As companies from every industry, event management companies to need to be profitable in order to survive. In my experience, money is not the main reason for which somebody starts a business in this industry, but even event planners have bills and salaries to pay. And unfortunately smiles, the best currency exchange in the industry, aren’t able to do it. Today’s article is based on a very simple principle (yet many times ignored) on how small changes can increase your revenue. The key is to look at the journey attendees have from the moment they first come into contact with your event until the moment your event is over (and even farther)
From prospects to buyers
When you first start marketing your event lots of people will see your message. But only a small percentage of them will convert into buyers. Assuming that 200.000 people hear your message and 2000 buy tickets to your event, this means you have a 1% conversion rate.
There are ways you can increase the conversion rate, and we have written multiple articles on this subject. You can write better marketing copy, use influential marketing or use the right social media tools for marketing. And later in this article, you will see why any small improvement can dramatically improve the overall financial result.
So, if your average ticket is 500 USD and you have 2000 paying attendees, your ticket revenue will be 1.000.000 USD. You have invested a considerable amount of money to convince people to come to your event, but let’s exaggerate and think that all of your attendees are the result of your marketing campaigns. A great experience will bring people back to your next event(s). And considering the fact that it’s 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new client than to retain an existing one you should definitely make the most out of this opportunity.
good to know:
In average, event profs invest in marketing between 1 and 8 percent of what they expect the event to return. We can use a 4,5 average and consider that 45.000 USD brought you 2000 attendees (22,5 USD/attendee). A job done right gives you the opportunity to sell tickets to next year’s event for 4 USD to at least 15% of your current attendees. Of course, figures are not quite exact, but I am sure that you see where I am going.
But the revenue an attendee brings doesn’t limit to the ticket he pays for. If you are hosting a 2-day festival and attendees spend on average 100 USD per day, food and beverages will bring you 400.000 USD. But what if I tell you that Oveit can help you increase on-site revenues? Reports show that people tend to spend up to 30% more at events where a cashless payment system is in place. Using the right event management tool will definitely help you increase the revenue.
p.s. We know sponsorship is a crucial piece of the puzzle. And to help event planners offer a great experience for sponsors too, we have developed our NFC built-in technology so that it can be used to engage attendees and collect data. Read more here.
Increase your revenue: the practical example.
So, the figures that we have until now are :
200.000 (prospects) X 1% (conversion rate) = 2000 (ticket buyers)
2000 (ticket buyers) X 500 USD(ticket price)= 1000000 USD (income)
2000 (attendees) X 200 USD (spend on-site)= 400.000 USD
total income: 1.400.000.
Assuming that you have a 20% profit rate you will make 280.000 USD profit
Now, starting from this figures, let’s assume that you use our blog and technology and make just a few improvements. Maybe you refine your marketing strategy (better copy, better targeting etc.) and use an online ticketing system that allows you to sell tickets directly on your website. And buyers to use their mobile phones to place the order: your conversion rate goes from 1% to 1.5%.
200.000 (prospects) X 1.5% (conversion rate)= 3000 (ticket buyers)
3000 (ticket buyers) X 500 USD= 1.500.000
On-site, using Oveit’s cashless payments system, people spend 10% more, with an average of 220 USD.
3000 (attendees) X 220 USD= 660.000
Total income: 2.160.000
with the same 20% profit rate you will have 432.000 USD profit.
As you can see, just some small improvements can increase your revenue without increasing your ticket price. Having the right partners can be the difference between failure and success, so make sure that you choose a smart tool as your event management system. Read here another great example of how small changes can bring huge improvements.
In the last few years, we have read (and written) countless articles on Millennials and how this generation is changing the event industry and consumer habits. Now I would like to include the Z Generation in this article on how things are going to change; although Z generation members are still too young to fundamentally change the event management industry they will start to be a very important part in the next 24 months.
But first, let’s remember who exactly can be included in these 2 categories:
Millennials: name used for those born between 1980 and mid 90’s
Generation Z: name used for those born starting with mid 90’s (there are many discussions regarding the ending birth years for this generation).
