14 ways to generate 6-figure revenue from virtual events
I originally wrote this for my full-time job at Hopin but I thought it would also be helpful or at least interesting for the readers of Entrepreneur’s Handbook, since it lays out a how-to guide for entrepreneurs to drive revenue with online events. I know it reads Hopin-centric as much of the data and examples come from Hopin but many of the tips should be platform-agnostic. Enjoy!
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way.
An online event? Why host an online event over an in-person event?
It’s a fair question. Onsite events are returning (thankfully!). But there are still benefits of virtual events that cause thousands of organizers to still choose virtual over in-person events.
- Greater accessibility: Online events can be accessed from anywhere in the world, which means a larger audience can attend. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who may not be able to attend in-person events due to travel, time, or cost constraints. Even inclement weather.
- Lower costs: Online events are often more budget-friendly than in-person events, as there are no venue or travel costs. This makes it easier for organizers to offer affordable tickets and for attendees to participate without breaking the bank.
- Greater flexibility: Online events can be scheduled at any time, and attendees can access the content at their convenience. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who may have busy schedules or live in different time zones.
- Improved engagement: Online events can offer interactive features that are not possible at in-person events, such as live polls, Q&A sessions, and chat rooms.
- Increased data collection: Online events offer greater opportunities for data collection, including attendee demographics, behavior, and preferences. This data can be used to improve future events and marketing efforts.
- Environmental benefits: Online events are more environmentally friendly than in-person events, as they do not require travel and often use fewer resources, leading to less waste.
- Greater content reach: Online events can be recorded and shared on-demand, allowing attendees to revisit the content and for organizers to reach a wider audience beyond the initial event date.
Mix and match, combine, and get creative with the following event monetization strategies to maximize the earnings from your online event.
A timeless tactic, you can charge a ticket fee to attend the event. In fact, over 50 Hopin events have made over $100,000 in ticket sales. One even generated $652,570 from ticket sales.
What about in 2023? Yes! 123 Hopin events have already made $2 million from ticket sales this year. Three Hopin events have already made $241,857, $272,050, and $318,085 from ticket sales.
A ticket strategy to keep in mind is to offer several ticket options: the average number of paid tickets at Hopin event that offers paid options is 3.4 tickets. These often include promotions such as early bird specials, member discounts, VIP access, and more.
Another ticket pricing strategy is to price your tickets at approximately $10 per speaker. For example, if you have two speakers, you might charge $20 per ticket. Whereas, if you have 100 speakers, you might charge $1,000 per ticket ($10*100=$1,000).
Offering sponsorships is an effective way to monetize your Hopin event.
The average number of sponsors for any Hopin event that had at least one sponsor was 10.5.
Hopin lets you easily add sponsors to your event in 3 tiers: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. These sponsors are featured on your event registration page (for marketing) and your reception page inside the live event.
Free download: How to Deliver 6-Figure Value to Virtual Event Sponsors
Exhibitor booths are multipurpose in Hopin: our customers use them for engaging attendees through live demos, watching videos, reading posters, generating leads, and more.
Exhibitor booths pair really well with sponsorships.
Millions of attendees visit and click the “Register interest” button inside Hopin’s exhibitor booths. The average expo booth receives 12.3 leads per event.
The average number of booths in these events is 13.1.
For events that generate 6–7 figures in revenue, they often have dozens if not hundreds of virtual exhibitor booths. One public event had 581 exhibitor booths.
Events involve promotion and marketing, creating multiple surfaces and channels that you can leverage to offer advertisements.
8 placements to sell ads in your event marketing and content:
- Email newsletter
- Social channels
- Event landing page
- Speaker announcements cards on social
- Sizzle videos
- Video recording pre-roll, mid-roll and bumpers
- Event agenda (“presented by”)
Set up meet and greets with speakers, where attendees can pay extra to spend time in a special session to interact with guest speakers. These could be 1:1s, private groups, or premium ticketed tracks.
A creative way to charge more for a ticket is to enable certain ticket holders the ability to meet a celebrity in the networking area in Hopin. This could provide a special moment for fans, similar to taking a selfie in-person.
Similar to the above, you can offer a handful of premium tickets to attendees to enter the StreamYard Backstage Studio or Greenroom in your Hopin event. These attendees can stay in the Backstage Greenroom and watch the “behind-the-scenes” production and observe speakers entering and leaving without interrupting the run of show.
Add a raffle entry to one of your online event tickets. Charge more for it. Configure the ticket to have exclusive access to a Stage or Sessions room in your Hopin event. At the end of the event, anyone with a raffle ticket can enter this room. Then use the StreamYard Giveaway Tool to select audience participants to win. You can give winners swag or gift cards or free memberships, and so on — whatever you think is best. We recommend awarding at least 3 winners.
