Event organizers and exhibitors have embraced virtual events in a big way in the past few months. And it won’t be wrong to say COVID-19 has something to do with it. For some time, there was some confusion about whether virtual events can hold their own against in-person events. But after witnessing the popularity of virtual events today, we can say the question is answered.

But if you’ve ever organized and delivered a virtual event, you will know that the work doesn’t end there. For instance, don’t you want to know whether the event was a success? More importantly, you will want to prove to your exhibitors and sponsors that the event was a success. Luckily, you can measure your event’s success by measuring its ROI.

ROI refers to the benefits you gain from holding an event vs. its production costs. Exhibitors and sponsors want to see ROI from virtual events, and they are not wrong. Otherwise, how will they justify investing in your event? The issue is, determining the ROI from virtual events is a bit tricky. But don’t worry. Here are a few tips on how to measure and maximize the ROI from a virtual event.

Understanding what metrics or KPIs to measure 

The first step you need to take to measure the ROI of your virtual event is find out what metrics or KPIs you are going to measure. You can begin by taking a look at your past in-person events. The KPIs from virtual events are likely to be similar. Another benefit of determining the KPIs (website visits, lead count, brand awareness, session attendance) is, it helps you plan and strategize to achieve specific ROIs. Note that most exhibitors and sponsors are new to the virtual event format. You may need to do a bit of hand-holding to explain the benefits. Here are a few tips on how you can increase attendance at your virtual event.

The need for surveys and polls 

Surveys and polls are useful for understanding where your exhibitors or sponsors stand, with respect to your attendees, before, during, and after the virtual event. Sending out a pre-event survey to potential attendees is a good idea to understand what kind of event they want to attend (pre-recorded events, meetings, live streaming, or others). Use the survey’s results to pair your attendees with the sponsors or exhibitors they are most likely to be attracted to. Surveys and polls also provide actionable insights, making it easier to calculate ROI.

Pre-event promotions

When you begin marketing and promoting your event, you can use the opportunity to get your exhibitors and sponsors some visibility. Create social media content to highlight your sponsors and exhibitors and showcase them on your event registration page. You can even create email blasts, mentioning your sponsors and exhibitors. It will help you gauge your audience’s reception of the virtual event before it happens and give you additional metrics to track your event’s success. Here are a few tips on how to create an email marketing campaign that works.

Running sponsored content

Virtual sponsorship is a highly valued real estate for companies who want to showcase their products or services. For sponsors, getting their names showcased on individual sessions provides additional brand exposure while also helping them capture leads. Individual events are also easier to track from an ROI point of view. If you want to ensure further brand engagement, consider running visual ads between the sessions.

Use only one platform

Sticking to one virtual platform is crucial to analyze your event’s success and deliver ROI. Many event organizers have seen their schedule being disrupted by the recent pandemic. Using one platform to track your ROI across in-person and virtual events can help you streamline event delivery and concentrate on essential things. Meanwhile, if you want to list your virtual event on the internet so people can find it, we have some tips for that too!

Conclusion

Determining event ROI is crucial if you want to continue working as an event professional. Most companies require event managers to show them how their events deliver business value, more so after events have moved online. The right planning and tools can help you organize a kick-ass virtual event that ticks all the boxes, especially when it comes to ROI.

Speaker Engage™ is a fully-integrated, cloud-based platform that helps event organizers to curate and delight speakers and sponsors. Register now for a free demo.

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