You’ve prepped, planned and laid out a clear-cut journey to success. You’ve promoted your event, spending time, energy and effort getting your name and your programming in front of new and existing clients and partners. And now it’s time to reap the massive benefits of your hard work, perseverance and foresight—now it’s time to profit from your incredible event.
Not there yet? Check out part one of this series which focuses on defining and refining your event process, and part two designed to boost your pre-event promotions.
“Profit” in the event universe has lots of different meanings. Of course there’s profiting in the traditional sense -- generating serious revenue from ticket sales and onsite conversions, for example. What’s great about events is that this very tactical, very tangible profit can happen throughout the entire event cycle. You could sell tickets and, even, products or solutions before the event. You could sell your program at the event. And you can drive new and incremental sales after the event -- sales from both people who converted in the earlier stages and those who didn’t, plus people who weren’t even in the room. Events are that powerful.
But there are even more opportunities to drive sales than just these go-to methods and avenues -- and some are even easier and even more turnkey to integrate than you may think. The notion of incremental revenue -- additional revenue from someone who’s already bought in -- is extremely powerful for a number of reasons. First, it’s added cash in your pocket -- plain and simple. Second, by going back to the well of existing customers, clients and partners you avoid the resource allocation that comes with identifying, engaging and converting new people. In other words, they cost less and have the upfront potential to generate more revenue for your business. Why wouldn’t you want to dig into this audience? And besides, you worked hard to get such as powerhouse client base, and to keep them engaged and satisfied -- why not, now, encourage them to work hard for you?
One of the biggest missed opportunities I see for incremental revenue is in ticket sales. Whether you’re giving away free tickets or selling tickets, it’s easy to create a tiered structure that enables attendees to choose the package that best suits their needs. Maybe the basic level -- the free or lowest-cost option -- comes with admission to the event only. That’s good enough for some people, maybe even most people. But others will want more. Layering in one or two additional levels -- a VIP, for example, or another elite designation -- that comes with some valuable bells and whistles could satisfy more engaged participants or those who have attended your events in the past, and now want to take things to the next level.
This approach isn’t far off from what the major airlines do. You have Coach or Economy class, Business Class and First Class, on most flights. Everyone ultimately gets to the same destination on the same plane, but the experience from takeoff to landing is a bit different depending on the tier you select. Economy gets you a comfortable seat, maybe a refreshment or two plus, of course, the trip to and from your destination. Business costs a little more and comes with some added perks -- maybe an extra snack or meal, a cocktail and more legroom than Economy seats.
Maybe it’s worth it to you, maybe it’s not. If it is, you’ll consider upgrading. If it’s not, you’ll happily stick with Economy -- and maybe fork over a few extra dollars for the headphones or sandwich mid-flight. And, of course, First Class has everything -- the bigger, cushier seats, the drinks, the movies, the VIP meals, the early boarding. And, again, some travelers won’t fly anything but First Class.
Others would never even consider it. Same goes for your ticketing process -- some will always opt for the very best while some are eternally content to stick with the basics. Either way you capture them both and have ample opportunities to sell through during your event -- you’ll just generate a few extra dollars in the process of getting them there, which is always a good thing.
And a side note: be sure you have upgrades available at registration. Chances are a few of those Economy fliers will want First Class treatment once they get there. Always a nice bonus.
Onsite booths are great ways to drive new and incremental sales during surrounding your event. Not only can you build out a custom booth for your system -- maybe you showcase complementary programs, base solutions and other must-sees -- but you can sell sponsorships that include an onsite booth activation to outside partners and vendors.
There are plenty of local and national businesses who would love to rub elbows with your attendees. Spend some time thinking about service providers, businesses and vendors that would lend meaningful value to your event and your attendees’ experience. If you’re hosting a real estate investment seminar, for example, having a hard money lender or bank onsite could help attendees connect the dots while drumming up some serious business for those partners. For a fee, these brands can sponsor the event and, in exchange, get a prominent booth space onsite that they can build out to their own specifications. From here, they’ll have the opportunity to engage attendees, share their message and drive conversions.
Similarly, there are likely many speakers who would love to get a few minutes in front of your audience. Think about it: your attendees are engaged, they’re enthusiastic and they’re ready to take action. Who wouldn’t want to share their message and compelling call to action with these prime prospects? You may be even be able to leverage these paid speakers to help sell tickets for your event -- if they’re presenting it’s in their best interest to fill those seats! Sell them custom integration packages that give them some quality time at the mic and, possibly, at select times throughout your event -- maybe at a meal, through booth integration or something else. This can be a tremendous source of revenue for events, whether you’ve got 15 people or 1,500 people. As long as they’re qualified and relevant to these speakers, the value is there.
By the end of your event everyone will be energized, enthusiastic and ready to take that next step with you. While you’ll no doubt ask for the sale, this is also the perfect time to ask for the next ticket sale.
Before your event kicks off, be sure you have some basic framework for the next event -- it could be an in-person event, it could be a webinar -- including dates, rates and a topline of what’s on tap. When the room is buzzing and the energy is palpable, mention your next event and offer attendees a discount for pre-registering now. Chances are, at least a few will convert.
Not only does that commit you to the event you’re now promoting -- see part one on the importance of setting a date -- but it ensures that, this time, you won’t be starting from base as you’re planning. Instead, you’ll have a foundational audience of active, engaged, eager returning customers ready to take things to the next level. No matter the response, be sure to include drives to registration in your event follow up and any thank you communications sent post-event. As more and more attendees leverage your system and see results, more and more will click through to register for part two.
Your event is over -- congratulations! But it’s often here that presenters and planners make a massive misstep. Even though you’ve generated the returns you’re looking for -- you sold tickets, sold products or systems, engaged new clients -- these participants still yield tremendous incremental value for your business.
One of the most successful tactics I’ve leveraged is, incidentally, also the simplest: I pick up the phone. I call people who attended my events and ask them what they thought. Do they have feedback? Anything I should know? Was there something that could have been better? Or is there something they weren’t ready to commit to then than they are now? Inevitably I come across a handful of participants who needed to check with a business partner or spouse before buying in and, now, are ready to invest. And, often, these become my best customers. They may have intended to order or to follow up post-event, but life got in the way. My call was just the kick they needed to get back on track and start their journey with me and with the team.
Post-event is also a great time to engage non-attendees. Maybe someone registered and had to drop out at the last minute. Maybe they were a no-show day of. Or maybe they live too far away that traveling to you would have been cost prohibitive. No matter the reason, these people are still very engaged with your message and would invest in hearing more. Consider offering a complete recording of your event at a discounted rate to these prospects so they can experience it all for themselves -- and, ideally, see the same value and impact as those who attended in-person.
And don’t forget, there’s lots of profit and value potential at your events beyond just the financial. Building your email list, generating positive word of mouth, unearthing new prospects and referrals, and upselling or re-engaging your current client base is also extremely valuable and extremely easy to accomplish via live events.
Live events are one of the most powerful and profitable activities you can integrate into your business. Whether you’re a seasoned pro, just starting out or somewhere in between, now is the perfect time to start planning, promoting and, most of all, profiting from in-market events. Sign up for a complimentary consultation and I’m happy to share even more secrets to successful event planning and execution, plus ways to turn these touch points into the crux of your successful business. Good luck!