Putting on an event is a big deal. It takes a great deal of energy, money, and time, which is why it’s important you do everything possible to ensure your event gets a full ROI.
Have a Clear Goal for Your Event
One of the first things you need to do while planning the event is deciding what purpose the event serves. Is it a fundraiser? A promotional event? A sale drive? Customer appreciation event? If you’re using it to generate sales, how many sales are you hoping for? Having a final goal in mine helps you streamline your marketing tactics, determine how much you should invest in the event, and helps keep the entire planning process on track. Make sure that everyone helping plan the event understands the goal.
Goals to discuss during the planning process include:
- The long and short term benefits of the event
- The maximum budget for the event
- Themes, messages, and agendas
- Who will attend the event?
- Date and time
Create a Promotion Strategy for Your Event
One of the biggest mistakes many businesses and non-profit organizations make when planning an event is failing to create a promotional strategy. If you’re trying to attract individuals to your business or non-profit who aren’t already connected to your organization, you must do more than simply create a Facebook event page and hang a few flyers around town. You need to promote the event with the same vigour that you’d promote a new product.
Email marketing and social media marketing are budget-friendly tools you can use to promote your upcoming event.
Your organization should have already collected email addresses and be sending out newsletters to subscribers that enable you to stay in touch with your loyal customers. Make this newsletter a part of your event promotion strategy. The email newsletter is a great way to collect RSVP’s, provide detailed information about the event, ask for volunteers, and even to collect suggestions about speakers/activities your guests will enjoy.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is a key component of your event promotion strategy, especially when you’re using the event to connect with prospective customers. A good social media marketing strategy that includes a dedicated hashtag is an easy and effective way to generate a great deal of buzz and get people excited about your upcoming event. Best of all, most social media marketing only costs time and not actual money.
Aspects of a strong social media marketing campaign for your event include:
- A dedicated hashtag that ties into the event and/or your organization
- Outstanding and engaging visuals
- A message/image that inspires your followers to share your event posts
Turn to social media marketing whenever you want to provide an update about the event, want to share the names of speakers/presenters, want to thank people for their assistance, etc.
Turn to Data for Help Optimizing Your Event Marketing
Marketing your event takes a huge chunk of both your time and financial resources which is why it’s important to optimize your event marketing. Examining the attendance data collected at past events helps with the marketing optimization process. You want to look at more than how many people came to your past events. Identify which pieces of marketing material generated the best response and brought in the bulk of your guests.
Another thing to consider is geography. When you threw your last event, did it only attract locals, or were there people who were willing to drive a fair distance to attend the event. Having this data on hand helps you determine where to focus the bulk of your marketing efforts. The more you streamline the promotional process, the greater your event’s ROI.
Don’t Be Afraid to Approach Sponsors
Sponsorships are a brilliant way to improve your events ROI, while also establishing a working relationship with other organizations. A good event sponsorship turns into a win-win situation for everyone involved. You lower the strain the event puts on your financial resources and the sponsor gains high-quality advertisement space.
When you approach potential event sponsors, make sure you have:
- Data about attendance at past events
- The event’s theme/message
- A plan for how to promote the sponsorship
Make sure you thank your sponsors, both at the event and via social media marketing.
Anticipate and Correct Logistical Problems
One of the best ways to improve the ROI for your current event is making sure that most of the guests attend your next event, and that they bring more people with them. Making sure this happens requires you identifying potential logistical problems and rectifying them prior to the event. For example, make sure there aren’t any gaps in the program that leave your guests bored, make sure they can enter the event without having to stand in line, sort out the parking before the event, and make sure all the equipment you’re going to use is in perfect order.
The smoother the current event runs, the better the long-term ROI.
After the event, it’s okay to reach out via social media or your organization’s email newsletter to ask for feedback and suggestions about how to improve the next event.
Analyze the Event’s Performance
Shortly after the event, you need to set aside a block of time and analyze how the event went. There’s more to this step than just thinking about how you felt about the event. You want to pull out data and see exactly what the event’s ROI was.
This is done via recapping and reporting.
Things to look at when analyzing whether the event generated a respectful ROI include:
- How much the event cost in terms of financial and time resources
- The overall attendance
- If the event help you connect with potential customers
- If the event helped increase overall awareness of your organization
- Attendee satisfaction
While it’s a good idea to analyze the event’s overall performance shortly after the event, it’s equally important to remember that it can take time to truly determine if the event generated a full ROI. Don’t be surprised if it takes months to fully appreciate how much new business the event generated for your organization.
If you enjoyed this article, click through to learn more about ‘How to measure your event ROI in 2019’.