How to monetize your virtual events in 2024

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Matt Francis - Founder at Cloudpresenter
Post by
Matt Francis
Last updated :
March 4, 2024
 | 20 min read

Throwing money into a dark black hole is not something anyone would want to do intentionally. But when you host virtual events without earning a dime, it feels like wasting money and time.

While it's easy to sign up for free software and start hosting virtual events, there is still much to learn about out how to realise a financial return for your time and efforts - before you even start thinking about making a profit.

According to recent research in the event marketing space, around 32% of organizers do not earn revenue from their virtual events.

Since there are no physical spaces for exhibitions and sponsor booths, many people in the traditional event-planning business struggle with how to make money from virtual events. Here we look at this in more detail and provide some valuable guidance for when you're planning your next virtual event.

What is virtual event monetisation?

Virtual event monetization refers to generating revenue from online events through various means, such as ticket sales, sponsorships, advertising, merchandise sales, and premium content offerings.

Strategies may include charging attendees for access to live-streamed conferences, workshops, training courses, or performances and leveraging virtual platforms for targeted advertising or brand partnerships. Additionally, monetization strategies may involve offering exclusive perks or experiences to paying participants to enhance engagement and drive revenue streams in the digital event space.

Why should you monetize your virtual event?

Monetizing virtual events is important for several reasons. Firstly, it enables organizers to cover hosting costs, such as platform fees, speaker fees, and marketing expenses, ensuring the event's sustainability.

Secondly, it provides an opportunity to generate revenue and potential profit, which can be reinvested into future events or used to grow the organization. Additionally, monetization can enhance the quality of the event by allowing for investment in higher production values, technology upgrades, higher profile speakers, and more engaging content. Finally, monetization incentivizes organizers to deliver value to attendees, sponsors, and partners, fostering long-term relationships and continued support for future endeavors.

Proven ways to monetize your virtual events

#1: Sell tickets to your online event registration

Selling premium tickets is one of the best ways to monetize events. In today's events business, event ticket sales still hold great value across many industries and geographic locations. If you have been buying or selling tickets in the physical event management and marketing space, the same approach can be used in the virtual world of business events.

However, achieving success through this revenue stream depends mainly on the speakers, event content, and the reputable brands behind them. In addition to these essential factors, you must choose the types of virtual events suitable and attractive enough to charge money.

One beautiful thing about virtual events is that potential attendees can buy tickets online and participate from anywhere, which makes them more inclusive whilst allowing the event organiser to broaden and increase their audience.

Regarding virtual event monetization, a big part of the success or profitability depends on promotional efforts. Hence, it would help to plan for sufficient time to promote the event and get potential attendees to buy the tickets.

Bearing that the target audience may belong to different segments, creating different ticket packages is another essential strategy to get maximum sales. If you choose this option to monetize events and increase revenue, you should consider creating the following types of tickets.

  • Discounted early bird access
  • Single-day or single-tickets
  • VIP membership access with premium perks
  • Group participant packages for corporate organizations

Depending on the goal of the event and target audience, your sales team can create different packages tailored to different segments.

#2: Create a virtual event sponsorship package

A niche-targeted audience with real purchasing power is a great asset in today's business world. And many people are beginning to realize that the same value they get from offline events is also derivable from virtual events.

But then, you don't have to spend months or years building an audience you can monetize in the future. That's why discerning business owners and marketers often look for event sponsorship opportunities across many industries.  

Just as it happens within offline, in-person events, you can create sponsorship packages and get some brands to be part of your long-term marketing strategy. Perhaps creating the packages is the easiest part. The hard part is getting people to pay money to sponsor your virtual events.

If you are the event planner, it's in your best interest to go after potential sponsors selling valuable products and services that will benefit those who made time to attend your next virtual event.

However, generating revenue from the sponsor's budget requires planning to give them proportionate or higher value in return.

Think of how you can sell sponsored speaker slots and ad placement within the recorded event that you'll share with other attendees after the day of the live event. As noted earlier, the most important thing is to make the value propositions and pricing of the packages clear enough for potential sponsors.

#3: Host free event and sell affiliate products relevant to your event topic

Though it's possible to sell event registration tickets in a virtual world, the ubiquitous availability of free events and premium content that doesn't cost money means that many people are usually unwilling to pay for what they may get for free. Regardless of the limited people of people willing to pay for virtual event tickets or sponsorships, you can still build an audience with free events and explore other ways to generate revenue. One of the best ways to do this is affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based strategy where businesses reward affiliates for driving traffic or sales to their products or services through unique referral links. Affiliates promote these offerings through various channels such as websites, social media, or email, earning commissions for successful conversions. It's a symbiotic relationship where affiliates leverage their audience and marketing skills to generate income while businesses expand their reach and boost sales.

