I have had multiple conversations over the last month with completely different people, with completely different businesses and completely different audiences but one common theme - having trouble getting people to their premium priced events.
When a topic keeps coming up for me, then I know it's something that needs to be shared. This is a bit of a tricky one as everyone has different thoughts on it, but after doing events for other businesses, charities AND myself through Event Head (which have sold really well and sold out consistently) over the last decade, I have seen it all. The struggles, the highs, the lows, the intense stress that comes with needing to sell more tickets to break even or the desperation of trying to fill a room.
This blog post is about helping you avoid being in a position of financial and emotional stress because as a business and events coach, I know that your event needs to fuel your business and your heart in a positive way, otherwise what's the point? I want you to feel confident walking in and fulfilled walking out.
So, before you decide to charge premium pricing on your event, I really need you to think about these 5 things. Take each one into careful consideration and if it strikes a chord with you, then include it in your pre-planning. If it's not applicable, then don't worry. And just to define premium pricing, it totally depends on the type of event you are running. $150 could be considered premium for a 2 hour event depending on your audience, whereas for others $1,000 is premium. If you are unsure where your event sits, have a look at what everyone is charging for a similar event. If you are charging $700 for a one day workshop but others are charging $300 and your levels of experience are the same, then baby you are premium!
Ok, here we go.
1. Who is your audience?
Are they used to spending big money and investing in themselves? Or are they mothers who feel guilty when they spend money on a coffee and only get their hair done once every two years because they would rather spend the money on their family?
Are they business owners who have been coached before and understand the value of what you provide? Or are they new to the experience and don't know why the can't just do it all themselves?
It is subtle things like this that can make all the difference between engaging people who are ready to invest or people who will umm and aahh about it and feel hesitant to hand over money. The way you talk about your event to them will need to be different and the way you target them will be different too.
2. How big is your audience?
Do you have a highly engaged mailing list and social media following? Do you have regular interaction with a large portion of them? Unfortunately, having 500 people on your mailing list and 2,000 facebook likes doesn't always convert into selling 100 tickets as a number of factors affect whether or not they purchase a ticket eg. time, day, location, content, price. I would say that in my experience, only about 5-8% of an engaged audience will buy tickets and then even that will depend on all the other factors. The higher the price point, the lower the percentage will be but if the event promo is engaging, shareable, relevant and gives the opportunity for them to bring someone along then there is a better chance you will sell more. Frustratingly for some, people say yes, yes, yes in the lead up then when it comes time to buy a ticket they won't. So don't count those yeses until the ticket has been purchased.
3. What is your reputation?
Are you well known in your industry? Do you grow your audience easily through word of mouth and your daily blog/social media work? Do you have a clearly defined niche that people regard you as an expert in? Do people recommend you to others regularly? If you are still building your reputation as the go-to person in your industry then you may need to lower your pricing in the initial stages. If you are getting regular recommendations, get approached for blog/media opportunities and have people banging on your door to hold an event in their state then you will probably have no problem filling a room (yay how exciting!).
4. Have you had previously successful events?
Have you run events before that sold a good amount of tickets or even sold out? If you have run events before, no matter how small, then you will have a good idea of who you can attract, at what price point and what value you gave them on the day. If you want to run the same event again and want to increase the pricing, then go ahead! But ensure that it is not a huge jump as it can lower your numbers.
5. What is your lead time and what time of year is your event being held?
For higher priced events, people need notice. We all have bills mounting up and things to pay for so the more notice you can give the better. Check out my rule of thumb for when to put tickets on sale. From October, the purse strings tighten with Christmas on the approach so if your event is not related to end of year celebrations or new year planning and you can hold your event from February onwards, you will definitely see a difference.
A lot of people reading this will be in the early stages of their business (first couple of years) and for a lot of you, my advice would be that if you are still building a following but want to dip your toe into the world of events then hold a smaller, low cost event where you know you can provide a tonne of value and have people walking away raving about you. Ensure that you have information ready on the day about how they can work with you further, like coaching packages or a one-on-one session, but just focus on creating genuine and long lasting connections. That's all. Value + connection = magic.
Not everyone can sell out a workshop overnight, the women I have worked with have spent YEARS building up their skills, dedicating themselves to personal and professional development, building up their businesses, communities and contacts and are now fabulous examples of where effort can take you. And you can get there too! But there's nothing wrong with steadily building yourself up over time (like I am) and increasing your pricing incrementally. I know, I know, it is seriously unsexy sorry, but it works!
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