Events have always been an important business tactic for organizations to increase brand awareness, build connections among customers, and ultimately bring in revenue. But since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many events to go online, creating and executing successful virtual events has become paramount.
So how do you pull off a great virtual event? One place to start is by setting the right objectives. Event objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) can help you ensure that your event is successful and helps move your business forward, and making sure you set the right objectives is even more critical.
Defining Virtual Event Goals
A successful virtual event starts with the right goals and ends with measuring the right data. That’s why goal setting is so important – it sets the foundation for your entire event strategy and can guide your planning and execution. From there, you’ll have a better understanding of how to engage attendees, demonstrate value to sponsors, promote advertising opportunities, and much more. A few questions to ask yourself that can help with identifying goals are who is the target audience, how does the event align with business goals, and what does success look like?
When setting event goals, it’s important to be as specific as possible. “Increase brand awareness” sounds nice but without specific benchmarks, you have nothing to measure. Replace vague goals with SMART (specific, measurable, and time-sensitive) ones. For example, “generate 25% more leads by the end of the third quarter compared to the second quarter,” is a specific and measurable goal that you can easily determine if and when it’s met.
Once you’ve defined your goals, you can use them to figure out which KPIs to track. In the example above, you now know that sales leads are one metric that you’ll want to track. KPIs are also critical because they drive your data-gathering and help you measure your virtual event performance, including whether or not you achieved your goals.
Defining Virtual Event Objectives and KPIs
Once you’ve set your event goals, you can then define your objectives and KPIs. Goals and objectives seem similar, but there is a conceptual difference between them; goals are specific and measurable, while objectives define the methods and tactics you’ll use to reach those goals. Objectives detail how you will reach your goal, outlining your strategy and providing a roadmap of action steps.
Your objectives will also be vital to defining the KPIs for your virtual event. KPIs are used to define the degree to which you achieve your goals. They provide data about the success of your virtual event and help you determine what went well and what areas need improvement for future events.
Here’s a simplified example of how goals, objectives, and KPIs all work together:
- Goal: Increase awareness of a new company widgent and generate 1,000 new sales leads by the end of the third quarter.
- Increase attendee and sponsor engagement with real-time widget demos and targeted networking.
- Generate new product recruits by attracting new prospects and educating existing customers via targeted attendee-approved event content.
- Provide post-event follow-ups and feedback surveys to generate leads, gather feedback, and encourage post-event networking and community gatherings.
- Qualified leads and product signups
- Number of registrations
- Attendee session numbers and duration
Choosing the Right KPIs
Narrowing down KPIs can be difficult since they will differ depending on your goals and objectives. If your goal is to gather data on attendee satisfaction, then you’ll want to track things like positive feedback, content engagement, and social media sentiment. If you’re looking to create new promotional opportunities, you’ll want to focus on metrics like click-through rates and attendance for sponsored sessions. As you can see, the KPIs you’ll be tracking will be vastly different depending on what you want to achieve with your virtual event, but will lay out a roadmap to help you understand its success.
It’s safe to say that virtual events are here to stay and will continue to be an integral part of event marketing. But it can be challenging to build an event online and measure its success. However, identifying solid goals, objectives, and KPIs can help you not only determine if your event met your goals but also aid in planning and execution. With some time and intention, setting the right objectives will help keep your events on the right track, meet your goals, and keep attendees coming back for more.
At InGo, we can help you measure real ROI for your events by leveraging the power of referral marketing. Our platform enables you to harness the networks of your speakers, sponsors, and attendees to drive more attendance and engagement. If you’re wondering how InGo can help skyrocket your event attendance, reach out to us today.