions,
  • Profile visits,
  • Followers,
  • Likes,
  • Comments, and 
  • Inquiries. 

Analyze all your social media and see which platform has got you more traction. Be more active on that platform to boost it even further. 

13. Conducting Surveys

Another way to measure the effectiveness of your trade show is to conduct surveys that give you an idea of the direction of your effort. 

The survey can include questions about overall satisfaction, booth engagement, brand interactions, new discoveries, purchase intent, network opportunities, follow-up interest, and improvement suggestions.

Here is the list of questions to understand the impact of your trade show marketing effectiveness:

Trade Show Marketing Effectiveness Survey Questions

  • Did you visit our booth? What elements attracted you?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied were you with our trade show exhibition
  • What specifically contributed to your satisfaction?
  • Can you recall specific information or products highlighted at our booth?
  • Did you engage with our booth staff? How would you rate the interaction?
  • Did our team adequately address your questions?
  • Did you discover anything new about our products/services?
  • As a result of the trade show, are you more likely to consider purchasing our products/services?
  • Are you open to receiving follow-up communication from us?
  • What type of follow-up content or information would you find most beneficial?
  • In what areas do you think we could improve our trade show presence?
  • Do you have any suggestions for enhancing our booth experience?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our products/services based on your trade show experience?

14. Monitoring Feedback 

Once you have collected feedback from attendees, it’s time to monitor the feedback and evaluate if your efforts have paid off the way you wanted. You can modify your future trade show marketing strategies based on the responses you have got.

For example, if many attendees have suggested improving your booth experience, you can hire experts like Pure Exhibits, who can guide you throughout the journey and build you a booth that attracts more visitors. 

15. Calculating ROI

Last but not least, a way to measure the effectiveness of your trade show is by calculating the ROI. To calculate the ROI of your trade show booth, use the below-mentioned formula:

Return on Investment (ROI) = Net Return/Cost of Investment 

Factors such as direct and indirect sales, leads, value of brand exposure, media coverage, and referrals are considered in revenue.

On the other hand, factors like the cost of the trade show booth, staff, travel, marketing, promotional materials, and other related items are considered expenses.

Using the formula above for calculating ROI, you can determine if your trade show participation was worth it. 

4 Tips to Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Trade Show 

Regardless of how well you have done in your trade show marketing, there’s always scope for improvement. Here are the four most important tips that will help you maximize the effectiveness of your trade show booth. 

Tip #1. Have Realistic Goals 

Having realistic goals is the foundation of any successful exhibition. Setting goals that are too high or too low will hamper the potential you can get from the exhibition.

Plus, be specific about your goals - is it brand awareness, launching and promoting new products/services, boosting sales of existing services, or all of them?

Knowing what you are expecting will help you plan your trade show booth better. 

Tip #2. Setting the Targets Wisely 

While setting up your trade show marketing plan, set targets that align with your organization’s long-term vision and mission. Define your target audience and brand message to make a better impact. Have actionable plans on hand that can help you achieve your goals faster at the trade show. 

Tip #3. Engage with Visitors at the Booth 

When an attendee is interested in buying your product or service, they will have a lot of questions. Engage interested attendees by answering their questions and empowering them with the right knowledge to buy your products/services. 

Tip #4. Leverage the Latest Technology 

Lastly, the real power lies in technology. It’s an essential asset that can make or break your game at the trade show. Use Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), interactive touchscreens, Live product demonstration, badge scanning devices, video and social media walls, RFID, QR codes for digital brochures, gamification, analytics and data capture tools, 360-degree product views, and artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots to power pack your booth with next-gen experience. 

Elevate Your Exhibit Booth with Strategic Metrics

As they say, “whatever that can be measured, can be improved,” and so that’s the case with trade show marketing efforts. With this guide, you have all the important metrics needed to evaluate the success of your trade show booth’s effectiveness. Now, all you need is to apply the tips and techniques shared in the blog in real life.

Consider not only short-term but long-term benefits with the right metrics mentioned above in the blog post to make the most of your trade show marketing.

Moreover, there’s no doubt about the impact of having an attractive and eye-catching booth that increases footfall to the booth and generates more business. Pure Exhibits has helped many organizations with their rental booth requirements in Las Vegas while bringing them amazing results.

If you are looking to build an amazing exhibit for your next event, Pure Exhibits is the best choice in Las Vegas! We have worked for companies exhibiting at CES, HLTH, HR Tech, MWC, and Adobe Summit. 

Have a look at our extensive booth portfolio and contact our sales team at info@purexhibits.com or +1 800-379-8451 to discuss your unique requirements. 

FAQs

1. How can I differentiate qualified leads from casual booth visitors at a trade show?

To determine qualified leads, implement lead capture methods like QR codes, badge scans, and interactive demos coupled with targeted questions to distinguish qualified leads showing genuine interest from casual booth visitors. 

2. How can I leverage social media to measure and amplify the impact of my trade show?

You can leverage social media to amplify the impact of your trade show by using event-specific hashtags and pre-event teasers. Measure the impact by analyzing insights of social media platforms. 

3. What are some common pitfalls to avoid when measuring trade show success, and how can I overcome them?

Some pitfalls to avoid when measuring the trade show success include focusing only on short-term focus and lack of data accuracy. You can overcome these pitfalls by having clear objectives and integrating the right technologies into your trade show event. 

4. What tools or technologies can help track trade show metrics?

There are many tools and technologies that can help you track trade show metrics, including CRM systems, lead capture apps, RFID technology, and analytics tools. 

5. What strategies can improve post-event evaluation and analysis?

Activities like surveys, website traffic monitoring, and social media interaction tracking can help you improve your post-event evaluation and analysis. 

6. What are the critical factors that make an exhibition successful?

Some critical factors that make your exhibition successful include clear goal-setting, engaging booth design, effective pre-event promotion, quality lead generation, strategic networking, and post-event follow-ups

booth selector configurator

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