Event planning can be a highly rewarding field of activity. In the United States, the average yearly remuneration of event planners is a touch over $60000, with many organizers going on to make $70K or more annually. Depending on the type of event or meeting or conference you are planning to organize, you need to be aware of the strategies to maximize its revenue-generating potential. We will here take you through some cool ideas to earn big from events:
Understand the economics
Start off with a pre-decided budget for your event, and follow a pricing model that would be most likely to deliver profits. Doing this is fairly straightforward. Say, the cost of organizing a conference is $XXX. Estimate the % of profit you wish to make, and make an intelligent estimate of the likely number of attendees. Determine the individual ticket price accordingly. The [(number of likely attendees)x(ticket price)] figure has to be higher than the budgeted cost of the event. Stick with the budget plan at all times, to prevent expenses from spiralling upwards.
Provide exclusive access
Providing discounts on bulk purchases of tickets and early-bird offers have become rather passé. You can, of course, have such offers for your event too – but for giving the revenues an extra boost, arrange for exclusive, limited offers to the visitors. These offers can range from special hands-on workshops, one-on-one meetings with celebrity speakers, networking zones at after-event parties…practically anything for which you can reasonably expect people to be willing to shell out extra bucks for. The goal is to provide a ‘premium visitor experience’ (something like ‘VIP access’), which would be separately chargeable.
Invite speakers who would add value
Big names attract people, there are no two ways about it. Try to include at least a few high-profile, marquee speakers (from the concerned industry) – and draw up the event schedules accordingly. These speakers can hail from different industry positions – right from entrepreneurs and CEOs, to market influencers, decision-makers and sales/marketing heads. If your event is a multi-day affair, include one (or more) celebrity speaker session(s) on each day. The key for boosting the revenues from business events is the presence of speakers, who the attendees will be eager to listen to. Of course, factor in the fee of the speakers in your overall event budget.
Use mobile apps for promotions
You have made a big investment on a really good business conference, but hardly anyone is aware of it. Bit of a waste, right? You have to maximize the reach of your event among probable visitors across the world (unless you wish visitors from only your city/country to attend) – and for that, creating a customized, regularly updated mobile application would be the best option. In a ‘paperless event’, all that you will have to do is select a customizable, user-friendly app-building platform like Eventify, subscribe to it, and start making a personalized application for your event. Not having prior coding expertise is hardly an issue – since most of these app platforms come with easy drag-and-drop features. From schedules and exhibitor information, to floor plans and navigational support – you can provide all types of event-related information through the app (from the admin panel, pushed out as bulk notifications/broadcasts). The greater is the buzz about your event, the higher would be the likely number of registrations – and the revenue figures will grow.
Note: On average, making a mobile app from scratch takes 6-8 weeks. However, when you use an app-building platform tool, it is possible to create an event app in less than 2 hours!
Focus on learning opportunities
Why should anyone want to visit an industry event (their tickets are not exactly cheap, after all!)? The answer is simple: these events serve as excellent platforms for the visitors to ‘learn’ about the latest trends, developments, innovations and product announcements from their respective domains. Make sure that your event does not lag behind in this regard. Arrange for interactive panel discussions, seminars, certification sessions, and maybe even small courses during your event. Make some of these training sessions/modules chargeable extra (i.e., a part of the ‘exclusive access’ we talked about earlier). Qualified personnel should be on hand to helm these sessions. Highlight these learning opportunities in your event promotion campaigns. It should be clear to people that your event will be one that would be worth attending.
Word-of-mouth publicity is crucial
As a certified, professional event planner, you need to have a good reputation, in the form of a great track-record, in the market. For first-time organizers, it would be prudent to start off with small scale events (an engagement party here, a private business meeting there) – both for gaining some important first-hand experience, as well as for getting a hang of how funds have to be managed for an event. Request your first/previous clients to provide testimonials/feedback (avoid creating sham testimonials on your own!). Experienced event organizers can afford to charge big for their services – primarily because they have built a strong reputation over time. If you wish to earn big from your events, you have to prepare the groundwork well first.
Note: Positive word-of-mouth publicity also helps in a big way, if you are planning multiple editions of the same event – within a short time-frame (say, a year). Your clients would view your services as reliable, and that is a big #win.
