Why people don’t value free events

July 19, 2017 0 Comments

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If you’re an event organizer wanting to get more seminar turnouts for your event, then this is a great blog for you. Let’s discuss several factors on why it’s not a great idea to host a free event. This article covers insights on events marketing. This article tackles the psychological aspect of making a decision to go to a free seminar/event.

A lesson about tradeoffs

Economics classes worldwide teach the idea of opportunity cost. We deal it with every day. When we decide what we do with our resources like our time and money, we always counterbalance our options.

Here’s an example, when I thought about where to get lunch yesterday, I had to choose between a place that makes great burritos, or a sushi restaurant. The burrito shop had a nice outdoor patio and sushi restaurant was newly opened. I wanted to try both foods, but I could only choose one.

I chose to get burritos since yesterday was a nice sunny day. But I missed the chance to try out the new sushi place that opened.

Valuing your event

Opportunity cost applies to the events you plan to run. When people decide if they’re going to an event or not, they compare the opportunity cost of attending that event vs. other options. They also think about how they’re going to benefit from the event. Benefits could either be entertainment, knowledge, or the opportunity to meet new people. It’s often not easy to know how great the impact of going to your event will be.

People often look at indicators such as price. It gives them a signal about the event’s value. If you run events, and you put a lot of effort into planning and organizing, if you value your event then don’t make it free.

People always want to show up to events they invested in

We often hear event organizers complain about free events having bad attendance rates compared to paid events. We recently hosted two webinars; one was free, and the other one was a $5 event. Those events were both focused on sharing tips for best practices in using social media networks for events. We know that this topic has a high demand among organizers.

The free event had a turnout rate of 38%, but the $5 event had an even better turnout rate of 69%. We also received a lot of emails from people who wanted copies of the presentation or videos because they were not able to attend.

A small price does dissuade purchase

We were worried about putting a price on our webinars. We saw in our previously launched events that we had nothing to worry about. We had twice as many attendees who registered to show up on the $5 event than the free event. They saw more value in the 5$ event than in the free one.

There is this common stereotype that putting a small price on events can be cost-prohibitive. However, the results we had with our $5 event, we conclude that at this price point, it was not enough to dissuade attendance. The $5 price signaled those people that the event had value, and encouraged more people to register.

Now if you’re planning to run a free event, why not charge $5 or $10 to attend. You can give people free drinks with their ticket.

For more seminar selling tips, head over to our Seminar Marketing tips section.

Here’s a directory of the top event marketing agencies in Singapore.





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