Working the event circuit is no easy task. After all the planning, traveling, setup, relationship-building, tear-down, and post-event follow-up, there better be some ROI to go around to make it worth your while. Ensuring you achieve the ROI you deserve is just a matter of putting in some work up front and using the right tools to measure along the way.
We’ve compiled a list of ROI-boosting activities you can do before, during, and after the main event to make sure you not only accomplish your goals, but increase your efficiency along the way.
Before: Prep Work
The best plan is one that’s been prepared and fine-tuned well before the event arrives. Before you head out, don’t forget to:
- Set goals. It’s great if you come back with higher brand awareness—but not if what you really wanted was to gather qualified leads. Identify (and document!) what you’re setting out to achieve ahead of time, and make sure your team is in agreement. Remember to build SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Example event goals might include collecting signatures/donations, promoting a new product, generating leads, increasing social media engagement, or attracting new employees.
- Identify a baseline metric. You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. Measure every metric you plan to track ahead a time during a non-event period so you’ll be able to more easily identify changes. Examine key data types like your current pipeline, Net Promoter Score, social media mentions, and email clicks.
During: Get Those Leads
With your goal(s) top-of-mind, set out for the event, making sure every action you take and every conversation you have brings you closer to achieving it. If you truly want to be able to measure your event ROI afterward, you must be diligent about collecting the data you need in the moment.
- Simplify lead collection. How you measure is just as important as what you measure. Paper data collection methods are not only a hassle, but also have the greatest risk of being inaccurate. It’s not always feasible to leave a prospect waiting so you can jot down the details of your last conversation. And with more than one person behind the booth, things are bound to get misplaced. With digital event data capture, the information you gather is legible, accurate, organized, handy, and ready to be integrated when you need it at a later date.
- Make real-time updates. During down times, check out the data you’ve already collected. The beauty of using digital methods to capture leads is that you can track it as you go and make tweaks in real time. Are the majority of contacts you’ve spoken with in executive-level roles—not manager-level roles like you previously thought? With your goal(s) top-of-mind, modify your approach for the rest of the conference to achieve the best possible outcomes.
After: Follow Up
In terms of gathering ROI, the aftermath of an event is perhaps the most important part of all. You may be tempted to let your data sit while you move on to other objectives, but just after the event is prime time to:
- Survey attendees. Did your company host a luncheon or was your CEO a speaker? Find out if attendees enjoyed your activities with a post-event survey that helps you gauge your success and also make changes for the next event you attend. The best survey tools can capture feedback quickly and efficiently from your guests, analyze your results, and even help you measure your Net Promoter Score.
- Calculate ROI. If you hosted the event, calculating ROI is pretty straightforward:
[(Total Sales Revenue – Total Cost of the Event) ÷ Total Cost of Event] X 100 = ROI%
You can use this same formula to determine how well you did in your other metrics as well. (If you came home with 90 leads and your goal was 60, you exceeded your target by 50%.) But what if your goal wasn’t exactly numbers-based, like achieving higher brand awareness? In addition to monitoring social media and scanning for press mentions, surveying attendees is again a great way to gauge the impression you made.
Realize Higher ROI With Better Data
Leave the paper at home. If you’re setting out to measure or improve your event ROI, capturing the data you need is best left to the most capable tools so you can focus on strategy and relationship-building. With a plan in place ahead of time and the right mechanisms to help you track progress along the way, you’ll not only realize ROI, but you’ll increase it with every event thereafter.
QuickTapSurvey is the event-goers answer to easier lead capture and more manageable data. Use iPads or Android tablets to capture data from people at live events, whether you have an internet connection or not. Then, sync your data with our secure system for easier follow-up and holistic insights once you’re back online. Get access to free templates and build your first survey today!
Also published on Medium.