An example of the performance management framework for online events that focus on how to satisfy customer needs and drive required business results.
Before, we discussed KPIs for in-person or off-line events. Most of those metrics can be applied to the online format as well, but there are some nuances:
- On the one hand, the platform and steaming costs are low
- On the other hand, online events are not perceived as valuable as in-person events; that’s why you need to capture the attention of the attendees from the very beginning.
- Not to mention that all those efforts need to be aligned with the overall strategy of the organization.
Below I share the approach that we use at BSC Designer for online events. We find it useful as it:
- Involves attendees from the very beginning (they actually contribute to the event plan)
- Is not that stressful for a host, as they’re classical webinars (we mostly do pre-recorded events)
- Is producing evergreen content that generates leads for us
Our framework for online events is divided into 4 steps + a feedback loop.
Step 1. Preparation
On this step, we align an event with our strategy and prepare the “event kit.”
First, we prioritize the topics and focus on the most interesting ones. For example:
- If we have released a new scorecard template, then an online event is a good way to tell our existing customers about it.
- The review of the features released last most sounds like a good idea as well, but probably our clients have different priorities right now, and we should get back to this later.
We do formal topic analysis and note down its results, using the initiative tool in BSC Designer.
Once the topic is defined, we work on the event kit that includes:
- Event title
- Link to the event plan, graphics, presentation (a folder on Google Drive)
- Alignment index. A subjective index that shows the degree of alignment between event topic, business strategy, and customer needs.
Similar to the in-person events, we need to keep in mind the costs of the event. We don’t count the costs of the platform as they are low or zero (in case you use YouTube), but we certainly need to look at:
- Dollar equivalent of invested expert time
- Marketing costs (including possible advertising and the time needed to promote the event within own social network)
Step 2. Promote Event
On this step, we promote the upcoming event by sending out a newsletter and posting promo information to the social channels.
We know the format that proved to work for us, so we don’t track classical marketing metrics actively unless we are trying something completely new.
As a part of the event sign-up, we ask all participants to formulate their challenge(s) in the context of the topic that we focus on. This helps us to better understand the real needs of the audience and adjust content accordingly.
- [Leading metrics] Marketing channels checklist. We want to make sure that the message was submitted to our newsletter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- [Lagging metric] The number of qualified registrations. Those who filled in something meaningful in the “your challenge” field.
The target numbers for the metrics, like “the number of qualified registrations,” come from the historical data. If we see that some event is not getting to the green zone, then it’s a sign that something is wrong. As long as other business systems are adjusted, the problem is typically with the topic of the event or the way it is formulated.
Step 3. Run Event
On this step, we need to make sure that we deliver events in the right format and via a stable platform.
We shifted from live webinars to pre-recorded events. This helps us to focus better on delivering high-quality content and is less stressful for the host. Participants benefit, as they can choose the best time to watch the recording and formulate their questions, before and after the event.
- Actual attendance
- Actual attendance/qualified registrations ratio, %
If you prefer a classical webinar format, then track technical quality metrics (as seen by users):
- Number of complains (bad sound, freezing image, broken connections)
- Complexity metrics (how easy it was to connect, to ask questions, share screens, etc.)
Step 4. Create Evergreen Content
To maximize the value of the event, we deliver downloadable takeaways and convert the recording into evergreen content.
First of all, we are trying to provide tangible takeaways in the form of downloadable materials, such as templates and checklists.
- Content downloads
- Free plan sign-ups
- Follow-ups, etc.
The next step is to convert the recording of the event into the “evergreen” content.
- [binary metric] Useful content produced [yes/no]
- [binary metric] Video according to standards [yes/no]
The standards, in this case, mean proper timing, description, time marks inside the description, subtitles, backlink to our website).
On this step, we analyze the business impact of the online event.
We normally wait for 14 days to better understand the business impact of the hosted event. The questions that we typically ask:
— If the content of the event was useful for attendees
— If qualified leads were generated during the event (those who signed with a free account and tried some basic things)
— How can we re-use this content on our website? (embed video in some relevant articles)
- Social metrics (views, comments, likes in control period)
- The number of qualified leads
Online events are not just about streaming live video and answering questions of your attendees. Besides creating value for your audience, the event should create measurable business results.
In this article, we discussed the approach employed by BSC Designer, as well as the KPIs that are tracked in our case. It is not a mainstream:
- We ask participants to answer “what’s your challenge” question
- The events are normally pre-recorded
- There are pre- and post-event Q&A sessions
- We are focused on long-term strategy by creating evergreen video content
Need help to configure the Online Events Framework for your organization?
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