How to Set Your In-Person Event Goals Correctly

How to Set Your In-Person Event Goals Correctly

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Posted on May 16, 2023

In-person events are the best way to connect with your target audience, build brand awareness, and achieve business goals. However, hosting an event is more than just putting on a show and hoping for the best. To maximize the impact of your event, you need to set clear and achievable goals. 

But where do you start? 

This article will explore how to set your in-person event goals correctly, including tips on identifying your objectives, defining your metrics for success, and tracking your progress throughout the planning process. So, let’s dive in and start setting your in-person event goals for success!

Types of In-Person Event Goals

In-person events have long been considered an effective way for businesses and organizations to reach their target audience, engage with them, and build brand awareness. Depending on the type of event, the goals may vary. 

Here are some common types of in-person events and their associated goals: 

Trade Shows

The primary goal of trade shows is to generate leads and close deals. Exhibitors can meet with potential customers face-to-face, demonstrate their products, and provide detailed information. 


The primary goal of conferences is to educate attendees on the latest industry news and trends. Speakers often deliver keynote speeches, panel discussions, and interactive workshops through video broadcasting and streaming to share their expertise and insights. 


Seminars are similar to conferences, where a speaker can deliver a presentation through a hybrid or virtual meeting. The primary goal of workshops is to educate attendees on a specific subject, such as new products, services, or industry regulations.


Workshops are events where attendees participate in hands-on activities or training sessions to learn new skills or techniques. The primary goal of workshops is to provide attendees with practical knowledge they can apply professionally or personally. 

Networking events

The primary goal of networking events is to create opportunities for attendees to make valuable connections. Networking events can take various forms, such as cocktail parties, dinners, or speed networking sessions. 

Considerations for Setting In-Person Event Goals

When setting in-person event goals, you must consider several considerations to ensure the event’s success. 

Below are several essential factors that you can take into account:

Define the purpose of your event.

Before setting any goals, it is essential to understand why the event exists in the first place. What is the event’s primary objective? Is it to generate leads, raise brand awareness, provide education or networking opportunities, or launch a new product or service? By defining the event’s purpose, you can determine what success will look like and set goals accordingly.

Identify the target audience.

It is essential to understand who the event exists for, as this will impact your goals. Are you targeting industry professionals, potential customers, or existing clients? What are their needs and preferences? By understanding your target audience, you can tailor the event to their interests and set goals that align with their expectations. Building an email list is crucial in promoting your event to your target audience and informing them about updates and details. It allows you to create a direct line of communication and establish a relationship with potential attendees, increasing the chances of a successful turnout.

Understand your target audience’s needs. 

To plan an event successfully, you must understand the needs of your target audience. What criteria are people seeking in an event? Do they want to learn something new, network with other professionals, or have fun? Once you understand their needs, you can set goals that meet their expectations.

Focus on Specific and Measurable Goals

Specific goals help you focus on what you want to achieve, and measurable objectives help you evaluate your success. 

Some examples of measurable goals for an in-person event include:

  • Increase attendance by 20% compared to the previous year
  • Generate 50 new leads from the event
  • Increase social media engagement by 30% during the event
  • Generate $10,000 in revenue from the event
  • Increase customer satisfaction rates by 15%

Set SMART goals

It is recommended to create specific and measurable goals using the SMART criteria, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

The acronym SMART represents a set of criteria for setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals.

Here’s how to apply this framework:

  • Specific: Define what you want to achieve. The more specific you are, the easier to measure your success.
  • Measurable: Ensure that your goal is quantifiable so that you can track your progress.
  • Achievable: Set goals that are challenging yet attainable, as unattainable goals may lead to a sense of discontentment and decreased motivation.
  • Relevant: Ensure that your goals align with your overall event purpose.
  • Time-bound: Set a deadline for achieving your goals. Doing this lets you stay focused and make any required adjustments to your strategy.

Aligning goals with your event purpose

Your event purpose should guide everything you do, from selecting your venue to marketing your event. When setting your goals, ask yourself how they support your overall event purpose. 

For example, if your event aims to promote a new product, your goals might be generating leads, increasing sales, or creating social media buzz.

Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs can help you assess your event’s effectiveness, identify improvement areas, and make data-driven decisions. Afterward, it’s crucial to evaluate how the event went, including conducting a project review process, which can help identify successes, failures, and opportunities for improvement. 

Define KPIs

Once you have identified your event goals, you can define the KPIs to help you measure progress.

For example, if your event goal is to generate leads, your KPIs might include the following:

  • The number of attendees who visited your booth.
  • The number of charges collected.
  • The conversion rate of those leads. 

Select relevant KPIs

When selecting KPIs, it’s important to choose metrics relevant to your event goals that you can realistically measure. 

Consider the following factors when selecting KPIs:

  • Relevance: Are the KPIs relevant to your event goals?
  • Measurability: Can you realistically measure the KPIs?
  • Actionability: Can you take action based on the KPIs?

Monitor and Measure KPIs

Once you have established your KPIs, you must monitor and measure them throughout your event. This will help you track progress toward your goals in real-time and make adjustments if necessary.

  • Using event technology: Many event technology platforms offer analytics and reporting features that allow you to track KPIs in real time.
  • Manual tracking: If you don’t have access to event technology, you can track KPIs manually using spreadsheets or other tools.
  • Post-event surveys: Collecting feedback from attendees after the event can provide valuable insights into how well you achieved your event goals.

Create an Action Plan

With clear goals, you can save valuable resources and take advantage of growth opportunities. You need to create an action plan to set your in-person event goals correctly. 

Outline the essential actions need to attain your goals.

To achieve your goals, you must first identify the necessary steps to make them happen. 

For example, your goal is to increase attendance at your event. In that case, some necessary steps include marketing the event, securing a desirable location, and coordinating with vendors and speakers. Please list all the tasks you need to complete to reach your goals, no matter how small or insignificant.

Assign responsibilities

Once you have identified the necessary steps, assign team members or volunteers responsibilities. Assigning responsibilities ensures everyone knows what they are responsible for and reduces the risk of overlooked tasks. 

For example, if you aim to secure a desirable location, assign someone to research and visit potential places, negotiate rental fees, and coordinate logistics with the venue.

Establish a timeline

You can establish a timeline to keep everyone on track and ensure that you will complete the tasks on time. A timeline provides a clear overview of when tasks should be completed and can help you prioritize tasks. 

For example, if your event is six months away, you might establish a timeline that includes tasks to be completed in the first month, second month, third month, and so on. The timeline should be realistic and account for unexpected delays or setbacks.

Evaluating and Adjusting Goals

Goals help you determine what you want and how to measure success. However, evaluating and adjusting your goals throughout the event planning process is equally essential. 

Monitor and evaluate progress.

Monitoring and evaluating your event’s progress is crucial to determine whether your event is on track to achieving your goals. By regularly checking your progress, you can identify any areas that need improvement and make necessary changes before it’s too late. 

Set up a system for tracking metrics such as registration numbers, attendance, and feedback from attendees. This data will help you evaluate your event’s success and identify areas for improvement.

Identify areas for improvement.

Evaluating your progress will help you identify areas that need improvement. 

For example, if registration numbers are low, you may need to adjust your event marketing strategy to attract more attendees. If attendees are not engaged during the event, you may need to reconsider your content or activities to make the event more interactive and engaging. Use the feedback from attendees to determine what changes need to be made.

Adjust goals as necessary.

You may need to adjust your goals based on your evaluation and feedback. 

For example, if you originally planned to attract 500 attendees but only 200 registered, you may need to adjust your attendance goal to 250. You may also need to adjust your budget, timeline, or event format based on the feedback you receive. Be flexible and willing to make changes to ensure the success of your event.

Final Thoughts

Always remember that setting goals is just the beginning; you must set specific, measurable, and realistic objectives, track your progress, and adjust as needed. Doing so lets you make informed decisions and adapt your approach to achieve your desired outcomes. With the right mindset and a solid plan, you can create an unforgettable in-person event that meets your goals and exceeds your attendees’ expectations. So start setting those goals today for a successful in-person event. 

© InEvent, Inc. 2024