When you’re responsible for all aspects of your seminar business – from booking a meeting room, handling logistics and arranging travel to developing content, marketing the event and taking registrations – some details are bound to fall through the cracks. If you’re brand-new to the industry, it’s easy to miss key tasks simply because you don’t know what you don’t know.
Tracking data is often one of these important, but easily overlooked, responsibilities.
Data about your events allows you to gauge how well your event is doing compared with previous events. It enables you to predict the number of attendees you’ll have in the room once the event starts. It makes it easier to decide which marketing channels to use. It can even help you identify when extra marketing “touches” are needed to achieve your goals.
Here are the top 7 pieces of data to track when promoting your own seminars, workshops, conferences, teleseminars and webinars:
- Open rate. When using email to promote your messages (and really, who doesn’t? – it’s still the mainstay of event marketing), the first challenge is to get your message opened. If the message isn’t opened, there’s no way your prospects will read your offer and click through to the next step. Your open rate tells you how compelling your subject lines are – and how engaged your list is. If you notice a dip in open rates, it tells you that your message isn’t striking the right tone. Likewise, if you notice a spike in open rates, it tells you that your subject line hit a nerve. Analyze open rates to see what type of subject lines your list is responding to.
- Click-through rate. This measures the effectiveness of your email message: Can you get them to click the link and take the next step? If prospects aren’t clicking through at their usual rate, it’s a sign that your message isn’t hitting the right tone. If you aren’t getting the click through rates you want, experiment with how your event is positioned, the promise you make, the theme or angle used in your message, the call to action, and even the length of email.
A few years ago, when writing emails for a prominent speaker’s annual training workshop, we noticed a significant spike in the open and click-through rates on one particular message. The message reminded them that we have a limited amount of time on Earth – that if they felt the urge to follow their passion, they belonged at the seminar. The message hit a chord with this particular audience, so we created more messages with this angle for the remainder of the campaign.
- Conversion/registration rate. This number tells you how well your sales page is working. Does it explain what will happen at the event, make a big enough promise, demonstrate the incredible value of what you’re teaching, and push enough buttons that visitors are motivated to take action?
When analyzing your conversion rates, keep the type of event you’re promoting in mind. It’s easy and common for a visitor to make a yes/no decision the first time they visit an event page for a teleseminar or seminar. For a multi-day event for which they’ll need to invest a thousand dollars and four days of time, however, they’re more likely to visit the page multiple times before making a final decision. This is where tracking to see what is normal for your events and your audience becomes important.
- Source. When you get leads and registrations, it helps to know where they came from. Did your direct mail postcard produce enough of a response to justify the expense? Did your Facebook promotions produce click-throughs to your sales page? Did your final, urgent emails drive last-minute registrations? Knowing the response that each channel generated can help you make decisions about which channels to use – and how much – for future campaigns.
- Timing of touches. Going hand-in-hand with the source of your promotion is tracking how and when you’re reaching out to your audience. This allows you to experiment with timing and the type of outreach. For example, if you typically send 1 email a week starting 8 weeks out, you could experiment with sending 2 emails a week to see how that boosts your event marketing results.
- Timing of registrations. How many registrations are coming in each week and/or day? Knowing these statistics will help you gauge how well your event is doing – are you on task to achieve your goal? If you know that you typically reach that halfway point in registration 3 weeks before your event, at 3 weeks out from your current event, you can predict how many people will end up in the room. This allows you to decide whether you need an extra promotional push to hit your numbers.
- Hotel rooms. If you’ve arranged a room block and have a minimum number of rooms that you’ve guaranteed to fill, you may wish to track your reservation patterns here, too. This can help you determine when you need to send extra reminders to get your rooms filled. More importantly, it can help you decide how many rooms need to be in your room block for future events.
Tracking data is an added responsibility, one that’s easy to let slip through the cracks. But the decision-making power and confidence that come from knowing how your event is performing cannot be overrated. Use this list to guide your data-gathering efforts, and see what a difference it can make when it comes to promoting your future events.