Creating a return on investment (ROI) is imperative to any organization. That’s why so many businesses are turning to events. While there’s no denying that events bring a significant price tag, they can also have a considerable payoff.
So how do you measure success for events? Unfortunately, there’s no set standard for what constitutes a profitable one. It’s different for every industry, every business, and every event.
Your ROI will vary depending on the goals you’re trying to accomplish, the type of event you’re hosting, and the type of attendees you’re expecting. But in the end, it all comes down to planning, flawless execution, and having your key performance indicators (KPIs) in place beforehand.
Read on for our nine tips on how you can make sure your next event has a positive ROI and leads directly to the outcomes you want.
Do Your Research
One of the first steps to ensuring an ROI for your event is ensuring you’ve done the proper research and planning. This includes finding the best location, venue, and time of year to host the event. But more importantly, you need to research your audience.
If you want your event to be successful, you must know who you’re targeting and what they want. What will grab their attention and compel them to attend your event? You can begin this process by looking at your existing data. You can also conduct surveys or interviews to get better insight into your target audience and their interests. Understanding your audience’s profile and buying triggers will go a long way in ensuring your event will meet their expectations.
Define Your Goals and KPIs
Before you begin planning your event, you need to define your goals and KPIs. Why are you hosting an event? What is the purpose? What do you hope to accomplish?
If your event is meant to generate leads, you’ll likely have a different set of KPIs than if you’re hosting an event to make a profit. By outlining your goals and KPIs, you can ensure each aspect of your event is designed to meet those goals. It’s important to note that some events may have more than one goal. For example, if you’re hosting an exhibition, you may want to generate both leads and sales. In this case, you’ll want to set two separate goals and KPIs.
Set Realistic Expectations
Despite what many people would like to think, most events don’t generate huge profits; instead, they are aimed at building a brand or generating leads. Therefore, before you begin planning your event, you need to set realistic expectations in terms of budget, number of sponsors, the size of the audience, and how much you expect those attendees to spend. By setting realistic expectations, you can better establish manageable ROI parameters.
Establish A Unique Brand Presence or Experience
The core of any successful event is creating a one-of-a-kind experience that drives your brand and message home. Whether you’re hosting an exhibition, conference, or networking event, make sure the overall tone and feel of the event are uniquely yours. This can be done by integrating your brand story, message, and value proposition into the event’s design and theme. After all, an event is a direct reflection of your organization.
For that reason, creating an experience highlighting your organization’s unique strengths and differentiators is important. Doing so will help set your event apart and make it memorable. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to events, so you need to tailor yours to your audience and the goal you’re trying to accomplish.
Use the Right Technology During Your Event
Technology is an integral part of most businesses, and it’s no different for events. You can use technology to make your event more interactive and engaging, from web conferencing tools to 3D and virtual reality technology, audio visual, and more.
You can also use technology to make your event more accessible, affordable, and efficient. This includes everything from how attendees learn about the event and register to how your planning teams communicate with each other before and during the event. But keep in mind, it’s critical to hire an experienced technology partner who can help you with any aspect of the equipment you need.
Partner With the Right Vendors
In addition to a technology partner, working with vendors who are experts in their field and can help you achieve your event’s goals will go a long way in helping you realize an ROI. The right partner can assist you with everything from sourcing to planning and organizing your event, or even providing much-needed onsite staffing and support during your event.
Leverage Influencers and Partners
Another way to increase your ROI is to partner with influencers and brands in your industry. It will help you attract more attendees and keep costs down. Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, you may be able to find partners willing to trade services or offer a discount based on the number of attendees you’re expecting. You can also reach out to local businesses and see if they’d be interested in sponsoring your event in exchange for promotion at the event. The key here is to be strategic and thoughtful with your approach.
Leverage Your Audience’s Network
When it comes to creating a positive ROI, leveraging your audience’s network can be highly beneficial. It’s important to give your audience a platform to share their thoughts, as well as to ask questions. This can be done by creating a two-way conversation through social media or a dedicated forum.
This also allows you to learn more about your audience and customize their event experience. This can be helpful when planning future events. Ultimately, by increasing their engagement, you increase the opportunity for your event to be shared organically.
Use Branding to Drive ROI
The best-planned event won’t make any difference if you aren’t getting the word out to drive attendance. That’s why it’s essential that you use branding to drive ROI. By setting up social media campaigns, email marketing, or even paid advertising, you have a better opportunity to reach your target audience and promote your event. Also, be sure to take advantage of your website and employee email signatures to include links to your event or a special landing page. This may seem basic, but we often overlook the marketing assets that are right in front of us.
In the end, be sure to create measurable goals around your event that can be tracked at each stage: from planning to execution and follow-up. This will help you assess where your event may need adjustment in the future and help deliver an even better ROI, year over year.