Conferences are still the main source of revenue to associations. It is during this time of the year when they offer, their members and non-members, access to other resources not available during the rest of the year. These resources are in the form of courses, private sessions, training, and the opportunity to meet other professionals so that they can expand their network.
Another source of revenue is the fee they charge to exhibitors, sponsors, vendors, and others who want a chance to access that desired database of attendees, for marketing purposes.
The conference will likely produce an attendance similar to the size, influence and scope of the organizing association. Some associations resort to bringing popular speakers within the community, or they will offer courses not found elsewhere outside of the conference timeframe (other perks might be included).
The price of attendance is becoming increasingly high for many organizations looking to send their members for training, networking, or promotional purposes. They not only have to pay the conference fee and additional items, there are other expenses: lodging, meals, transportation, etc. If the conference fails to live up to the expectation, many of those attendees will not come back, and that is lost revenue.
A new trend that has gathered momentum is the offering of sessions that can be accessed online through some kind of webinar platform. In these selected sessions (associations will not be moving whole conferences online any time soon), attendees pay a fee smaller to the conference fee, and they don’t need to travel to the conference venue to access some valuable content. This has become another source of revenue for associations.
If you want your association to offer this product for members and non-members, there a few things you need to do, beyond contracting a webinar service.
- You need to train your presenters on how to properly conduct a webinar. This is critical because you only have one chance to make a good impression on your audience, and afterwards you can sell the recorded webinar as a different product (I’ll explain in another post what I mean by a different product),
- Make sure the internet connection in your venue will be able to handle the video stream to the internet,
- Make sure your platform can handle the connection of multiple members and non members attending,
- Make sure you have a good ecommerce solution so that whoever wants to attend a webinar can pay immediately and have access to it,
- You may have to hire a video recording crew, if you want to offer plenary session video stream, otherwise a quiet room for the presenter to conduct the webinar will suffice,
- Evaluate the content that will be delivered by the presenter and make suggestions to improve it, I cannot stress how important it is that the sessions be informative and interactive, this will guarantee that your attendees will come back for more,
- If the presenter does not have any interactive content, help them create some, this is very important, I cannot stress it more,
- Make sure there is follow up on customer satisfaction and overall impression of the session. This will help improve your products for future deliveries.
I hope this post will help you in your process of extending your conference online with new products not available in the live conference, which will make it valuable to those who cannot attend. Here at Elearning in Motion can help you achieve this goal, and a little more. Contact us for an initial evaluation.