Recognising a return on investment (or ‘ROI’) is a major factor for most businesses when deciding to host an event. Events don’t have to be expensive to be effective, but having a handle on what kind of returns you can expect could go a long way in setting your budget efficiently.

Last year’s EventTrack study, the world’s largest annual research report on experiential marketing, revealed that 74% of consumers have a better opinion about a brand after attending an in-person event. That in itself is a strong motivator to showcase your brand through events, but the survey also revealed strong ROI for experiential marketing. Of the brands surveyed, 47% achieved 3-5 times the return for every dollar spent on event marketing, with 29% receiving an ROI of 10:1.

Free Download: 3 Ways to Win Over Customers at Events (While Staying on Brand)

Setting goals to maximise your ROI

A return on investment can be recognised in a number of ways — it could be publicity, growing your customer database, brand loyalty, sales — just to name a few. Understanding what is most important to your business will help you establish achievable goals.

Before you start planning anything, it’s important to discuss and set event goals with your team. By setting KPIs upfront, you’ll be able to determine if your event was a success and what you should focus on for future events. Where possible, try to make goals SMART — that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound. For example, if you’re looking to broaden your customer base, instead of making your goal “brand awareness” or “attract new customers”, think about more specific goals such as “attracting 200 attendees to the event” or “increase our customer database by 10% within 30 days of the event”.

Setting SMART goals early on in the event planning phase will boost your ROI because it provides the opportunity to tailor your event accordingly. For instance, if one of your goals of hosting an event is to build your customer database, what activities can you put in place to achieve that? You could start by implementing an online ticketing solution such as Eventbrite, which will automatically collect the email address for every attendee. If event attendees are also bringing guests, consider running a competition that can be entered by providing an email address to improve your chances of collecting their information too. If product sales were part of your KPIs, you can also use collected information to send targeted offers to event attendees, helping to measure the effectiveness of the event on sales.

How to grow your brand with events

There is no hard and fast rule about how to host a successful event, but planning to suit the unique needs of your business will go a long way in achieving the right results. If you’re interested in more information on events for small-mid sized businesses, download the free paper ‘How To Grow Your Brand With Events’. If you would like to know more about how Eventbrite can help you achieve your business event goals, please feel free to reach out or connect with me on LinkedIn.