It doesn’t matter if you are planning a business event as a means of finding new customers and establishing business contacts or as a tool for receiving money. Budget planning and financial investments are one of the most difficult and risky stages in the preparation of an event.
If the event is your marketing tool, you must be sure that the cost of the event will fully justify itself, and the cost of the potential customer attracted will not be an unpleasant surprise for you. In the case of paid events, your goal is to make a final profit.
As you know, profit is the difference between your income and expenses. Therefore, I propose to consider how to ensure that the organization of the event does not become a blow to the budget of the company and a serious reason to think about whether the direction of your business is chosen correctly.
Tips are intended for organizers of business events of large and medium scale, such as seminars, master classes, training, exhibitions, and festivals. The article is also useful to employees of companies that periodically organize events of a similar format that are part of their marketing.
For almost all events, regardless of their scale, there is a general list of necessary expenses that can be divided into the following areas:
• attracting and servicing speakers;
• venue for the event;
• provision of the material part of the event (printed and handouts);
• attracting an audience (the whole range of marketing activities to attract visitors);
• organization of the process of ticket sales for individuals and legal entities and registration of visitors;
• holding coffee breaks, receptions and the entertainment part of the event.
Each of these items of expenditure can both positively and negatively affect the overall budget and lead to the success or failure of the event. Therefore, each organizer must understand in detail the structure of his expenses in order to conduct events with optimal costs for him and get the desired result at the exit, whether it is the cost of each attracted client or the amount of the planned profit.
Of course, the costs can be more or less depending on the scale or theme of the event. For example, a full-fledged banquet can sometimes be replaced with a modest coffee break if the conference lasts 3-4 hours.
And the speaker’s service can only be reduced to paying for transportation costs. You can also offer the speaker what is in his area of interest, for example, a large-scale PR campaign or working with the target audience he needs.
You can safely save, without prejudice to the quality of the event, by paying for the services of the involved personnel, the process of selling tickets, and organizing offline registration, as well as advertising and promoting the event.
Online ticketing services combine all three points, and cooperation with them will be a good help in increasing the profitability of the event. Do not forget about additional ways of making a profit, allowing you to recoup costs.
Look for ways to earn extra money
As you know, business events are good platforms for promotion and advertising, and you can sell advertising spots and sponsorship packages to participating companies.
Some of them will also be willing to pay for the right to speak at the conference, where experts from the industry of their interest gathered. Thus, you not only get an interesting speaker for your target audience but also attract an additional budget for the event.
In addition to these methods lying on the surface, there are other, less obvious. Nowadays, additional options for visitors, such as thematic tours and tours, are in demand. For example, participants in several construction conferences and exhibitions in Kazan with interest got acquainted with the programs to eliminate dilapidated housing and social mortgages and examined the buildings under construction and finished.
After the business event, many went on a trip to interesting places in the city with pleasure. “Individual communication with the speaker” is also sold in separate packages, for example, during the visit of Robert Kiyosaki to Russia, a successful organizer from St. Petersburg arranged a series of business breakfasts and dinners for those who wanted, and the cost of such packages could cover many of the costs of the event.
In order to expand the audience of your event and attract those who are not ready to go to another city, you can organize an online broadcast and sell the right to access it. This is what the organizing committee of the Russian Internet Week IT conference did last year.
Also, it offers participants consulting services for analyzing the industry and forecasting its development. This task is not as difficult as it seems, because before the conference you will most likely need to collect and process industry information.
Sell tickets yourself and online
There are ways to significantly save on the sale of tickets to events, and make life easier for yourself and your customers. The most common way to sell tickets today, especially in the entertainment sector: online or offline ticket offices.
It is important to remember that traditional ticket offices assume the cost of printing paper tickets and deduction of commissions, reaching up to 15%, to intermediary cash desks. At the same time, event managers have the best alternative – online services for organizing ticket sales.
They allow you to use your own site, groups on social networks and many other resources that your target audience reads for these purposes. Partnership with them is not free, but it can be cheaper than cooperation with intermediary cash desks. In addition, you can agree on barter:
Do not forget that when sending it to a third-party resource to buy a ticket, there is always a chance of losing the buyer. His attention may switch to another event presented on the site. There is another problem with offline sales – paper tickets must be quoted at points of sale and constantly redistributed, providing work for those ticket offices where sales are more active. There are no such problems with the online implementation, you can sell tickets on hundreds of resources at the same time.
Organizers of business events, many of which are still offering people to pay for conferences and seminars through bank transfers or at the sales office, get the opportunity to attract a client at the moment when they are ready to pay – right after reading the announcement and the appearance of interest. Deferred payment, associated with difficulties, such as a bank transfer, means the loss of almost a third of customers who change their minds, forget or do not want to spend their time on it.
Automate staff work
When using Internet services, it is also possible to reduce the number of personnel employed in organizing the event, and, consequently, to save on their labor costs. In addition to ticket sales, such technologies allow you to automatically create badges for visitors, conduct online questionnaires and registration. This is a time-consuming part of the organization of the conference, which usually requires a separate team of employees.
The burden on bookkeeping is reduced, as the organizers receive full-fledged accounting support and monitor sales statistics in their accounts 24 hours a day. Online services fully take upon themselves the work with legal entities, including the preparation of payment contracts and a set of closing documents. The organizer, in turn, receives payment from one counterparty.
Promote an event and drive sales for free
It is not necessary to spend large sums of money on advertising the event; you can partially or fully rely on the free promotion tools offered by ticket online services. Firstly, it is an opportunity to conduct e-mail newsletters on the basis of potential participants in the events.
The base is formed after questioning visitors when registering and buying tickets for one of your first events. In the future, it can be changed and supplemented during all subsequent ones. This tool is one of the keys to the most successful business event organizers. According to statistics, up to 30-40% of tickets are sold after the first mailing on the basis of loyal visitors.
Secondly, promotion can be carried out on the Internet on a variety of sites – in your own groups on social networks, thematic communities, popular blogs, and other resources were a potential audience is going.
Post news about the preparation of the conference, interesting participants in the event and current problems of your industry hold a competition for the drawing of free tickets. Subscribers of groups on social networks will share your news and, thereby, contribute to the promotion of the event. In addition to news, post a ticket sales form on these resources that can be easily integrated into any online platform.
In addition, with the help of online services to automate the sale of tickets, you can stimulate the audience to purchase using marketing tools.
For organizers who are focused on work in the medium and long term, a very effective tool is to build their network of affiliates. Event managers negotiate with a large number of online resources on which their audience is present and increase sales in their personal accounts through partner sites. Many organizers who have been working in the market for more than one year reach a sales level of more than 70% through affiliate marketing networks.
Whatever your event, you can always find ways to reduce the budget for it. The presence of sufficient experience in organizing events of various formats and sizes will help to understand what expenses can be avoided without losing the quality of the event, and which areas require large investments you can also seek for advice from skilled specialists. Not having enough specialization in this, it is better to rely on professionals whose offer is most beneficial to your company.