Hosting a profitable event takes forethought and yes, hard work. And it can take years. But it also takes years to build your network and cultivate your audience. Adding regular events into your business model will reap major rewards as your business grows.
The more you can view your events as a business opportunity, the more money you’ll make. Every twist and turn of your event is an opportunity to make money.
If you read my article about hosting events that creates diehard fans, this piece is how you can kick things up a notch. I’m sharing a few insider secrets to how I helped organizations make over $1 million at their events and helped others double their event revenue in just a few years:
1. Charge for Tickets
How many times have you flaked on a free event? And how many times have you shown up for something you actually paid money for? Guests are more likely to attend when they have already financially committed themselves. You’ll also weed out people who aren’t really serious about what you have to offer.
So just by charging for tickets, you fill the room with people who are more likely to buy from you again.
2. Analyze Your Ticket Price
Your event ticket needs to cover your costs AND make money. Before hosting the event, layout how much money you expect to spend. Make sure to consider any surprise expenses that can come up in the planning process, because there will most likely be something.
Like if you end up finding a vendor you just have to work with and they’re a bit out of budget, you’ll have that wiggle room.
Next, consider how much money you want to make with the event.
You can set your ticket price from there. Be realistic on how much you want to make and how much your audience is willing to pay for it.
A quick note on your ticket price: if you’re an organization that wants to be “something for everyone” you can set your cost to meet their budget needs.
But if you want your event to be the best of the best and really make bank, don’t be scared on charging a high ticket price. People will pay whatever you set your price at, if they find it of value to them. Just make sure their experience matches the caliber you set in the price.
Your ticket price ultimately sets the entire tone for the event. I’ve hosted events where the average cost to attend is $350 a person. And over 700 people paid to go. Remember, it has everything to do with your marketing.
3. Tier Your Ticket Structure
Gone are the days where you offer one ticket price. Uplevel your guests experience by offering a tiered ticket structure. Do you have a special VIP experience you can offer?
For example, if you charge $350 a ticket, you could offer $600 for a VIP experience. Maybe you have a special guest at your event where they can do a meet and greet before or after the event. Maybe you have a special offer you want to make and you host a special cocktail hour before the event starts. Or maybe YOU are the big draw to your event and you could host a special Q&A after the event.
People love exclusivity and they will pay for it. Sell something extra they can’t get access to anywhere else, list out why they need to be there and what they’ll be missing if they aren’t.
4. Secure Paid Sponsorships
Every event you host is a business opportunity and a collaborators dream. You are inviting your audience to share in an experience. Your audience meets specific criteria that other marketers want to be in front of.
One of the best ways to make your event profitable is to secure sponsors.
Finding paid sponsorships is a great way to cover your costs, enhance guest experience, and align yourself with like minded brands.
Create a sponsorship packet that lists the different levels of sponsorships, the cost, and the benefits they’ll receive. Make sure to include who your audience is by spelling out their demographics. You want to make it easy on potential sponsors to clearly know if they align with your audience or not. Then send this packet to companies and brands you want to participate in your event.
To really make your event profitable, secure a presenting sponsor who will get naming rights to your event. This sponsorship is always the most expensive. You’ll also be more likely to secure other sponsors if you can book a presenting sponsor before you start marketing your packet.
Nothing spells out success to other sponsors than a “SOLD” tag on the presenting sponsor package.
And remember, if you do get sponsors at your event, please, please, please make sure to thank them before, during, and after the event. Give your peeps a BIG shoutout! They help create the success of the event, and you’d be surprised how often people forget to thank their sponsors!
FYI – sponsorships typically make more money at an event than ticket sales. For example, I’ve hosted events that made $500K in sponsorships and $150K in ticket sales.
5. Create Underwriting Opportunities
Underwriting opportunities are a more fun play on sponsorship packages. Sponsorship opportunities are usually packages companies can purchase for advertising benefits and sending employees to the event.
Underwriting opportunities are getting companies or individuals to pay for certain elements of the event itself that you already plan on having.
Think of it this way – companies will pay to have their logo strategically placed around the event.
If you’ve ever seen a movie and you see a character using an Apple computer – that’s product placement. You’ll use underwriting opportunities as event product placement.
For example, I’ve sold underwriting opportunities like centerpieces, a coffee and hot chocolate bar, a game zone with bocce, corn hole, and lifesize jenga, and at one event, glam porta potties! Honestly having a bathroom sponsor was HUGE! How many people go to the bathroom at an event? Just think of how many guests saw their logo! We dressed it up with supplying bathroom essentials like hairspray, bobbie pins, gum, and mints.
So really, you can create an underwriting opportunity in any unique way it fits your brand.
6. Upsell at the Event
If you’ve ever taken a personal selling class, you know what ABC stands for – Always Be Closing.
At your event, always find ways to upsell. Maybe it’s a package for a new program you’re pitching, working with you one on one, launching new product lines where people can buy the products before they hit shelves, your new book, etc.
Hosting an event is great for building community, but you also want to make sure you are selling. People are coming to get to know your brand better and nothing will motivate them to buy from you more than experiencing your brand in person. Having products and services for sale at the event will expand your bottom line and welcome them into your community forever.
Plus, you’ll host such a fabulous event, they’re going to want to buy what you’re selling!
These are some quick tips on how to host a profitable event. To really up your game, check your money mindset because you deserve to make that money honey.