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Measuring Event ROI with Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing

Events can be very expensive proposition. If you’re like most companies, many of the events you attend annually have a questionable return on investment. One of the ways that we have been able to help our clients realize a positive ROI is by using the power of inbound marketing in association with events.

The key, is to use inbound marketing techniques prior to and immediately after the event to maximize a return on your investment. By using inbound you can target people who are planning to or have already attend the event. By tailoring your content and using nurture workflows you can draw in prospects and have leads lined up prior to the event and then maximize your follow through immediately after.

The other thing that’s critical is to carefully track the leads that gain from the event and keep a careful tab on your cost-of-sales for any of these leads.

How to measure ROI of inbound marketing events

Basically you’ll need to measure audience engagement, awareness, demand generated, leads generated, and sales

Audience Engagement

Start by picking a metric that defines engagement for that particular business. This could be email signups, comments, social shares, whitepaper downloads, and so on.

A good example is when you already know that for every 50 email signups you’ll get one customer within the month. That becomes your benchmark for optimizing your inbound tactic when focused on email marketing. Going forward you can find out how many $$ you spend for every email signup and find ways to increase conversions.


How many people learned about the event through that particular inbound channel? Events are usually promoted through several channels – PR, websites, social media, and so on. In measuring awareness ROI, you need to determine the effectiveness of each channel in passing the message across.

Let’s take web traffic for example. If your website has been attracting 1000 visitors each month, 60% being returning visitors and 40% being new, it means that you attract 400 new customers each month. After investing $500 in your inbound marketing, the number of new visitors jumps to 600. The 200 new visitor increase in awareness can directly be attributed to the $500 investment. That means for every $2.50 you spent in inbound marketing, you saw 1 new visitor. If it takes 1000 new visitors to trickle down into 1 new customer, you will need to spend $2500.

Demand Generated

Demand generated by an event can be a little difficult to measure because it depends on how the message affects the decisions of an attendee who might not have needed your products or services in the first place. It is more easily measured where you’re marketing a brand new product or a product that was initially less known to your audiences.

The best way to measure demand where a product or service is already widely accepted is to use surveys and ask respondents how much excited they felt about the topic.

Leads Generated

Since the term “lead” means different things to different companies, you must first know what you classify as a lead before you even think about measuring it. Most businesses score leads and later segment them. For example, some are considered marketing leads while others are categorized as sales leads.

If you already know that for every 2 sales leads you close on 1 sale, and that each closed sale is worth $500, you can comfortably invest $100 to generate those 2 sales leads and get a 300% ROI.

Closed Sales

At the end of the day the effectiveness of any marketing strategy is gauged by the total number of sales closed that can be directly related to that marketing channel. For example, did a PR result in a 10% increase in sales?

Long Term Strategy for Real ROI

Inbound is a long-term strategy that should be nurtured at every step. You’re never going to invest $1 in January and realize a $2 profit in February; it just doesn’t happen that way. That’s why it’s important to break things down as much as possible. This way you can measure returns easily and more effectively.

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