Conference ROI

Conference ROI

So you are going to a 2, 3 or 4 day conference and you are excited. Great connections, great information, a chance to grow, be inspired and envision something different for your business, but what are you really going to get out of it besides a few days away from the routine of your business?

What to expect?

Before going to any event you should know exactly what you are there for. When I first started going to conferences I was there specifically to learn new tools and strengthen my entrepreneurial business mind. I chose conferences that had the specific learning outcomes I was looking for.

For example, when I was looking at investing in my marketing to increase my business I went to a conference that had experts that were focused on marketing to increase client attraction.

When I had a lot of the tools and techniques I needed as fundamentals in my business knowledge I started going to conferences to find the people that were on the same path I was so I could be surrounded by like-minded people with similar needs. I created my inner circle of people that could understand my needs and we could really connect. I also found the coach that attracted this level of people so I would be totally engaged and immersed in the culture that I could truly grow.

Now when I go to a conference I need to be able to know if there is a return on investment (ROI) for my time and dollars spent. There  is always a learning experience so knowing  how to get and measure an ROI for my time was important. It is possible to learn and get prospects if you are focused.

Do This

Know what you want to get out of the conference. Are you there to learn or to earn? E.g. new clients, people to come to your event, Joint Venture (JV) partners, a total learning experience. Be clear about your intention so you can come with the right attitude and ask.

Red rope barrier on red carpetWhat to do?

When you are at a conference to ‘earn’ and get more clients, you need to have a ‘call to action’ you can take with you. Do you have something to give away, an invitation, something to sell, a JV opportunity you want to share, etc. The key to knowing what to do at a conference when you are trying to create income is to know what you are looking for.

At an event I went to in June I was a speaker that was an addition to the program being offered, so I was unable to sell anything from the stage. What I was able to do was give something away. I created a date to give a free call with additional information on what I was talking about that day. I got nearly 100% conversion from the people in the room that opted-in for the free call.

At the last event I spoke at the conversion was only 10 % because I offered a PDF book written by someone else. Definitely a learning curve to find the offer that is more needed.

With a smaller conversion happening and 2 days left in the conference I was able to set a date for an another free talk and I started offering people the opportunity to come hear additional information on my core topic, which appealed to more people. The great thing about this is I could continue to offer this at any event I went to after the conference (e.g. Chamber trade show, breakfast meeting, etc.) and filled the call with people that might need the business growth support.

Do This

Are your clients at this conference? If not then go with an invitation to JV or partner with someone to create a relationship to build your list. If your clients are in the room know what you are going to ask them to do (know your ‘call to action’). For Example:

  • If you have a product online, bring free samples or a coupon to try it.
  • If you have a service, offer a 1-to-1  consultation with you
  • Create a free event where they can ask you questions and get answers
  • Give them something of value so they will remember you and want to reach out

KEY – get their information and ask permission to put them on your list (like a newsletter or special mailing list). There is no return on investment if they leave with your card and you don’t leave with their permission and contact information.

What could you get?

Since selling one product could turn into a $15,000 client for my company, starting with a trusting relationship and building on that is my key strategy. For my business it is the first steps of the invitation that brings people into my programs for free and invites them to continue to work with me in different programs.

My expected ROI is measured in new clients that sign up for a free program. I get about 100% of people on my list say they want to work with me, but the sale can take many months and most sales start as a small purchase to an event using an early bird pricing special. No one comes into my big programs without first going through this step (not yet anyway), so it is the stepping stone to my year-long coaching/mentoring and mastermind program.

If you have a long sales cycle that work hard to get those people that you know will need your services down the road and get them into your list so you can continue the relationship with them.

Do This

The key to final ROI is to do what you promise and then follow up. Every person that signed up for your event, coupon, or free give away needs to be contacted after they have received your promised item. There will be no tangible ROI if you don’t follow up. You might get them as a client sometime in the future, but you don’t want them to forget you and the amazing things you have to offer them.


  • Excellent insights, Barb! Heading off to a conference with no specific outcomes in mind is an expensive way to run a business. I love your emphasis on the importance of metrics so we can determine whether or not the time and money spent will result in business growth. Kudos!

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