Now that you have your goals and 1 page expo plan filled out and complete, the next step is all about creating and using a budget.
Yes – a budget.
This is an absolutely critical step that cant be skipped… why? Because if you don’t set a budget and track expenses – you will have no idea if you have won or lost at the end of the event.
This post is part of a series of 17 steps to mastering your trade show ROI. If you haven’t already seen in you need to go back to the first post in the series that covers your goals and objectives. While you can take the information in this single post by itself and improve your results - you will have far greater success if you approach it like a mini course and move from one step to the next.
We have developed an awesome tool that helps you record and track your expenses and also work out the ROI for you at the same time.
You will need to click on the link below to request it so you can follow along.
The first place to start on the budget is with the expenses that are unavoidable and that won’t change – these will be things like the cost of the floor space or shell scheme, staff wages for the number of days, accommodation etc.
Remember that the earlier you get in on booking these items in the more you can save as well! If you have already been to a show and it proved successful and you know you are going again the next year… book in straight away after the show is finished and the new dates are confirmed. You’ll be surprised at just how much you can save doing this.
The items that you have flexibility with you can leave for later. Depending on the total sales you will generate and the cost savings you achieve you may be able to allocate more or less to these items.
This will be the items like the actual display, any banners or posters you will want to use, furniture, AV gear, decorations and some of the marketing activities. These are also the elements that are what set you apart from everyone else and help you look professional and lift your brand up in the eyes of the visitors.
So while you can easily back right off on these parts – we certainly don’t recommend it, and there is more details around these components in the following steps. There are definitely ways you can save money on them – don’t get me wrong – you just want to make sure you are being realistic and still get the ROI you need.
Now jump to the ROI calculator and fill out the conversion rate – client value and GP%. These will only be averages and you can always come back and adjust them as necessary.
Now you can work through how many leads you expect to pick up. The rating system can be changed to suit your business on the Goals and metrics table page and the figures will come from your 1-PEP document so it should be pretty easy to fill out provided you have done your homework from the earlier steps.
Once you have the numbers in you will see the ROI percentage and GP Profit figures rising. Now you can go back to your budget and add in the other costs that you are flexible with until you are happy with the ROI you are getting.
Keep playing around with the figures and test different scenarios until you get the perfect budget and maximum ROI.
You can keep adjusting either the budget side to save money or the lead generation side to make it more profitable. You may find that by aiming for just a few extra leads makes all the difference between being successful or not – or you can increase your conversion rate by a few percent and that can make or break it for you…
If you do feel that the ROI isn’t good enough and you’ve done all you can with cutting costs and you think that the maximum leads you can generate is accurate – then it's probably time to go back to the drawing board and ask if this is a show you really need to exhibit at.
Great – now that you have got your budget in place – remember that this needs to be an active document and will be getting updated every time you purchase anything related to the show.
Switch to the “actual” forecasting scenario and keep a close eye to see what your ROI is doing as your actual expenses start rolling in.