Sponsored Company Conferences Equals More Successful Conferences
As an organizer, though, that's where the real prize lies. As the organizer or host of a conference or convention, you establish yourself as a major player in your field. You cement your standing as an expert in your niche and a leader in your business and maybe even personal communities. Hosting your own event is a great way to really make a name for yourself.
The only problem is that putting on a convention or a conference is incredibly expensive. Even events that only last one day can run you thousands and thousands of dollars.
Think about it:
- Renting a venue
- Speaking and engagement fees to any industry you hire to talk or entertain at the event.
- Supplies to run the event
- Swag to give away at the event
- Marketing the event
- Staffing the event
That's a lot of money to raise, and if you think you can pay for it all out of pocket and still turn a profit, you're wrong...well, unless you plan on charging your attendees hundreds of dollars for their attendance. And, trust us when we tell you: that rarely goes well.
So how do you come up with the money you need to put on a really great event?
Adjust Your Expectations
It's rare in your first year that you will sell out an entire convention center or even a wing of a convention center. Why not ask around at hotels with a few ballrooms and meeting rooms you can occupy? This way you can gauge interest and build a solid fan base for the event before you try to grow it. Hotels often provide more for less than convention or event centers.
Charge for Vendor Space
By now you know that you shouldn't allow anybody to have vendor space at your event for free--at least, not without a really good reason. Instead, you charge for table and vendor space at the event. Aim to cover at least a third of your operating expenses with vendor space sales.
Some event organizers aim for half, but the more you charge the harder it is for them to turn a profit, which means it becomes harder for you to sell the spaces in the first place.
Sponsorships are one of the very best ways to fund an event. They help you cover expenses and raise your chances of turning a profit, without (usually) having to worry about splitting that profit the way that you would with partnerships.
A lot of event organizers sell tiered level sponsorship packages to help increase their chances of raising enough money to cover costs. The idea here is that the more types of sponsorships you can offer, the more sponsors you can get. This reduces the amount each individual sponsor has to pay out and increases the likelihood that they will buy in to the deals you are offering.
So how do you get these sponsors? How do you get them to spend their own hard earned cash on your relatively or even brand new event? You do it with data.
It's true that not that long ago the only metrics an event could measure were attendance and money in/out. Maybe they would get enough responses to an emailed survey to get a feel for overall satisfaction. Today, though, apps make it possible to track any number of data points. According to Elka Looks, a blogger for the mobile conference app development company DoubleDutch, event apps give organizers (and even vendors and speakers) a way to get live, real-time feedback on an event. Live polling improves engagement, says Looks, by 25%.
The great thing about live polling is that you can ask any number of questions and track any number of data points. Then you can use that data in your marketing materials to attract sponsors. You can track your ROI, overall attendee and vendor satisfaction, the rate of interaction between attendees and presenters, vendors and even each other. All of these things can be used to gauge the value of sponsorship packages.
That data can also be used to improve your event for next year's group of attendees!
The point is: there are lots of ways that you can reduce the cost of throwing an event without reducing the overall quality of the event. Sponsorships are the best way to do this, but vendor space and badge sales are also important!