A great venue, engaging speakers, amazing catering, impressive technical support and lots of curious potential clients. So was this a successful event? A key measure of success should be your bottom line, your event Return On Investment (ROI).

Sure, “branding, exposure or awareness” may be helpful, but do you know just how much exposure you got? Was the event worth the hefty budget that it soaked up? How is that even measurable?

For any event marketers or planners, calculating the return on your investment of your event has to be somewhere near the top of your priority list — especially as this is a growing slice of most companies’ budgets. So what can you do? Here are a few tips that may help.

Know your goals

First, know your goals. Eventgeek suggests these possibilities as a starting point.

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Increase sales
  • Promote product (or service) knowledge
  • Customer education
  • Lead generation
  • Media impressions and press coverage
  • Increase website traffic
  • Increase social media engagement
  • Develop influencers and brand ambassadors

Once you’ve determined your specific goals, channel your effort only toward those things that will help you reach them.

Know what to measure

Now you need to figure out what data points you need to accurately measure in relation to the goals for your event.

Here’s a sampling of the types of data you might need:

  • Attendees
  • Leads
  • Qualified sales opportunities
  • Net promoter score
  • Registrations
  • Sales
  • Social Mentions/Likes
  • Survey responses
  • Event website referrals and conversions
  • Email clicks
  • Email opens
  • Search ad impressions and clicks

Know how to measure your ROI

Events drive leads for sales and are a powerful networking tool that enables companies and brands to connect with their audiences and clients face-to-face. But as any marketer, sales rep and event organiser will tell you, qualifying those collected leads is anything but certain. Why?

As Kissmetrics says, not all leads are created equal, and every individual at your event has their own unique journey to the final sale.

To calculate your ROI, you’ll have to include the entire cost of hosting the event. This will only work if you are careful to keep track of each and every expense, whether that’s the bottled water at the door, or the cost of the venue itself.

Here’s a few new ways that you can effectively measure your event’s ROI.

1. Social listening

Tracking activity on social media pre and post-event is not new, but knowing what your audiences are saying during your event could help you plan for future events.

Set up a social listening dashboard to track your event’s unique hashtag. Some useful tools to help do this are Hootsuite, Google Alerts, and Mention. You’ll know who’s talking about your event in all sorts of social media contexts.

2. In-event surveys

Ask you attendees for their response to speakers or exhibitors before their minds are flooded with other concerns. You can do this by sending out surveys during the event, or at the end of that day. Find out how long they stayed at each session, whether they enjoyed the presentation, or if they would have preferred other items be covered.

Get responses also from exhibitors at the event. They have been actively engaging with your potential clientele, and can help you gauge the mood and level of satisfaction.

To capture responses, Kissmetrics suggests you use your own mobile app (if you have one), email (you should be collecting attendee email addresses during the event), and SurveyMonkey. All great tools

3. Targeted messaging

This may be particularly effective to remind attendees of specific items on a program throughout the day, like upcoming offers or special speakers. Then you can better measure the response to those items, and you’ll know whether to go down that track next time.

Getting an exact ROI on an event will always be an elusive target. But with good planning and the right data collection and analysis, you will know that your event was a success.


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