If you’ve previously planned and delivered a successful event, then you know that the process doesn’t end there. How do determine whether your event was successful? More importantly how do you prove to others, particularly your sponsors and exhibitors, that your event was successful? Event ROI.
Event ROI evaluates the benefits an event yields in relation to its production costs. When it comes to event sponsors and exhibitors, they expect to see a benefit, or return, in exchange for their investment in your event. Typically, exhibitors seek to generate leads, educate on their product or service, and further develop client relationships, while sponsors focus on increasing brand awareness and establishing themselves as leaders within their industry. It is important that exhibitors and sponsors recognize the value exchange from your event in order to secure their investment year after year. Recently, virtual events have stormed the industry in an unprecedented manner, understandably leading to some uncertainty surrounding virtual event ROI. Below, we’ve compiled a few ways on how to deliver marketing ROI to your virtual event sponsors and exhibitors.
Determine Metrics and KPIs
The very first step in determining event ROI is to establish the different metrics and KPIs. You can take a look at your past in-person events and previous sponsor and exhibitor packages to get a better understanding of what they are looking for, chances are their virtual event KPIs are similar. Depending on their specific event ROI metrics— for example, lead count, brand awareness, speaking session attendance, website visits, or more— you can more accurately plan and compile different strategies that will maximize a return on their marketing investment. Additionally, because many sponsors and exhibitors may be new to the online format, take time to walk them through their goals and how they can be achieved through your virtual event.
When marketing and generating buzz around your event, use this opportunity to also showcase your important sponsors and various exhibitors. For example, create social media posts depicting who your event is sponsored by and which exhibitors will be present, and display their logos on your event website and registration page. Not only are you promoting your event, you’re also getting eyes on their names before the event begins. Moreover, as part of a package for sponsors or exhibitors, you can send your registrants email blasts using customized event email marketing. This will offer more ways to see your event impact ahead of your virtual show and provide additional metrics to track, such as content piece downloads or scheduled booth appointments.
Implement Surveys and Polls
Surveys and polls can be powerful tools in assessing where your sponsors and exhibitors stand with attendees before, during, and after your virtual event. For example, surveys can help you obtain a better understanding of your audience and help you pair them with or suggest different exhibitors at the event based on their unique goals and needs. Furthermore, surveys and polls are a great way to help engage attendees while also eliminating guesswork and providing live, direct feedback regarding important metrics— making it easier to deliver ROI.
Offer Virtual Booths and One-on-One Meetings
Much like exhibitor booths at an in-person event, exhibitor booths at a virtual event help drive business and connections. Branded virtual booths enable your exhibitors to showcase their products and services and offer attendees with information on what they provide. Moreover, one-on-one meetings enable your exhibitors to more closely connect with any lead they acquired in order to answer any questions they may have, provide additional details, or even offer a demo. Both help your virtual exhibitors market their business and get the most out of the event.
Encourage Sponsored Content
Sponsored content can be a simple and guaranteed way for your sponsors to further establish themselves with their audience. By encouraging them to sponsor different sessions, you can provide your virtual event sponsors additional reach and brand exposure opportunities. When determining ROI, it is much easier to track each online session’s attendance and report on the number of impressions. In addition to sponsored sessions, you can extend even more brand engagement by displaying brief visual ads in between sessions or sending push notifications on your mobile event app, in turn, allowing you to measure and report on the number of clicks.
Generate a Post-Event Report
Following the conclusion of your virtual event, analyze your post-event results and generate a detailed report reflecting your event success. This report should be relevant to your sponsor or exhibitor and include a number of metrics such as the number of leads generated, increases in website traffic, surges in social media likes and follows, and any other metrics and KPIs that were established in initial strategies and discussions. A post event analysis will help your sponsors and exhibitors see a marketing return on their investment, consider areas which can be improved upon, and determine future goals. After all, not only does data empower informed decisions, it validates them as well.
Stick to One Platform
Most importantly, sticking to one platform is a critical aspect in being able to accurately analyze your event success and deliver event ROI. For many event professionals, the shift from in-person to virtual has caused a significant disruption in their data continuity. Therefore, it becomes incredibly important to note that employing a single system which supports your in-person, virtual, and hybrid events is key to optimizing for events moving forward. By having one platform in which all of your data flows, you’re able to compare and contrast your current event to your past events and more accurately deliver ROI.
To conclude, one’s ability to determine and deliver ROI on event marketing is critical. Before, the pandemic turned entire industries for a loop, EventMB reported that 76% of job ads demanded that event professionals be capable of establishing the business value of events. Since then, many have been launched into previously unexplored circumstances, and it’s become exponentially more significant to demonstrate the different ways that a virtual event can produce valuable results. Even so, the events industry has continued to preserve, and with careful planning and a powerful set of tools, producing a successful event and delivering ROI to your virtual sponsors and exhibitors can still be well achieved.