Of course all smart event organizers track key metrics like registrants, attendance, budget, and profit but many times those metrics are never tied back to the individual marketing campaigns. While it may be easy to smile and say the overall goals were met - we were a success, it is important to take another look at how they were met. As much as possible each piece of public outreach should be able to be measured.
Emails -- Which emails got the most opens? Was there something different in those subject lines? What was the offer within the email? Was there a certain time of day or week that performed better? Find the common ties between the high opens as well as the commonalities among the low opens. For future events, do more of what worked and less of what did not.
Online Ads -- While the sites you are advertising with will give you click through rates, you need to be measuring the activity on your end as well. If your website backend shows you referring sites for visits, look at the visitors that came from sites with your banner ads. Can you see where they went on your site or how long they stayed once they clicked? If your backend cannot show you these details, consider having all web ads point to a landing page. Each site you advertise on should have its own unique landing URL so you can measure how each different campaign is working. Then you can gather total visitors from that ad simply using Google Analytics.
Direct Mail -- While direct mail can be tricky to get through agency mail systems, in today's all electronic world sometimes a hard copy mail now really stands out. Directing people to landing pages (that typically have longer URLs) is not the best option for direct mail. Instead make sure all mail pieces have some sort of code that people enter when they register. It can be a discount code or just simply a required code for registration. Tracking the use of these codes will give you an indication of which mail pieces are performing better (much like you can see with email opens).
Social Media -- Social Media provides a wide variety of options for tracking. Facebook and LinkedIn give you upfront numbers on views and interactions with posts so you can see which types of posts are performing well. Like direct mail, you may also want to post some offer codes to track popularity of certain post times or even the tone of posts (serious/straight forward vs light/fun).
Across all of these tactics, metrics need to eventually be tied to registrations. Which methods are not just getting clicks, but which are driving people to register. At GovEvents we are able to provide detailed reports on click throughs and views but our clients still need to be able to make that tie back to registrants. We want to know how successful our campaigns are in getting people to register.
What about you? How are you measuring not just the success of an event, but success of each marketing effort?