5 Tips for Calculating an ROI on Your Trade Show Activities

by Juliana Weiss-Roessler

trade-showTrade shows can be a great way for your company to gain exposure, introduce a new product line, and generally drum up business but it’s not always that easy to determine just how much of a return on investment you’re getting.

Sure, you talked to a lot of people and gave away a lot of key chains, but will that pay off in sales?

How can you really know? You have to calculate your trade show ROI.

You have to factor in a lot of variables when you’re calculating your trade show ROI, and it’s still just going to be an educated guess, but there are things you can do to make that guess more accurate.

Here are 5 tips to help get the most accurate ROI you can.

  1. Add up the costs.This is the easy, concrete part. Before you do anything else, add up the cost of attending the trade show, including attendee registration, travel, hotel and food, display design and setup, and booth space.You should also calculate the cost of the time your employees spend manning the booth based on how much they would be making per hour if they were at the office.
  2. Determine how many sales you need to make.Based on the cost of attendance, how many sales would you need to make to come out ahead? Keep in mind that not all sales will be made the day of the trade show; some will come from the qualified leads you generate at the event.
  3. Take into account the quality of the leads.Know your strategy for the trade show and be able to estimate how many strong leads it is likely to generate.For example, if your main strategy is to enter individuals into a raffle every time they write down their email address or phone number, you’ll get a lot of leads, but probably only a few that are actually serious about your product.If your strategy allows you to spend more time talking to individuals, you’ll generate fewer—but stronger—leads.
  4. Take into account indirect benefits.Direct sales aren’t the only reason why it might be worth attending a trade show.Going to trade shows will help increase your brand name recognition, provide you with exposure to industry press (who may write about your new product), and allow you to network with other professionals in your industry.All this is hard to quantify, but it’s worth factoring in when thinking about your ROI.
  5. Subtract the cost of attendance from your estimated gain.Here’s where it gets tricky: come up with the best estimate you can for the monetary gain from factors like press coverage, leads, and networking.Once you have that estimate, subtract the total cost of attendance that you determined earlier.If the resulting number is negative, you might want to rethink your trade show strategy and consider other forms of advertising, but if it’s positive, you stand to get a good return on investment.

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About the Author:

– who has written 1 awesome posts on Anton Amoto.

Juliana Weiss-Roessler writes on behalf of Nimlok.com. She also runs Weiss-Roessler Writing with her husband Josh. Her writing has been featured on high-traffic websites, such as Yahoo.com, and in major publications, such as PARADE and People. Follow her on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dean Rodrigue December 31, 2013 at 2:20 am

great post, good info!


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