Companies have logo’d pens and chap sticks, memo pads and travel mugs. If you’ve been to a conference you’ve received plenty of these type item. I call these small, less than $5 items, goodies. They can be a great little treat that keeps a logo in someone’s view.Extras are a little bit bigger. An extra could be a nice fat resource list, or a set of audio files for free download. Extras cost between $5 and $25 and might be mentioned on the event website or in the brochure. They are very nice perks, but they aren’t large enough to convince someone to attend an event.
A big bonus however, might be the weight that tips someone towards attending your event. The key is to chose a bonus that is especially appealing to your target audience. For example, a speaker training conference I know of offers a professional headshot to everyone who attends. They bring in a professional photographer who accepts appointments, and by the time they leave, they have a headshot as a digital file that they can use to promote themselves. This bonus has a market value between $100 and $300, so this is definitely a big bonus for those that attend!
Another example of a big bonus is the editor meetings offered at our Blue Ridge Writers Conference. Professional and novice writers come for a four day conference at Ridgecrest every May, packed with main sessions, break out training classes a banquet and more. We also invite event attendees to sign up for time with over 20 working editors. Writers have 15 minutes to pitch a book idea, hand over a manuscript, or ask for advice or direction. Ask any writer who attends, this is the biggest draw of the conference. It’s a big bonus and it serves our event very well.
So, what should your big bonus be? What could you offer that would hold serious appeal for the community of people you will be serving? Is it a physical item? A service? A networking opportunity? If you can’t come up with the perfect item, think of three people that fit your audience profile and ask them. Dream big and be creative!
Goodies, extras and a big bonus should be woven into your event and event advertising with creativity and intentionality. Don’t do these things just because you think you should, or because they’ve been done before. Use these items and resources to serve the overall goals of your event and to equip and delight your attendees.