Event marketing is a great way to generate buzz about your particular products or services, and garner leads by attracting potential customers. Live events can be a very powerful tool in allowing you to interact and connect with your audience. The question, however, lies in figuring out how to translate these touchpoints into qualified leads and increase the ROI (Return On Investment) for these events. As we have mentioned in other articles, the approach of trying, measuring success, analyzing the results, making adjustments, and trying again is critical to maximizing your ROI. If you find something that works, do it again; if you find something that doesn’t, stop doing it.
Surveying the Land – The Before
In order to improve your event marketing ROI, you have to establish goals for the event and decide HOW you will track them. Is your goal simply to create buzz for a new product? Is it to hit a certain amount of product sales or gather 500 qualified leads? Determining your specific goals will ultimately dictate what will be factored into your ROI and how it will be evaluated.
Determining your target audience will help in improving your ROI as well as inform your event marketing company about your goals for the program. For instance, if you are offering retirement benefit services, your event will most likely not be targeted towards millennial who have just graduated college. Ensure that your offerings are in line with the type of event you are promoting or participating in.
In order to connect with your target audience, you have to know what is important to them, what is going on in their mind. This is critical because if you don’t show them what they want to see, tell them what they want to hear, or provide the answers to their questions or solutions to their problems; you will have difficulty connecting with them. When you define your target market, you can do it in several different ways. One is to use demographics, things like age, sex, and income. The other is to use psychographics, which is more about what someone is thinking? What motivates them to take action? What are their attitudes or goals? Demographics are very broad, and psychographics can help you better target a specific niche or market. You don’t have to only use one approach, though. It can be beneficial to use demographics to narrow down your target, then further define it using psychographics.
In the Trenches – The During
If you have the WHAT and the WHO figured out for your event in order to improve your ROI, here are three ways to improve the HOW.
First, harness the power of social media to your advantage through social listening. If you have a hashtag particular to your products or services, be sure to see what the audience is saying about your offerings. If you see any complaints, respond to these immediately and provide a viable solution to avoid bad publicity. If relevant, embed a social media tool into your event, such as a photo booth, where people can take pictures and share them with particular hashtags to create trending posts.
Next, if you have an app that participants can download, be sure to promote it because it can provide valuable insights as to the success of your event participation. By assessing statistics such as the number of downloads, the particular features that were used, and messaging functions that were utilized, you will get great insight from your audience. Depending on your particular event strategy, and desired outcomes, there are many ways to use an app to increase event and overall ROI.
Event surveys are also a great way to gain valuable feedback for improving future events. Sending out surveys during and immediately after the event will help measure the interest and response of the attendees. You can also tie this to a giveaway during the event. If they complete a survey, they are entered in a drawing to win a prize which ideally is directly related to the products or services you provide. However, make sure the interaction is meaningful. You don’t want people whose only interest is winning something for free.
Planting the Victory Flag – The After
The event doesn’t end after the lights have been turned out at the venue, and you can continue to improve your event ROI based on the actions you take. Once the event ends, time is of the essence. First, make sure to follow up on any qualified leads immediately and accurately, but in a personable manner. No one wants to feel like an automated customer on an assembly line. If you are collecting information during the event, whether electronically or otherwise, writing down a quick note about the interaction can make the follow-up all that more personal and meaningful. If you are a travel agent at an expo and a customer stops by your booth and you talk about their dream vacation to Hawaii, how much more meaningful will your follow-up be to them if you include something about their dream vacation? I guarantee it will increase your success!
Secondly, if there were any issues during the event, particularly ones that can garner bad reviews for your company, make sure to deal with this swiftly in order to build brand loyalty and satisfaction. Lastly, continue to provide value for your audience through additional content marketing. Was there a particular speaker that captured the attention of the audience? Perhaps you can ask him or her to write an article for your audience.
Once all your sales figures and expenses are gathered, don’t forget to also evaluate the outcome of the event through a statistical analysis based on your original goals. If you lost money or didn’t make enough revenue, maybe you need to re-think the type of event marketing for your particular product or services. As with all marketing efforts, this ROI evaluation is essential to identify the things that worked well and those that did not. If you don’t measure the success of your marketing efforts, how will you know if your money and time are being well spent?
If your event didn’t work, figure out why. If your event was successful, find ways to improve it for an even higher ROI. In the words of Winston Churchill, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” That's actually what teams like ours are here for; remember to lean on the best event marketing companies to help drive your success.
Experience and relationships matter, and when you partner with a trusted event marketing company, you will have the support needed and avoid making costly mistakes in planning, budgeting, or activation. Give us a shout today to go through what options are available for your trade show, festival, or pop-up activation.