Attendees don’t buy products (a.k.a your event). They buy outcomes. They don’t really care what you have to offer. They care what’s in it for them. If you can’t prove the outcomes of attending your event, your marketing will have to work much harder to drive attendance. It will cost you more time and money to get people to register. You will also have a difficult time getting people to engage during your event—no matter how many great things you offer.
When you promote your event you’re asking people to spend their M.E.T. (Money, Effort, and Time) to attend. In exchange for these three valuable resources, your attendees expect another M.E.T. in return, something Meaningful, Eventful, and Thought-provoking. But you need to go further. You need to quantify these ideas to show an actual return on investment.
Imagine if you could tell prospects, “Attendees on average see a $3000 increase in sales after they put our ideas to work.” Or maybe it’s, “Attendees save an average of $5000 on products and freight thanks to show-only discounts.” These real outcomes would be powerful reasons to register for your event—and to be engaged while there. An Attendee ROI Toolkit can help you craft a strong value proposition like these that proves the value of your conference and encourages attendance and engagement.
How much ROI is enough?
On average, your attendees should realize a return on investment between 3:1 and 5:1. That means if they spend $1000 in travel, lodging, and registration, they should see $3000 to $5000 in return.
Depending on your organization and your event, ROI might take one or more of these forms:
- increased customer acquisition
- boost in sales
- efficiencies gained
- costly mistakes avoided
- deals closed
- product or freight discounts
- connections created or nurtured
- free or discounted coaching, tools, or information products
- free or discounted continuing education credits and certifications
While there will always be immeasurable benefits of attending your event, many of the items above are quantifiable. A little research will tell you how much consulting and seminars cost compared to your event offerings. Check in with vendors to see what show-only discounts they’re offering. Find out how much continuing education credits cost from other sources. Add up the monetary value of free tools and resources. All these data points will help you create a no-brainer value proposition to include in your toolkit: Attending our event will make/save you X in money, effort, and time.
How to assemble the ROI toolkit
You can further demonstrate your event’s value by asking prospects a series of questions that get to the heart of their unique situations. Start by walking them through their event-related expenses, from registration to travel, lodging, and food. Create a simple worksheet with a grand total at the bottom. This is your number to beat.
Demonstrating value is the more difficult portion of the toolkit. In fact, many conferences that already have an ROI toolkit fall short of showing actual value based on real data. You need to be so convincing that only a fool would say no. Stick to hard numbers whenever possible. And avoid silly or trivial items, such as “Free cocktail reception, $50 value.” Employers don’t send attendees to conferences for free booze.
Here are a few value-based questions to get your prospects thinking:
- Who will you meet with at the conference?
- Are there relationships you can initiate or cultivate?
- Is there business you can close?
- What challenges are you trying to solve?
- What resources does this event provide that will solve these challenges?
- How much would you spend on these solutions (trainings, consultation, info products etc.) from other sources?
- Does the conference offer discounts you plan to take advantage of? List the approximate savings if known.
- Are there other opportunities in the conference city that you can leverage while you’re there (ex: site visits, client meetings, etc.)?
- What resources does this event offer that you can’t get anywhere else?
These questions will help prospects (and their employers) see the tangible and intangible benefits of attending your event. To encourage repeat attendance, you might consider surveying past attendees to show actual ROI. Here are a few example queries:
- How much did you save thanks to product discounts at the conference?
- How much did you save on freight at the conference?
- Did you receive any free tools or resources? What is their approximate value?
- Did you notice an increase in sales after you implemented ideas from the event? How much?
- Did the connections you made save you from making costly mistakes? How much did you save?
- ex: switching service providers based on the recommendation of a colleague saved me $100/month.
Have attendees or prospects fill out the toolkit online. That way, you’ll not only convince them to attend in a convenient survey-style format; you’ll also gain a huge amount of information. From there you can craft strategic engagement marketing that will prove the measurable ROI of your event and its Meaningful, Eventful, and Thought-provoking value.
Benefits this year and next
As an added bonus, an ROI toolkit helps attendees come to your event primed and ready to engage. Since they’ve already anticipated what your event offers and how they will benefit, attendees are more likely to connect, learn, and engage. As a result, they are more likely to see maximum value from your conference AND register again next year.
Need an Attendee ROI Toolkit? We can help! Contact us to learn how you can ask the right questions to create an ROI toolkit that drives attendance and engagement.
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