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How to price and monetize your virtual events

Virtual events are here to stay, and learning how to effectively price – and perhaps monetize – them is essential if you are planning an online conference, trade show or other virtual event.

But what strategies work best? And how do you ensure that you’re offering enough value for your audience to justify the spend?

To start, it needs to be priced reasonably enough to offer value to your target audience. But also high enough to convey the value that your event provides. Most critically, your event must be priced in a way that it is able to attract an audience.

Setting the right price for your virtual event

While virtual events don’t quite offer the same type of experience as an in-person event, it doesn’t mean that you need to offer free admissions or rock-bottom registration prices.

It’s all about striking a balance.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind when determining how to price your virtual event.

1. How much are you spending?

In order to determine how to properly price your event, you must first know exactly how much you are spending.

This means creating a detailed budget and keeping a close watch on your expenses. How much are you paying for your virtual events platform? What are your marketing and promotional costs? How much are you spending for ads or on relevant influencers to market your event? What is your sponsorship revenue?

Once you have clarity of these questions, you get a better sense of how you should price your event and create a ticket pricing strategy.

Also read: How much should you budget for your virtual event?

2. Consider ticket tiers for your virtual events pricing

Boost your event’s appeal to attendees by implementing tiered pricing. While a virtual event package certainly looks a lot different from an in-person one, it is still possible to create different tiers of access. Below are a few options to consider for your virtual events pricing:

  • Offer free admission

You could start with offering free admissions or charging a low fee that will allow guests to have access to certain sessions or features. If they pay a little more or register for the next ticket tier, they get access to exclusive content or platform functionalities. Giving attendees a taste of what you have to offer for free could entice them to want to pay for other or subsequent sessions.

  • Charge a base rate

Attendees who want just access to the basic sessions can pay a base rate, or you could offer some free sessions and a paid ticket upgrade for them to access more premium content.  

  • Access to high-profile speakers and exclusive content

If you have high-profile speakers or key opinion leaders (KOLs) in your presenter line-up, as well as exclusive and relevant content, attendees will likely be prepared to pay as they would for an in-person event.

However, it can be challenging to strike the right chords when charging for your virtual event, especially during these challenging times. So make sure your event offers your audience as much ‘bang for their buck’ as possible.

Exclusive networking and group discount packages

  • Exclusive networking access

One-on-one interactions, small group meetings, or private networking sessions can offer additional value to attendees. It’s up to you to identify the value that attendees would be willing to pay for, and determine what value looks like to them in a virtual setting.

  • Group discount packages

To encourage a larger quantity of ticket sales, you could offer group discount packages, so that companies may pay for their employees to attend. With lower registration prices and the eliminated need to travel, group discounts can result in entire corporate teams joining in the meeting.

  • Referral programs

You could create a referral program to increase your audience and maximize sales. Customers are more likely to make a purchase if they get a recommendation than if they had discovered the event elsewhere.

Regardless of ticket tiers, make sure you provide attendees with readily sharable and exciting materials for social media to increase your event’s exposure.

Holding a virtual event? See for yourself just what’s possible

3. Get sponsors onboard

There’s a whole new world of opportunities to monetize online sponsorships thanks to the digital nature of virtual events. While your sponsorship tactics would not differ all that much compared to hosting a physical event, you do need to take special considerations for virtual events.

Below are a few suggestions of what you could offer as part of your sponsorship packages:

  • Firstly, choose a virtual events platform that will allow you to create a virtual exhibition hall. That way, you will be able to sell booths or spaces just like you can at in-person events. At these spaces, attendees may view product sheets or service show-reels, interact with sales people, book one-to-one meetings and demos, and more.
  • Offer advertising opportunities for your sponsors. For example, you could include information of your sponsors or their products on your mailers, your social media channels, event banners, video ads, or even on your registration platform. The opportunities are endless!
  • Offer hosting opportunities for your sponsors, such as a pre-event networking session or a post-event drinks reception (both of which can be done virtually, of course). To promote engagement, sponsors could also offer prizes or giveaways for attendees to win.
  • As an event organizer, you could add value for your sponsors by providing in-depth post-event reports. Include metrics and data that are vital to a virtual event, such as registration and attendance rates. As well as lead captures, session engagement levels and more.

Putting it all together

Properly pricing your virtual event begins with a realistic look at your value proposition. What are you offering that sets you apart from your competitors?

Of course, there is also a need to consider expenses such as the cost of software and hosting platforms, event collaterals, discount offerings, marketing and promotional costs, as well as event management costs.

Inevitably, finding the right virtual events pricing will require a fair bit of trial and error. But as long as you offer a price that is fair and comparable to others, it is likely that you’ll not only boost ticket sales but also leave a positive impression on your audience.

And there you have it – a guide to virtual events pricing and monetization. If you have any questions or would like to work with us on your next virtual event, contact us today!

About the author

As Content Marketing and Campaigns Manager, Fiona oversees all marketing-related content initiatives within the APAC region. She has over a decade of collective experience in journalism, public relations and marketing communications across tech, finance and real estate industries.

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