Every year you evaluate your business goals and ask yourself —what more can I do? Is this the year you’d like to build brand trust, create exposure and expand your influence? Hosting an event sets you apart from the competition.
Live events make multi-level strides in brand expansion and development. Putting a personality and experience to your business, services, and product is an invaluable opportunity that events provide our attendees. However, everyone still wants a tangible return on investment (am I right?)
Here are a few of my most promising behind the scenes strategy that results in a profitable event.
Serious + Strategic Budgeting
When it comes time to calculate how much you’ve earned at your profitable event, don’t let your overhead cost you the golden ticket. Sometimes, a profitable event can’t compete with an event planner with no budget. Set your number and stick to it.
Will the amount set aside create an event with a real ‘wow’ factor? What happens if you can’t include everything you want? How do you even plan a budget?
Planning your budget and staying within it is not as hard as you might think, providing you prep properly and stay the course of your plan. My favorite tip for planning an event budget is to start small and be realistic. Can you ask a friend or family member to help you, instead of hiring staff?
Can you hire a student videographer for a little less than a full priced videographer? Perhaps you can offer a smaller AM snack, rather than a full-fledged breakfast.
For your budget to be that of a strategic and profitable event, it must be resourceful. Speaking of resources here’s a free event budget worksheet to help you keep the closest eye on all your costs.
This free event budget worksheet is perfect for coaches and entrepreneurs looking to budget their first event.
So let’s do some math and work some numbers. It’s important to note that you should have an outline (hey psst, if you don’t have one, go over and download my Budget Template Spreadsheet). I use this with my clients on a daily basis. Here’s a brief example of the thought process for power budgeting:
Say you are hosting a 100 person event for a 2 Day Experience.
- Event Space + F+B = $10,000 for 2 days ($5k each day)
- Advertising: $2500
- Print Materials (Signage etc) – $1000
- Staff / Event Planner: $5000
- Host/Flight Accommodations: $1200
- Contingency: $2000
Where can you sharpen the budget? Can you get sponsorships? Provide giveaways or sell vendor tables etc? Keep finagling the numbers and then stick to it. It’s so important to update numbers at least once a week.
There is ALWAYS room for a discussion about what you want. You’re paying the hotel or venue most likely thousands of dollars, so you can ask for things you desire (maybe you want free WIFI for your team or valet parking). Ask and you shall receive.
If you’re too proud to negotiate you’re in the wrong industry. When creating your profitable event, work closely with people and vendors who offer you their ideal price. It’s up to you, as a negotiating businesswoman, to create a win-win situation that saves you money.
Contrary to popular belief, negotiating isn’t about being cheap or beating the opposition of the other party. Instead, it’s coming to an agreement you’re both satisfied with. Negotiating even just 10% is overhead money that goes straight to your profit margin.
Find Out What Your Attendees Want
With your budget in place and the end game aligned– Now, it’s time to sell! Marketing tends to scare the shit out of almost every entrepreneur, because we all know, regardless of how great your business or product is- you have to sell the right story to the right audience.
When it comes to marketing strategies, for your event or even for a product or service, you’ll hear the words “target audience” over and over again. But who are they and how can you reach them? Here’s a breakdown of how to reach your target audience for your event and pull in your ideal customer.
Before you can reach your prospects, you have to be able to identify them. Trying to sell your products or services to the wrong customer is equivalent to putting your shoes on the wrong way. In a pinch, you could probably squeeze your feet in and make it work but it will never feel right.
Selling to your target audience, however, will be like slipping on your tried-and-true pair of running shoes – comfortable and easy.
One common and fatal mistake that entrepreneurs make is forgetting how important demographics are to their business. Every strategy you implement (price, packaging, location) will directly target a demographic and you need to make sure you’re reaching your customers. If your business is new, check out your competition.
You can easily pick out these same statistics to help you build your own strategy. Other statistics of equal importance to identifying your target audience are psychographics. These are the target audience’s behaviors, attitudes, and lifestyle. If all else fails and you are asking yourself, “how can I KNOW what people want”? Simply ask them.
Make it Easy to Spend
The greater your profit target the more opportunities you’ll need to create for attendees to spend. Obviously, selling should never out shadow the greater purpose of an event. You want to avoid being a one-hit-wonder and instead have your audience invest in your brand in a way in which they feel they’re investing in themselves.
Here are a few ways of creating selling opportunities at a profitable event.
VIP Ticket Option
Offering VIP tickets will be more work on your end, but can be really cost effective. Creating a VIP experience can mean better seats (which costs you nothing), a heftier goodie bag (still not too expensive), and a meet and greet with the host or sponsor.
Creating a VIP experience could be your bread and butter, you just have to be creative!
BOGO or Free Tickets
The chance to win tickets is a shoo-in. Everybody loves a little fair game of chance, especially because you’re going to create irresistible prizes. Sharing posts and pictures on social media of a free ticket (OR BOGO ticket) is a great way to market the event in general. A couple of free tickets can also be offered with the purchase of a VIP ticket.
Ticket sales should be offered from the beginning of the event to right before the drawing to increase your buy-ins.
Brand merchandise may be the obvious go-to when you think about a profitable event. However, you want to be careful with this one. An event is your opportunity to create brand awareness. You want to sell them on you in order to become loyal to your products and services long-term.
That being said, a lovely booth or two with reasonably priced merch is always good to have. No need to push these items, just the option of having them there will be enough to sell out.
Hire an Event Strategist
I remember powering my way through some of my first profitable events, the struggle was real and I knew I wasn’t being as creative or strategic as I possibly could. Years of experience and skill-building have changed and improved my approach completely.
But, the journey was so much more effective because of the coaching and mentorships I’ve received. For the times I knew my event business was ready to uplevel but didn’t know which direction to move forward with, my coach considered my short and long-term goal, and gave me the tools to strategize my way to success. Now, I proudly coach event planners and coordinators interested in hosting profitable events.
Event strategy is my bread and butter. But, even if you don’t work with me, seek guidance with your event strategy for the very sake of not lose tens of thousands of dollars.
Have a Strong Follow-Up Strategy
Hosting a profitable event is among the most impactful ways to represent and expand your brand, organization, or business. But, this impact can quickly fade if you think the event is over once the lights go out. The days and weeks that follow your event is, in fact, the most crucial buy-in time.
In order for your event to create meaningful and lasting results, take action with a strong event follow-up game plan.
Crunch The Numbers
With a profitable event, there is no guessing involved. When the event is over, there will seem like an infinite amount of things to add, subtract, divide, multiply, etc. Focus on creating meaningful interactions between the numbers and the choices that led to them. In some ways, crunching numbers has nothing to do with numbers at all.
You will have multiple bottom lines that tell you what to do and what not to do at your next event. Was brand merchandise in the red? Did you make 300% more than anticipated on VIP tickets? Ask yourself specific questions you want answers to before you grab the calculator.
These tips are really the trick of the trade. If you need help implementing my most valued strategies let’s hop on a call. I’m always here to help my fellow #womenpreneurs exceed their client’s expectations and nail a profitable event.