This post was written by Justin Gonzalez, Marketing Communications Manager at DoubleDutch. It seems like every blog post, whitepaper, and webinar for event professionals is focused on one thing: data. But in most cases, “data” is little more than a buzzword accompanied by little to no actionable insights. So we decided it was time to get real about event data and give event professionals some tips they could sink their teeth into.
Want to know how can you use data to hit your registration goals? Read on...
Step 1: Set Goals
This one may seem like a no brainer, but every great strategy starts with a goal. Once you have a clear goal set for your event - this might be bringing in new business or increasing registration numbers from last year - it’s easy to work backwards and set benchmarks that align with your promotion strategy. Based on your overall event goal, you can set sales and registration goals by channel (online advertising, social media, email, etc.).
When setting these incremental goals by channel, you will want to plan your strategy accordingly. For example, if your primary goal is acquiring net new leads for this event, it may be important to put more emphasis on paid media than email nurture programs.
Once you have your registration goals in place, create a calendar in which you set specific milestones for your event. By doing this, you’ll be able to track progress as you near event day to determine whether you need to ramp and accelerate, or if you are on track to meet your goals.
For first-time planners this may seem difficult, but it’s really worthwhile to set some type of goal so that you can measure event success.
Step 2: Plan Accordingly
Now that you have clear goals in place, align your promotional calendar to help you meet your milestones. Perhaps you want to kick things off with a bang so you launch email, paid, and organic programs all in week one. Or, maybe by week eight you realize you’re below the target goal and need to supplement your efforts with some kind of social sharing or referral program.
We put so much time into organizing an amazing experience for our attendees, this promotional calendar will really help ensure that you are hitting your goals and able to execute on that strategy. Depending on your goal for total attendees and registrants, it’s all about monitoring channel effectiveness. Optimize each channel for peak performance by looking at what is actually driving engagement and registrations, not just impressions and clicks.
Step 3: Track & Measure
It’s now time to start tracking and measuring your channels’ effectiveness across three key areas: awareness, sales, and quality.
Awareness shows what channels are driving visitors to your registration pages.
Sales shows which channels are actually driving registrations and ticket sales.
Quality is sales divided by awareness, which will indicate how each channel is performing on its own and relative to other channels.
By calculating the ROI from each channel, you can start to identify which channels are performing better than others and reallocate your budget if necessary.
Step 4: Evaluate
As you start evaluating ROI metrics by channel, it’s also important to begin evaluating the performance of specific initiatives to better optimize for the future. Use benchmarking data across the different channels to evaluate how well your initiatives are doing, and optimize where appropriate.
For example, you probably have an email nurture program in place to promote your event. Compare email to email performance to see what subject lines are getting people to open, and what calls to action are driving registrations. Take what you learn here and implement that across future campaigns.
What you learn from an email campaign shouldn’t be kept in isolation. Take these insights and apply them across your paid and organic initiatives as well.
Step 5: Reallocate
Using all of this data, you can start to figure out where you’ll need to reallocate budgets to increase marketing effectiveness. If you identify that one particular channel is dramatically outperforming another, it doesn’t make sense to keep funneling dollars into that strategy.
Being a better marketer starts with creating a comprehensive strategy, benchmarking your performance across that strategy, and taking action when necessary. The data is yours for the taking. Leverage it.