Events offer numerous potential revenue streams for creators, with opportunities ranging from sponsorships to experiences to merchandising. But creating events that make money requires approaching your goals thoughtfully and professionally. These revenue streams can let you continue creating and organizing events and growing your business. So, if you hope to bring in a profit, read on for some event ideas to make money.
Table of contents
How to monetize an event website
1. Sell sponsorships
Selling sponsorships is the most popular method organizers rely on to generate additional income for money-making events. It can also work well for fundraising events, where some portion of proceeds goes to a charitable organization. Sponsors are often happy to bask in the glow of promoting a good cause. But sponsorship deals also present challenges, with multiple parties with varying needs and expectations. Provide prospective sponsors with details and define targets before the event — this makes evaluating results after the event more straightforward and effective.
How to get sponsors for an event
To attract sponsors to your event, understand what sponsors are looking for. The sponsor’s primary goal is often visibility, which helps them establish their brand and reach new people. Offering opportunities to put the brand before an audience, such as speakerships or featured presentations, will reassure potential sponsors that you understand their goals.
Then, you can reel them in with a pitch that shows:
- How many people your events typically attract
- Marketing impressions or event registrations you’ve received
- How your audience’s demographics match the target demographics of the brand
How do sponsors benefit from events?
There are many ways to give your sponsors more visibility. Start by describing the sponsorship’s benefits in terms of the cost for the visibility they will receive — in other words, the cost per impression (or “CPM”).
If you expect 40,000 people to see a banner placed in a venue, say that. If you’ll be sending an email invitation with a sponsor logo to 10,000 people, tell your sponsors. Those details help the prospective sponsor justify the expense, especially if they’re considering other alternatives (whose ROI may be more readily measured).
Sponsors also benefit from the goodwill generated by their association with the event. That puts increased importance on the success and professionalism of your event, which can lead to continuing and growing business relationships.
2. Define a target audience
When you reach the right audience for your event, they’re happy to pay for tickets and promotions. How do you know who the right audience is? Try these three methods:
Hosting events to make money often comes down to having excellent people skills. Business events unite people who are actively looking to advance their goals. Referring customers to businesses willing to pay for those leads can exponentially increase the number of successful contacts you make. Allow customers and businesses to network in other creative ways. Why not try virtual coffee breaks or speed dating-style networking events?
Social media marketing lets you reach various businesses and showcase them to other attendees before your event. Use social media management tools to simplify this process, improve engagement, and generate interest.
Create surveys to learn about registered attendees. Include demographic identifiers, such as age and location, and thoughts and opinions on topics related to your event. Ask for opinions about the value of various promotions or benefits, including potential prices, and analyze your results to determine ways to improve revenue generators.
3. How to monetize an event website
Online event promotion can generate considerable online traffic. The purpose of an event website is to support the event, provide all the information prospective attendees may need to make a decision, and describe the event program in full detail. You can also easily turn your event website into one of your sources of event revenue, upping your event planning profit margin with a few well-placed and thoughtfully chosen ads.
Online sponsorship packages
Work with companies with relevant products or services that appeal to those attending. Online-only sponsorship packages, which resemble ad buys, let you engage companies that weren’t interested in being traditional sponsors. If you don’t have the time or energy to sell ad space on your event site, consider contextual advertising options, like Google Adsense, which make it easy to display and monetize relevant ads.
Engaging and understanding your audience
Connect with followers on YouTube, Instagram, and Spotify. Create contests to capture email subscribers and increase engagement, create branded event pages, send customized emails, and much more. The more you interact with your registrants, the better you’ll understand them, and the easier it will be to appeal to them with offers in the future.
4. Offer premium experiences
Attendees are often willing to pay extra for additional benefits or perks above the general admission ticket.
Use ticket types
Offering different admission levels gives ticket buyers more ways to find a price they can meet. In a multi-day conference with multiple workshops, offer a package of three workshops — and a discount on the package. While this may increase overall attendance, it generally does not create incremental event revenue, which is the goal here. Instead, consider creating memorable experiences for which some of your attendees will be willing to pay extra.
Create value within budget
Think of an event ticket that also includes admission to the after-party. While bundling food and drinks may drive sales of these premium tickets, be careful of the costs incurred by providing these extras — they can rapidly erode (or eliminate) your profit. Try to involve experiences that don’t require additional budget resources but have clear value for the attendee.
Offer a limited-capacity workshop with one of the featured speakers from your event. Include additional one-on-one time and a more comprehensive program than was presented during the general event. If you’re going online, offer exclusive tickets to a Q&A livestream with the keynote speaker — a more intimate experience for event-goers.
Cross-sell with additional perks
Another option is to email your registered guests a week or two before your event to allow them to promote their ticket to VIP status. Remember to entice those who’ve already bought tickets to spend a little more for additional perks as your event nears.
Create intimate experiences
Work with sponsors to offer attendees special experiences, like a tour of their facilities. Most event sponsors would be delighted to welcome a limited number of VIP attendees and provide refreshments in exchange for the opportunity to engage with them on their own turf. Win-win.
5. Selling merchandise
As the large bags of swag after many events can attest, people like to come home with stuff. Often, these giveaway items wind up in the trash a few days later (along with the promotional hopes of the swag sponsors). A better way to capitalize on this desire is to sell merchandise before and during the event.
This approach works well if your event supports a business that already sells products or services. Use the event to better familiarize prospective customers with your offerings, or motivate them to buy on the spot with discounts or special deals. Hosting your event online? Sell merchandise on your event website for delivery before the event.
The Eventbrite Add-Ons tool makes it easy to sell merchandise, food vouchers, and more, and track what your customers are buying, when they’re buying it, and how your inventory’s holding up. You can take care of a major part of the transaction beforehand and online, reducing the time for your event-goers to stand in line at the event and lowering the need for additional check-in staff.
Another idea is to use ticket types to create attendance options that include merchandise. This method lets you sell merchandise to your attendees when they’re most motivated and excited to attend the event. Authors (and Eventbrite customers) Tim Ferriss and Seth Godin have used this tactic to sell books and create revenue from an otherwise free-to-attend event.
Offer value and event-goers will buy in
When exploring events to host to make money, focus on the idea of value. Provide value to sponsors and they will gladly sign up for your event. Deliver value to event-goers and they will purchase more merchandise or higher-tier tickets. When customers feel they’re getting a lot of reward for a small expenditure, everyone is satisfied.
Start setting up your event so you can see revenue coming in sooner rather than later.