Let’s see some figures on these two generations:
At present time, 1/3 of the global consumption power is owned by millennials (and this percentage is going to grow in the next few years)
It’s estimated that by the year 2020 Generation Z will represent over 40% in the USA consumption market
The first common feature is their lean toward technology. But while millennials grew up while the rise of technology, Gen Z members were born into an already technologized world. For them, a world without search engines, social media, and smartphones is simply unacceptable. This first common feature draws our attention toward 2 extremely important aspects:
Online marketing, using both search engines (and search engine optimization) and social media platforms. If you need any help please read one of the multiple articles that we have written about how to use keywords, email marketing, Instagram and Snapchat to promote your events.
P.s. if you think social media marketing works great for millennials you should know that Gen Z members are 4X more likely to convert on it. Great news or what?!?
The movement toward smart event management tools, tools that allow your future attendees to buy online tickets using their smartphones. Why? Because a recent study shows that gen Z would rather give up TV for a day (80%) or event money and friends (28%) and keep their smartphones in return. So a software that allows them to buy tickets using smartphones is more than welcome.
Another important aspect is represented by the importance Gen Z members give to the environment and social responsibility. According to fusemarketing.com, “85% of Gen Z believes companies have an obligation to help solve social problems.” This also includes the environment and a paperless ticketing system is one way you can show that your event management company cares about the environment.
Short attention span for both Millennials and Generation Z members
If in the past we were shocked by the short attention span that millennials had, now things are even more complicated. The average attention span for gen Z is 8 seconds (4 seconds shorter than the average one of millennials), forcing us to become a lot better when trying to get their attention. This is one of the most important aspects why our partners use NFC technology for on-site interactions. If attendees see something that captures their interest they just need to tap the wristband to let the exhibitor/sponsor know that they would love to find out more. And an NFC-ready event management software (like Oveit) does the rest.
The future of event payments
Forget about cash or physical tokens, the future is 100% digital. Modern times allow us to take event payments to the next level and allow attendees to pay with just a tap of their wristband. No cash, no queueing, no worries. Attendees should be able to top up credit using a designated top-up point (or even the event app) and payments will be instantly processed, allowing your guests to concentrate on the things that really matter at events (networking and having fun).
As you we can see around us, by each passing day technology becomes more and more important. For us, but especially for those that never lived in a tech-free world, the future cannot exist without smartphones, apps, gadgets, and wearables. And neither the event industry.
Guess who’s the biggest driving force behind your event, besides you? Your visitors, of course. They are the single best critic and the most powerful force that can drive your event up. There’s also something about them that you should be really interested in: they are trusted by their friends, colleagues and family. This post is about how you can get user generated content and improve your event’s experience and increase your exposure.
What is Visitor/User Generated Content?
Visitor generated content is a term we’ve derived from “UGC” or User Generated Content. You’ve probably heard about UGC as the content that is generated by users on all sorts of digital outlets. It may be for example a social media post, images uploaded on Instagram or Snapchat or videos uploaded on YouTube.
In the event business this type of content is generated by visitors to your events and distributed either through social media or on specialized outlets – for example your event’s mobile app, your website or a digital wall.
Why is User Generated Content important for events?
Your influential visitors drive the success of your events. They do this through their shared opinions and the way they create a bridge between you and their friends, peers or followers. Consider these aspects:
What’s even more interesting is that when it comes to millennials, the data is even clearer:
Consumers ages between 18 and 24 are the biggest content generators out there, generating over 70% of all UGC;
86% of Millenials note that the User Generated Content is a very good indicator of brand quality;
User generated content beats professional produced content for Millennials in at least three categories: Travel (74% of Millennials prefer UGC over professional photos), Consumer goods (83%) and Fashion (85%)
How can User Generated Content help your events?
As shown – all data points to the fact that UGC is a great way to improve your event’s exposure and improve visitors’ experience.
Among other things UGC will help you:
Increase ticket sales and improve conversion rates: Purchase anxiety is a really strong factor when your visitors purchase tickets to your event. If you happen to host a large event that has an awesome track record the purchase anxiety might very well be reduced. However, if you are just starting out your happy visitors’ opinions may generate additional traction. Purchase anxiety is a very strong factor in any digital purchase but with events it’s even more so. Buyers pay upfront for an event that will happen sometime in the future. They have little control over what is actually delivered and the experience is definitely subjective. Other visitors’ content might provide some insights on what they are actually getting.
