A conference perceived to be a “need-to-be-there” event will practically sell itself.
Obviously, you still need to sell your event, but if your show is regarded to be sexy, cool, up-and-coming, or already there, then that’s a huge advantage when looking at your retention rates and surpassing previous sponsor revenue totals.
When selling your conference, lead with what makes your event the hottest ticket in town. What separates you from competitive industry events? What are you doing better? What’s different? Is it your killer speaker line-up? Does your event focus on a hot new technology? Are there one-of-a-kind activations? You need to determine your differentiator, what sets you apart from your competition and highlight those elements that makes your event a can’t miss.
Beginning in 2008, I managed sponsor/exhibitor sales on a major user conference for 4 years when cloud computing became the hot technology and we were constantly receiving inquiries to participate within the event thereby expanding our database. Sales revenue and the number of contracted sponsors and exhibitors were annually increasing substantially because our event became a “need to be there” conference.
We took advantage of this perception and modestly raised prices every year benefitting from a sellers’ market and received minimal pushback while our revenue kept escalating.
So the lesson here is…Be sure to strategically maximize your opportunities when you can!