4 | Minute Read

Before you book a venue, before you send out invites, before you even figure out what your event is going to be about – committing to a clear event goal is the first step of event planning success.

Without a clear, measurable event goal, your event won’t have the guiding light it needs to make planning it a straightforward walk in the park. Knowing what event goal you are trying to achieve will lay much of the groundwork for your overall event management strategy.

An event goal should be specific, and measurable. Why?

A general goal such as “max out registration” doesn’t help to define your event, nor direct you in its management. Whilst a goal that’s not easily measured – for example, “all attendees enjoy the event” – will leave your event management team scratching their heads when it comes to post-event assessment. How do you know you have reached your goal, if your goal isn’t readily measurable?

Instead, a goal that really drills down into something specifically measurable paves the way for how your event should be planned.

Here are some examples of a specific, measurable event goal:

  • Get at least 30% of attendees to make a commitment to convert on the day
  • Educate existing customers on how to use your brand’s product; reducing repeat support requests by 20%
  • By encouraging on the day social media sharing, increase new, unique visitor traffic to CTA landing page by 10%
  • Collect at least 50% of attendee’s data on the day and via post-event feedback in order to build more accurate buyer personas.

To further help you understand how event goals drive your event planning process, we’re going to break down the first of the above examples, and explore how its corresponding event should be planned, and how the goal should be measured post-event.

Get at least 30% of attendees to make a commitment to convert on the day

This goal requires a strong Call To Action for your event. The call to action should result in a conversion. Let’s say – for this example – that the desired conversion is buying a brand new product that your company is launching. The Call To Action therefore is simple; you want event attendees to purchase the product at the event, or at least commit to doing so.

You might be asking, “why not up the aim and try to achieve 50% – 100% of attendee conversions?”. 

It’s best to keep goals humble, and reasonable. If we aim too high, then our events will almost always fail to reach their goals. When the gap between win and fail for a goal is so wide, it makes it difficult to analyse post-event data to understand what could have been done differently to achieve your goal. That’s why keeping it realistically achievable is important.

OK, so we want 30% of our event’s attendees to commit to purchasing our brand’s new product at the event. That means the event has to be about the launch of your product; the entire Value Proposition of your event is the new product itself. You’ll also need extra incentives to convert at the event. Lastly, you’ll want to not invite too broad of an audience; as lukewarm contacts and leads are less likely to convert.

This goal is already showing us clear signs for how the event should be planned:

  • Segment and target your invitee list so that only warmed up leads and contacts (who have recently shown high levels of engagement) are invited. These people are ready to convert!
  • Incentivise on the day purchases by offering time sensitive incentives such as major discounts for at-the-event conversion. You could also offer a version of your product that is rare and limited. For example, “the first 30 buyers at this event will receive a version of our product in a limited colour”.
  • Lastly, your entire event’s Value Proposition has to center around the product. Your event could be a product launch event – in which case the value is added by special at-the-event incentives. Further value can be added by making the product launch a fun and festive party; make it pleasurable and easy to attend.

The goal is also clearly measurable. Here’s how you’d go about measuring whether your goal was reached:

  • Make sure to mark event attendees on the day, at your event. (This is done best with an Event Management App, or a QR code reader – either way, automation takes the pain and error out of attendance marking)
  • When purchases are made, record them either directly in your Registrant data, or in your integrated CRM.
  • Compare your attendee list with your purchase data from the day – have 30% of attendees made a purchase? There lie-ins the telltale sign of whether your event reached its aim.

If you didn’t reach your goal you might look at other event data in order to analyse what worked, and what didn’t. 

Which attendees did make a purchase at the event – do they share any common traits? For example, perhaps only attendees with Decision Maker role descriptions purchased your product on the day, showing you that next time you might want to further segment and target your invitee list to drill down into specific role descriptions.

Send through a post-event feedback survey and ask your attendees themselves about what they liked or didn’t like about the event. This will also shed light on how your event could be improved to have better met your goal.

You need to know your destination in order to figure out the route you’re going to take. The very same can be said for event planning. If you want to hold an event, make sure you have a clear, measurable reason for doing so. Your event goal is going to unveil to you how your event should be managed, who should be invited, and what your event’s going to be about. 

Setting an event goal is foundational, and in fact – the clearer your event goal is – the less work planning your event will be.

lady on a kayak in the ocean
Plan properly, means more time for this

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