No one really puts on a conference to make money. There are much more efficient ways of doing that. A conference is more about showcasing your brand and building relationships through great content.
Any money you have to show after the venue, catering, staff, accommodation and guest speaker/presenter fees are covered is seen as a bonus and, well, a bit of a miracle.
But you should be able to make money from a conference. Even if it’s not your main intention, you deserve to have something to show for your hard work — something that isn’t seen as a financial gift from the monetary Gods.
And there is a way to make it happen. It involves a load of HD audio and video equipment, an online streaming platform and a collection of eager viewers. We’re talking, of course, about live streaming.
Live streaming can help your conference pay for itself, with enough left over to invest in a celebratory party… Or something sensible like marketing.
Charge people to watch
The best way to monetise anything is to ask people to pay for it. With ticket sales and sponsorship covering conference fees, opening up your conference to an online audience gives you a new revenue stream. The more people attend, the more money you make
So what do you charge?
Enough to cover the cost of the production (the platform, equipment, staff, etc.) is the simple answer but you’ve got to be careful not to set fees too high. The cost of attending an online stream should offer value when compared to the cost of attending in person (including travel and accommodation costs), however, you shouldn’t set prices so low that in-person tickets look hugely expensive in comparison.
Make the benefits of attending your conference in-person clear and bundle in online access as a bonus feature. Then, sell the stream as the next best thing — “sorry you can’t be here but for a reduced fee you can attend our live stream and on-demand content.”
Make sponsorship more lucrative
Typically, you set conference sponsorship fees based on in-person attendees and how many people a brand is potentially exposed to. With streaming, the audience goes from a few hundred in a room to thousands of people around the world. Your brand and sponsor brands are opened up to new prospects in far-reaching markets. And more eyes on a brand means more opportunities for business, which instantly makes sponsorship more attractive.
Make the online streaming aspect clear to potential sponsors and highlight benefits of the larger audience. Doing this allows you to justify higher fees.
Use post-event content to drive engagement
Streaming and recording your conference gives you the chance to make money long after it’s ended. Once upon a time, the live event was all you had. Miss that and miss out. Nowadays, missing a live showing is no big deal, you can catch up on-demand at a time that suits you.
There’ll be people out there who don’t tune into the live stream but are open to the idea of watching an on-demand showing and there’ll be prospective clients that didn’t even know you were running a conference but can be persuaded to sign-up to view with a well put together highlights package.
Use your recorded content to keep the views coming in. Use evergreen highlights (content that isn’t time-sensitive) in marketing campaigns to push people towards your on-demand content. Dig into your analytics to find out which bits of your recorded conference are worth using to promote on-demand purchases by looking at where attendance spiked.
From there, test different snippets of content in emails and on social media to see which generate the most click-throughs.