There’s no reason an event app needs to be a drag on the bottom line. Apps are a great vehicle to get suppliers in front of your attendees, and sponsorship fees can easily offset development costs. That’s the word from Bob Vaez, president of EventMobi, the Toronto-based meeting app development company, who spoke at the IMEX America show in Las Vegas in October. Vaez walked attendees through the variety of ways that he’s seen organizations monetize their meeting apps. Here are some of the most successful strategies:

Exclusive sponsorships. The most common and the easiest sponsorship approach, says Vaez, is to have a single sponsor’s logo and message featured throughout the app. This works especially well for smaller organizations without the resources for a large-scale sales effort.

Multiple sponsorships. The app’s banner ads, splash screens, and other advertising positions can be sold on their own or offered as an element of existing, more traditional, sponsorship packages.

Enhanced exhibitor listings. While every exhibitor typically gets a basic listing on the app, you can upsell your suppliers, giving them the opportunity to add videos, media links, staff profiles, or other customized content.

Prominent sponsor listings. Exhibitors are usually listed alphabetically, but a few sponsors can be assigned to top positions on the exhibitor list. “The top three entries will always get more click-throughs,” Vaez says.

Event notifications and alerts. In the same way meeting organizers can use an app to push out messages or updates to attendees, sponsors can purchase the opportunity to send out a limited number of messages, perhaps inviting them to a special event at their booth or reminding them of a session at which a company executive is speaking.

EventMobi’s has published a downloadable e-book on how to monetize a meeting app that includes these ideas and more, such as contests, audience-response capabilities, and location-based advertising.

One piece of advice, said Vaez, is to sell sponsors, at least initially, on the visibility the app sponsorship can give them with your audience, rather than the click-throughs they’ll get to their Web sites. An app banner ad can be compared to an advertisement in a traditional show guide or a sign in the registration area, rather than sold specifically as a lead-generation tool. Wait to see how your audience responds to your sponsors before making click-through promises.