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20 Tools to Measure Event Marketing

By Julius Solaris
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This post is a follow-up to a previous article on organizing your sales effort. Without measurement, you are wasting your time. Here is how to track and measure event marketing efforts.

How to Measure Event Marketing

In times of crisis you are accountable for every penny spent on your marketing. Scarcity impacts budgets and accountability becomes omnipresent.

Knowing what your event marketing channels deliver should be a fitness check nobody should avoid. Nonetheless we witness frantic rushes to spend precious budget on channels we really don't measure.

The positive side of downturns is that we are forced to become wiser. Measuring your marketing activities is always a winner.

When you measure event marketing, you enter the virtuous cycle of investing in what delivers more. In turn, you earn more spending power for next year. Sounds good, right?

Achieving all of the above is actually easier than you think. It takes a good old spreadsheet and some set up, but once in place, you have a marketing machine that will generate happiness for you and your business.

Start With a Question

What does success look like? Is it leads? Is it sales? Is it mentions on Twitter?

I believe that Marketing serves 3 purposes: Revenue, Traffic and Awareness. This is my humble opinion but think about narrowing down the set of objectives you work with.

I read too many articles talking about SMART objectives and business books lingo. Marketing objectives need to fall within the above three areas. If you are outside those areas, chances are you are wasting budget.

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Show Me the Tools to Measure Event Marketing

No rush dear reader, it's coming.

Just a note before we start, I've organized the tools by communication channel. This will make it easier for you to pick the best tool for your event marketing communications.

Event Website

I put the website first. Your event website is your home base. It should be the center of all your online marketing activities. Here are the best tools to measure what role your website plays in your event marketing mix.

- Google Analytics (1). Google offers the most performing free web analytics platform on the market. As simple as that. Without Google Analytics installed on your website, you are literally throwing money out of the window. Google Analytics by itself won't help you go anywhere, unless you have the followings clearly set up.

- Goals and Funnels (2). Without setting up goals and funnels you won't know the impact of your communications on your business objective. Please read through this guide and make sure to get them in place.

- Campaigns Tracking (3). It could be that you run a campaign on Twitter to drive ticket sales. I recommend you tell Google Analytics exactly where your visitors are coming from as creating goals and funnels with referral traffic could miss on some data (unidentified referral, multiple clients, etc). Follow this link to attach Google Analytics tags to the links you share on the Interwebs.

- Crazy Egg (4). Believe it or not but I am not a numbers person. I prefer visual information. Crazy Egg has made a name for itself in Eye tracking and Heatmapping. Crazy Egg will tell you the areas of your website that capture the attention of your visitors. You can include this precious information in your goal setting and depict more realistic visitors journeys. You can give it a go and try it for free. The pricing is very reasonable.

- SEO Tools (5). Search Engine represent usually 75% to 85% of the traffic you'll ever get. How you optimize your event website for SEO it's crucial. How you measure the performance of your website against specific keywords will help you to identify marketing opportunities on Google Search. SEOMoz offers a complete suite of tracking and measurement tools that I find extremely valuable.

Social Media

A basic premise: Social Media is a very broad term. I could list 200 tools for this category only. I summed up the best tools for the media I find to be the most effective for event marketing purposes. The thing is that social media is playing an increasingly important role on the SEO of your event website, therefore it is advisable to give it an educated go.

- Twitter. Hootsuite (6). I can't do without Hootsuite for business. I've been managing more than 40 accounts under one Hootsuite account and I am an absolute fan of their reporting dashboard. Hootsuite integrates with Google Analytics for easier campaign setting. It will give you key statistics such as followers growth, mentions and clicks demographics. You need to activate Hootsuite Pro to have such capabilities.

- Facebook. Facebook Insights (7) is the most commonly used tools for measuring the impact of your Facebook event marketing. An interesting alternative is Pagelever (8). As benchmarking tools I would look into Wildfire (9) for benchmarking and EdgeRankChecker (10) to understand your EdgeRank.

- Blog. I sincerely hope you run your Event Blog on WordPress. If you do, you'll need to use Google Analytics, Jetpack (11) and Postrank (12). Jetpack and Google Analytics will give you a cross-referenced traditional web analytics performance, while Postrank will help you to understand the impact of your blog on social media. This is extremely important if your objetive is awareness or pure engagement without commercial indicators.

- Youtube. Insights is the tool offered by Youtube to understand the impact of video in your marketing mix. Here is a handy guide (13) to master the tool. If you are a Youtube Partner you can enjoy in-depth reporting as well as Youtube Live, the latest live streaming service from Google.

Apps

If you use mobile applications as a marketing tool, you may want to be able to measure their performance. Here are some of the most useful apps:

- iPhone/iPad/iPod. Appfigures (14) is my choice. The service collates the most significant analytics and reporting features you'd expect to see in mobile marketing.

- Android/BlackBerry/Windows and iPhone. Localytics (15) really pulls it all together. If you run multi-platform campaigns with apps, this is your choice!

Print

Print still plays an important role for event marketing. This includes everything from brochures, to flyers, banners, direct mail, faxes and print ads. Sticking your website address on print material is a wasted opportunity. Here are some suggestions to track your print event marketing.

- QR Codes. They have been around for a while but they have recently gathered a lot of attention, mostly thanks to the adoption of smartphones booming across the world. Services like bit.ly introduce QR codes generation and reporting, but I invite you to have a look at QreateBuzz (16) for a comprehensive approach to measurement.

- Short URLs. They are everywhere. The aforementioned bit.ly is a prime example. I strongly suggest you create your own Short URL domain and use Yourls (17) to manage it. It's free and relatively simple to set up. Make sure to add your Google Analytics tags to the short URLs you generate.

Email

Email still owns a big chunk of event marketing. I am gonna cut it short here, just use MailChimp (18) if you don't have any email marketing service already up and running. A good alternative is Aweber (19), a slightly more advanced solution.

Affiliate Marketing

In a previous post a reader asked 'how do you set up affiliate marketing with bloggers and partners?' Well it pretty much depends on what platform you use for managing your content. If you chose WordPress to run your event website, I strongly suggest to use the Magic Affiliate Plugin (20). An extra reason to try it out is the integration with both the above mentioned email marketing platforms.

In Conclusion

What can I say, if it's not measured it's not worth it and if it's not reported upon it doesn't exist. This is what I learned about event marketing. And that's how you measure event marketing.

Photo by aussiegal via Flickr
Post updated 11/2/15

about the author

Julius Solaris
Julius Solaris is the editor of EventManagerBlog.com, he is an international speaker, author and consultant.
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