21 Ideas for Generating and Proving Virtual Event ROI
4 Nov 2020 | Heather Pryor | 5 minutes
Events represent the largest spend within marketing budgets (averaging 24% for major enterprises) and are universally touted as the most effective marketing channel, yet they also represent the least measured and quantifiable marketing effort. As virtual events still incite a high level of uncertainty, it has never been more important for marketing and events teams to work together to generate and prove ROI for their events.
ROI is best achieved when teams successfully combine virtual event monetization and measurement strategies. We’ve compiled this list of 21 ideas to help you determine the best combination for your organization.
Generating Virtual Event ROI
- Upsell your exhibitors and sponsors. Virtual booths offer various new opportunities for exhibitors and sponsors, but why stop there? Grant your exhibitors the exposure they need by offering them different packages that include commercial slots, sponsored sessions, or even targeted advertising. Give exhibitors the option to pay to have their branded swag included in the welcome kit.
- Allow attendees to pick and choose. Entice attendees with an a la carte pricing structure in which there are both free and paid sessions. Set different prices for high-value sessions and allow attendees to determine how much they want to spend on your event.
- Charge a flat rate for session tracks/channels. Many event professionals are leveraging Netflix-style content tracks to motivate engagement. Why not get the most out of those tracks by charging for premium content tracks?
- Take advantage of networking opportunities. Access to networking groups has the potential to be your biggest money-maker. Attendees are eager to communicate with their peers and are happy to pay the extra money if it means making valuable connections.
- Leverage a tiers system. Tier systems are not uncommon for events. In a virtual tiers system, option A might include everything from elite access into live birds-of-a-feather meetings to general on-demand sessions, whereas option B might exclude more intimate meetings.
- Offer a BOGO deal. Promote your other events by allowing your attendees to pay half price for your next event alongside their payment for your current event. This structure is ideal when all of you host all of your events on the same event management and marketing platform.
- Sell access to insights. Virtual events are abundant in data. Offer sponsors access to session click-tracking and duration-tracking data as part of their gold or platinum-level sponsorship packages.
- Provide a referral discount. Give attendees discount codes to apply during registration for making a referral. Referrals encourage both the attendee who makes the referral and the one who receives the referral to attend.
- Suggest advantageous meetings. Seek future business by arranging opportunities for your sales team to meet with prospects. Set up 1:1 meetings with prospect attendees, build your own virtual booth, or organize a networking group to introduce prospects to loyal clients.
- The 5th one is free. On average virtual attendees go to 3.8 sessions. If you are charging for sessions, make the fifth or sixth session free to encourage attendees to pay for at least four sessions.
- Utilize gamification to drive upsell attendees. Virtual event gamification is a powerful motivator as it gives attendees direction as they navigate your digital experience. Entice your attendees to invest more in your event by promising them rewards for engaging with paid sessions.
- Advertise your virtual event as you would your physical events. Explore new ways to promote your event. Use ads, social media, direct sends, and other marketing tactics to drive event attendance.
- Promote team registration. Give a discounted price for registrants who are willing to register as a group. These group ticket packages might enable teams to bring a fourth or fifth attendee for free. This not only brings in a larger audience, but it also encourages external advocacy for your event.
- Analyze your attendee’s behavioral data. Determine what your attendees are most interested in and upsell them related sessions. For example, you might offer paid advanced training for your free training sessions.
- Get the most out of your speakers. Entice attendees to pay for keynote sessions by spotlighting your most influential speaker. Ask or pay your speakers to promote their sessions on their own social media feeds. Simple as it sounds, attendees are more likely to pay for sessions when they know and can relate to the speakers.
- Sell access to your event after it’s over. Boost post-event engagement and provide additional sponsorship opportunities by offering content post-event. RainFocus’ Content365 enables teams to sell annual subscriptions, extend exhibitor value, and convince attendees who missed out to attend future events.
Proving Virtual Event ROI
- Show and tell with compelling visuals. Set up quick, colorful data visualizations, and make them accessible through workflows and dashboards.
- Compare cross-event data. Merge your virtual and physical event data to show how each delivery format impacted your event’s success. Use these cross-event insights to predict which virtual and physical tactics could be combined to create a superior hybrid experience in the future.
- Deliver results in real-time. Integrate with marketing and sales automation platforms like Eloqua, Marketo, and Salesforce to provide marketing and sales with actionable insights while attendees are still engaging with your event.
- Emphasize your re-sign process. Remind your sponsors to resign with a streamlined process. Include resigning as part of their task list for your event. With RainFocus, the completion of these task items can be included in your Insight Dashboard alongside other event insights to show exactly how many sponsors have resigned.
- Quantify and qualify. Illustrate the prospect conversion process by showing stakeholders just how many attendees progressed in their buyer’s journey (i.e., of those who registered for your event, how many scheduled sessions).
By leveraging these strategies for generating and proving virtual event ROI, you’ll add immense value to your event. To see how RainFocus further simplifies each of these strategies click here.