KPIs, or key performance indicators, can help you track the success of your event, marketing, and organization so you can make smart decisions to reach your goals. They can also help you identify gaps and make improvements as you go. The trouble is, there are lots of potential metrics to track, and not all of them are truly meaningful indicators of performance. Tracking the wrong metrics can lead to you to make uniformed decisions or worse—misinformed decisions. How do you know where to focus your attention?
Here are a dozen examples of KPIs especially suited for associations that hold events.
Use these as inspiration, but keep in mind your KPIs must be aligned with the specific goals of your event and your organization.
Revenue from registrations, revenue from sponsors, total costs and cost per attendee
Why it matters: At the end of the day, your event and organization must be financially sustainable if your mission is to continue.
2. Event satisfaction:
Feedback from after-event surveys, repeat guests, how many signed up vs. actually showed up, first-time attendees
Why it matters: If the KPIs show that your attendees are overwhelmingly satisfied with your event, perhaps you need to focus your efforts on raising awareness through marketing. If your attendees were dissatisfied, you might focus on improving your event experience before turning to promotion.
Attendance numbers; number of people who registered but didn’t show; social media mentions, comments, and clicks
Why it matters: Engagement is often viewed as a subjective concept. These KPIs provide an objective way to measure member and attendee engagement using quantifiable data points.
4. Web traffic:
Number of visitors, which channels they came from, search queries
Why it matters: Monitoring web traffic provides baseline information about the size of your audience, where they spend time online, and what they care about. This can help you decide what content to feature on your site and where to promote it.
5. New leads:
Number of new leads (not just new contacts) and each lead’s source
Why it matters: See where your leads come from so you know where to invest more of your time, effort, and budget (and where not to).
6. Visitor-to-lead ratio:
Compare number of site visitors to number of new leads
Why it matters: If you get lots of visitors but they don’t take any action, that’s a sign that your visitors didn’t find what they’re looking for. It could mean your Facebook ads are targeting the wrong audience, for example. It could also mean your website isn’t compelling enough, doesn’t provide key information, or is difficult to navigate.
7. Landing page conversion rate:
Percentage of people who come to a landing page that complete a form
Why it matters: People who arrived at your landing page were compelled to click on something to get there. If too many leave without taking further action, it could be a sign your offer isn’t strong enough or isn’t aligned with their customer journey (or you don’t have an offer at all). It could also indicate a lack of trust—they might be worried about how you will use their contact info.
8. Lead-to-member/registration ratio:
How many leads you generate compared to how many join your organization/register for your event
Why it matters: If you generate lots of leads but acquire very few members, it could be an indication that your marketing offer was too general (ex: a free promotional item vs. a free whitepaper). For events, this could be a sign that you haven’t proven the ROI of attending.
9. Email metrics:
Delivery, open, click, and unsubscribe rates; number of subscribers
Why it matters: Email metrics help you to gauge whether your messaging and offers resonate with your targets.
10. Blog metrics:
Number of visitors to your blog, click-through rate, number of subscribers to your blog
Why it matters: If your blog traffic is light, your content isn’t resonating with your audience. Click-throughs can tell you what people were interested in to guide future content and offers.
11. Search engine optimization:
Backlinks, keyword ranking
Why it matters: SEO is especially important to find new prospects. The higher your keywords rank, the more likely you are to get organic traffic.
Age, gender, ethnicity, bilingual
Why it matters: If you want more millennials, for example, you need to monitor your audience makeup today and as you launch new campaigns and event offerings. Explore the relationship between attendee diversity and your campaigns to see what resonates with people of various backgrounds.
While you might not monitor all 12 of these KPIs, you will need to track more than just one or two. KPIs are most meaningful when considered in combination with one another and as part of your larger brand strategy. For example, you can look at attendance numbers in light of your web traffic, landing page conversions, and email performance to find where people are dropping out of your sales funnel.
Without well-defined goals and corresponding KPIs, you can only guess at the success of your marketing campaigns, your events, and your organization’s progress toward your mission. With KPIs, you can use quantifiable data to make informed decisions that fuel attendance, engagement, and long-term sustainability.
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