In these recessionary times more and more people are sitting down in front of spreadsheets doing ‘cost-per-lead’ calculations. Which shows to attend and which ones give a return on the investment. There can be several instances where this cost-per-lead approach can be hugely misleading – exhibition results for example, as it is linked with your knowledge of your visitors. The better you know them the more equipped you will be to predict and therefore influence their behaviour.
When you exhibit, do your objectives focus simply on numbers or on the demographics of visitors expected at the event? If your strategy is to generate a plentiful supply of leads chances are, if successful, you will manage to drive down your cost-per-lead. The inherent problem associated with this strategy however, is that in your quest for volume, often quality will be sacrificed. Consequently whilst your cost-per-lead may be lower, it is not uncommon to find that your conversion rate suffers accordingly, which, let’s face it, in a recession is wholly more important.
If your strategy is largely focused towards the more likely or financially lucrative prospects visiting an event, you may end up gathering fewer leads, thus driving up your cost-per-lead. However this population would be more likely to buy from you and so your conversion rate should be accordingly higher. Here we have a situation where less is definitely more. The better you know your visitor, the easier it is to attract them. A successful formula is to not only attract visitors you want but also to combine it with a model to repel those you do not want – a filtering system if you like. Design your stand to be appealing to your key prospects and relatively unwelcoming for the rest.
A few years ago we were involved with a large fast food outlet considering exhibiting at a franchising event. At that time the military, in this country, had just downsized producing a recently ‘demobbed’ population each with a five figure sum to help them on their way in civilian life. The fast food giant was reluctant to exhibit as they had visions of being swamped by this audience each vying for a franchise when the required start up capital was in excess of a quarter of a million pounds. Cutting a lengthy story short, they designed a stand with messaging that effectively announced unless you have a quarter of a million pounds go elsewhere!
The consequence was that their stand was fairly quiet for the days of the show, precluding the five figure summed brigade; however every visitor who did wander onto their stand was exactly right for them. In this case study also, the cost per lead was relatively high when compared with the results they could have achieved with a different strategy, but the resultant conversion rate was significantly higher.