Add catered food and drink delivery to your tickets and add a markup to cover the expense. For example, you could offer a General Admission ticket for $15 and a Premium Admission ticket that includes a food and drink package for $50.
If you’re in B2B marketing, you probably have a cost per acquisition (CPA) you pay for your leads. This can range anywhere from $50-$500 and even more depending on competition and how targeted you are.
As a B2B marketer, you probably also use webinars to generate leads for your sales team.
But did you know an online event can be way more effective than traditional paid ads and webinars for lead gen?
It’s true, consider the average turnout rate for a Hopin event (60%) is higher than the typical webinar turnout rate (40%). Turnout rates make a big impact on event ROI.
Not only that, you can use your event’s custom registration form and CRM integrations to turn your virtual event into a lead generation engine for your sales pipeline.
We’ve seen Hopin events reach registration numbers in the 30k, 40k, and 50k ranges. That’s a lot of leads! While you might not reach numbers like those, you can uplevel your webinars by switching them to a Hopin event. Using CRM integrations, you can sync these leads, qualify, and send them over to your sales team to book meetings.
If you’re a creator or influencer, you can become an affiliate partner of products in your industry and earn income based on the number of sales you generate.
Sign up for 6–12 affiliate partnerships and create an expo booth for each one in your Hopin event. Make your unique affiliate link the CTA button in each booth.
If you have your own products, merchandise, or courses, add booths showcasing those products in your expo area too.
On event day, prompt your attendees to visit the expo booth and take advantage of the special deals. You can direct attendees using tools in your Hopin event, such as the global announcement feature, pinned chat messages, and video clips from stage.
Especially for nonprofits and galas, thousands of organizations have used Hopin to host their annual fundraising events. Instead of spending money on a physical venue, food and beverage, a nonprofit can not only channel more dollars directly to their mission, they can also reach more supporters and gather more data insights using a virtual platform.
Use Hopin’s GoFundMe integration to seamlessly accept donations during your online event. It’s an easy way to increase donations, just remember to call attention to it and remind people to use it throughout the event. One event added $10,000 to its fundraising goals using Hopin’s GoFundMe integration during a live event.
Online events are incredible sources of content. With a little editing, you can repackage the recordings from your online event into a 5-star online course.
For the organizers who hosted paid events on Hopin, 96% of them downloaded their recordings for repurposing.
Hint: Upload your videos on Hopin’s simple video hosting tool Streamable for easy embedding into your website.
The best time to start promoting your next event is at your current one. Go back through the list above and create pre-sales and early bird pricing offers for your next online event so that you can get a head start while the momentum is high.
The cost of a disengaged employee is estimated at $2,246 per disengaged employee.
In other words, if your organization has 45 people who are disengaged, that’s an annual cost of $100,000.
“Only 36% of employees are engaged in the workplace.” Source: Gallup
Disengagement is a multi-trillion dollar problem.
This is why many Fortune 500 brands invest in Hopin for their internal employee events. The 100+ attendee engagement features Hopin offers make it one of the most engaging virtual event platforms available on the web.
Also, a Hopin event provides 26 data reports on your attendee engagement from your event. This means you can measure your employee engagement and prove the efficacy of your comms programs and identify wins and improvement opportunities with your remote teams.
Here are nine types of online events you can generate income from. All you have to do is pick one, come up with a topic, and set a date.
- Virtual conferences: Host an online conference that brings together experts, influencers, and industry leaders to discuss and share insights on a specific topic.
- Online workshops: Offer an in-depth workshop or training session on a specific skill or area of expertise, such as writing, coding, or digital marketing.
- Masterclasses: Host a masterclass with a renowned artist, musician, chef, or other expert who can offer exclusive insights and hands-on training.
- Networking events: Host a virtual networking event that connects professionals in a specific industry or field and provides opportunities for meaningful connections and business opportunities.
- Virtual summits: Offer an online summit that brings together multiple experts in a specific field or industry to share insights, strategies, and advice.
- Online retreats: Host an online retreat that offers a unique experience and an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, learn new skills, and gain insights on personal growth and wellness.
- Live performances: Host a live performance or concert with a renowned artist or musician, offering a unique and intimate experience for attendees.
- Online courses: Offer an in-depth online course on a specific subject or skill, with exclusive access to course materials, live Q&A sessions, and personalized feedback.
- Online book launches: Host a virtual book launch for a new and highly anticipated book, featuring the author and exclusive access to additional content and insights.
In the end, generating 6-figure revenue from an online event is a lot of work, but more than a hundred organizations have already done it so far this year with Hopin. Remember that anything worth doing doesn’t happen easily, but if you invest the effort and leverage the tips above, you can totally do it — and if you can do it once, the next one is that much easier.