Virtual events aren’t going anywhere, even as the world starts to open up again. And we’re here for it, because we’ve seen firsthand just how impactful virtual events can be for organizations across the globe! But with 74% of virtual events offered for free by event marketers, many are left questioning how they can make money off of free virtual events. The answer? A virtual event business model that takes a few critical things into consideration and uses specific strategies to upsell and leverage that virtual event attendance.
It may sound daunting, but it’s not! We’re going to break it all down for you today… let’s start.
Start Small, Then Grow
One reason a lot of virtual event business models fail is because organizations simply start too big. Trying to design a virtual conference attracting thousands of attendees with engaged interaction right on the first try is possible sometimes, but let’s be honest, not the reality for most.
You want to set yourself up for success with a virtual event business model that starts small with things like webinars, masterclasses, or a one-hour training class. These are still events, friends! They take work to plan, market, engage, and create connections. But if you work out the kinks and learn from those small events to start, you’ll be able to grow more efficiently and effectively.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew in the beginning. Baby steps lead to greater long-term virtual event success.
So, how do you get started? We’re going to give you all the secrets…
How to Design Your Virtual Event Business Model
You can think of your virtual event business model as your guide, your strategy, your plan, you get the picture. It’s what is going to set the framework for your virtual event success. Every virtual event business model has a few important features you’ll want to work out:
WHY do you want to host virtual events? Yes, to make money. But you need to go beyond that to be successful. Are you driving change in your industry? Are you fostering connections between individuals across the globe? Are you spreading awareness for your cause? You need to have a purpose beyond making money for your event because purpose is passion, and without passion your events will not be engaging, won’t attract attendees, and won’t get off the ground successfully.
Now that you have a purpose, what are your goals? Think about your target audience, your purpose, and translate that into business objectives like:
- Number of attendees
- Revenue generation
- Lead generation
- Networking opportunities with your target audience
- Number of C-Suite connections
- Sponsorship cultivation
- And more…
Then, create goals for your virtual event strategy that will help you lay the foundation but also create a path for growth.
What topics are you covering? This is a way to connect your purpose with your goals. Your purpose is the foundation but in order to meet those big goals, you need to ensure that you have topics that are going to speak to your target audience. Brainstorm ideas and connect those ideas with industry speakers who will intrigue and encourage attendees to click that register now button!
So, how are you going to get butts in “seats”? That’s still the goal with any event, virtual or in-person. Get creative, and show your target audience why they simply can’t miss your event. The events world is increasingly saturated due to the widespread popularity of virtual events now so you need to ensure you’re different. Are you going to teach them something they can’t learn anywhere else? Are you going to give them access to a speaker who they’ve been dying to see? What sets your event apart? Leverage that.
Then, you need to monetize. How are you going to grow that bottom line? Maybe you can offer replays for VIPs only at a special rate, or offer a bonus pre-recorded course for an additional fee upon registration. The more you upsell, the more money in your pocket at the end of each event. These are also typically passive income streams which are more practical for long-term business growth!
Then, you put it all together and you get to work. It can seem overwhelming, but once you get into planning mode we promise it all comes together!
Real Example: Women in Networking Virtual Event Business Model
You may be asking, “Well, how do you know that this actually works?”
I’ve seen it happen and we’ve helped many companies navigate this new world throughout the pandemic and we know this is the way to be successful! Let’s take a look at one of our favorite examples.
We helped plan a Women in Networking event for a client.
Their purpose was to bring together women in the business world with a supportive community they felt connected to.
Their goal was to then establish themselves as a leader in networking and business opportunities by providing unparalleled knowledge and stellar industry panel discussions that would inspire. They wanted to attract 20-30 women for the inaugural event with an ultimate goal of upselling to join monthly networking sessions for $19 a month and enroll 10% of those attendees into a monthly membership group.
See how they were able to monetize but create impact at the same time? And spoiler alert… they did it and have grown since!
Ready to Create Your Virtual Event Business Strategy?
Your business can do this too, friends! It’s possible with vision, hard work, and the right virtual event business model. Want even more actionable tips and tricks to take your virtual event business model to start making money for your business? You’re in luck. On June 11th we’re offering a FREE MASTERCLASS led by Alecia, Founder & CEO of Eventistry by Alecia. The 3-Step Plan to Creating a 6 Figure Event Strategy Masterclass will:
- Expose you to the importance of hybrid and virtual events moving forward (this is the way of the future, y’all!).
- Teach you how to plan disruptive events that help you achieve your business goals and drive engagement.
- Share all the tips and tricks for getting butts in seats, in person and virtually.
- But most of all… show you how to make money while doing it.
If you sign up now, you’ll also get a free bonus PDF filled with all the strategy tips you need to level up in your business and events. Let’s get started on your strategy. See you there!