Big publishers such as Ziff Davis, American Business Media and others have been conducting events such as trade shows and seminars as an additional revenue stream for their businesses. In fact, Publishing Executive Magazine reports that trade shows have overtaken business-to-business media’s print revenue in 2006, accounting for 36% of the industry’s revenues.
Many small businesses are following suit and are also conducting seminars, conferences or trainings, and finding these events to be a profitable source of revenues.
- Be prepared to struggle financially and logistically at the start – to reduce risk, carefully gauge customer interest and plan accordingly
- To maximize attendance, focus on irresistable content and speakers as having these two elements are the best way to draw audiences.
- Avoid turning your seminar into one big product pitch as that can turn off audiences.
- The education benefit is your best bet to lure audiences to the event
- Strike a balance in pricing: too high a price can scare off potential attendees while too low a price could suggest a lackluster event and result in poor return on investment. Price can be anywhere from $50 for a small 1-day event to as much as $2,000 for a 3-day event.
- Sponsorships could be key and where the big dollars will come from. The price the sponsors pay will depend on the level of interaction they want with the audiences – from extensive exposure such as speaking opportunities, access to the audience database and information, to more limited participation such as tabletop displays.
- Expect Murphy’s Law: when something you think will go wrong, they will go wrong — from hotel reservations to location to getting pitted against a bigger event to disappearing speakers. Be prepared for any eventuality and always have a backup plan.
- Location matters – consider where your audience typically are (e.g. you won’t schedule a seminar attended by government employees in Las Vegas when most of them lives in Washington DC). Make the location easy and accessible to attendees.
When thinking of running an event, your number one goal should be fulfilling the needs of your customers.