Pay attention to sponsorships
For your event to be a monetary success, you have to make the most out of your sponsorship deals. Explain the likely benefits (visibility in booths/event floor, ads in print/digital medium, mention in promotional emails, etc.) to the sponsors, and specify the cost-per-impression (CPM) figure to them as well at the very start. When you provide all the required information to the sponsors and partners, it becomes easier for them to estimate their ROI from supporting the event – and hence, uncertainties are dispensed with. You can create separate sponsor categories (platinum, gold, silver, etc.), on the basis of the amounts invested by the individual sponsors. Sell sponsorship deals with care…they can be key for making your events a financial success.
Include fun elements
A corporate event need not be only about speeches and meetings and seminar sessions. You can easily make things more exciting – by organizing fun games (raffle draws and dart contests are something that instantly comes to mind). Inform the attendees that they will have to pay a certain (preferably, nominal) fee to participate in the games. Hand out token prizes to the winners. Plan out games, contests and other such activities that corporate visitors would actually be interested in…things in which they would like to show off their expertise to fellow professionals. You can also have a special ‘Awards Night’ (which would also be separately chargeable) – which would add to the overall attractions of your event.
Sell business leads to exhibitors
Industry events are all about peer-to-peer networking, and the chances of getting new sales leads. However, in a large event – things are not as easy as it seems, and it can be a serious challenge (and a time-consuming one too) for company representatives to find like-minded partners and collaborators. Make things easier for them, by providing them with high-quality business leads – in exchange of a pre-determined price. That way, you can earn some extra (can be significant money) cash, while visitors will also be happy enough to pay the price – provided that the leads you give them are actually good. Conduct opinion polls and surveys to learn about the needs and preferences of the attendees, and arrange for business leads accordingly. Networking is often not enough for finding new business opportunities, and if you can act as a reliable ‘middleman’ – it would be good for both the event attendees as well as yourself.
Earn from event merchandise
Free giveaways at the end of the event are all very fine – but they hardly ever add anything to your incremental revenues. A better idea would be to sell custom merchandize (personalized swag) while the event is going on. The chances of people actually buying such merchandize will be much higher – and for sponsors too, this will be an extra opportunity for getting exposure. The prices of your event merchandise items should be reasonable – and you can provide discounts, if possible. It would also be a smart idea to create special tickets, which will have the merchandize bundled in (i.e., their costs will be included in the ticket price). Selling event merchandize to the attendees also helps in your branding endeavors.
Place ads on the event website
The functionality of the event website (you simply MUST have one) should not be limited to only providing in-depth information about your upcoming event. You can consider placing ads on it, and making some money on the side from these ads. Be careful about the placement of the ads – to ensure that they do not hamper the browsing experience of would-be visitors in any way. Just like the sponsors at the venue, you can have a set of ‘online sponsors’ – who would pay to buy space on your event website and promote their products/services there. Ideally, the ads displayed on the website should be, at least in some way, related to your event. Website monetization is an effective strategy in many cases – and event-management is certainly one of them.
Enhance visual discoverability
A positive impression about your event-planning expertise can do wonders to the fortunes of your future events. Use channels like Instagram and Pinterest to share images and other media content from your previous events (with the relevant #hashtags). Remember that your main objective on these platforms is to generate greater visibility for your event (and motivating viewers to attend your upcoming tradeshow/conference/meeting). Hence, stay away from adopting an overtly marketing/promotional tone in your Pinterest and Instagram posts. Concentrate on displaying the best visual memories from your previous events. They will be instrumental in getting people interested.
Earning after the event is over
The earning opportunities need not finish as soon as the event is done and dusted. As the organizer, you have the information of each of the attendees (names, contact details, interests and preferences, etc.). Now would be the time to engage with them – via thank-you emails, messages or phone calls. Find out whether these companies/individuals have any particular business requirement that you can fulfil, in the exchange of money. An event gives you the chance to get connected with a large number of hitherto unknown people…the onus is on you to cultivate these connections in the best possible manner.
Interact with other professional event organizers, to get some idea on how they are trying to make profits from events. Pay attention to the feedback provided by visitors, and use it to constantly improve the standard of your events. You should ideally specialize on managing a particular type/niche of events (for example, business meets) – instead of trying your hand at different types of events (organizing diverse types of events requires different skills). By the end of 2020, the global event industry will expand by ~20%…and the revenue-potentials of events will go up too. Follow these strategies, and make your events big-time money spinners!