What Cost Per Lead (CPL) Should I Pay for Virtual Tradeshow Sponsorships?


Flickr (TheTruthAbout)

Source: Flickr ("TheTruthAbout")

For online marketers responsible for lead generation, the name of the game is Cost Per Lead (CPL).  While it’s not the be-all, end-all, CPL is certainly top-of-mind for marketers – and in this economic environment, CPL is receiving heightened attention from the online marketer, her CMO and her CFO (and possibly even the CEO).

So let’s get the numbers out of the way first.  For B-to-B virtual tradeshows (VTS), I’ve seen CPL’s in a range of $15-$50 for worldwide leads.  The low end reflects events where the organizer has over-delivered on leads or priced the sponsorships reasonably (or both). The high end reflects a more focused event or an event that has slightly underdelivered.  I’ve seen a few events fall outside this range, with CPL’s as low as $10 (or even lower) and as high as $70.

So you’d want your sponsorship to be within this range.  But, I think that for VTS, “What is my CPL” is not the right question!  The following questions are more applicable:

  1. What’s the quality of the audience and does it match my target profile (e.g. geography, purchasing authority, has budget, etc.)
  2. What level of interactions did I have with the attendees
  3. What was my cost per sales engagement and how does that compare to my other marketing activities
  4. What was my cost per customer acquisition and how does that compare to my other marketing activities

So as an example, I’d be fine with paying a CPL of $60, if the resulting cost per sales engagement was lower than my other marketing programs. Remember a key point about these leads, though – they are shared with the other exhibitors at the event.  As such, it’s important to:

  • Distinguish your company at the event – attract visitors to your booth and generate interactions with sales prospects.  If you put in the hard work here, you can short-circuit the lead nurturing and lead follow-up stages – as you can find prospects who are in the later stages of their purchasing decisions and very receptive to hearing more from you.
  • Distinguish your company after the event – follow up with prospects intelligently and promptly.  Don’t forget that if you do your job at the event, then the after-event steps become much easier.

Like with most purchasing decisions, shop wisely – and rememer that there’s much more to the equation than just the CPL price tag.

3 Responses to What Cost Per Lead (CPL) Should I Pay for Virtual Tradeshow Sponsorships?

  1. […] What Cost Per Lead (CPL) Should I Pay for Virtual Tradeshow Sponsorships? A nice writeup by someone who does work similar to Clever Zebra’s. Worth a quick read if you’re considering more of a Tradeshow presence than a permanent one. […]

  2. Darin Dixon says:

    One additional tip to help distinguish your company at the event. Leave everyone with your company’s “coolest” feature. Most people push feature/benefit. But what most people remember is the “coolest” idea or product.

  3. […] Blog posting: What CPL Should I Pay For VTS? […]

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