At the time of publication, Covid is top-of-mind and in-person events are difficult to contemplate. But that won’t always be the case, and perhaps you’ll find it refreshing to consider a strategic approach to driving more revenue from your in-person events. That being said, while this article was written with in-person events in mind, many of the principles covered are equally applicable to a virtual event strategy. 

Especially for associations, events represent a substantial portion of annual revenue. You’ve likely spent a great deal of time optimizing the paid sponsor strategy, but here are some options you may not have considered to help improve the return on your investment. 

Sell More Tickets

Ask your marketing team to really flex their creative muscles when it comes to coming up with new and innovative ways to sell tickets. Is your event marketing strategy personalized and optimized to reach new audiences? The key to growing your audience across channels is to know what drives their behaviors and attitudes. Ask yourself how you can better understand them in order to introduce a more tailored selling experience. 

We know you’re already thinking about cross promotion, but think about how you might widen your approach to reach new but qualified audiences. Leverage the networks of speakers at your event, and consider partnering with other associations or organizations that may have compatible audiences to create a mutually beneficial cross-promotional relationship. 

Introduce a Hybrid Events Strategy

In a post-Covid world, you can bet your bottom dollar that digital-first interactions aren’t going anywhere… not because digital interactions are a safety essential, but because users actually prefer to engage on their terms. Savvy association ladders will be thinking about how to build digital experiences into every in-person event, but more importantly, they’ll be thinking about how to do so in an engaging way. How can you mimic the rich, collaborative experience of meeting in person for your digital visitors? Chances are you’ll want to think beyond the pre-recorded webinar.

Sure, digital experiences may not run the cost of a full in-person ticket, but think of all of the new doors you’ll be opening in terms of revenue. In person experiences begin and end, but digital experiences, if planned correctly, can be revisited, remarketed and purchased again and again. Talk about a boost to your non-dues revenue! Plus, the additional reach and the data-gathering opportunities offered by digital experiences can’t be beat.

When it comes to framing up these hybrid events experiences, consider team dynamics. Maybe it’s only in budget to send a few managers and senior leaders to the in-person experience, but with digital options, an organization can afford to send a whole team. Ultimately, offering more value for more people in your industry leads to your organization garnering a better reputation, which leads to a broader, more diverse member base, and a more inclusive industry overall.

Make the Most of Event Content

What is your event content if not a gated content experience waiting to happen? Invest in a good production team who can help you create solid digital records of everything that happens at your event. Just like digital tickets are poised to sell over and over again, you can introduce a monetized content strategy built on the content presented at your in-person events. And don’t just record video and post it- make sure it’s properly formatted and tagged to boost discoverability online. The possibilities for this type of content are endless - you can bundle it and sell it with a suite of digital career resources, use it as a lead magnet, and use select snippets as the foundation of your marketing content for next year’s event. 

If you really want to go the extra mile to get the most value out of your event content, break it down and turn it into a mini-course complete with interactive elements like quizzes that may not have been included in the in-person event. An offering like this will be especially valuable in industries that rely on benchmarking and continued education to maintain licensure. 

Boost Sponsorships

Leveling up your sponsorship strategy goes hand in hand with selling more tickets. Your sponsors will be willing to engage in deeper levels of event sponsorship if there’s an opportunity to reach more qualified people. In order to create better, more tailored sponsorship offers, recognize that not all audiences are created equal. Talk to your sponsors and find out what kinds of individuals they’d like to reach. C-suite? Marketing professionals? A decision-maker in the IT department? Then use your marketing skills - and the rich user data you’re gathering thanks to all of these online activities - to specifically target those individuals. Focus on coming to the table armed with the metrics to show potential sponsors how valuable your audience is, and also demonstrate that you’re able to help them reach exactly the right people with exactly the right message at exactly the right time. 

Driving diversified events revenue is possible- and it’s easier to implement than you might think. Chances are your teams are already partially executing some of these ideas, and with a little organization and well-guided strategy, you can take those executions up a level to increase the overall value and profitability of your events. Looking for even more ways to increase value in your organization, especially where digital transformation is concerned? Join us at digitalNow in December - this digital-first experience will have your teams humming with ideas to modernize and monetize your approach to digital content from the inside out.