Dreaming of a bigger budget? You’re not alone.

The 2019 Eventbrite Pulse Report found that the second key concern for event organisers is insufficient budgets. Just under 45% of respondents said it was a challenge for them in 2018 and, although it looks like budgetary pressure is expected to improve this year, 37% of organisers still state that it will be a challenge.

The good news? When you know your top expenses, you can plan your budget around them. Here are event creators’ four most costly event expenses, and how you can offset that spend.

Costly event expense #1: Marketing and promotion

It’s easy for your marketing budget to bloat. Social media ads, search ads, display ads, paid sponsorships, brand ambassador relationships — it’s easy to find yourself spending too much money on promotional campaigns.

It isn’t intuitive, but you can cut back without hurting sales. For instance, you can use your owned social channels as a creative, cost-effective way to reach attendees. In fact, event organisers are now building social media contests into their marketing strategy to attract attendees.

Remember that previous attendees are the ones most likely to buy tickets again. For that reason, appealing to your mailing list with inexpensive email campaigns can be a helpful way to increase conversion.

Take advantage of inexpensive digital marketing tools like these, and you bring your bottom line down while raising awareness way up.

Costly event expense #2: Speakers and talent

Between cost and availability, securing speakers and talent is a top challenge for event creators.

Well-known performers and speakers are a big draw for attendees, and that’s a big budget item for creators.

Thankfully, there are ways you can bring down your headliner costs:

  • Look for a special guest who is “on tour” in your area promoting a new book, album, or other type of project. If they’re already in the area, it will help reduce costs for travel and accommodation.
  • Book early and ask if there are discounts for using the speaker or performer for multiple occasions
  • Read through the contracts and ask questions about cancellation policies and additional fees (like autograph signing or press interviews)

Costly event expense #3: Printed materials

Most events still have a line item on their budget for printed materials — things like handouts, signage, direct mail, programs, or even tickets. And the cost for these printed materials adds up.

One way to curb this expense is to cut down on the number of things you print. And in doing so, you can actually increase your attendees’ satisfaction as you become an eco-friendly event.

Here are three ways to reduce your printing costs — and delight your attendees:

As technology gets more affordable, the options for replacing paper become more plentiful every year.

Costly event expense #4: Venues

Location. Location. Location.

A famous adage, for a reason. Choosing the right venue is paramount. You could probably find a cheaper place — but should you?

Your venue is likely going to be a pretty big expense, but don’t let added costs sneak into this area of your budget. Before you sign a venue contract, make sure that things like water usage, catering, cleanup, and any taxes and service charges are taken into consideration.

Other ways to offset costs

Sometimes, your four top expenses are worth splurging on. So to compensate, offset the costs in other ways.

  • Automate what you can with technology. Automation doesn’t just save you money on man hours; typically, automation tools boost your productivity and optimise your outcomes. Tools such as Boostable, ToneDen, and Radario help automate and optimise social media advertising.
  • Reevaluate your ticket pricing strategy. Are you sure you’re charging as much as you could be? Is there room for a higher-priced VIP option? Attendees are willing to pay a little (or a lot) more for something special.
  • Give sponsors ideas and incentives. Ditch the old “gold, silver, platinum” packages. Work directly with your sponsors to customise brand activations they’ll pay more for — and see more ROI, too.
  • Build local partnerships. Swap services for sponsorship space, so you don’t have to pay for things like catering and cleaning.

You probably can’t eliminate marketing, speakers, printed materials, and venue costs from your budget entirely. But you can make savvy decisions on where to allocate your spending, and where to offset it.

For more ideas on where to focus your spend in the 2019 event industry, download the Pulse Report: 2019 Event Industry Trends.

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