Attending a conference is an enriching experience but one that often leaves business owners overwhelmed by information overload. By the time you pack your bags to head home, you’ve explored business seminars, sat in breakouts, taken notes on upcoming trends, and highlighted new techniques to adopt upon your return home.
While you may step off the plane eager to apply everything you’ve learned, the excitement fades when you sit down at your desk and realize you have no idea where to start. So instead, you dive back into your everyday work and file your conference education to collect dust.
Of course, that’s not the best use of your investment. You dedicate time and money attending a conference, so the experience must provide a return on your investment beyond a brief business vacation.
Astute marketers don’t wait until after a conference to measure value and follow through with their takeaways. Instead, they actively evaluate every seminar to get a clear picture of what’s worth taking home and how to apply it best.
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If you want to bring this strategy to your next conference, all you need to do is ask three questions of each session you attend:
What stage does this represent in the customer journey?
Breaking down the customer journey defines how you’ll measure the success of new marketing activities at each stage. Prospective clients ready to pull the trigger in the booking stage are positioned to act, but a newly engaged couple fresh off a proposal is likely focused on filling their Pinterest board with inspiration.
For instance, if you sit in a seminar about using Instagram Reels to highlight behind-the-scenes moments or common problems clients make, you’re learning about the inspiration and research stages of event planning. While the customer is thinking of design and gathering information to make shrewd decisions, you can begin establishing authority with meaningful content that supports the design and research stages.
For this exercise, write down the stage associated with each educational seminar you attend. Then, move on to the next question.
What is the best way to measure success in this customer journey stage?
Success looks different at each stage of your customer journey. For example, your close rate reflects the performance of your booking stage whereas your number of inquiries signifies how well you’re reaching leads in the inspiration and research stages.
Using the Instagram Reels example above, the education is tailored toward the initial stages of planning. Thus, it’s not realistic to expect people to reach out about availability or options. You aren’t guiding them to book your services yet. You’re simply sharing valuable information for them to make the best decision when the time comes to hire a planner.
In this case, it’s perfectly reasonable to look at vanity metrics like the number of views, likes, and comments. While these metrics may not be actionable, they demonstrate engagement with your content and the ability to establish the Know, Like, Trust factor for later stages in their customer journey.
On the other hand, if you’re attending a seminar about sales strategies (the booking stage, in other words), you’d measure success through your conversion rate.
How will I call my audience to action and deepen the brand relationship?
The final question you must ask is how you can facilitate your prospect’s transition to the next stage of the customer journey. If someone is in the research stage, how will you guide them to the booking stage? What is the next logical step in your funnel?
If they’re in the inspiration stage, you’ll want to strengthen the relationship with your brand. You might invite them to follow you on social media and like your content to help the algorithm serve relevant content. Perhaps you create a specially-curated link in your bio or a highlights reel that encourages them to binge on your move from design to research.
Or, if the next logical step is to begin vetting you and your competitors, you might create a Reel that outlines your services and showcases how you’ve helped other clients avoid problems and produce outstanding results.
How you call your audience to action will determine how you measure success, so be sure your CTA is relevant and directs them to the next logical step.
A few days jam-packed with educational takeaways is enough to cause decision paralysis, but here’s the thing: You don’t need to do all the things all the time.
Walking out of a conference knowing how to measure success for each strategy, technique, or tool allows you to implement what you’ve learned and measure it right away. For every idea you take home, this quick, lightweight three-step evaluation will provide the information you need to determine whether it works in a short time. Measurement isn’t as complicated as it seems; instead, it’s a matter of asking and answering the right questions at the right time. And you don’t need a laundry list of questions to gather powerful insights, so pack these questions away in your carry-on and save yourself the headaches and heartbreaks before your next conference.