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It can be difficult to determine if your audience will support your event in the same way if you require a fee in order to participate. This is a huge concern for new companies who are looking to gain exposure and weighing the costs of additional visibility for the long term vs profitability in the short term.

Here are some tips to help you choose if your event should be a free or paid event.

– Free vs Paid Event

First of all, who is your audience? Remember that just because you make an event free today does not mean that they will remember you tomorrow. There is something to be said for turning a profit so that you can remain solvent for the people who really enjoy your products and services. The first thing to do is to determine if your audience is worth putting on a free event for. Most of the time, successful free events are done after an audience has supported a company so much that it has excess capital, not before.

Determine if a free event is the best way to market to your audience. There are plenty of low cost ways to advertise, including making a viral video, blogging and charity work around the community of your target audience.

Second, what is the true cost of making your free event? Are you blowing your entire marketing budget on it? What do you expect it to bring back to you in terms of conversion? Just because your event is free does not mean that you do not require something for the participation. In most cases, events that are created in order to increase visibility will require some sort of personal information that can be used in the future to market to that person.

If you have a legitimate way to gather information that has the potential to pay off for your company in the future, then you may consider having a free event as a marketing tool. If not, you should go back to the drawing board on your entire marketing strategy.

Third, what sponsors can you gather while making your free event?

Free event means that it is free to the public; it does not necessarily mean that it is not paid for. If you have a viable audience that another business may want to capitalize on, you may be able to draw that company into a sponsorship that will relieve you of some of the financial burden. In this case, you should take full advantage of the partnership and gather information on the new people that you are sure to come across. Have employees pass out surveys and be sure that you leave with pages of emails for future marketing. Get permission from people to opt them into your mailing lists. Make them do it right in front of you on their smart phones.

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