In these belt-tightened times, savvy event creators are looking for new ways to up their revenue. As a result of the restrictions we’ve all recently experienced, you may be feeling extra pressure to make up for lost time financially.

Selling tickets to your event is only the beginning, but you don’t need to expend a whole lot of effort to make more money. With prior planning, you can easily boost your event income. Here are five proven ways to do just that.

1. Sell sponsorships

Selling sponsorships is the most popular method event organisers rely on to generate additional income from their events. However, it’s not uncommon for sponsorship deals to miss the mark. So, what can you do to secure a successful sponsorship? The first step is to provide prospective sponsors with the necessary level of detail and specificity in advance of the event. By giving them this key information, sponsors will be able to properly evaluate their results after the event.

It can be difficult for an event sponsor to pin down their ROI, so any help you can give them in measuring results will also be greatly appreciated. This could be the difference between engaging a sponsor or not – and encouraging them to sponsor future events! While there are many ways to give your sponsors more visibility, start by describing the sponsorship’s benefits in terms of cost for the visibility they will receive – in other words, the cost per impression (or “CPM”).

If you expect that a banner placed in a venue will be seen by 40,000 people, then say that. If you’ll be sending an email invitation with a sponsor logo to 10,000 people, then let them know. Likewise, if you’ll be selling event merchandise with space for their logo, make it known. Those kinds of details empower prospective sponsors to justify the expense, especially if they’re considering other alternatives (where ROI can be more easily measured). For help putting together a winning sponsorship pitch, check out this free sample proposal that features plenty of event sponsorship ideas.

2. Facilitate commerce between parties

Business events bring people together who have some expectation of doing business with each other. With that in mind, it’s not inappropriate to take a more “active” role in referring customers to businesses who are willing to pay for those leads. You’d be surprised how well received this can be, since it could save people the trouble of having to find each other through networking alone.

As the event organiser, you’re in a position to know not only who’s attending your event, but also what business goals they may have. For example, journalists may be interested in meeting PR representatives, while start-up founders might be looking to connect with investors. Use surveys to collect additional information from your attendees when they register, then deliver targeted offers to the people who’ll be most interested in receiving them. If you use Eventbrite UK, you can use the post-event attendee messaging tool to do this – it allows for full HTML, so it’s easy to add banners and links.

3. Put ads on your event website

Because so much of your event promotion happens online, events can generate considerable online traffic. The primary “job” of the event website is to support the event, provide all the information prospective attendees may need to make a decision, and describe the event programme in full detail. But you can also easily turn your event website into a source of revenue with a few well-placed and thoughtfully chosen ads.

Work with companies that have relevant products or services to offer and are likely to be of interest to those attending. “Online-only” sponsorship packages, which resemble ad buys, allow you to engage companies that weren’t interested in being traditional sponsors. If you don’t have the time or energy to sell ad space on your event site, you should consider contextual advertising options, like Google Adsense, which make it easy to display and monetise relevant ads.

4. Sell premium attendee experiences

Most organisers who create “premium” or “VIP” options for attendees do so by bundling and discounting. For example, in a multi-day conference that has multiple workshops, they may offer a package of three workshops – and offer a discount to those who purchase the package. While this might boost overall attendance, it doesn’t usually generate incremental event revenue, which is the goal here. Instead, consider creating special experiences that’ll convince some of your attendees to pay extra. To apply an airline metaphor, think first class versus economy.

A great example is the event ticket that also includes admission to the after party (this is particularly common with London events). While bundling food and drink may drive sales of these premium tickets, you have to be careful of the costs incurred by providing these extras, as they can rapidly erode (or completely eliminate) your event planning profit margin. Better ideas involve experiences that don’t require an additional budget, but have clear value to the attendee.

For example, offer a limited capacity workshop with one of the featured speakers from your event. Include additional one-on-one time and a more exhaustive programme than that offered during the general event. You can also work with sponsors to offer special event attendee experiences, like a tour of their facilities. Running online events? No worries. Extra workshops and tours can be executed in person, virtually, or as a hybrid option – so there’s plenty of flexibility.

5. Sell merchandise

As the filled-up goodie bags after many UK events can attest, people like to come home from events with stuff. But sometimes, these giveaway items wind up in the bin a few days later (along with the promotional hopes of the freebie sponsors). A better way to capitalise on this desire is to sell event merchandise before and during the event. This approach works especially well if your event supports a business that already sells things. You can use the event as an opportunity to better familiarise prospective customers with your offerings or motivate them to buy on the spot with discounts or special deals.

Another idea is to use ticket types to create attendance options that include merchandise. This method works very well, as it allows you to sell merchandise to your attendees at the moment they’re deciding to attend the event. Authors could use this tactic to sell books, while charities could include an option to donate, creating revenue from an otherwise free-to-attend event.

Boost your event income

These are just some suggestions for extra sources of revenue for an event. But if you’re wondering how to make an event successful in a nutshell, it’s essential to identify what your attendees and sponsors are looking for and build your plan around those things. In this way, you can create unique add-ons and experiences that satisfy (and hopefully exceed) their needs.

Join Eventbrite today and discover how we can help you sell tickets to your events online.

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