The current global pandemic has left many of us within the live event sphere adrift. It contributed to the closure of countless businesses and the loss of numerous event opportunities, which in turn has hurt us in countless other ways. In other words, we’ve all suffered because of it – personally, financially, and professionally. However, we are resilient and resourceful as a collective, finding ways to bounce back in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.
For people like us, this has looked like moving our engagements to virtual spaces. It’s a great solution, maintaining a connection with audiences despite everything that’s been happening in the world. But monetization can be an issue when you’re so used to in-person mediums. Find yourself part of this group? Here are a few tips that I came up with for how to overcome this problem and better monetize your virtual and/or Hybrid events.https://www.linkedin.com/embeds/publishingEmbed.html?articleId=7703415364745687635
Choose to Be Interactive and Immersive:
One of the biggest rookie mistakes that people make with virtual events is treating it like – well – a virtual event. Instead of putting all the effort into interaction and connection with the audience, most simply put up a video and expect the good folks at home to stick around and watch. And while your viewers may be very forgiving, the odds of that are slim.
People get bored and need something to captivate them. So, what are you supposed to do? Just be interactive! Have a live component to your event and give people the opportunity to play an active role. Do prize giveaways, have a Q&A portion, encourage comments and participation. Whatever you do, don’t just put up pre-recorded content and expect it to do well. Remember: if you want engagement, you have to be engaging!
Money is tight for all of us right now. People just by and large don’t have the disposable income they might have once had. That makes relying on ticket sales, donations, and other audience-generated revenue far from ideal. This is why embracing sponsorships is more important than ever. With other companies or organizations at your side, you’ll be able to do more than cover your initial running costs, but also expand your reach and make an actual profit.
That sounds fantastic. How are you supposed to go about sponsorships, though?
You’ve got a few options like reaching out to already connected companies/orgs or emailing those who sponsor events similar to yours. Be smart, be courteous, and offer up a great sponsorship package and it’s sure to pay off – literally. You’ll then likely be given tons of content to playback during your event. Just make sure to pitch some original ideas as well. You can then connect with your brand, viewers, and sponsors in a more meaningful, authentic way and that always win at the end of the day.
Engage Audiences with Pre-Event Promotions
Focusing on creating dynamic live-streams and audience-oriented events is an awesome start to strong engagement and thus monetization. But you still need more than this to keep the cash flowing in. You’ll want to drum up some excitement and anticipation.
The goal is to make a big audience want to participate and tune in, pushing up ticket numbers, sponsorship opportunities, and overall income. Pre-promotions can be a major help here.
Of course, not just any pre-event promotions work. The key to successful ones is multi-channel involvement and intentional social media use, so pull on all the big names. Create separate social media accounts, develop a unique hashtag and Facebook event page, and do your best to directly reach out to people. On top of this, show other brands and sponsors you mean business. Give them more opportunities for airtime with giveaways, vacation packages, product offerings, and more.
Try to Extend Event Life and Reach
Last but certainly not least, you should try your best to extend the life and reach of your hosted event. After all, that’s one of the greatest (and admittedly, scariest) things about the internet. Anything you upload is up forever! Worrying when you think back on stupid personal posts but it’s wonderful for virtual events because you can continue to monetize them even long after they’re finished. Selling individual event or conference access is perhaps one of the simplest ways to handle this.
Upload your video to a platform that allows for a paywall and charge a few bucks. You’ll expand your reach and increase appeal amongst those who might not have been able to “attend” your live sessions. As said before, however, money has dried up a bit over the last year and a half.
Alternative ways to extend event life and reach are critical for better monetization and a good brand image.
Need guidance? Offer up group access, combine free content with paid, offer translations and captions, and create new revenue streams. Monetization will be a cinch then and your event will appeal for a long time yet. A win-win all around.
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