Attract social traffic and use social proof to convert it to sales: When visitors post content on social media – this attracts new traffic to your event’s website. This traffic is already pre-qualified as it has been referred by a reputable source (a peer) on an interesting subject (your event). By adding social proof from UGC you can add event more power to visitors’ content and generate instant sales with lower costs.
Improve your social media campaigns with user generated content: social media users love social media (Doh!) but they hate social media ads. UGC adds that extra spark for your ads. It adds authenticity and today’s event goers love an authentic review. When using UGC in social media ads Yotpo shows that online shops see:
4x higher click-through rates;
50% decrease in cost of acquisition;
50% drop in cost-per-click;
All in all User generated content is a great way to improve exposure for your events, decrease marketing costs, engage your community and attract new visitors.
And now … for the actual work – how do you make your visitors generate content for your event?
Here are some ideas:
1. Just ask your visitors to create content
The first, most simple and often not used way of helping your visitors generate content is to ask them. You can do so by including a “Call to create” in your owned media, during the event and after the event.
Here are the main areas where your “Call to create” should work best:
After purchasing tickets or registering for your event: Include a thank you page that allows visitors to share the fact that they are attending the event. Maybe add some extra sauce to it by asking them to share with their friends “WHY” they will be attending their event. Catalyze this by adding an extra perk for those that are willing to share this with their network – maybe a free t-shirt, special access to the event or even free coffee would do.
During the event:
Create special photo booths or photo walls after the registration where visitors can take an interesting selfie with an interesting decorum or installation;
Setup special interaction areas between your visitors and speakers / artists where they can chat, take photos and post them online;
During the event ask your visitors to create special moments that are posted on Snapchat or Instagram and reward those that use your event’s hashtag;
Engage your visitors on social media by following their posts on the most popular Social media sites;
After the event:
Follow up with your visitors in an email and ask them to post an event review either on your Facebook profile, on your website, in a comment on your Instagram post and others.
Stay connected and post photos of visitors on your social media profile (however – be careful to cover this with your registration terms and conditions. Privacy is not to be taken lightly and consent is a must given data protection regulations, especially if you operate in the EU);
2. Create a branded Hashtag for your event
This is UGC 101. Set up an event hashtag and encourage your visitors to use it when posting updates about your event. It doesn’t have to actually include your event brand but make it something that stays out and allows people to mentally connect it back to you.
As I was writing this post one of the trending hashtags was #AdobeSummit, a hashtag regarding the Adobe Summit – The Digital Marketing Conference hosted by Adobe in London, UK.
Visitors would generally be sharing either interesting slides from the sessions that interested them most, articles regarding the event or interesting conference gimmicks – such as the big, colorful disco ball:
Twitter tag from one of the most influential music festivals in the world. Visitors would mainly post selfies showcasing their style and outfits. As Coachella is one of the go-to entertainment brands for personal style and fashion, that was bound to happen.
Fashion and style ruled the social media streams. Both the Twitter #Coachella2018 and Instagram’s #Coachella2018 hashtags were full of fashion photos from people attending:
Over 260 000 Instagram posts showed the festival’s hottest people, outfits and trends.
These are just two examples that you can use as a starting point for your next event hashtags. Encourage people to post it using a Social Media Wall, offering prizes and special access credentials or just showcase the community in a special page on your website.
However – it doesn’t have to be your exact brand name as some visitors might not be that happy to promote your event right from the start. You can choose a hashtag that outlines your values and what your event stands for and just create a special tag from those.
3. Make your event interesting for content creators
Instead of asking visitors to create content sometimes it’s better to encourage them in more subtler ways. For example:
Create “shareable” moments and decors
As the big disco ball in the Adobe Summit example above shows – people are willing to share interesting decors in your event. Many events do this quite well but probably the best at it are large festivals.
For example, the Burning Man festival hosts a series of arts installations from various artists that can attract visitors and encourage them to share these moments with their fans and followers.
One of the most interesting ways to make your event stand out is through flashmobs, where groups of people create specially choreographed moments. These are artistic moments in themselves so they have to be carefully planned and delivered at a moment of maximum exposure.
