5 Ways to Make Money with Virtual Events
Virtual events are hotter than ever as the live streaming industry continues to boom in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as in-person events resume, virtual events remain relevant because they provide greater accessibility to fans both near and far. In fact, 92% of companies continue to host virtual events.
Like in-person events, you can monetize virtual and hybrid events in a variety of ways. What’s unique about virtual event monetization is that it’s flexible and highly customizable—a win-win for event organizers, their sponsors, and everybody else involved.
With that said, here are five practical ways to make money from virtual events.
Ticketing is the most common way to monetize events. With in-person events, you simply sell physical tickets to charge an admission fee for your event. For virtual events, ticketing can be made just as simple by using a video streaming platform with monetization capabilities.
Just like in-person ticketing, you can create multiple ticket tiers for virtual events. Giving fans the option to purchase higher-tier tickets to attend virtual pre-shows, meet-and-greets, afterparties, and other special events not only increases the event’s value but also diversifies your revenue streams.
You can also promote and sell tickets for several weeks or months ahead of your event to maximize your viewership. One way to incentivize buyers to make a purchase and generate hype for your event is to offer early bird pricing for those who buy their tickets by a specific date.
Sponsorships are a tried and true way to make money from virtual events. This monetization method allows brands to pay for exposure and access to your audience.
Digital sponsorship can include a variety of brand showcases, from product placement to customized sponsor pages.
Like ticketing, many events have tiered sponsorship options. Typically, sponsorship opportunities include a main sponsor’s branding on just about every aspect of the event, but there can also be smaller sponsorship options.
For example, some event sponsors only buy placement on the event’s social media profiles, while others buy placement on merchandise and more. Getting creative with how you position your sponsorship tiers will better entice brands to partner with you.
Another sponsorship option that is unique to virtual and hybrid events is gamification. You can open sponsorship options for in-stream games, trivia, and other point-based activities.
If you host virtual events on a regular basis, subscriptions are a great option. Allow viewers to pay a recurring fee for unlimited access to all of the online events you host. This is great for sports leagues, entertainment companies, and other organizations that have recurring events.
What’s nice about subscriptions is that you can keep it simple for predictable, recurring revenue, or you can get creative with tiered subscription options. For example, a higher-tier subscription can provide access to live events and on-demand replays. It could also include exclusive access to additional events.
Like ticketing, offering subscriptions is made possible with the support of an online video platform with subscription support. You can promote your subscriptions with content marketing, paid ads, email marketing, and any other distribution channel that works well for your brand.
4. Live Commerce
Selling merchandise is quite standard at in-person events, and thanks to live commerce, it’s possible to carry this monetization method over to virtual and digital events as well.
Live commerce, also referred to as “live selling” or “live shopping,” is a technique that enables brands and creators to sell items directly in-stream.
Some streaming setups actually support e-commerce checkout flows directly in the video player. This seamless shopping experience has many benefits over merchandise sales in person. Not only can viewers skip the long merchandise stand lines, but they can often access a wider range of products.
An artist on tour, for example, can only bring so many items from location to location. When you sell merchandise with live commerce, you can sell a larger quantity since your inventory is being held in an off-site location.
5. Tipping and Donations
Livestreaming culture, especially on platforms like Twitch, has made way for another monetization method that is unique to online events: tipping. This virtual event monetization method requires the support of a streaming platform with specialized tipping tools.
With tipping, participants can give as much or as little as they want. It enables viewers of greater means to pay you more if they wish to do so.
Tipping tools can also be used for charitable events that are looking to collect donations since the open-ended nature allows donors to be as generous as they please.
Another major appeal is the social aspect of tipping. Some platforms have leaderboards that show who tipped and how much, so the highest-tipping viewers appear at the top. Leveraging these tools can help you tap into your fans’ competitive sides, which ultimately makes you more money.
Monetize with Maestro
Event planners can use a combination of a few or all of the methods we’ve described to create a well-rounded event monetization strategy.
Using a variety of video monetization techniques is a great way to give your supporters more ways to pay. As you craft your monetization strategy, keep your target audience in mind and make decisions based on how your supporters will best respond to maximize your success.
With Maestro, you can access all the tools you need to activate the monetization strategies we’ve discussed above. Sign up for Maestro to see how these tools can help you reach your virtual event goals.
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