Advertising dollars are being cut, corporate social responsibility is now dominated by COVID-19 protocol compliance stories, physical events have all moved online. These are just some of the headlines we have seen across industries in the last eight months. They have everyone running scared for market share and visibility, and as a result, organizers of virtual events and content makers alike are providing everything at…free-ninety-free.
How will this affect your bottom line, or worse yet, your future ability to charge a premium for your live events and well curated content? These are questions every marketing department, association management executive, and financial manager alike should be asking themselves. Putting on virtual events and creating noteworthy, attention grabbing, and educational content still have costs associated with them. Sometimes even large price tags and by providing them to the public at large for no cost, while in the short term could gain you an audience, in the long term will have an adverse effect on how you are able to monetize these opportunities for non-dues revenue in the future.
Any time you want to invest money to reach your audience and engage your members, you need to evaluate the return on that investment. However, this return of investment can come in many forms and this is where a lot of people go wrong with this evaluation. Here are the top three things we, at Advancea, would recommend you consider:
1. Amassing Impressions: If building the content or offering the event is merely a tactic to gain impressions, or in other words nonaction-based views of the content, then you need to be sure the lift and investment on your team is commensurate with your goals. You also need to understand your brand’s reach to begin with and evaluate if the audience you currently command is large enough to see a lift in impressions, as additional costs for running ad campaigns may be necessary.
2. Audience Engagement: If engagement is what you are going for, then you need to be sure the content or event is engaging enough to have your audience share the content or invitation more broadly. Additionally, you want to be sure your audience is sticking around to interact with the content. We would argue this is where getting the audience to have some skin in the game is important. We have all had that experience where we sign up for a webinar because the topic sounds interesting enough and it’s free so what’s the harm but when another meeting gets scheduled over it, we easily give up the time, rendering the efforts of the content or event producer useless.
3. Monetization: Finally, what is the history with this type of content or event in your organization? Have you previously charged people to attend the event in person or created content that is only available during a specific time? While everyone is having to readjust their expectations for virtual events, from sponsorship costs to tickets, it’s important that you retain the value in the virtual event, even if it’s adjusted for now so that in the future you are able to go back to charging a fair and equitable price for the live event.
While there are many other aspects to consider, these three areas of focus should deliver some key thought starters when working on pricing. For more thoughts on how to put a value on your content, check out our recent 6 Degrees of Associations episode featuring Teri Carden where she spoke about charging for her Non Dues-A-Palooza event, and check back in the future when we speak with Dr. Michael Tatonetti with the Professional Pricing Society to learn more tips on how to think about pricing.