There are no free lunches in the world; a corollary to this could be nothing given for free is ever valued. It holds true in majority of the situations. In particular to the case of events, free events don’t work out for various reasons but the biggest reason is that they more often than not taken for granted.
We are talking about micro events such as a startup event, a talk by an expert, a flea market or a festival. These micro events are an opportunity to inculcate brand recall in the minds of the audience at little cost.
While trends suggest that currently most of such events are free but studies depict otherwise. It has been found that charging a minimum fee for the event actually reduces the no-show rate. Free events might not be a good idea after all!
If you try to fit into your target audience’s shoe, you will realize that it is simple psychology. For instance, if we see any of our friends “attending” or even “interested” in a Facebook event, we also RSVP for the same event. Or even if something catches our fancy we immediately click “going” or “interested” we don’t even look up to see if it is really meant for us. It’s free and we don’t we want to miss the chance we just RSVP on it. What happens some time later is that firstly, we don’t even remember we are “interested” in that event. Secondly, we usually show interest at the spur of the moment, that decision doesn’t really hold the same value some hours later. Third and most important point, we haven’t bought a ticket to it so we don’t really have the same commitment to the event as opposed to say a movie or an event on which we have spent some money.
Buying a ticket, even if it is just Rs 100-200, takes the interest to a whole new level. If at the first go the attendee is showing that much commitment to an event that he/she goes through the process of buying the ticket online then the chances of them actually attending it also multiply.
While event organizers might feel that putting a cost to attend will discourage the attendee that is not always true. If you really believe in the value of the event you must not make it free. If you want to give your audience some incentive you can always put frills to that event.
For instance, Koove.com recently held a ‘De-clutter sale and flea market’ in association with Explara. The ticket to the event was Rs 100 which was redeemable inside on eatables as well as shopping. The event was a huge success.
Having a minimum fee to attend also attracts serious attendees since even if the price is as low as 50 bucks, none of your target audience who isn’t really interested in it will buy ticket. Once you have shown value to your end users, you can also gradually increase the ticket price for the event and grow the brand equity. In this manner, your micro events will grow into medium to large scale events in time.
Explara’s ‘Communities’ is very similar to Facebook or Meetups where organizers can add events to relevant communities. Say for instance, you are hosting a talk show at Social, then you can create the event on Explara and link it to multiple communities namely – Person community (your speaker), Event community (Church street social), Experience community (startups in Bangalore) and more. Now you can simultaneously target members of these 3-4 communities and have a cross-sectional reach for your micro event. These communities are a perfect place to host your micro event. Since these are focused, niche communities it won’t be a problem for you to find serious buyers for your micro event.
In conclusion, as an organizer your focus should be to provide your potential attendees value for that Rs 100 that they will spend to attend your event. Making it a paid or a free event should not even be the question, the focus should be on giving them full value for that amount.