J. Kelly Hoey

Increase Your Event ROI by Adding Puppies

Unleashing puppies into a crowd may not be on your event planning checklist, but these five strategies to increase the ROI from your next event should be.

“What do you think so far?” the conference organizer asked me.

Targeted invite-only audience to ensure maximum networking potential (check), a venue with close proximity to public transportation and public parking (check) plus TED-like presentations on relevant topics (performance reviews, layoffs, timing a fund raise) grounded in real world examples, not platitudes (check) — based on the first two-hours of the event, my gut reaction was thus far, this was a thoughtfully planned event. Worthwhile use of time from my point of view as an attendee, but what of the event organizers? Was the event aligning with their investment of partner time, let alone sunk venue and refreshment costs (and beyond attendance, how were they measuring success anyway)?

A gut reaction (or even a follow-up survey to attendees or the popularity of a specialty conference-themed cocktail) isn’t the ROI event organizers should count on when measuring the success of their event.

“Events have always been one of the most effective marketing tools. That has never changed. What has changed is our ability to create valuable opportunities around each event, and track the value they generate. Many event planners still use a cross-your-fingers approach: You try to get the right people in the room, and hope you get some quality face-time with a key client or potential customer. This approach is the old school way of thinking.” — Ben Hindman.

Ben knows a thing or two about lost opportunities embedded in the old-school approach to event planning. Ben is the CEO and co-founder of Splash, an event-marketing platform that helps businesses and brands more effectively market through their events. Before founding Splash, Ben was an event planner. Splash was born out of one of Ben’s greatest frustrations as an event planner: he wanted a powerful event marketing tool that could make his events look as amazing online as they did in person — and he wanted powerful analytics so he would know for sure whether his events were generating real results for his clients.

According to Ben, the opportunities to engage with your target audience start before the registration table and extend well-beyond the actual event. An important detail that many event organizers overlook as they get bogged down in the event-planning weeds. “Events are the best form of direct marketing in existence. Because it’s not just one opportunity to connect with a potential customer. It’s 10–15 opportunities.” Ben notes. Think about the event invitation. “Very few people are sharing your ads — even when there is a friends & family discount — but good event invitations are inherently shareable.”

With a Fall calendar filled with conferences and year-end client event planning well underway, Ben has five suggestions on the ways business owners and entrepreneurs can capture better ROI from their events:

1. Know that your events aren’t just about who is in the room.

Read this suggestion and four more at Inc.com


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