How to Measure Trade Show Effectiveness

How to measure trade show effectiveness? A question many companies have pondered after spending a vast amount of time and money on exhibitin...
Harriet Daniels
April 12, 2019
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How to measure trade show effectiveness? A question many companies have pondered after spending a vast amount of time and money on exhibiting at a convention. Presenting your business well at a trade show can almost guarantee a return on investment. However, without a definite process in place to evaluate its impact on your sales, leads, and potential customers, the show could unknowingly be a detriment.

Learning how to measure trade show effectiveness can ensure your business is successful every time. A habit of reviewing strengths and weaknesses will allow you to regroup and assess how to excel on future visits. Goals are various for each business but following a general outline can help guide your business towards accomplishments. 

Why are You Exhibiting at a Trade ShowWhy are You Exhibiting at a Trade Show?

Most businesses attend trade shows for the purpose of event marketing, to get their name out. In fact, 72 percent of companies exhibiting are attempting to improve sales by generating new leads. Enhancing your brand awareness in different trade shows throughout the country can help your company leave its mark.

Clearly, you are not the only business looking to gain leads, strategic methods to lock in passersby is key to a successful trade show. Make sure to jot down the contact information for each attendee who visits your booth, following up can sometimes be the sole reason for a sale. Writing down goals prior to the show will guide your booth staff in the right direction, but lead management should always take note of what worked and what did not work while you were exhibiting. 

How To Measure Trade Show EffectivenessHow to Measure Trade Show Success

Four important metrics determine how successful a business can be, this criteria can also improve your overall return on investment. Tailoring your time at a trade show with these criteria can enable you to claim leads and convert them into customers, boosting your overall return on investment. 

All four metrics will help you assess how lucrative your trade show exhibit is:

  • Website traffic and online searching 
  • Social media reach 
  • Graphs for visual representation 
  • New leads 

Direct Website Traffic and Online Organic Searching

Building a resourceful company website can easily attract consumers and help you track informational data as well. A website is the building block for tracking data from the trade show, and you should start using this data before hitting the trade show floor. 

Make sure your website has a landing page dedicated to your upcoming exhibit at the show where potential customers can enter their contact information if they plan to attend your booth.
There are two main advantages to a landing page: it allows you to monitor interest beforehand and gives you the opportunity to advertise easily.

If you have many inquiries prior to the show, there’s confirmation you will receive new customers simply collected from website data. However, the data is still valuable even if the page doesn’t initially get a lot of attention because knowing where to improve perfects your marketing strategies. Either way, you’ll have starting numbers to use and compare with your figures after the trade show so you can quantify how much the show impacted your business.

Advertising with social media is the most cost-effective solution to promoting your business.  You can create a theme by using a hashtag consistently across all social media platforms. This will give the trade show an easily recognizable promotion that you can start posting months before the show. 

Many trade shows have hashtags as well, you can tag the trade show you’re attending and your own hashtag to gain more attention. Monitor online engagement by interacting with potential attendees or customers and judging their responsiveness to your content.

The overall goal of the landing page is to generate brand awareness about your business and your products. Once you have the page, you can start measuring the metric by viewing the direct traffic and organic searching for your company website.

Direct traffic is figured by the volume of people who directly type your business URL into the web browser to reach your website. Organic traffic is those who search your business name in a search engine and then click on the link to your website. Both types of traffic should improve with a trade show as more potential customers come across your brand and calls-to-action.

The statistics from before and after you promote the trade show will reveal if your methods of advertising helped to increase brand awareness. The numbers from traffic and organic search before and after the actual trade show will determine if the convention benefited your business.

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

Social Media Reach Related to Trade Shows

Key social media pages include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Take note of how your following increases or decreases across all your social media accounts in the months before the trade show and after it has concluded. 

You will want to record which social media channels were the most successful in growing followers and attribute what caused those spikes. Did you engage with followers on more page more than others? How were your forms of advertising different on each medium? Which channel already had the most and least followers, and did that make a difference in the growth?

You can use analytical tools with social media to observe the changes and calculate how your reach and followers change over time. 

Once you have identified which sites were the most successful from the trade show, and why, you can invest more time in improving the ones that didn’t do well and maintaining the ones that did. Checking analytics and testing strategies on different media websites will allow you to get a clear answer. Closely watching your brand on different mediums helps your company to prioritize and focus on what new goals need to be set for future trade shows. 

Use Graphs for Visual Representation

If you plan on tracking social media data continuously, it may be a good idea to put the data into graphs for the best visual representation. Creating a system to simply input data can help your company get a better idea of the fluctuation in numbers. 

  • Hashtags: how many times was your trade show-specific hashtag mentioned?
  • Tagging: how many times was your page or business tagged with the ‘@’ sign?
  • Time of day for posts/tweets: which times of day were your posts or tweets most popular?
  • Number of views for posts/tweets: how many views did your trade show posts receive?
  • Number of likes for posts/tweets: how many likes did your trade show posts receive?
  • Number of engagements for posts/tweets: how many times did your follower engage with your posts?
  • Number of posts from followers: how many times did your followers post on your page regarding the trade show or products that would be at the trade show?
  • Increase in followers on social media pages: did your volume followers grow from before the trade show to after the show?

Quantifying this data on spreadsheets will enable you to see if your marketing efforts were productive and which platforms had the biggest response to your advertising. 

New Leads and Opportunities for Sale

The objective of your marketing efforts is to bring as many potential customers to the tradeshow and expand your database of leads. It is imperative that you have a way to measure the number of leads generated. 
The most simple way to track data is to use marketing software accompanied by analytic tools. Some of the most popular software is Hubspot, Pardot by Salesforce, Arctic PinPoint, ONTRAPORT, or Infusionsoft. The system allows you to identify when customers are added and which are new to your system.

