There are plenty of ways to generate revenue from live events, such as ticket sales and sponsorship, yet how do you do the same with virtual events?
The events industry has seen an explosion in virtual events in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic taking an astronomical blow to the live event industry, yet many people are still confused about how to make money from them. Virtual events can, in fact, drive just as much revenue as live events and a little creativity can go a long way. We’ve put together our guide to commercializing your virtual event.
One of the greatest benefits of virtual events is their truly global reach. With many businesses worldwide working hard to reduce their carbon footprint, virtual events are a viable option that saves costs on travel and ultimately precious time away from the office. Much like you would sell tickets to a live event, the same can be done for virtual events. If you have a rich content program and plenty of opportunities for networking and doing business there is no reason why people wouldn’t want to pay for a ticket to your virtual event, much like they would with a live one. Some organizations choose to sell different priced tickets based on the experience offered. Such as VIP tickets to unlock a workshop with a big named speaker, for example. Taking events virtual is a great way to grow your reach.
The exhibiting model used at live events across the world can easily be replicated virtually to commercialize your event. Exhibitors can be given a profile, where they can be visible in terms of adding company details like a logo, website, and contact information along with brochures or documents. Exhibitors can include videos on their profiles and have their delegates listed, making it easy to video call them directly through the platform. Having the possibility to chat or video call them directly from the platform makes it easy for the attendees to talk to the exhibitors and lowers the barriers to get in touch.
While you may have to charge all exhibiting companies the same fee instead of the staggered charges you would have at a live event for stand size and position, it can still be a great way of generating revenue.
There are plenty of opportunities for sponsors of virtual events, making sponsorship a viable option for commercializing your virtual event. A tried and tested model is to categorize sponsors as gold, premium, or silver. They can be offered video slots in the main program or sessions, much like TV commercials, lasting 2-3 minutes. Interested businesses could also sponsor breakout sessions or networking streams or be an overarching sponsor of the whole event. Selling advertising space on your virtual event website or event newsletter and other comms will also bring in extra revenue.
As with all events, there are going to be people that are unable to attend. Uploading recordings of your virtual event program to your website and making those recordings accessible only to paying subscribers is another great revenue stream. Subscribers will appreciate the opportunity to watch or listen to the speakers they missed. Recordings can be placed behind paywalls on your website or sent directly to subscribers via email. You could allow people access to all sessions for one set fee or separate sessions that might be beneficial to them using a pay-as-you-go model. You could also decide if they get to keep that content or if it expires after a certain period of time.
Just because an event is virtual doesn’t mean it can’t be profitable. Virtual events can drive just as much revenue as in-person events.