A Guide To Making Money with Virtual Events

making money with virtual events


Live events provided a substantial revenue stream for businesses during pre-pandemic days. That income stream quickly dried up once COVID-19 arrived and social distancing regulations shut down any service deemed non-essential. Compounding the issue is the randomness of outbreaks threatening to destroy your careful planning with unpredictable lockdowns.

Fortunately, it is possible to transfer live event forums by planning virtual events as a substitute. However, taking your monetization strategies to a virtual platform will require adjustment. When monetizing your virtual event, you will want to replace as much of your income stream as possible with online equivalents. A few obvious obstacles will include:

  • Replacing the revenue from the rental of physical square footage and display booth equipment.
  • Encouraging ticket sales by convincing prospects an online event can provide as much value as a physical forum.
  • Is it even worth it to monetize an online event.?
  • Selling tickets to an online event.

Use these tips to help you overcome many of the revenue-generating challenges when using a virtual event platform.

#1 Sponsorship Deals

Software designed for planning virtual events provides a dedicated section where sponsors can promote their organization and conduct live chats with your attendees. This feature goes a few steps beyond just posting a display ad on a registration page. Essentially, this virtual event format replaces charging sponsors for a booth where they would have engaged with foot traffic.

Other strategies you can use when planning virtual events that will deliver value to your sponsors’ endorsements include promotions on social media, online exhibits, rotating ad banners, and sponsor gamification such as quizzes, raffle draws, and contests.

Sponsors could also increase their value to your audience by hosting expert roundtables to discuss their products and services in-depth.

Enhance your sponsors’ visibility with displays of their branding during the presentation, or broadcast a sponsor’s pre-recorded message during a break in the session. Sponsors could also provide compensation for a guest speaking role.

#2 Charge for Lead Capture Services

Your business won’t be the only one that will get value out of capturing data on your leads and attendees, which opens up the potential for you to sell their data to your sponsors.

Naturally, you will need to operate ethically by offering new leads and registrations an opt-out option. Good software for planning virtual events includes these facilities as part of their package.

If your virtual even format supports it, you could also offer the option for sponsors to connect directly with attendees during a breakout session.

#3 Sell Virtual Ad Spaces

All attendees using your virtual event platform to register as an attendee will be visiting the registration page, making it a highly-trafficked location suitable for a targeted advertisement from one or more of your sponsors.

Sponsors are not the only source of advertising revenue you can access. Google Ads and similar PPC advertisers are also a great option if the page will experience a lot of traffic. When set up correctly, these services will serve only relevant ads your audience is interested in.

Another page on your virtual event platform you can use to generate extra revenue will be your landing page, as many of your leads will visit this page on their way to registration.

Don’t forget the value you can gain from the data you collect from your advertising campaign. Recording visitor engagement with your ads will help you make your next event an even more successful one.

#4 Tiered Ticket Pricing and Upsells

Depending on your virtual event format, different tiers on your ticket prices can help you maximize your earnings. People who might not be interested in the complete package may only be interested in hearing from one or two of your presenters.

As pricing tiers go up in price, your attendees gain access to more advanced benefits, such as more time at the event, access to a broader range of speakers, or the ability to attend a live Q and A session with the speakers after the main event.

Premium ticket options could also give attendees the ability to download the video recordings or access a text transcript a few days after the event, so they have permanent access to the material. Recorded material is also an excellent option for those who may not have attended.

Once you have a library of recorded material, your merchandise shop could include digital content packages from previous events, which will be an attractive option for many of your attendees who may be visiting for the first time.

#5 Event Merchandising

Merchandise and swag provide an excellent opportunity to earn extra revenue for your online event and create more exposure for your brand. You could sell physical products such as hoodies, t-shirts, water bottles, caps, face masks, or anything else that will carry your logo.

Other ideas you could consider might include selling subscriptions, discounts, and online memberships when planning virtual events. If you plan to host another online event soon, you could sell pre-order tickets at a discounted price to generate some early interest.

Post display ads at various intervals during each presentation to let viewers know that merchandise is available. You can show an opt-in box that will transfer the attendees directly to the merch store once the presentation concludes.

Use your merchandising option to give back to the community by donating the profits from your merchandise to charity or selling for a charity directly. This is a great way to generate goodwill for your company and enhance your branding in the community.

#6 Sell Networking Opportunities

A principal motivation for many attendees to any event is the potential for profitable networking opportunities. An online virtual event platform will have the capacity to offer this feature as a chat or video conferencing service. Networking opportunities could be offered as an upsell, so only those who have paid the premium can access the networking portal and send direct messages to other attendees, speakers, or sponsors.

#7 Earn Affiliate Commissions

An affiliate commission is a payment you earn from selling another company’s product or service. The great thing about affiliate sales is that the buyer pays the same market price as anybody else, but the seller will pay you a small percentage of the sale should an attendee make a purchase after clicking your link.

You will need to sign up to become an approved company affiliate. You are also required to disclose your affiliation in a prominent location on your website to comply with FTC regulations.

You can use a simple text link to post an affiliate offer or run banner ads or videos to attract sales. Many companies offering affiliate programs will provide the graphics and text you can use, but make sure you are always aware of their terms before posting their offers on your site.

The more your affiliate offer aligns with the content delivered by your event, the more commissions you are likely to earn.

The above ideas are just a few of them you can use to help you generate extra revenue for your next virtual event and take some of the sting out of not being able to host at a physical location.

Not all the strategies will work for your specific virtual event format, but most good virtual event platforms will streamline the processes involved.