Editor’s note: this is a guest post by Callie Walker from ePly. She is a writer in the membership management software and event registration software space. She’s spoken at conferences hosted by the Georgia Society of Association Executives (GSAE), the Florida Society of Association Executives (FSAE), the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), and more.
Your organization likely hosts events every year to provide opportunities for networking, fundraising, growing your organization, and keeping up with trends. However, a common issue that often arises for event coordinators is the problem of measuring your event’s success.
If you want your event to be effective and efficient, your team needs to develop and hone an event strategy that maximizes the benefits for your organization.
Planning and executing a successful event can drain your organization of a considerable amount of time and resources. It is, therefore, incredibly important that your strategy is purposely constructed for the best chance of success. To do this, there are a number of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that your event planning team should track. Some of the most common and important success metrics are:
- Event registration and check-in rates.
- Attendee satisfaction.
- Social media engagement.
- Number of returning attendees.
Tracking and understanding the implications of these KPIs will help your organization better create and adjust its strategy for future events. Let’s explore these metrics and prepare your organization to better track, measure, and utilize them!
1. Event registration and check-in rates
Defining and assessing your event’s success should begin with event registration and check-in rates. No matter the goal of your event, whether it be to raise awareness, increase revenue, or entertain attendees, you cannot be successful if you do not have a decent number of attendees.
Track your event’s registration and check-in rates to ensure your strategy appeals to your audience from event to event. This will help you identify if you’ve lost touch with what your community wants from your events.
Event registration software will allow you to collect clear data on your attendees without overwhelming your team or requiring countless hours of sifting through spreadsheets. Registration and check-in are some of the few aspects of your event that all attendees must engage with, and the efficiency of these interactions will greatly influence the attendees’ opinions of your event.
Make sure your registration and check-in processes:
- Can be completed digitally. Increasingly, people are almost exclusively using their mobile devices to interact with the Internet. Your registration and check-in process should maximize its efficiency by providing mobile registration forms and check-in options. Digital registration also allows for easier data reporting on your side.
- Are tailored for your organization. Every organization is different. Customizing the registration process will ensure your organization is able to best organize and host an event without unforeseen obstacles.
- Don’t allow for discrepancies in attendance. If there are large numbers of registrants who never check-in for your event, something went wrong. You should be looking at why these registrants never attended your event and where in the process they were lost.
Registration and check-in don’t have to be a stumbling block for your organization. To develop the perfect strategy for your organization, track your registration and check-in rates so you can compare them year-to-year and against each other to make sure they are effective.
2. Attendee satisfaction
If your organization wants to develop any sort of relationship with its event attendees that could potentially lead to future engagement, your event planning team needs to make sure attendees are satisfied with how the events are run. Use an event management software with a robust set of tools that will also help you communicate with your attendees to determine their satisfaction levels.
If you want to know what your event attendees think of your event, you need only ask them. After your event ends, use a satisfaction survey as an excuse to reconnect with your attendees. The very last thing you want is for your attendees to never think of your organization again once the event is over.
Your event strategy should be to stay at the forefront of your attendees’ minds and endear them to your organization by asking their opinion on the operations of your event. Make sure these questions are simple yet specific—if you want the answers to be helpful, you should not leave much room for interpretation with the questions.
To check out a list of helpful software platforms to support your events, click here.
3. Social media engagement
While some people may consider social media a metric of lesser importance, there is undoubtedly a significant correlation between social media engagement and event visibility and, by extension, success. Track how often people like, share, retweet, and repost any digital content having to do with your event.
When you see these numbers climb, you will know your event has caught the public’s eye. This metric will help you understand which speakers, programs, and activities resonate with the community to which you are appealing. However, for this metric to reveal anything actionable, you need to be posting and sharing important news leading up to, during, and after your event.
You can also be on the lookout for social media mentions in which your attendees mention your organization or use a custom hashtag. This will show you how excited and impressed people truly were with your event and what their favorite aspects of your event were.
4. Number of returning attendees
Not only does this metric tell you more about who attends your events and what they might be interested in for future events, but it also hints at who are your best leads for developing meaningful relationships. Using the information housed in an event planning software like ePly, you would be able to see who of your attendees are loyal attendees that should be further engaged.
Once you are seeing a high number of returning attendees, you will know that you have found an event strategy that appeals to your audience and encourages them to come back to your events time after time.
If you are interested in employing a robust, comprehensive event management software with which you can analyze attendee data, check out this list from Double the Donation.
Your event should be a well-oiled machine that operates smoothly and encourages attendees to maintain a spotless attendance record. By tracking these 4 metrics, you will be able to hone your strategy until you find one that works well for your organization and illuminates the success level of your event.