Want to Create a Revenue Windfall? Livestream Your Event.

by Steve Parker

There is a push right now for event organizers to livestream their meetings to virtual audiences.

The reason: those organizers see a windfall.

How can you profit from livestreaming? Here are my personal tips:

Charge the Same Registration Fee. The best way to be successful at livestreaming is to maximize the revenue opportunity by charging the same price to attend virtually as you do to attend physically.  When you capture all the sessions from your conference and deliver them as an archive, you create a product that warrants charging full price.  Organizations that attempt to livestream only a handful of sessions and sell the package at a discounted price are setting themselves up for failure.  While charging the same price may not deliver the highest number of attendees, it will generate quality attendees that will likely become physical attendees in the future.

Start Marketing Early. While it’s true that many virtual attendees will register in the last month before the conference, you want to start your marketing efforts at the same time you market your physical event.  The best approach is to offer two ways to attend the conference–in person and virtually–and communicate that right from the beginning. Organizers who wait until later in the campaign usually see a reduced level of attendance.

Leverage the Stream to Those Already Attending. Once you have decided to livestream your event, leverage that stream to boost your attendance.  For example, offer your physical attendees the ability to purchase additional virtual attendance registrations at a reduced price.  We know that many organizations have reduced their conference budgets, so only one or two employees can attend.  Keep more people engaged with your event by allowing them to attend virtually.  If you have exhibitors, provide each with one or two free passes for employees of their companies to join in, too. This is a great way to educate sales professionals who are unable to come to the event and work the booth.  And tap into the Millennial generation by offering free passes to students and young professionals unfamiliar with your event.

Increase Your Webinar Activity. The best way to drive additional virtual attendees is by building an online community to market to.  The way to build this community is by delivering as much online education as possible.  Run webinars weekly or twice a month.  Re-broadcast sessions from your event to fill in the gaps.  Broadcast a monthly industry update, interviewing influencers in your industry.  These can be self-funded or sponsored.  By delivering a consistent program of online education, you will start to build a community of people who want to learn online.  A high percentage of these people will become virtual attendees for your event.

Don’t Be Afraid of Cannibalization. Organizers who move into livestreaming with fears it might cannibalize their physical event are setting themselves up for failure.  Once you decide you want to livestream your event, you must approach your marketing and communications efforts like you would any other successful program–with guns blazing.

Steve Parker is vice president, sales and marketing, for Digitell. His opinions are his own. Contact Steve through his website: http://www.digitellinc.com.

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