The software can be used with your landing page to observe the page’s performance based on the total number of leads that are submitted. The analytic tools helps to identify what content and advertising campaigns attract new sales, and which customers decide to attend trade shows.
There are multiple metrics for measuring what strategies were profitable and which were unsuccessful. Here are some key data points that should be monitored and evaluated:

  • Track the URL: the landing page must be able to differentiate between leads that come from the trade show as opposed to standard advertising.
  • New leads: the landing page should monitor how many new sales are generated and the time frame of the sale. 
  • Conversion rate: track the visitor-to-lead conversion rate from the landing page
  • Track different sources: you will be promoting the trade show on many different websites. You will need software to layout which leads are coming from social media versus your business’ personal website. Some leads may originate from direct traffic, referrals, or other avenues. Each unique source should be examined and added to your metrics.

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

New Customers

Most companies have the same end game, to drive more business. The time and effort spent attending these events should not be wasted, assessing how you performed on all ends of the spectrum is important if you plan on future exhibits. The life cycle, or sales cycle, of event registrants, will help determine the total sum of new customers.

The life/sales cycle of registrants means overseeing the evolution of registrants who then turn into customers. A process called closed-loop marketing, where a list of people who originally came to your landing page and filled out a form is created and tracked to monitor their purchases. This statistic is a key component in figuring out your trade show’s ROI (return on investment), which can determine whether the trade show was fitting for your business or if other steps need to be taken. 

Comparing this statistic to other promotional campaigns that your business ran to get a clear picture of the methods that work best for your company. You may want to consider attending future trade shows if it brought in extra revenue, or just stick with the one trade show if the value is relative to your current profit.

How to Maximize your Tradeshow Return on InvestmentHow to Bring Leads to Your Landing Page

Getting a mass amount of leads prior to the event can help you once you get there. If your booth is surrounded by people, others are likely to join. Social media can greatly influence your crowd by prepping and managing the landing page. So, how do you promote your page? 

  • Blogging: Having something consistent for your audience to view can make a world of difference. Posting blogs on your social media and linking them back to your website can encourage the viewer to visit all of your content. 
  • Video: You can create a simple video invitation to viewers using an employee who will attend the show. If someone saw your video and recognized the employee at the show, they would be more likely to stop and talk to a familiar face. 
  • Email: If you have the capability to use email marketing, do it. An email campaign specifically targeted to your desired audience can only help you in your goal to bring interested parties to the landing page. Be sure to create emails that offer valuable content, similar to the blog articles, so that readers open the email. The email should also provide a link directly to the landing page.
  • Paid advertisements: This isn’t a requirement for advertising on social media, but it does help. A paid social campaign can target specific followers or users that you want to do business with. Some of those users may already be attending the trade show but may not know your business will be in attendance until they see an advertisement.

Challenges with Measuring the Success of Trade Shows

Trade shows are intimidating, especially for new businesses. Attending these can be beneficial but they are extremely expensive and out of budget for many companies. However, when you budget for these events it is important to manage your total cost and average cost. Getting both numbers can really aid a company in understanding the cost associated with generating new leads. 
There are quite a bit of things that go into a trade show: 

  • Pre and post advertising 
  • Booth decor and embellishments 
  • Booth staff 
  • Travel fees – including air, hotel, car, and occasionally food. 
  • Shipping costs 
  • Floor costs 

All of the numbers mentioned above need to be added to calculate your total trade show cost. But, this doesn’t truly determine your cost per lead. Your cost per lead should have more factors than simply adding up the total cost and dividing it by how many new leads were gained. 

Every company needs a foundation. If you are new and just getting your name out there, your first trade show will be expensive and it will continue to be until you have established yourself. 
In order to fully evaluate how successful your business has been, it’s a good idea to keep track of all your numbers for an entire year. Reviewing your year should give you an accurate cost per lead. At that point, you should see how much your new customers have purchased versus how much you spent. 

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

Key Metrics to Measuring Trade Show Effectiveness

There are several strategies that can be employed to measure trade show effectiveness but there are two that are the most prominent indicators.

You must monitor the number of people that are converted from leads to a paying customer, and then you must be able to measure the revenue that those paying customers generate. 
Also, keep in mind that sometimes it is better to judge the long-term results rather than the initial investment. The trade show will cost you more time and money in the beginning but you could reap the benefits from it months down the road. This is especially true if you are able to convert a lead into a long-term customer who makes repeated purchases.  

The 4 key metrics will allow you to quantify which marketing techniques were the most successful and which should be used again in the future. You can then expand on those efforts for future trade shows when you conclude the best tactics for your business.

Shipping your Trade Show with R+L Global Logistics 

As you can see, trade shows are expensive and extremely stressful. Having to focus on making sure your business is up to par leaves little time to consider how your materials will get to the trade show. R+L Global Logistics has the transportation part covered from start to finish. We know how much work you’ve put into exhibiting, and we want to make sure your show is a complete success. 

R+L Global Logistics can be your trade show shipping and warehousing partner for a variety of needs. No matter whether you’re shipping to SEMA, shipping to the IAAPA trade show or shipping to any show in between, we’re here to help.

Our knowledgeable employees have an average of 14 years of event and convention expertise and know the most efficient ways to get in and out of any location. Your shipment is always a priority to us no matter which coverage you choose: truckload, less than truckload, warehousing, storage, tracking, or any of the other services we offer. Contact us through chat, email, or a phone call at 866-415-8986 so we can start handling your trade show shipping needs.


Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials? Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

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