Ways to make your virtual events profitable

Post by 
Karen Ashwin
Published 
June 16, 2021

Before the COVID19 pandemic live events, exhibitions, conferences and seminars were a major source of revenue. Now, virtual events are the new normal. While most are still free, monetizing them will become necessary to make them sustainable. To Fee or Free will be less of an option with the rise of hybrid events. After all, how can you charge in-person guests but not your remote attendees?

If you know it is time to monetize your virtual events, here are nine ways to make your next one profitable:

Invest in an event platform

A feature rich virtual event management platform will give you the ability to sell tickets, create tiered access packages, process payments, manage RSVPs, control access to sessions and meeting rooms, and capture leads. It’s also at the heart of creating an engaging and immersive experience for online guests. Your event management platform enables your guests to join remotely, attend speaker sessions, visit your virtual showroom, engage with your content, and network with one another all in one place. 

Attract more people at a lower price point

The beauty of virtual and hybrid events is that they are considerably more scalable with fewer barriers to participation than in-person events. Registration fees for virtual events are about 30 to 45% lower than in-person but your potential reach is huge. Recognise that people won’t pay the same amount to attend online as they would in-person, and keep your registration fee at the lower end. Marketers and planners have seen a 50 to 70% increase in event registrations because of increased accessibility and reduced ticket prices.

Create tiered access packages

Offer multiple packages based on the access level to your event content. Keep some sessions and activities open to everyone, while restricting access to exclusive sessions and content. People are willing to pay to see quality content and the privilege of engaging with top calibre speakers and presenters. For instance, you can sell view-only tickets at a lower price point than tickets that allow guests to participate in live discussions and Q&A sessions. You could also consider offering limited free access to your event, early-bird discounts, single and multi-day passes, and group packages. 

Develop sponsor opportunities

As with live events, there is potential to generate revenue for your virtual and hybrid events through sponsorships. Think about opening speaker slots and Q&A sessions to sponsors as promotional opportunities. You can also get creative about building sponsor visibility through social media, email campaigns, mentions on your registration page and website, banner ads, online exhibit halls, gamification with sponsor messages, and placement in virtual swag bags. Digital tracking tools make it easy to monitor and measure reach and engagement to show your sponsors return on investment.

Sell on-demand content subscriptions

Your content is valuable. Why give it away for free? Selling subscriptions to on-demand content is a way to continue generating revenue from it long after your event is over. Publish videos, presentations and webinars to an on-demand platform where subscribers, whether they’re back for an encore or missed your event the first time, can pay to access the pieces of content they want to see. Obviously, you’ll need a post-event marketing plan to keep generating interest in your content. Use emails, blogs and social media to promote your subscriptions, and be imaginative about how you repurpose and up-sell your content with other products and services to attract a wider audience.  

Invite online shopping 

Your virtual event is also an excellent platform for selling your products and services through an online store or trade show. Consider integrating your existing online store into presentations and speaker sessions, allowing attendees to browse products without leaving your event. Leverage opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell products and services via your virtual event. For instance, you could create add-on products or services that your attendees can select when they register for your event. Think merchandising and exclusive access to Q&A sessions! Your guests can simply click on and pay for the extras they deem valuable to them.  

Supply leads at a fee

One of the main reasons people attend events is to network. They come with the expectation to do business. So, it is not entirely unconventional or inappropriate to use the data-driven insights you have gained through your event marketing and registration process to connect customers and other businesses, such as your sponsors, who are willing to pay for those leads. Some event management platforms feature lead capture tools that enable sponsors and exhibitors to connect with attendees. Of course, you would need your attendees consent to be contacted. However, you will find most people are open to being contacted about products and services that are relevant to them. Ultimately, you’re saving them the trouble of seeking them out themselves.

Sell ad space

If your event marketing is on point and driving traffic to your event website, it has potential to be a revenue-spinner as an ad platform for companies that have products or services that could be of interest to your attendees. You could also use Google Adsense to display content-based advertisements on your site, allowing you to earn profit for every ad click. Programmatic advertising, which automates the ad selling and buying process, is another way to generate revenue from ad space on your site but without the hassle of selling the adverts yourself. 

Ask an expert

Since 1993, The Event Production Company has been producing in-person, virtual and hybrid events that deliver seamless, cohesive and immersive experiences. We also build the digital infrastructure, including bespoke event platforms, apps and websites. Book a call with us.


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