Before the pandemic, live events, conferences, seminars, and trade shows were traditionally a significant revenue driver. However, as everything pivoted to virtual, most events became free, and planners and organizers lost a large source of income to cover costs.
Now, as live events return, virtual – and hybrid too – will continue to hold a meaningful position in most organizations’ overall strategies.
But as planners increasingly adopt both virtual and hybrid strategies to increase their audience reach, the “fee or free” option becomes a fundamental question to address. After all, how can you charge for in-person attendees but not remote participants?
If you are looking to increase revenue from your next events, weather they are virtual, in-person, or hybrid, here are six ways to get started:
1. Build your game plan
Before you can develop a strategy to increase revenue, whether your event is large or small, in-person or digital, it starts with strategy.
These are a few questions to get started planning how to increase revenue from your events:
- What are your goals? Is it education, networking, selling, social, or something else? Is the goal to be profitable or just cover costs?
- Who is your audience? What challenges do they face now, and how has it changed since the pandemic? Are they in locations where travel restrictions may be a factor? Or do they work in an industry – like healthcare – where the last two years have taken a toll? Who usually paid the registration fee? Would they be their companies, or from their own pocket?
- What other events are competing for their attention? Are they in-person, virtual, or hybrid? How will you differentiate your event from others?
- What KPIs do you want to track beyond revenue?
2. Determine ticket pricing
As events moved online, most organizers and planners focused on building an audience and driving registration, and lessons learned from in-person event ticketing options took a backseat.
With virtual and hybrid events, there are numerous ticketing options available, which can be priced at different tiers:
- Virtual attendee at a virtual event
- Remote attendee at a hybrid event
- In-person attendee at a hybrid event
- Group discounts
- Virtual, hybrid, or in-person VIP tickets with special perks specific to each format
3. Repurpose event content
There’s a big benefit of virtual and hybrid events: sessions are easily recorded and repurposed into other content. The same applies for live events too. For example, once a speaker’s keynote address or small workshop is captured on camera, you can use the footage in various ways.
You can sell access to any of the content captured for an additional revenue stream:
- On-demand content for virtual event attendees
- On-demand content for people that didn’t come to the virtual or hybrid event
- On-demand content for in-person and remote delegates at a hybrid event
Even if delegates attended, some will buy on-demand content to refresh their memories and watch sessions they couldn’t get to. You can charge for all on-demand content as a bulk purchase or price specific, popular sessions.
The sky’s the limit for using repurposed content to expand event revenue. Start small with a pilot program and see the audience’s appetite for purchasing.
4. Extend special offers
Beyond using tickets and on-demand content to generate revenue, look for other opportunities to raise revenue. For example:
- Offer specific-topic masterclasses to purchase from event speakers, which could be provided before, during, or after the event.
- Invite attendees to book mini-consulting sessions with experts at a fraction of the typical cost
- Provide VIP-specific activities and sessions, such as preferred seating for keynotes, small AMA post-sessions with speakers, or exclusive “birds of a feather” networking sessions
Consider providing anything with additional value beyond the event content. Some ideas will appeal to attendees, and some will not. Especially if you’re extending special offers for the first time, finding out what resonates with attendees and the investment they’re willing to make is a learning process.
5. Partner with sponsors and exhibitors
Working with sponsors and exhibitors offers another way of making money for virtual and hybrid events. Partnerships can be used instead of a paid ticket strategy or as an additional revenue stream.
But instead of giving partners traditional levels to pick from that may include options that don’t align with their goals, build a custom package. Virtual and hybrid events offer new elements for sponsors and exhibitors to leverage and add revenue to your event.
Start with a discovery call to learn more about their objectives and tailor a package designed to support their desired outcomes. This approach is generally a win-win: partners and attendees receive added value, and organizers boost income.
6. Invest in audience engagement
Whether virtual, hybrid, or live, the key to any successful event is audience engagement.
But don’t expect attendees to engage on their own. Instead, give them ways to get involved, such as polls, surveys, puzzles, and quizzes during each session. Invite them to collaborate and brainstorm. Or provide creative networking opportunities.
Engaged audiences enjoy themselves more, get more out of each session, and are more likely to view the host and the event experience positively. And those good feelings are likely to translate into additional revenue opportunities – whether it’s purchasing access to on-demand content to rewatch favorite sessions, spreading the word about the fantastic experience to attract new possible attendees, or expanding their usage of your company’s solutions.
Even if you can’t tackle all these ideas at once, starting with one or two has the potential to make a positive impact on your virtual and hybrid event revenue. And remember: event-associated income can come from other forms too: leads generated, authority built, brand awareness created, and more.
Learn how ConnexMe can make your virtual, hybrid, and in-person events successful by increasing interactivity, engagement, networking, and collaboration.