Virtual Event Monetization: 9 Ways to Make Money Hosting Online Events

March 16, 2021

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Live events were a substantial source of revenue till the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020. Today, almost a year later, rather than waiting for live events to resume, event marketers are taking over the digital platform to host their events so that the audience can attend them right from home. If you are planning your next virtual event, Stova provides end-to-end meeting and event management solutions that can be used to create engaging virtual experiences.

The digital transformation push brought about by the pandemic has presented a host of opportunities for event marketers. But the statistical data collected by Event Manager Blog on online events reveals shocking information that 32.8% of event organizers are still not monetizing their virtual events and just hosting them for free.

Image Source: Event Manager Blog

Hence, we have created this comprehensive guide on monetizing virtual events to help event marketers and organizers realize their virtual events’ full potential.

1. Sell Premium Tickets

One of the simplest ways smart organizers can make money hosting virtual events is by providing limited free access to the event and encouraging attendees to purchase an All-Access Pass to view the entire event. Event marketers can also get creative and monetize their virtual events by establishing separate ticket packages at different prices. Some of the common categories to can consider are:

  • Early Bird Access
  • VIP Access o Membership Pass
  • Single-Day Pass o Multiple Day Pass
  • Group Packages

Such a tiered ticketing strategy can allow the organizers to make money with virtual events and collect specific attendee data based on the category selected to send out targeted follow-up marketing and promotional deals after the event.

2. Provide Sponsorship Opportunities

Like in-person events, virtual events also provide several opportunities to make money hosting events through sponsor recognition. Jim Sharpe, the CEO at Stova, recommends marketers think outside the box and go beyond standard sponsor packages that involve mentions on the registration page and events website. Marketers can build sponsor visibility through:

  • Social media channels
  • Rotating ad banners that endorse breakouts
  • Online exhibit halls
  • Gamification with sponsor messages

Event hosts can also include expert roundtables or sponsored host sessions and promote them through multiple channels like push notifications and email marketing.

Recommended Resource: Online event promotion requires strategic marketing and planning. Learn the best way to promote a virtual event that builds interest and engages attendees. Read our blog post: 5 Ways to Successfully Promote Your Virtual & Online Events.

3. Sell Digital Lead Capture to Event Exhibitors and Sponsors

Event marketers should think beyond collecting the event attendee data used to determine the event’s success. Marketers can further make money selling this data to sponsors. You can do this by requesting attendees’ consent to be contacted by event exhibitors after the event. Stova provides a virtual booth tool that allows sponsors and exhibitors to directly connect with leads, conduct one-on-one video conferencing and convert them into qualified opportunities.

4. Sell Ad Spaces on Virtual Event Website

Similar to sponsor packages, you can also sell your ad spaces to generate revenue as you will be getting much traffic on your registration page and event website. The best strategy to benefit from ad revenue is by running those most relevant ads for your event. However, if you don’t have enough time, you can also use Google AdSense to generate revenue.

To understand which of your online marketing campaigns are driving the maximum traffic to your business and event website you should utilize an advanced tracking option that allows you to keep track of your efforts.

That’s where UTM parameters come into play. By tagging your URLs with UTMs (Urchin Tracking Module), you can understand how your visitors interact with your event website and which marketing campaign drives maximum traffic for you.

5. Sell Merchandise and Event Swag

Virtual events are an excellent platform to sell your products and services. You can sell event swags and branded merchandise through a virtual trade show that is an online page that allows attendees to make hassle-free purchases. You can also integrate your existing online store into the presentations to allow attendees to browse products without leaving the event.

6. Order Bumps and Upsells

Event organizers can also monetize by offering additional products to attendees when they are purchasing the event pass. It can be easily done by prompting add-on products that the buyer may be interested in purchasing and asking them to check a box before they complete the order. If the buyer has already purchased the event pass, you can automatically redirect them to an upsell page that prompts them to review other products they might want to add to their order. The add-on products you can promote during order bumps and upsells can include your existing products or something you have created to complement the virtual event.

Recommended Resource: Wondering how to measure your event’s value and return on investment? We get into the details of measuring event ROI, different attribution models, and top the top virtual event metrics and KPIs you should be tracking. Read our blog post: Event ROI: How B2B Marketers Measure Return on Event Spend?

7. Networking Opportunities

One of the key reasons people attended live events was because they provided a great networking opportunity. Event organizers can still offer this networking experience to attendees and make money with virtual events by setting up an online portal. Several virtual events hosting software includes features for chat and calls. You can offer networking tiers to the attendees to monetize your events. For example, during the event registration, you can charge attendees extra to join the networking portal to send direct messages to other attendees or have two-way video chats.

8. Affiliate Commissions

Another great event idea to make money is through affiliate commissions. If you are featuring any affiliate products, tutorials, or software during your virtual event, then you can become an affiliate partner for the company and promote your affiliate link during the event. If the attendee purchases a product through your affiliate link or registers for a free trial, you can enjoy immediate commission.

9. Sell On-Demand Content

Organizers and marketers do not need to restrict themselves to just the virtual event days to generate revenue. You can make money even after the event has concluded. Scheduling conflicts may prevent some attendees from making it to the event. Organizers can capture the entire virtual event or conference broadcast and sell it through on-demand access to those who could not attend it the first time around. You could use self-serve portals where visitors have to pay to access a particular piece of content. If you have pre-existing recordings from an event that has occurred in the past, you can also sell access to these videos and audios to generate revenue.

These are all the ways you can monetize virtual events. Even if not all the strategies work for your industry, remember that it will only take a few to improve engagement and drive significant revenue.

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