I can't tell you how many times I have seen companies spend tens of thousands of dollars at a single trade show, and then NEVER FOLLOW UP on their leads. Mind boggling, right? If you are exhibiting at trade shows, here are a few things that can help your ROI.
1. Pre-show promotion. Reach out to customers, spread the word via social media, if you advertise, include "See us at XXX Show" in your ads. A very high percentage of trade show attendee plan who they will visit at shows. Make sure they know you will be there and have that top-of-mind presence.
2. Make sure your messaging is specific to your market. Forget trying to sell everything you have. Address an issue specific to your market and let people know how you can solve that problem for them.
3. Proper choice of booth staff. Not everyone is the right choice for working your booth. They need to be outgoing and knowledgeable about your product or service. If you don't have one person that fits that bill, have one who excels at each.
4. Work the show! Don't stand around visiting amongst yourself, be on your phone, or have lunch in your booth. All these things help steer potential customers away from you, instead of to you.
5. Spend the money on the lead capture device. Yes, they are outrageously expensive, but you get your leads immediately and don't have to find the time to enter them into some sort of spreadsheet or database (aka the excuse why you haven't followed up). You can follow up with them within a few days of them visiting.
6. Assign leads to specific people for follow up. This enables you to find out who is doing the job, and who isn't, and it helps ensure that no leads (people who WANTED to know about your offering) fall through the cracks.
6. Strike while the iron is hot. For the hottest of leads, you'll want to call them personally. Use Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, or any other inexpensive service to create a follow up email that can be sent. Make sure the message reiterates the one delivered at the show. Thank them for visiting. Tell them again how you can help with their problem.
There are many, many ways to help increase your ROI (and to make sure you have one!). I've shared but a few.