5 Ways to Monetize Your Free Event

April 27, 2021

Event organizers have had quite a year.

Not only did the industry turn upside down, but the virtual events we all thought would be a temporary solution have turned into the new normal. 

Virtual Events As The New Normal

In the beginning, when we thought holding an event virtually was a short-term fix, our goals were minimal. Get people to show up and figure out how to replace the revenue that came from in-person events… ASAP.

But now that the whole of our society has made peace with the virtual migration, we can now turn our attention to getting the most return on our investment. 

Here are five ways to monetize your free virtual event: 

1. Virtual event sponsors

What if I told you that it’s possible to host your event at almost no cost. Really! There are companies out there willing to underwrite the cost of your event in exchange for some face time and engagement with your attendees.

A silver lining of virtual events is a more direct path to audience impressions. With less noise competing for an attendee’s attention, a sponsor’s visibility in unobstructed. Think a branded breakout room, gamified intermission period, or direct mail swag.

2. Ad breaks

Another benefit of an all-virtual event is the guarantee of attendees focused on one screen for a finite amount of time. Take advantage of that focus with the strategic selling slots for advertising with video ads with relevant b-roll or in-chat pop-ups from brands who want to appeal to your captive audience. Knowing exactly who is watching, when, where, and for how long are a surefire way to excite advertisers.

3. Elevated networking

“But networking is free!” Yes, but hear us out. 

What if you were not only guaranteed to make quality connections, but you could also connect with your new contacts 1:1 right on the spot, in a private breakout room? The hardest part of networking isn’t just the introductions to the right people, it’s in the follow-up. So, by taking the time to coordinate all of the most cumbersome moving parts to create a more seamless networking experience and removing the headaches… isn’t that more compelling than a cold, impersonal happy hour? People will pay for convenience, and this is just one more way to make sure you’re the one capitalizing on it.

4. Offline resource access after the event

Streaming has got something right. Pay to access… but pay even more to access at your leisure. We already know convenience is worth a premium. Charging a little more for attendees to access both the content and associated resources whenever they want in perpetuity is an easy, straightforward switch to flip that provides a worthwhile return.

5. Sponsor tickets for lead generation

Event organizers aren’t the only ones in the business of driving leads. Right there in the trenches with us are our sponsors! Sponsors are always looking for creative ways to engage their prospects. So what if the sponsor could invite their leads to an event they’re already being featured at, and the organizer can sell more tickets? Buying a bulk order of event tickets at a discounted group rate both adds value to the sponsor’s participation and increases sales of the event. Everybody wins. 


So are all of these concepts novel? Of course not. But will they work? You bet they do. It’s just a matter of adapting what we as event organizers already know to be true and converting those measures for our digital future. Are you looking to create powerful virtual events? Reach out to us at Tocca for a free demo.