Though organized to raise the profile of an organization or a cause, events can and should be profitable too. Be it through the selling of registrations, sponsorships, merchandise, or services, each revenue stream can be optimized for higher returns on investment (ROI), and here are a few ways:
1. Registration revenue:
To increase registration revenues, it is essential to come up with a strategic pricing scheme as well as to target the right audience through the right communication channels; hence the following variables must be considered:
The affordability of your registration fees:
One way to determine the affordability rate of your registration fees is by examining the financial data of your previous events. Analysing participants' response to your pricing is imperative to determine whether pricing needs to be changed for future events. Affordability isn't synonymous with cheapness; it simply entails whether your pricing is within your target audience's budget.
Though can be attributed to poor marketing and communication techniques, a disappointing turnout can also be the result of high fees. In which case, do not hesitate to impose lower, more acceptable rates. You may also apply a brief survey to find out what your participants thoughts are; direct feedback from your participants is the ultimate guide for your pricing policies.
Participants' likelihood of attending:
Elasticity should determine how high or low your pricing should be; that's just the basic rule of supply and demand. The number of participants gathered in your previous events should guide you. In case of high demand, it is safe to apply higher fees. An additional step would be to also compare your registration fees with those of competitors to further ascertain market demand and price elasticity.
The perception of price for different groups:
Price affordability can be perceived differently by different groups of people; the financial capabilities of students, university staff, and business executives, for example, aren't equal, thus applying lower rates to groups of lower financial means (of your target audience) is due to ensure they can attend your event too.
Differentiation of fees should also be considered when organizing an international event; for example, while your registration fees are considered affordable to Americans, Europeans and certain Middle Easterners, participants from developing countries may beg to differ. This contrast in perceptions needs to be observed when creating a pricing scheme to not restrict certain groups from attending your event.
The content of your event:
What your event has to offer is perhaps the most important determiner of participants' choice of purchasing and attending; participants need to see value in your event's content and offerings hence, all event organizers, do take note! Analyzing your target audience's interests and purchasing patterns through short surveys will guide you in designing an event program worthy of their hard-earned dollars.
Target new participants, but don't forget your old ones!
The age-old dilemma of 'one bird in hand or two on the bush?' crosses the minds of most event organizers, but fret not, there is always a middle ground. Your past participants are an important asset, do keep them engaged by staying in touch through updates and newsletters etc to guarantee their re-participation. As for new participants, your target audience focus shouldn't stray away from individuals and groups working in related fields. You can obtain the contact information of said individuals from several data companies at reasonable prices.
Communication with your audience:
Careful selection and utilization of communication channels is as important as strategizing your registration fees and event content. To achieve successful communication, consider the following tips:
- Communicate in an accurate, clear and concise manner so that everyone gets your message
- Add visual elements to your content that are creative, relevant and informative
- Enforce your event's branding by having your team add your event's information to their email signatures
- Feel free to customize and personalize your messages to each segment of your audience
- Associate your organization with others in support of your event such as sponsors
- Be active on social media with relevant, engaging and interesting content
- Be accessible to your participants to receive their feedback and answer their questions on time.
- Benefit from online event management software to track and manage communication with your audience easily
2. Sponsorships Revenue
Sponsorship revenue makes up a significant portion of an event's return on investment (ROI) - raking in profits higher than any other revenue source. Be that as it may, securing sponsors isn't an easy task. To have a better shot at gaining sponsorships successfully, the following needs to be considered:
Evaluating sponsorship costs
Conference organizers should start by evaluating the sponsorship costs of their previous events as well as those of their competitors. Pricing of sponsorship packages can either be increased or decreased according to an analysis of sponsors' responses; the more consistent they are, the more you can increase your sponsorship costs by up to 25%, and vice versa for lower demand.
Opting for a tiered sponsorship model is standard practice that's recommended so your sponsors can have options to choose from. Tiers are usually divided into Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze etc, but feel free to use creative, unique names that stand out. Having more than one or two sponsorship packages allows you to negotiate or offer exclusivity to sponsors depending on their financial capabilities.
Sponsorships do not necessarily have to be in the form of money; your sponsors can help your event by providing speakers, and merchandise or even allowing you to host your event at a location they own - saving you quite a penny!
Select the right sponsors
Intensive research is required before approaching potential sponsors; you need to get to know your potential sponsors and determine if you're compatible with their target audience and marketing objectives. Because sponsors need to see value in supporting your event or organization financially, make sure you approach ones you share similarities with so you're not wasting your time or theirs.
Develop a sales approach
Selling sponsorships should be no different than selling services; a convincing sales approach is needed. Make sure you prepare brochures, catalogs, and various collaterals outlining the benefits of being a sponsor attractively. Prepare a call list and email list and schedule meetings with potential sponsors to make your sales pitch. Once you secure a sponsor, long agreements with technical details should be avoided. A pro forma invoice outlining the sponsorship responsibilities is rather advised. Opt for an accessible payment method or offer multiple payment options for your sponsors to choose from. The bottom line is, that the overall process should be well planned, yet simple and quick.
Nowadays, selling sponsorship packages has been made easier with the development of capable event management software. MeetingHand is an online event management software that helps you reach out to your sponsors and collect payments swiftly and easily.
3. Bookings Revenue
Your best negotiation skills are required for this one! Event organizers can make a profit off of the services they offer to their participants. Such profit can be made either in the form of commissions or discounts; for example, hotel rooms, for a certain duration - can be purchased at a discounted rate as per an agreement with the hotel management, and then sold to participants at a normal price. The same hotel might also give you a discounted rate, or better yet, waive the rental fees for using their event hall (plus catering, if you negotiate well enough).
Similarly, discounts and perks can also be negotiated with airlines and transportation providers. Though negotiating down the prices of plane tickets may be tougher, you may receive free tickets upon fulfilling a certain quota of successfully purchased tickets. It is advised that you consult a local travel agent for more information.
4. Merchandise Items and Social Events' Revenue
While can be given for free as goodies, event organizers can arrange for the production of several merchandise items to be sold before and during the event. The cost of merchandise production is negotiated down with manufacturers, which allows you to sell the said items at your event with a 10-30% markup.
Another great way to make an additional profit is by organizing social activities, exclusive networking sessions, and more that can be priced separately from the registration fees.