Making money – or at least generating enough money to break even – from an event has long been a goal for many event organizers and planners.
And the expanded audience reach brought about during the shift to virtual and now hybrid due to the pandemic has created additional revenue opportunities.
But besides traditional ticket sales and sponsorship level offerings, what are other ways to generate more event revenue?
Here are seven fresh ideas and best practices for monetization to try:
Ticket Classes or Tiered Ticketing
Tickets are generally the first and most important tool for generating event revenue. Mix up traditional ticketing strategies by offering different ticket classes.
For example, create a sense of FOMO by allowing a limited number of tickets for those “first-in-line” to buy and then move to another higher-priced ticket tier once those are sold out.
Or create group ticket bundles. Many corporations, agencies, and other large organizations are looking for ongoing training and education opportunities and will purchase blocks of tickets.
You can also offer higher-priced tickets that provide additional value for participants, such as exclusive access to select sessions, content resource giveaways, or post-event access to session recordings or other assets.
And, of course, everyone likes to feel like a VIP. Offer more value for an attendee’s purchase – thereby making them feel special – with enhanced ticket options such as:
- Extra sessions with exclusive content that only VIPs can join
- VIP-only networking opportunities
- Special access to you, your guest speakers, or your cohosts (such as a private networking session)
- A one-on-one personal coaching session
- Priority seating (for large, in-person events)
- Early access to reserve hotel rooms (or the ability to book in a preferred hotel)
- Special offers for your services or courses
- Extra gifts in their swag bag or a unique virtual box delivered in advance of the event
Set-Up Affiliate/Referral Incentives
Turn your partners and audience into an extension of your sales team. Affiliate links are commonly used in online shopping, which can be applied to monetize additional revenue from events too.
For example, put in place an incentive structure that rewards those who help attract other registrants. Create and share affiliate links that sponsors can use in their promotions, and any event ticket purchases are automatically tracked by the affiliate program. Or, as part of the checkout process, registered attendees can receive a unique link to share with their network that offers a special discount. You can also run a contest, and anyone who recommends and drives the most additional registrations can win a special prize.
Offer Premium-Only Content
Among the best ways to make money from events is to offer premium-only content, which doesn’t necessarily have to be merely for premium-ticket holders.
Premium content can be purchased on-demand — before, during, and after the event — and should go in-depth about a topic touched upon at the event. Include different kinds of content (e.g., videos, webinars, e-books) to entice all learners (e.g., auditory, visual, interpersonal).
For example, you can offer:
- An audio or video series. (Consider creating the first one specifically for the plane or car ride home.)
- PDF/eBook/guide/worksheet to help them implement something learned at the event.
- Access to something you have behind a paywall, such as a membership site, online mini-course, etc., that offers ongoing support or the next natural step to the information shared in your event.
Premium-only content can also be a selling point for exhibitors and sponsors-to-be and help you get sponsorships for your event. For example, if the content is related to a sponsor’s product or service (e.g., a masterclass) and is downloadable or indefinitely accessible, a sponsor’s visibility doesn’t end with the event.
Create Shoppable Moments
Online shopping and e-commerce are booming, so why not adopt shoppable moments in your events to double down on revenue strategy.
Whether at your in-person event, or part of a virtual or hybrid event, set up a dedicated online shop for attendees to browse and make purchases that contribute to your event’s revenue. Promote the store through QR codes posted on-site or online or links shared in the virtual platform chat.
Showcase related products and services available to purchase from you and your sponsors/partners. If you’re feeling a bit creative, outfit your shop with branded event merch. Just make sure you have payment and delivery options in place to offer a seamless shopping experience.
Attendees will appreciate the ease of making purchases, sponsors will appreciate the additional exposure, and your bottom line will receive a boost.
Try Tradeable Assets
There has been quite a bit of buzz about NFTs (non-fungible tokens). NFTs are unique digital tokens stored on a blockchain. Once they are created on the blockchain, they can be sold to customers digitally. Customers then store NFTs in a secure wallet accessible on any device.
With additional security, event organizers are eyeing NFTs to stem potential issues with fraudulent tickets. But the rise of several high-profile and expensive NFT sales opens the door for several more creative event applications – which can also be used to boost event revenue.
For example, NFTs might become the go-to swag bag gift, like Consensus used in 2019. Their swag bag included tokens that were “good for” physical objects like t-shirts and digital assets – and the value for recipients increased dramatically over the last several years.