Here’s one example from a concert from Black Eyed Peas that went heavily viral some years ago:
Use colors to make your event stand out
Color can really set the mood for your event, making your guests feel part of a greater community. This really helps creating shareable moments.
Probably the best example is the “Color Run” series of events, where runners that cover a 5km run have only two rules:
Wear white at the start;
Enjoy being fully colored at the end of the event.
Throughout their run, they get covered in color. At the end, they get a special party, photos and a great chance to share their crazy run with their friends.
Call in the robots
When all else fails – call in the robots. One way to encourage your visitors to post content and share it with their friends is with the help of entertainers. One special type of entertainment is Titan the Robot, a mech-like exo-suit that is quite interesting and fun. As you see below people are eager to film and share their interactions with Titan:
Obviously – it doesn’t have to be a robot but something that is novel, attracts attention and is at the same time amazing and hard to understand. By the way, I’ll let you in on a little secret – there’s a man in a suit in that video 🙂
4. Other ideas to encourage User Generated Content for your event
This is of course just a starting point and your creativity is the best tool to use when thinking of ways to make your visitors generate and share content.
Here are some other ways you can incentivize them do that:
Create special contests for visitors that create and share content. It might be a raffle, a special discount sent to each participant or access to the coffee booth by those that pay with a tweet;
Set up a special UGC page on your website where visitors can post photos from the event and receive a special discount for next year’s event;
Set up social media hashtag walls where you display content from those that posted about your event. A great place to start is Walls.io, an app that helps you generate social media walls that can be shown at the event.
I really hope this helps your event and makes it more engaging than you thought possible. Remember – these are just some ideas and guidelines. Let your creativity help you help your visitors create content. It’s the best advertising you can get.
2018 brought some really exciting updates on Instagram, making the Facebook-owned platform one of the hottest places on the internet. We have talked about Instagram before, and I would like to start by letting you know that over 100 million new users joined since our last article on how event planners can use Instagram to promote their events. We have already mentioned the general features, today we are going to focus on the latest updates and how event planners can use them in their best interest.
You can now follow a hashtag
I would like to start with my favorite update, the ability to follow hashtags. Yes, this is correct, Instagram now allows us to follow hashtags just as we follow people or brands. The result is that all posts with that particular hashtag will appear in the user’s feed.
This new option is very helpful for event planners that have created a unique hashtag for their events. Fans will be to join an online community by simply following the hashtag; their feed will gather content that uses that particular hashtag, no matter who posts it (official account of the event, performers, attendees of fans).
Carousel ads for Instagram stories
With the help of a few lucky advertisers ( from brands like Coca-Cola, GAP or Bottega Veneta) Instagram is testing the way Carousel Ads fit into Instagram Stories. As an event planner, Carousel Ads are perfect because they allow you tell a short story about your event. As a marketer, Instagram Stories are great because they have a higher conversion rate than Feed Ads ( in a 2017 study conducted by Agorapulse – Instagram Stories had a 23% higher conversion rate than Feed Ads). I think it’s safe to say that Carousel Ads for Instagram Stories will be a great tool that combines two powerful features. For start, the carousel format will allow marketers to use just 3 pictures/videos, but according to Instagram officials this is just the starting point and things may change.
Scheduling for Instagram
In the past, it was impossible to schedule a picture to be automatically posted on Instagram. The process involved push notifications, meaning that when the time came for the post to go online we would still need our approval. The good news is that starting January 2018, Instagram allows business accounts to schedule single photos (and it automatically posts them) – the changes in Instagram API allows 3rd party apps like HootSuite, Later or Buffer to do that for Instagram users. For videos, ads, and multiple photos scheduling still involves notifications, but this update shows us that things are moving towards what we all want. For event planners, this new feature means more posts with fewer interruptions.
P.s. there are signs that scheduling will become available for regular users as well.
An improvement made to Instagram Stories
Instagram made it easier for users to upload pictures and videos into the Stories section. Following its latest update (April 2018), it is now possible for multiple photos and videos to be uploaded at once. Great news for content creators, this new option helps them save precious time.
