4 Easy Ways To Monetize Your Virtual Events
Live streaming is booming. According to Grand View Research, the video streaming market size is expected to expand to $184.27 billion by 2027. And more people are streaming daily shows. IAB’s Research found that 70% of consumers who live stream do so at least once a day.
What does this all mean? For starters, virtual events are a growing market with tons of opportunities for you to stake your claim. And as demand grows and more people watching more live streams, the probability of finding your audience is higher than ever before.
While the virtual events industry shows promise, monetizing your live events may not be as clear or easy to do.
What do you offer and how do you actually get paid?
In this blog post, I’ll answer these questions. I’ll share four ways for you to monetize virtual events and give you five tips to help make your event as successful as possible.
But first, let’s define virtual event monetization.The video streaming market size is expected to expand to $184.27 billion by 2027. Click To Tweet
What is a virtual event monetization?
Virtual event monetization is the process of hosting a live virtual event and generating revenue by offering a product or service that your audience purchases. Revenue can be generated in real-time or after the event, depending on how you structured your offer and sales process.
For example, you could use a live event to advertise a new product range and offer a special discount. During the event, attendees gain access to your product range via a special sales link along with the discounted offer to purchase your product for a limited time.
Four ways to monetize your virtual event
Selling your product is a great way to monetize virtual events but it’s not the only option.
As webinar and conference strategies go, monetizing live video successfully is all about offering value. As you’ll see, each of the four strategies offer a clear value proposition to attendees, making them effective ways to generate revenue for your brand. Let’s dive in and take a look at some easy ways of making virtual events profitable:
- Pay-per-view your event
- Sell a product or service (with examples)
- Recommend affiliate offers
- Sponsorships and partnerships
Selling your product is a great way to monetize #VirtualEvents but it's not the only option. Click To Tweet
1. Pay-per-view your event
Pay-per-view live streaming is based on a ‘pay for entry or access’ model. Your event becomes the attraction that provides the value that brings attendees in. To experience what you have to offer, attendees pay a price and are immediately granted access to your live event.
The pay-per-view model is successful because it’s one that many people are used to. It originated in the 1970s when cable television networks introduced it as a way for audiences to watch live broadcasts. And it’s worked for everything from large sports events to concerts. Today, you can use the exact same model to broadcast your virtual event to the world.
2. Sell a product or service
Selling your product is often the most lucrative option. You keep more profit, especially if you offer a digital product.
What if you don’t have a digital product? The following sections will show you how to monetize your virtual event with other people’s products. And if you want to sell your own product, and aren’t sure how to go about creating one, I’ll cover that in the tips section further below.
Here are some examples of products you can produce and sell.
Sell an eBook
Package valuable information that your audience is after. Your eBook can be on any topic but it’s best to keep it aligned with what your live event is all about.
For example, if you run a digital marketing agency, your live event could be about tackling five challenges businesses experience when trying to grow their brands online. Your eBook would hold solutions, making it perfect for your audience.
Sell an online course
Introduce a course for sale and ensure that it’s packed full of value for your audience. Like an eBook, selling the idea for course to attendees is best done by identifying common challenges. With challenges clearly identified, you can offer the course as a solution, one they have unlimited access to.
The topic can be anything that resonates with your audience and you can offer thought-leadership and credible advice on. To take the course one step further, allow attendees to take a test at the end to get certified. For example, if your target audience is sales professionals, you could offer a presentation skills certification course.
Harmon Brothers used this approach during a live interview with DigitalMarketer. Harmon Brothers is well-known for its amazing viral ads. They share that anyone can learn how to create amazing ads that sell by attending Harmon Brothers University.
Offer membership site access
Offer members access to a video-on-demand site where they can watch virtual events for a monthly fee.
Running a membership site may seem like a slog but it’s not. Today, there are options available that make creating a membership website not only possible but easy without the need for computer programming skills or specialized IT knowledge.
Most platforms also come with built-in billing features, allowing you to charge customers for access to your content too.
Take Patreon, for instance. It’s a platform where you can provide access to exclusive content for paying customers. Content can range from live videos and recorded content to articles, podcasts, and more.
Uscreen is another powerful alternative. It is an OTT platform provider (Over-The-Top) that allows clients to create membership tiers for access, and build a streaming site that drives sales. A site where members can stream live events (via web and branded mobile & TV apps) and other gated content.
Offer early access or an exclusive experience
Early-bird access to a feature or service, or an exclusive product demo can be effective ways of not only cashing-in on a virtual event, but also building hype around an upcoming offering. Although this might make more sense in some sectors than in others, granting early access to a software feature or piece of content can hit two birds with one stone.
