It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning a live comedy night, a digital marketing conference or something else – there are plenty of ways to monetize your virtual event.
Let’s get stuck straight in.
How to monetize a virtual event
Make it paid-entry, or offer paid upgrades
The most obvious way to monetize your virtual event is to make it paid entry. But there are more than one ways to do this.
If you don’t like the idea of the entire event being paid-entry, you can offer a mix of free content and paid upgrades.
For example, if you were running a digital workshop, you could run a free basic session, with the option for attendees to pay to access an additional seminar with one of your speakers.
Or if you were running a music event, you could make the main gig free, but sell tickets to an additional acoustic session with a Q&A with the artist.
The Covid Arms has a smart solution for their comedy gigs. They have a low-price ticket for the audience to access the livestream of the show, and then a higher-priced ticket to be on the “virtual front row” and to join via a Zoom link. This means they can allow all the “front row” to engage in the usual heckling and two-way audience banter we’re used to at live comedy venues.
Work with sponsors
Partnering up with sponsors is one of the most lucrative ways to monetize a virtual event.
The process involves finding relevant brands or organisations to pay to get involved with your operation. They’ll get some publicity out of it, and you’ll get some money in your back pocket.
We have an article on getting sponsorship for an event, which might be useful to read. But the main things to think about are:
Finding a sponsor/s that closely aligns with your event and your brand values
What you’re going to offer the sponsor in return – will you give them a space to speak at your virtual event? Or display their branding on all of your communications? It can help to draw up a few different packages to offer sponsors in the pitching process (we cover that off in this article).
Record the event, and keep on selling tickets
You don’t need to limit ticket sales to the day of the event itself.
There are plenty of ways to host virtual content, and more importantly, to sell access to it long after the original host date has passed. You could turn your event into a podcast, for example, selling it on Spotify for Podcasters or another streaming service.
Or you could use a platform like arlo to record and sell your webinar.
This can be a great option if you’re keen to run the live virtual event for free, but would also like to monetize it in some way. Plus, it gives people a chance to access your event if they couldn’t make it on the day.
Create extra content to sell
It doesn’t really matter what industry you’re virtual event lands in, there are always opportunities to utilize your unique offering by producing content to sell to your attendees.
For example, if you’re running a web design workshop, you could produce a PDF guide to working in the industry for those just starting out in it. The same goes for any other kind conference or webinar, where there’ll be plenty of scope to sell a whitepaper or piece of research you’ve produced.
Offer paid membership access
If you run regular events, one way to monetize them could be to offer paid memberships. For example, a monthly membership could give users access to X amount of webinars a month.
This can be a great way to streamline the monetization process, as you won’t have to worry about selling individual tickets for each virtual event you host.
Recommend affiliate offers
Affiliate marketing is where you recommend someone else’s products for a commission. So if people buy those products, you get some of the money.
Doing this during a virtual event can be a great way to up your profits. But you should always make sure you’re completely transparent about the fact the products you’re offering are part of a promotion.
It’s also important to only recommend products you genuinely feel comfortable getting behind – obviously it’d hurt your brand if you pushed below-par stuff!
One of the event mantras of the past few years has been that virtual events aren’t going anywhere. If you can find a way to monetize yours, there’s no reason they can’t form a reliable income for you. Good luck!
PS. We’ve also got an article on making an in-person event more profitable >