Earlier this year “Stories” received another update, the “Type” mode initially used for status update on Facebook. “Type” allows you to create personalized messages using stylish fonts and backgrounds and can be used by event planners to deliver live messages to their followers. It may not be the best way to communicate but it is an option that may come in handy.
The Facebook-owned platform seems the hottest place to be right now, and the new features developed by the team behind are a clear sign that Instagram is shooting for the moon. The new Instagram Updates can help event planners better connect with their followers but also to reach new ones. 2018 seems to be Instagram’s year and it would be a shame not to use it to promote your events.
“The only person you should be better than is the person you were yesterday”
This is the thought that gets me out of bed in those mornings when all I want is to turn off the alarm and get back to sleep – we all have this kind of mornings.
This quote applies to our work as well. And I had the pleasure of discovering that many of our event planners partners think the same. They aim, with every new event, to create a better experience for their attendees. To be better than last time. To make the smile on attendees’ faces slightly wider than last time. And talking to them about what they work on I have managed to extract some common points that can improve any event.
Start (planning and executing) early
‘“If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail”
We all know it, no matter if you are planning a one day conference or a multi-day festival, it takes months of preparation and work to make sure everything goes well. Start early and create a schedule for the whole process. If you leave things for last minute you whole event can be compromised by unexpected situations that may occur (and there will be quite a few of them).
Set early bird tickets
Early bird tickets are a way of repaying your most eager (and loyal) attendees, but also a great way of making sure you don’t have cash flow problems. Using an event management software that has a direct payments feature money will go straight into your account, so you will have a back up if needed. As Sir Richard Branson said, cash flow is extremely important for every business, and revenues from early bird tickets can be your safety net.
Choose an “arresting” venue
The human eye craves for beauty, and a beautiful building will always arouse admiration (the positive feedback that we have received for our Beautiful theaters article is a good proof of that). The venue where your event takes place will influence the overall experience of your attendees. Make sure that the building offers optimal conditions in matters of location, access (for people with disabilities), heating/cooling system, sound, and lights. Even though we can’t all just book the most impressive building in the city, make sure it offers you everything you need.
Well-balanced and diversified menu
People don’t attend events (just) for the great food that you offer, but this too will impact their experience. How do you act when you are hungry? Are you still able to focus? Are you still interested in what somebody else has to say? When it comes to food not all attendees have the same preferences, and although you can’t please them all you should at least have both normal and vegan menus.
Engage your attendees
Let attendees feel as part of your event. As humans, we want to know that our words/opinions matter and asking for feedback is a great way of letting your attendees know that their do. Feedback will also let you know how your event looks from “outside” – no matter how critical you are to your own work, you should always try to see it from your attendees’ perspective. If possible, ask for feedback before, during and after the event.
Keep your attendees informed
From my own experience, I can say that attendees like to know as much as possible about the event that they are attending. Yes, a little mystery is always welcome, but don’t keep essential information from them. Questions like “where can I find the event app”, “where/when is lunch served”, “what time will Speaker X be on stage” will surely be asked, so verify that your team has the answers. People will also want to have access to the Schedule of your event, it would be nice to have it displayed in visible places (and also in the event app – if you use any).
Take advantage of event technology
This is my favorite part because I have seen how technology in general (and Oveit in particular) can help event planners in their “pursuit of happiness”. I will point out just some of the most important aspects:
Online registration: In 2018, no matter what event you are hosting, you should offer your customers the possibility to purchase tickets online. Making it easier for them to register will increase the total number of attendees and will also offer you more information about them (though registration forms).
NFC technology: The tap-and-pay system is great because it makes it really easy for attendees to purchase the desired products. It can also be used for interaction purposes (link support), transforming the old event wristband into an extremely powerful high-tech tool.
Smooth registration process: Undoubtedly, time is our most valuable resource, and we all cherish it. It’s clear that we don’t like to have our time wasted, so you should always use a smart tool that will ensure a fast and smooth check-in process.
It is hard to change all those mentioned above at once, but even the tiniest improvement can have spectacular long-term effects. And the story of Dave Brailsford and the Sky Team (link) is a great example of how small things can bring unthinkable changes. Keep up the good work and never stop improving!