Even without the high cost of hiring spaces or arranging catering, hosting a virtual conference can be an expensive endeavour if you take into consideration the lost revenue on delegate fees, exhibition space venue and sponsorship associated with a live event. But there is no need to accept this lost revenue as a given, as there are many ways you can monetize your online conference to either recoup some of the losses, or even turn a profit.
So if you are looking to make the most of your event or want to know how to monetize your virtual conference, read on.
One of the most popular means of monetizing your event, even virtual conferences, is through sponsorship. With organisations and/or companies sponsoring your event, not only could your running costs be covered, it could provide a means of expanding your event’s audience, with effective sponsorship mutually beneficial.
A good way of finding potential sponsors is either to consider any organisation yours is connected to, but not in direct competition with, or research similar conferences to yours and consider the companies that are sponsoring them. Once you have identified and secured a sponsor, there are a number of ways to boost their support such as simply adding your sponsor’s logo to online marketing materials and a link to your home page.
2. Ticket sales
One of the most traditional means of monetizing conferences, and one of the easiest to set up is through direct ticket sales. Create value by offering exclusive content and provide links to your conference or zoom logins or codes, generated through successful purchasing of a ticket.
You can mix sponsorship with ticket sales to further increase your conference’s fundraising potential. For example, if you run a membership organisation, you could give members free access to your conference, paid for by the funds provided by your sponsor and, at the same time, charge non-members a reasonable ticket price to gain access.
3. Deliver an immersive showroom experience
If you want to make your virtual conference more dynamic, you can even use software to create a virtual exhibition hall where you can give your sponsor, or sponsors, a space to promote themselves to your virtual attendees. Whilst this sounds quite complicated, creating a virtual showroom can be worth the extra effort as this can make your conference far more dynamic and memorable, and also massively boost your event’s monetization potential.
Much like in a physical event, you can charge companies and organisations exhibition space where attendees can interact with them and find out about their work.
4. Utilise social media
This is an indirect way of monetizing your conference, but through raising awareness of your event on social media, you’ll be able to increase the number of ticket sales as well as engage with potential sponsors. Creating a successful social media campaign to promote your event can dramatically improve attendance, and as a subsequence, revenue.
You can do this by either creating separate social media accounts, or creating an event page on Facebook (which is a great way of both informing your supporters about the event and measuring interest) or create a Twitter hashtag in order to organically create a dialogue about your event.
Using social media also allows for other means of promoting your event through paid advertising, though this of course will increase event costs.
5. Extend the life of your conference
Did you know that you can monetize a conference even after it has finished?
For example, if one of your conference sessions was particularly popular, or offered viewers something unique, why not post recordings on video sharing sites (with the speaker’s permission of course) where you can either charge viewers to watch, or monetize via ad revenue.
This method can be particularly profitable if your event occurs annually, by using the content of a previous event to raise interest in future events.
These are just some ideas about how to effectively monetize and profit from your online event or conference. By effectively implementing one or all of these steps you may find that your next virtual conference can be an enjoyable and even profitable endeavour. Get in contact to find out how Oxford Abstracts can help with delegate registration and creating an online conference program.