Using Your Data to Improve Your Event Marketing
By Asaf Darash
We are still talking about data and how “DATA” can improve your business, optimizing marketing campaigns and so much more. Have a problem? Data can solve it! But honestly, how can data do this in practice? What does it actually mean to “use your data” and what are actionable things you can do today with your data to make some great business decisions?
I hope to give you some great and actionable takeaways by the end of this post. But first, let’s start with the way in which you collect this “data” to begin with, so you have what you need to move forward. If you are an event professional, the key is having a great event software that allows you to collect data effectively and gives you the tools to use it right!
Visualize Your Data
When we talk about visualizing data, it just means taking what is important and making sense of it. So if you want to see where your clients came from, run a report, create a chart or bar graph, etc. and now you can see where your clients came in from. From there, you can see where you should pour more marketing dollars, where was a waste of time, and optimize for next time. Replace “where your clients came from” with “which sessions weren’t full”, “which sessions were full”, etc. so you can better plan for your next event and tailor your offerings to attendees based on what they liked and didn’t the last round.
Numbers are also your friend. Look at your numbers from last year and past events. Is attendance going up, going down? If age, or other qualifying factors are important to you, look at those too. The more you know and understand about your audience, the better you can market to them, reach out and connect with them on social media, via email, etc. and create better connections and content that will grow your event.
Spreadsheets vs. Quality Reporting
Many event professionals use Excel for data management – either alone or they export data from the software the use into Excel and call it a day. While Excel is great for some things, managing events and trying to use and understand your data is rough with Excel. It can get messy and overwhelming really quick. It also leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to really USING your data since an Excel spreadsheet is just a data dump more than it’s an effective tool to work with your data.
If you are using an event registration software or an event management software, this is the first step to really creating quality reports on your data. First use your software to filter and find the information you want to answer one question. For example, where did my clients come from. Filter, find the data, run the report. Question answered. Next question, “which sessions were the most popular?”. Being able to achieve this kind of precision with JUST Excel is pretty difficult, error prone and time consuming.
Quality reporting can mean the difference in effective marketing as well as marketing spending. If you can filter and find the attendees that found your event as a result of your Facebook Ad vs. your AdWords campaigns, you can really tighten up your budget and market more effectively in both spaces. Say that you spent 2x as much on Facebook ads as Google ads, but more of your traffic came from Google. This will help clue you in to where your marketing dollars are more wisely spent to get the biggest ROI. You can take it a step further and see what demographics are coming from those marketing avenues and then tailor the ads that run on each platform to the demographic. So say you have Camp Directors and Parks and Recs professionals attending a conference. And more of your camp director traffic came from Facebook than Google. Seems like it makes sense to focus on camp centered ads in your Facebook ads campaign to target potential attendees more effectively!
Data in the Cloud
It is non-negotiable that whatever software you use, also stores data in the cloud. The ability to access your data from anywhere gives you the flexibility to use your data when you need it. It also means you have access to the most up to date data, so when you run a new report on certain data points, it is relevant and current. Most event management platforms allow you to do this. Another great feature of a software is the ability to save parameters of reporting, so you can run the same reports as much as you need (usually ones you commonly run throughout the lifecycle of your event). This keeps you and your planning team on top of it all.
Final Thoughts on Using Event Software to Understand Your Data and Improve Your Event Marketing
Taking a ton of information and organizing it in a way that makes sense and allows you to gain valuable insights is a HUGE undertaking and not easy. But with the right tools, namely a great event software, the tasks is much more manageable. The key is the ability to filter through your data quickly (this is where software comes in), so you can take out the data you need ONLY and work with it to answer real questions about your marketing, your attendees, and what is and isn’t working.
Event planning is hard enough. Armed with the right information ahead of time, you can not only make planning easier, but more effective, so every event going forward can be a success! Good luck and happy planning!