How to make money from virtual events
Hybrid and virtual events have been a brilliant way to continue holding events during the Covid-19 crisis – but how can you make money from them?
In 2020, audiences attended lots of events for free, and event organisers were working out how best to provide their sponsors with a worthwhile return on investment.
So, before you take the plunge, it’s worth giving serious thought to how to make your next online event profitable.
Here are some things to consider:
Consider charging people to attend your event.
You might find that people who have paid for a ticket are more likely to attend, be engaged and stick around for longer.
One option is to offer tiered ticket pricing, with each price point offering different experiences.
You could also retain a free option with basic access to help keep your event’s reach high.
Examples of experiences/added value could include:
- VIP networking opportunities with event speakers and/or celebrity meet and greets
- Ongoing access to a community so ticket holders can continue connecting with each other after the event is over
- Training opportunities or membership of an educational platform
- Receipt of event-related items or a gift in the post (perhaps in partnership with a sponsor)
- Free access to on-demand content post-event.
Use your communications to create a sense of urgency so people buy a ticket for fear of missing out.
Provide a fantastic experience
People will only pay for a ticket and/or attend the event for any length of time if it provides them with something they value.
So it’s essential to have a deep understanding of your audience and provide them with the fantastic event experience they’re looking for.
High quality content and production, big name speakers, short bursts of content over a number of days and plenty of interactivity can help hold people’s attention and increase engagement.
It’s also essential the technology you use is reliable and delivers everything you promise your audience, so choose carefully.
Put data to good use
A key benefit of virtual events is the data they provide about your attendees, for example clicks, impressions, dwell time, and engagement.
This allows you to find out exactly what it is your audience wants from your events.
It will also help you demonstrate the success of your event and return on investment to sponsors and stakeholders.
Your potential sponsors may still be learning the value of virtual events, so make the available opportunities clear to them.
It’s your responsibility to show them what’s possible by demonstrating specific options – don’t assume they understand already; if they don’t understand it, they won’t buy it.
Sponsor benefits could include:
- Involvement in communications before and after the event
- A dedicated email before/after the event
- Branded banners
- Sponsor pages with brand assets
- Product placement or a demonstration
- Sponsored sessions, Q&As
- The opportunity to speak or a seat on a panel
- Invitations to attendees to watch a sponsor video or attend a virtual meeting for an incentive (eg a raffle entry, a discount or access to free content)
- Virtual booths for attendees to visit
- Sponsored giveaways of things the audience wants to receive
- Opportunities to engage with attendees during event activities (eg games, competitions and Q&As)
- Further exposure after the event via on-demand content and ongoing community engagement.
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