During and after your live event, you can sell relevant products or services related to your event in exchange for a sales commission. Given the digital nature of unique affiliate links, tracking the sales generated through your event-related promotional efforts is easy.

Again, it's essential to ensure a tight alignment between the interest of your event attendees and the affiliate products you want to sell. Moreover, it would help if you didn't forget to make affiliate disclosures at the right time.

#4: Sponsored email advertisements

From desktop to mobile devices, the number of people reading emails has continued to increase across different industries and geographic locations. Consequently, many marketers in the event industry are waking up to the value of email marketing channels. As a testament to this fact, one research report published inside Hubspot revealed that 46% of all email opens now happen on mobile devices.

Depending on how you decide to create your monetization offers, you sell sponsored email ads separately or pair them up with other sponsorship packages.

The beautiful thing about email channels is that you can create unique, long-term automated promotional packages that sell the sponsor's products or services long after the live event. In this case, you should consider offering a 7, 30, or 90-day automated promotional sequence that delivers real value to the sponsors of your virtual event.

To get the best results in terms of email marketing, it is essential to choose a virtual event software that supports multi-platform integrations. With such a platform, you can explore advanced email automation for your event sponsors and other promotional efforts.

#5: Promote peer networking events within virtual breakout rooms

Networking with like-minded people is why many professionals often pay for event registration. However, creating or finding interactive networking opportunities among peers within an industry is relatively more complex in the virtual world. But now, you can leverage virtual event platform features like breakout rooms and interactive live chat to create opportunities for potential attendees.

Because of the tendency to pay for events solely for networking opportunities, there is a chance that a percentage of your attendees might be willing to pay as well. Another angle to look at is that people who pay for event tickets may also consider paying extra fees for exclusive, peer-to-peer networking.

And that's what you can create with virtual breakout rooms.

To some extent, the level of interactive discussions and networking within the rooms depends on the features of the virtual event software you are using. Most importantly, having a moderator and setting out ground rules of engagement will determine the value your audience will get from the networking experience.

#6: Sell access to recorded premium event sessions

Regardless of how perfect your virtual event strategy and promotional efforts might be, a sizable number of registrants with genuine interest in your value propositions will not be able to attend the live sessions. We understand that life happens and obstacles often get in the way.

Besides using a post-webinar email sequence to re-engage these people, you can package the recorded live sessions and sell access to them.

Just in case you are wondering why some people care enough to buy access to the premium event content?

Well, the reason is very obvious.

Those who registered but didn't attend had a genuine interest in the topics and content. The main thing is to make the content and presentation as attractive as possible. Consider leveraging the speaker and sponsor reputations to attract more people to the content sales landing page. Once again, you can use automated email sequences to promote and sell the recorded content.

Conclusion

If you have been attending free webinars for a long time, there is a tendency to think that virtual event monetization is impossible. On the other hand, people who have paid for or purchased a product through virtual events will likely have a better idea of how it works.

Regardless of where you stand in the spectrum, the reality is that people like you and businesses like yours are making good money from virtual events.

What we have given you here is a foundational guide on how to monetize virtual events. Even if you decide to host free events for your target audience, you can use one or more suitable strategies like affiliate marketing or sponsored email advertisement to generate revenue. Ultimately, committing to a few monetization experiments might help you uncover some untapped revenue-earning opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do virtual event platforms work?

Virtual event platforms are online tools that facilitate hosting events, conferences, or meetings in a digital environment. They typically offer features such as live video streaming, interactive chat rooms, virtual exhibit halls, and networking functionalities. Attendees can access these platforms via web browsers or dedicated applications, engaging with content and other participants remotely.

Why should you consider sponsoring virtual events?

Sponsoring a virtual event offers a unique opportunity to reach a global audience without the constraints of geographical boundaries. It enables companies to showcase their products or services to a diverse and engaged online community. Additionally, virtual events often provide measurable data on attendee interactions, offering valuable insights for future marketing strategies.

What are the benefits of virtual breakout rooms?

Virtual breakout rooms facilitate smaller group discussions, fostering more intimate and interactive participant engagement. They allow for focused collaboration, brainstorming, and problem-solving within designated topics or activities. Moreover, virtual breakout rooms can enhance networking opportunities by enabling attendees to connect with like-minded individuals in a more personalized setting.