You could also set up an event series: Those who attend the first event get invited to the related min-event, for example, an exclusive product demo, fireside chat, or private Q&A session.
During the latest Back To School webinar hosted by 10to8, for instance, attendees could get an early sneak-peak into a coming-soon feature, as well as received an invitation to a limited seat demo.
Sell physical products
Have a physical product? Creating an amazing offer for your audience is a great way to sell it during your live event. You can offer anything from clothing to machinery and even consumable products.
To sweeten the deal, you could offer discounts, limited edition packages, or bundled products.
3. Recommend affiliate offers
Don’t have a product of your own to sell? No problem. Find affiliate products and services aligned with your audience. Offering affiliate products is easier than it sounds. Affiliate marketing often gets a bad reputation because some marketers force products on audiences. They also do little to share why the products they recommend are great or how they can help.
However, when done right, affiliate marketing can be a powerful addition to your virtual event strategy. To make affiliate products work for you, it’s best to give an honest review of the recommendations you make.
Take the time to learn about the products or services you plan to pitch during your live event. Figure out how they work, what the features and benefits are, what guarantees or warranties they come with, the level of support customers receive, and gather testimonials that prove what you’re recommending really works.
If the affiliate model sounds like one that may work for you, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get started with it.
4. Sponsorships and partnerships
Find brands with complementary products or services that appeal to your audience or that are aligned with your event topic, and who are willing to pay for getting in front of your audience’s eyeballs.
But don’t limit value to just your sponsor or partner. Create an incentive for your audience; Structure a deal that they can benefit from to make it worthwhile for everybody.
Five tips for maximizing your virtual event monetization strategy
While monetizing your virtual event can be as simple as providing a sales link and a really great offer, you’ll need to do some solid planning before going live. To help, here are five tips you can use to produce an amazing event. We will cover:
1. Package value
Most people struggle to create events they can monetize because they don’t know how to package value. While “packaging value” may seem like a vague concept, it’s all about offering your audience something that is truly useful for them.
And that’s the challenge, understanding what to offer.
To solve this problem, think about translating what you do into information that you can sell. The information you sell must be exclusive or hard to find, making it valuable to your audience.
For example, an accounting firm can host a live event on how to prepare your business books for the tax season, a complex task. To monetize the event, the firm could charge a fee for access (pay-per-view) and make a special offer to prepare customer books for a discounted rate.
The same principle applies to creating an eBook, selling a course, or access to a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) membership website. Package information that your audience would not have access to or have to pay a premium to get their hands on.
2. Plan your agenda
While the idea of a live or virtual event may sound spontaneous, it’s not. Your event has to be planned meticulously to be successful. Develop an agenda with every point that must be covered during the broadcast.
Document everything from your welcome message to when you’ll have intervals (if any), and also create time for any questions from your audience. Be sure to dedicate time monetizing your event. Know when you will make an offer, how long will spend talking about it, and how many times you’ll mention it.
3. Build anticipation
The key to hosting a large live event is generating a lot of buzz around it. I recommend promoting your event as far as a month in advance. Sure, it sounds like a lot of work, and possibly overkill, but think about the last time you wanted to see a movie you were really interested in.
Studios start sharing teasers with audiences as much as a year in advance of a movie’s release date. And as the production of the movie continues, studios continue to share more details and trailers that help generate buzz and anticipation for the release date.
By treating your live event the same way, you’ll be able to get your target audience excited about what you have to offer, making them not want to miss your event.The key to hosting a large live event is generating a lot of buzz around it. I recommend promoting your event as far as a month in advance. Click To Tweet
4. Promote your event far and wide
To get the word out about your event utilize as many channels as possible. Use social media, your website, trade publication websites, email marketing, and more. Also, dedicate some budget to paid advertising if you can allocate a few bucks. While it may seem like a bit of a gamble, paid advertising is an investment as it can help you reach your target audience faster than organic content.
5. Be sales-ready
Ensure your sales machine is ready to take orders. Test links, make sure your offers are attractive, have your team on standby to field any queries, and if you’re taking payments, make sure you’re able to process them.
It’s a wrap!
Virtual events are a smart way to generate revenue and they are well within reach for businesses, no matter what industry you’re in. But to monetize your virtual event, and do so successfully, you must plan. Create an offer that’s aligned with your audience, set a powerful agenda, promote your event far and wide, and be ready to make the sale.
If you do it right, such events can be the next big thing in streamlining sales for your business.
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Amir is the Digital Marketing Manager at Uscreen, an all-in-one video monetization and OTT platform provider that empowers video entrepreneurs and creators to monetize their content and build thriving businesses around their videos.
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