Measure the ROI of Your Event: New Sales, Upsells, and Happy Attendees

4 minute read

Upland Admin

Events are a core element of content marketing strategy. From building speaker panels to hosting workshops and bringing company communities together, there’s nothing more rewarding from a business perspective than a group of brilliant minds sharing industry research and exploring new ideas.

Events provide opportunities to collect feedback from customers (re: essential for building personas) and to figure out new ways to strengthen relationships through storytelling. What questions are attendees asking? What topics do they find most interesting?

There are a few challenges with running events, of course. First and foremost, they’re both time and resource intensive. Even if with a ticket fee, chances are, you’re not making a profit; you might even be losing money. And if you are a vendor with a booth, you’re definitely “losing” money—at least in the short term. That’s why it’s important to assess your event’s ROI. Beyond researching, meeting your target audiences, and collecting feedback, events fuel a number of bottom-line business objectives.

After your next event-planning sprint, you’ll want to curl up on a couch and sleep for a full weekend. They take a lot out of you. Remember that at the end of all the exhaustion, it will have all been worth it. You’ll have influenced your business in the following measurable ways:

1. Lead Generation

Events are more than an opportunity to meet your business’s community. Take brainstorming sessions from your event and turn them into actionable outcomes. If you have an interesting conversation at your event, consider working with your sales team to create a proposal.

To measure the lead gen from an event, structure your marketing automation systems to sync up with your event attendee database. Ask every new lead how they learned about your company (In a survey? Over the phone?). Make sure to ask what they think of your content, social media, and events. And ask for specifics. What is it about your event that converted your target audience?

2. Upsells

At your event, don’t ignore existing customers—snag as many face-to-face meetings as you can. Don’t plan these meetings with ulterior sales motives in mind. Your customers want to unwind, learn, and have fun at your event, too.

Instead of an aggressive business strategy, sit down with your key relationships and listen. Ask questions to figure out what’s going well and diagnose what isn’t. If you see the potential for an extended business relationship, follow up with a note. Wait to send such a note for a week or two after the event, to ensure that your customers have a chance to recover and catch up at work.

Measuring upsells is similar to measuring lead gen. Automate follow-up questions with the attendee database, tailoring the emails to current customers.  Ask what they thought were strengths and weaknesses of the conference.

3. Net Promotor Scores (NPS)

Research consistently supports that word-of-mouth is a powerful and timeless marketing force. Happy customers will bring more happy customers to your business. Net Promoter Scores are based on one question: How likely are you to refer a product/service/experience to a friend? High NPS across a large and diverse sample indicates an exceptional experience for your attendees.

You can build NPS calculations into your event app, CRM, or software. Comprehensive tools like integrate into your conference sessions. NPS can be a valuable metric if you look at variations between customer segments. Why are some groups happier than others?

Increase your NPS to increase the power of your marketing efforts through word of mouth.

Final thoughts

Events are as exhausting as they are exhilarating. Like a wedding (yes, I’m seriously making that analogy), you’ll want your ROI to outlast a single day. Make sure that you’re getting a holistic picture of your event’s business value by focusing on the three metrics above.

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