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virtual events, hybrid events and webinar platform - cloudpresenter
March 4, 2024
How to monetize your virtual events in 2024
Virtual events can attract an unlimited number of viewers. But did you know that virtual events can also drive revenue? Learn how to monetize your virtual event with these 6 tips.
Matt Francis
Founder

Table of Contents

Throwing money into a dark black hole is not something anyone would want to do intentionally. But when you host virtual events without earning a dime, it feels like wasting money and time.

While it's easy to sign up for free software and start hosting virtual events, there is still much to learn about out how to realise a financial return for your time and efforts - before you even start thinking about making a profit.

According to recent research in the event marketing space, around 32% of organizers do not earn revenue from their virtual events.

Since there are no physical spaces for exhibitions and sponsor booths, many people in the traditional event-planning business struggle with how to make money from virtual events. Here we look at this in more detail and provide some valuable guidance for when you're planning your next virtual event.

What is virtual event monetisation?

Virtual event monetization refers to generating revenue from online events through various means, such as ticket sales, sponsorships, advertising, merchandise sales, and premium content offerings.

Strategies may include charging attendees for access to live-streamed conferences, workshops, training courses, or performances and leveraging virtual platforms for targeted advertising or brand partnerships. Additionally, monetization strategies may involve offering exclusive perks or experiences to paying participants to enhance engagement and drive revenue streams in the digital event space.

Why should you monetize your virtual event?

Monetizing virtual events is important for several reasons. Firstly, it enables organizers to cover hosting costs, such as platform fees, speaker fees, and marketing expenses, ensuring the event's sustainability.

Secondly, it provides an opportunity to generate revenue and potential profit, which can be reinvested into future events or used to grow the organization. Additionally, monetization can enhance the quality of the event by allowing for investment in higher production values, technology upgrades, higher profile speakers, and more engaging content. Finally, monetization incentivizes organizers to deliver value to attendees, sponsors, and partners, fostering long-term relationships and continued support for future endeavors.

Proven ways to monetize your virtual events

#1: Sell tickets to your online event registration

Selling premium tickets is one of the best ways to monetize events. In today's events business, event ticket sales still hold great value across many industries and geographic locations. If you have been buying or selling tickets in the physical event management and marketing space, the same approach can be used in the virtual world of business events.

However, achieving success through this revenue stream depends mainly on the speakers, event content, and the reputable brands behind them. In addition to these essential factors, you must choose the types of virtual events suitable and attractive enough to charge money.

One beautiful thing about virtual events is that potential attendees can buy tickets online and participate from anywhere, which makes them more inclusive whilst allowing the event organiser to broaden and increase their audience.

Regarding virtual event monetization, a big part of the success or profitability depends on promotional efforts. Hence, it would help to plan for sufficient time to promote the event and get potential attendees to buy the tickets.

Bearing that the target audience may belong to different segments, creating different ticket packages is another essential strategy to get maximum sales. If you choose this option to monetize events and increase revenue, you should consider creating the following types of tickets.

  • Discounted early bird access
  • Single-day or single-tickets
  • VIP membership access with premium perks
  • Group participant packages for corporate organizations

Depending on the goal of the event and target audience, your sales team can create different packages tailored to different segments.

#2: Create a virtual event sponsorship package

A niche-targeted audience with real purchasing power is a great asset in today's business world. And many people are beginning to realize that the same value they get from offline events is also derivable from virtual events.

But then, you don't have to spend months or years building an audience you can monetize in the future. That's why discerning business owners and marketers often look for event sponsorship opportunities across many industries.  

Just as it happens within offline, in-person events, you can create sponsorship packages and get some brands to be part of your long-term marketing strategy. Perhaps creating the packages is the easiest part. The hard part is getting people to pay money to sponsor your virtual events.

If you are the event planner, it's in your best interest to go after potential sponsors selling valuable products and services that will benefit those who made time to attend your next virtual event.

However, generating revenue from the sponsor's budget requires planning to give them proportionate or higher value in return.

Think of how you can sell sponsored speaker slots and ad placement within the recorded event that you'll share with other attendees after the day of the live event. As noted earlier, the most important thing is to make the value propositions and pricing of the packages clear enough for potential sponsors.

#3: Host free event and sell affiliate products relevant to your event topic

Though it's possible to sell event registration tickets in a virtual world, the ubiquitous availability of free events and premium content that doesn't cost money means that many people are usually unwilling to pay for what they may get for free. Regardless of the limited people of people willing to pay for virtual event tickets or sponsorships, you can still build an audience with free events and explore other ways to generate revenue. One of the best ways to do this is affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based strategy where businesses reward affiliates for driving traffic or sales to their products or services through unique referral links. Affiliates promote these offerings through various channels such as websites, social media, or email, earning commissions for successful conversions. It's a symbiotic relationship where affiliates leverage their audience and marketing skills to generate income while businesses expand their reach and boost sales.

