Back to Basics - How Can You Make Money with Virtual Events?
Oct 3, 2018 10:38:00 AM
Content may be king, but for many virtual event producers, it’s all about the money. Whether you are a demand gen marketer with a big pipeline goal or a media company trying to monetize your audience, virtual environments can open up a world of new ways to put dollar signs front and center.
One of the most popular applications for a virtual event platform is the marketing conference, often called a virtual summit. Hosts invite prospects and customers, capture their details during registration, and assess their interest by monitoring their activity during the live or on-demand event—all with the ultimate goal of driving more opportunities into the pipeline, resulting in increased revenue for the company.
At the point of registration, demand gen marketers can claim new leads and tag current customers who are prime for upsell. Once an individual visits the virtual environment, their ranking goes up with every presentation they attend, datasheet they download and video they watch.
The draw for prospects is the content—usually live presentations from thought leaders, evangelists, or product experts. Keeping the content focused on your customers’ goals is critical, as a pure product pitch can drive attendees away. To offer product knowledge, you can include rooms or booths dedicated to specific products, like a solution hall, where visitors can dig deeper into product details. Hosting live staffing hours for each booth can be a great way to qualify prospects further, and each room can include a specific call to action where attendees can request a meeting to learn more.
Engaging prospects with content and company representatives is a proven way to guide them through the buying cycle, and virtual events can offer incentives to increase the engagement. A leaderboard can track activity and provide points to attendees, and top point earners can win prizes at the close of the event. This is an excellent way to direct attendees through the environment and towards the content that’s most important to their buying decision.
Once the live online event is over, marketers have a wealth of details on each attendee. These new leads are passed to the sales team, which gets a full picture of what information was most interesting to each prospect. With the right follow-up plan, these qualified leads can quickly turn into sales opportunities.
Smart marketers know that if they can drive a solid audience, there are other companies who will also want to connect with the same people. Media companies that routinely monetize their audiences leverage sponsor revenue in a big way, as do demand gen marketers who want greater reach for a lower cost.
Sponsorships come in all shapes and sizes. The most typical model is to offer “booth space” just like at an in-person event. Sponsors have a dedicated area of the virtual environment where they can host live chats alongside all types of content. This is a great way to showcase thought leadership, specific product solutions, new products, and more. Booths often include an introductory video, and company representatives can be available for live 1:1 connection. Hotspots can also link to demo requests or prospect surveys.
Outside of booths, sponsors can get exposure through signage (again, just like an in-person conference). Virtual events are even better than physical ones, as “real estate” isn’t nearly as limited. You can offer an exclusive sponsorship to the networking lounge, with large signs promoting and linking to the premier sponsor, or you can simply add rotating banners to promote multiple sponsors. If you want to cover your “walls” with sponsor logos, go for it! Any room or space can accommodate a sponsor sign.
You can add even more value—and generate even more revenue—with live or on-demand presentations in the auditorium. Allow select partners or sponsors to upgrade their involvement in your event with an opportunity to be front and center on the agenda. If they share the right content, there is no better way to connect with event attendees.
Other ways to involve paying companies include sponsorship of leaderboard prizes, hosted chats, the attendee briefcase, the post-event survey, or even a pre-event incentive for attending live. And, of course, attendee activity is tracked, so sponsors can receive all the details their sales reps want.
All of the above can be mixed and matched to create different packages at different price points, allowing event producers to attract more sponsors and increase their bottom line from every virtual event.
Virtual events offer so many ways for event producers to make money, but the benefits go far beyond the immediate financial payoff. An online event can help you gain brand recognition and showcase your thought leadership. You can also create richer customer connections, build a partner ecosystem, and simply create some buzz.
All these benefits also help your bottom line, meaning they, too, can help you make more money. So, what are you waiting for? The virtual event experts at 6Connex would love to talk about how you can generate more money for your business.
This blog is part of our “Back to Basics” series, designed to help you learn the fundamentals of virtual events and environments. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out, and soon you’ll be a virtual event expert.