Let’s face it. Attending your event is expensive. There’s travel, lodging, and registration costs plus time away from the office. Even if your event is really great, people might not attend because the costs are just too high.
You know your event offers so much value—so much education, career-advancing certifications, connection, and inspiration—that people would be foolish not to attend. Yet your numbers aren’t what they should be, and the people who do attend aren’t fully engaged. There’s a disconnect between the value you offer and the attendance and engagement you see.
What a value proposition is
A good value proposition solves problems for your members and prospects. It overcomes impositions. It clearly illustrates the benefits of your event. A thoughtful value proposition that speaks to audience pain points sets you apart from competitors. It doesn’t “tell” why you’re better. It “shows” why you’re better using concrete data points.
What a value proposition is NOT
Don’t confuse a value proposition with a tagline, slogan, brand mark or conference theme. While these feel-good items can help you brand and market your event, they don’t show value or ROI. Similarly, a “Why Attend” letter that summarizes benefits and conference offerings is not a value proposition. This piece might come close to addressing your value, but chances are it lists too many “things” like sessions and networking opportunities. These things are not compelling enough to offset the costs of attending. You need more value.
Elements of a value proposition
If all this sounds a bit daunting it’s because you’re starting to see just how important a value proposition is to the success of your event—and to the sustainability of your organization. But don’t worry.
There are only three main elements to a good value proposition:
- Advantage statement. Concisely state how people will benefit from attending your event. Be specific. If you have hard data, such as improved sales, money saved, and customers gained after attending, your value prop will be that much more compelling.
- Substance claim. Tell people what you have to offer, to whom, and why. This will reinforce your value to members and quality prospects. At the same time it will weed out people who aren’t a good fit.
- Hero image. The human brain processes images better than text. Create a unique visualization of your advantage statement to grab attention and encourage action.
To cover all the elements above, you have to ask the right questions. There is no substitute for knowing your target audience.
Here are a few sample questions to get you started:
- What are attendees trying to get done at their jobs?
- What obstacles keep them from getting it done?
- What do you offer that will remove their obstacles or alleviate pain points?
- What gains or benefits will they achieve by attending your event?
The answers to these questions will not only improve the way you market your event. They will also help you provide a valuable event experience that meets audience needs, solves their problems, and removes obstacles to their success. In other words, they will help you deliver on the promises in your marketing and fuel engagement at your event.
Have you M.E.T. me?
Your members and prospects spend Money, Time, and Effort to attend your conference, and they expect to see real value in return.
As you begin to craft your value proposition, consider these three questions your audience might have:
- Money: Does the value I gain exceed my out-of-pocket costs of attending?
- Effort: Is it worth the effort of leaving the office and traveling cross-country?
- Time: If I show up and be present, will I be rewarded for my time?
If your conference value proposition does not answer these three questions with a resounding YES, then who will attend your event and engage with your organization? If you can’t demonstrate in your marketing that your event has measurable ROI, then people won’t come. If they do come, they won’t be present and engaged.
How to gauge engagement: The phone check
Your event attendance and member engagement are directly related to your ability to demonstrate your event’s value. Look around the conference floor at your next event. If you see too many people on their phones, it means they’re not engaged with you. Instead, they’re engaged with their technology. They are not present, and they won’t retain any of the information your events provides.
People engaged with their phones can’t see the value in your event (even though they were compelled to register and attend). You’ll have a hard time convincing these people to give up their money, effort, and time to attend next year. Your event—and your organization itself—will not be sustainable if people aren’t engaged. Your value proposition is the place to begin remedying this situation.
Need a value prop? We can help!
Rottman Creative has developed a series of questions to identify your audience needs and how your event will meet them. Once you answer the questions, we can help you develop a value proposition to prove the ROI of attending. Contact us today to get started.
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