Event apps are no longer an extra perk for conference goers, attendees expect them. They use event apps to make the best decisions on how to spend their time, stay in tune with what’s going on, and connect with other attendees.
Beyond the value an event app holds for attendees, event planners appreciate how an app improves their bottom line. Event apps give planners more opportunities to increase revenue from sponsors and exhibitors.
Revenue driver: event apps help partners achieve goals
An event app plays an integral role in the sponsorship and advertising opportunities you offer to your event’s revenue partners. The word “partners” here is intentional. Your sponsors and exhibitors invest time and money in your event so they can build brand awareness, develop and deepen relationships, generate leads, and maybe even close deals. Without their investment, your association wouldn’t be able to offer the level of event experience your attendees expect.
To help these revenue partners invest wisely (and invest more) in your event, you must first understand their marketing goals. Spend time with each partner to identify the best ways for them to achieve those goals using your app in addition to other digital and on-site opportunities.
Point out the benefits of having a presence on your event app. Attendees only see their booth and signage when the show floor is open or the conference is in session. However, they check the app at all hours of the day and night. Your app gives sponsors a round-the-clock digital presence.
Once you understand your partners’ goals, create a menu of sponsorship and advertising packages, or let them choose options ‘a la carte.’ In high-dollar packages, combine app and on-site opportunities, for example:
Sponsoring and introducing sessions or keynotes.
Hosting or co-hosting receptions with non-competing exhibitors.
Hosting or co-hosting other social activities.
When deciding how to use your app to drive revenue, keep this one priority in mind: advertising should not compromise the app’s user experience.
Don’t fall into a common advertising trap. You’ve experienced it: as soon as you land on a website, a message box pops up, an auto-play video blares an ad, and intrusive advertising ruins the reading experience. In the hunt for website monetization, the brand creates a lousy user experience. You must find the right balance between revenue goals and user experience.
Our eBook, How to Monetize Your Event App, explains the many ways you can generate additional revenue by offering sponsorship and advertising opportunities on your app, including:
Sponsored session profile page
Sponsor module on the app’s home page
Rotating advertising banners
Sponsor profile upgrade
Local business (restaurant, retail, etc.) profiles
Event app developers, like our Eventpedia team, are constantly coming up with new app features and functionality, so this list is merely a starting point.
Remind sponsors and exhibitors about the analytics provided by event app advertising. They will never know how many people saw their banner in the lobby or looked at their advertisement in the program book, but they will know exactly how many people downloaded the app, clicked on their banner advertising, and responded to a sponsored poll.
Ensure repeat business from attendees and exhibitors
The main purpose of an event app is to improve the event experience for everyone—attendees and exhibitors. Sponsorship and advertising revenue is a bonus. However, your app can also help drive future event revenue. When an app helps attendees and exhibitors achieve their event goals—for example, education, networking, brand awareness, or lead generation—they’re more likely to come back and invest time and money in your next event.
You can increase the value (and price) of exhibiting and improve the attendee experience by identifying ways the app can solve attendee pain points—while helping exhibitors meet their own marketing goals.
For example, attendees come to events hoping to meet peers with similar interests. Let your app be the ‘matchmaker.’ Help attendees expand their network by connecting them with others who have similar interests.
You can also use the app’s matchmaking feature to match attendees with the sessions that would most interest them. And, the app can also match them with the exhibitors who provide the products/services they seek. This app feature drives repeat attendee and exhibitor business and helps you increase exhibition sales.
Encourage attendee behavior that leads to deeper engagement
What type of attendee behavior can your app encourage? What behavior will lead to increased engagement with your association and the potential for additional revenue in the future?
One example: use the app to encourage attendees to dive deeper into session topics. Add a “Related Content” paragraph to the app’s session descriptions and link to online learning programs, webinars, and publications. Or, suggest attendees sign up for targeted newsletters focused on specific conference tracks.
How else can event app sponsors support your association’s in-person and online educational programs? Consider developing customized sponsorship packages that give event partners year-round access to their ideal customers. Sponsors could subsidize webinars and other online learning experiences (virtual lunches, book clubs, and webcasts) that appeal to their target audience.
When it comes to sponsorship, get creative. Think big and think year-round. Listen to your event partners’ ideas. They participate in other events as exhibitors and attendees. Together, you can discover new sponsorship ideas that enhance the attendee (and member) experience, help sponsors achieve marketing goals, and improve your association’s bottom line.