As pc/nametag's in-house Word Wizard, Meaghan creates educational content that brings people together and drives meaningful conversations in the events industry.
Reader’s Note: The following guest post is provided by Sarah Hill, a content writer at Seven Events Ltd, a leading event management company offering event management and venue finding services in the United Kingdom. With 10+ years of experience in the events industry, Sarah is passionate about sharing her insight on corporate event planning with readers. pc/nametag would like to thank Sarah for her contribution to the Tag Talk blog.
Most event management professionals would agree that live events are a huge source of revenue and exposure for all businesses involved. While in-person events will always have their place in the events industry, corporate virtual events and hybrid events continue to gain popularity as a way to meet ever-changing attendee needs.
Virtual events and hybrid events are a growing market with many opportunities to help planners expand their audience, form connections, and improve the ROI of their event marketing plan. To ensure your next online event meets your financial goals, read on to find four best practices on using virtual event monetization to earn revenue while hosting your event.
1. Secure event sponsors through sponsorship opportunities.
Just like event sponsors provide a healthy revenue stream during live events, the same can be said for virtual events too. However, many event organizers tend to miss out on this opportunity, assuming sponsors can't play a part in online events. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Corporate virtual events provide various sponsorship opportunities, allowing you to monetize online events. For starters, prior to the event, you can display sponsor brands in all your communications and promote them through your social media channels. Moreover, during the virtual event itself as well, there are several ways to promote your sponsors.
Event marketers can build sponsor visibility through the following tactics:
- Allowing high-level sponsors to either name or create an awards category related to their brand.
- Feature sponsor ads and products before the virtual event and on popular content pages
- Rotate ad banners displaying sponsors' brands or products throughout the event
- Share sponsors' content on the event’s social media channels
- Use gamification and other audience engagement tools to display sponsor messages
- Create an immersive online exhibit hall where sponsors and virtual attendees can interact
- Allow sponsors to target attendees through personalized push notifications
- Provide a variety of channels that allow buyers and sellers to connect
- Allot time for sponsors to promote their businesses while speaking directly to attendees
- Provide sponsors with key attendance reports and event insights that could prove useful in their own research and future campaigns.
Make sure you choose the right sponsors that align with your organization’s message and values. Next, come up with several event sponsorship packages to offer to potential sponsors for your next virtual event.
2. Offer paid access or limited free access to your virtual event.
Some event management companies may assume that only live events can charge attendees an entry fee since there are physical space limitations and other costs associated with hosting the event. The same, however, can also be said for virtual events (just in a different way).
Even though these events are held online, they can still feature paid access or limited free access. Attendees can pay for the event, and in return, they will receive exclusive log-in details that will allow them to participate in the event. The key is to market the event properly to make sure there is enough demand for the tickets to cover the expected costs of the event.
When planners charge for access to an event, they must ensure that programming meets attendees' expectations. If your team does not want to keep the whole event paid entry, consider doing a combination of paid and free features. For instance, if it is a conference, make one speaker's session free to attend, and then have attendees pay to access the remaining sessions.
Want to add a unique touch to your event? ⭐
Create a curated gift box that's unique to your brand, then offer it as an "early bird" sign-up incentive or as a reward for purchasing a premium ticket. This is a great strategy for encouraging attendees to upgrade their ticket purchase, while also offering useful event-branded promotional products.
3. Extend the date, time, and reach of the event to span multiple days.
One of the best things about virtual events is that you don't necessarily have to limit it to one day or even one location. There are no space limitations or even huge costs for extending the event days.
Therefore, you can easily schedule the event to take place over several days and continue monetizing it. You can continue selling the tickets for each day, depending on if you want to offer full access or partial access.
Another strategy is to strike a deal with different sponsors for different days to increase sales. Depending on the type of event, access can be sold to different organizations and institutions as well, who sometimes purchase access for their employees or members of the organization.
- TIP: Over the course of your online event, track performance metrics and attendee behavior patterns. Not only will this help you draw key event insights, but it will also help you market the event to the right audience with the right personalized content. This way, you can attract a larger audience.
Using the same insights, you can even curate content for existing attendees to sell access to future events or content within the same event. Finally, you can also further monetize the event by expanding its reach globally. You can add subtitles or translate the event into different languages to promote the event in different locations as well.
4. Use affiliate marketing to get paid for referrals.
Like sponsorships, you can also monetize your event through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing involves earning money by promoting an organization’s products or services. Commission is earned every time you help the organization drive a sale or gain a new website visitor.
If you are featuring or promoting a product or service during your online event, consider becoming affiliate partners with the organization you are featuring. This way, any time you show their products, put on a demonstration, or give a tutorial and someone makes a purchase using your affiliate link, you can earn a commission from that sale.
If you have not yet participated in affiliate marketing, now is the perfect time to take advantage of this unique revenue stream. The more affiliate content you publish or promote during your event, the more chances of commission you have, and the more you can monetize your event.
Make Your Next Digital Event a Success
While virtual events may seem drastically different from live events, they do offer just as many monetization opportunities to help you establish a revenue stream, not just for your organization but also for sponsors and exhibitors.
While not every event has a goal to make huge profits, monetization is a great way to recoup a portion of costs, while also building brand awareness and forming connections with event sponsors. Make it a goal this year to explore new ways to monetize your events, improve virtual attendee engagement and drive revenue.
What strategies do you use to monetize online events? Leave a comment below.
- 9 Ways to Increase Virtual Event Attendee Engagement
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- The Guide to Securing Virtual Event Sponsorship and Donors