During and after your live event, you can sell relevant products or services related to your event in exchange for a sales commission. Given the digital nature of unique affiliate links, tracking the sales generated through your event-related promotional efforts is easy.

Again, it's essential to ensure a tight alignment between the interest of your event attendees and the affiliate products you want to sell. Moreover, it would help if you didn't forget to make affiliate disclosures at the right time.

#4: Sponsored email advertisements

From desktop to mobile devices, the number of people reading emails has continued to increase across different industries and geographic locations. Consequently, many marketers in the event industry are waking up to the value of email marketing channels. As a testament to this fact, one research report published inside Hubspot revealed that 46% of all email opens now happen on mobile devices.

Depending on how you decide to create your monetization offers, you sell sponsored email ads separately or pair them up with other sponsorship packages.

The beautiful thing about email channels is that you can create unique, long-term automated promotional packages that sell the sponsor's products or services long after the live event. In this case, you should consider offering a 7, 30, or 90-day automated promotional sequence that delivers real value to the sponsors of your virtual event.

To get the best results in terms of email marketing, it is essential to choose a virtual event software that supports multi-platform integrations. With such a platform, you can explore advanced email automation for your event sponsors and other promotional efforts.

#5: Promote peer networking events within virtual breakout rooms

Networking with like-minded people is why many professionals often pay for event registration. However, creating or finding interactive networking opportunities among peers within an industry is relatively more complex in the virtual world. But now, you can leverage virtual event platform features like breakout rooms and interactive live chat to create opportunities for potential attendees.

Because of the tendency to pay for events solely for networking opportunities, there is a chance that a percentage of your attendees might be willing to pay as well. Another angle to look at is that people who pay for event tickets may also consider paying extra fees for exclusive, peer-to-peer networking.

And that's what you can create with virtual breakout rooms.

To some extent, the level of interactive discussions and networking within the rooms depends on the features of the virtual event software you are using. Most importantly, having a moderator and setting out ground rules of engagement will determine the value your audience will get from the networking experience.

#6: Sell access to recorded premium event sessions

Regardless of how perfect your virtual event strategy and promotional efforts might be, a sizable number of registrants with genuine interest in your value propositions will not be able to attend the live sessions. We understand that life happens and obstacles often get in the way.

Besides using a post-webinar email sequence to re-engage these people, you can package the recorded live sessions and sell access to them.

Just in case you are wondering why some people care enough to buy access to the premium event content?

Well, the reason is very obvious.

Those who registered but didn't attend had a genuine interest in the topics and content. The main thing is to make the content and presentation as attractive as possible. Consider leveraging the speaker and sponsor reputations to attract more people to the content sales landing page. Once again, you can use automated email sequences to promote and sell the recorded content.

Conclusion

If you have been attending free webinars for a long time, there is a tendency to think that virtual event monetization is impossible. On the other hand, people who have paid for or purchased a product through virtual events will likely have a better idea of how it works.

Regardless of where you stand in the spectrum, the reality is that people like you and businesses like yours are making good money from virtual events.

What we have given you here is a foundational guide on how to monetize virtual events. Even if you decide to host free events for your target audience, you can use one or more suitable strategies like affiliate marketing or sponsored email advertisement to generate revenue. Ultimately, committing to a few monetization experiments might help you uncover some untapped revenue-earning opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do virtual event platforms work?

Virtual event platforms are online tools that facilitate hosting events, conferences, or meetings in a digital environment. They typically offer features such as live video streaming, interactive chat rooms, virtual exhibit halls, and networking functionalities. Attendees can access these platforms via web browsers or dedicated applications, engaging with content and other participants remotely.

Why should you consider sponsoring virtual events?

Sponsoring a virtual event offers a unique opportunity to reach a global audience without the constraints of geographical boundaries. It enables companies to showcase their products or services to a diverse and engaged online community. Additionally, virtual events often provide measurable data on attendee interactions, offering valuable insights for future marketing strategies.

What are the benefits of virtual breakout rooms?

Virtual breakout rooms facilitate smaller group discussions, fostering more intimate and interactive participant engagement. They allow for focused collaboration, brainstorming, and problem-solving within designated topics or activities. Moreover, virtual breakout rooms can enhance networking opportunities by enabling attendees to connect with like-minded individuals in a more personalized setting.

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