The Glisser team pinned her down to share her thoughts on how to generate revenue from events other than standard sponsorship. From the pros and cons of charging for delegate tickets, right through to revenue opportunities before and after your virtual event, here’s what she said...
“Delegate revenue is a hot topic of debate right now - and quite rightly so.
Charging delegate revenue is a really difficult decision to make for a lot of event organisers, and it really depends on what your event is…
Is it a commercial conference? Is it a commercial event at all? If it's not, you probably shouldn't be charging delegate revenue. But if it is, and there's a real opportunity to make enough revenue to warrant the time, energy and the effort that will be involved, then it's definitely worth having a conversation with your wider project team.
There's been much debate, particularly on social media, about the impact of not charging delegate revenue. Could not charging inadvertently damage your brand because the message that sends about the quality of the content of the event?
Quality plays a part of course too. If you believe that your event content is of extremely high quality, and if your market expects usually to pay for this sort of quality, then should your event be free or can you command a modest sum of money for access to it?
If you have thousands of attendees join your virtual event, and they all pay between $25 and say $100 each, then the overall impact of that can be tremendous. If you're only anticipating 100 attendees, then $25 each makes it a less attractive opportunity when you consider the workload required.
So think about the volume of people that you're going to have attending and the market expectation, as well.
Here’s something else to consider with the delegate revenue piece: If you don't charge delegate revenue then anybody can sign up. This is the joy of virtual events, and also a challenge because it can lead to dilution of the quality of your audience; students can sign up, potential sponsors can sign up, trainee level attendees can sign up too. Absolutely anybody is able to register if there's nothing to stop them, like a small delegate fee. So consider carefully the impact of not charging delegate revenue when it comes to the quality of your audience.
It's really up to you to weigh up the pros and cons of charging or not charging and taking your event goals into consideration. Every event is unique on these points so don’t be led by others, keep focused on what you and your event can and should achieve.
Wrapping up delegate revenue and moving on to the other area that I think has far more scope to grow: The opportunity to start making money before and after your event actually takes place.
Think of the build up to a major sporting event and all of the pre-event footage you would expect: interviews with the coaches, the main players, advertisements from the sponsors, upsell opportunities to purchase merchandise and so on… It’s time for event professionals to get creative, and brave, and follow the same approach.
Why not create trailers and video content to help market the event that you also get sponsored by either one or multiple sponsors. Of course you can do this after the event too by creating the wrap-up show reel including who said what and the event highlights that feature sponsors throughout. If you are on a budget, then these don’t have to be video format as you could write pre-event reports and content analysis reports that are connected to the event.
Being a sponsor of the email that goes out with the information about where to find the recordings, how to continue the conversations that you started at the event, and how to keep the learnings of the event going, is a big opportunity.
So make sure you think very carefully about what will suit your market and your attendees and crucially, what are you going to be doing anyway in the run up to the event that you might be able to get sponsored. What will you be doing before and after the event anyway that you might be able to commercialise?
Your event need no longer be a moment in time, we are no longer restricted by the brick walls of a building - digital opportunities have opened up more opportunities than we have ever had before. Allow yourselves to be creative and new revenue opportunities will emerge.”
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Vanessa is an established virtual and hybrid event professional experienced in building engaged digital communities and delivering high-quality digital content and training.
Having run her first virtual event in 2012, Vanessa has been immersed in and witnessed the scope, landscape and potential of events, training and digital content evolve. Now, as an essential part of today’s business world; she has made it her mission to facilitate event organisers, training companies and digital content providers to navigate the rapidly evolving world of virtual opportunities.
In her role as Chief Evangelist at Glisser, Vanessa is demystifying the tech that can help trainers and event organisers breathe fresh life into their work.