Make Money with Online Events
Making money from events isn’t just difficult—now it’s illegal. Gatherings of more than 10 people are banned and non-essential businesses are shut down for quarantine.
How do event planners continue to generate revenue, provide value to attendees and make ends meet during the shelter-in-place? Online events! Online events allow event planners of all sectors to host digital gatherings, spreading knowledge and incredible experiences without spreading the Coronavirus or putting themselves or others at risk. The advantages of online events include lower overhead cost, easy access, no red tape, and fewer IRL (in real life) hiccups.
Not only have we written up a quick-start guide to help you host amazing online events, but we’re also giving you specific examples for different event niches. You may not be able to go outside, but at least you can learn the ins and outs of making money with online events!
Step 1: Find Your Blueprint
If you want to sell tickets to a live event, you’ll have to settle on a live streaming system. Zoom, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and GoToMeeting are all popular options with the first three offering access at no cost.
If you want attendees to be especially active, performing an activity or following instructions, a Zoom Meeting or GotoMeeting might be your best bet. Both Zoom and GotoMeeting allow you to follow and engage with multiple participants, allowing you to give specfic instructions and engage in activities a breeze. Both Zoom and GotoMeeting are especially great for multiple or recurring events, like a class.
If you already know your event doesn’t require as much attendee participation and you already have a Facebook following, Facebook Live is a great option. Viewers comment in realtime, participating without things ever getting too demanding. Otherwise, a Zoom Webinar (not meeting!) is also recommended.
You may also consider pre-recording content to accompany a live event. Recording the live event can also be great, as attendees can get to relive the event after over and over. Recordings can be a kind of digital tote bag—they’re fun, no-cost, and help attendees remember the event. They can also be a great way for lead generation and loyalty-building as videos attendees can access in the future become great tools for them to forward to other friends or people in their network. This will bring you more traffic and visibility. A pro tip would be to embed the recorded video of the event to your own website to help boost your SEO (search engine optimization).
Who should attend your event (target audience)? What will attendees get out of the experience (value add)? How many sessions will there be (future planning)? What technology will you use to reach attendees? Answering these four questions will point you in the direction of what type of event you want to host such as whether you want attendees to have an interactive class experience on Zoom with breakout rooms, or if you’d prefer a more host-lead webinar. Once you have a sense of your audience, technology, and style of your event, proceed to step 2.
Step 2: Create an Itinerary
What will your event schedule look like? Will you include speakers? Will the entire conference be live-streamed, or will there be some pre-recorded content shown, like a tutorial or seminar? This is what you’ll put in your itinerary. If you plan to include speakers, be sure to work out their logistics ahead of time to ensure a stable internet connection and minimal background noise. You may also want to ask speakers for their script or slides on what they’ll be delivering.
Write a rough event script and timeline. This will give you a sense of the event’s voice and style while forcing you to make decisions about what details you want to include. Even for live presentations, having an idea of what you and your presenters will share will be invaluable. It will also save your attendees lots of ‘ums’. They’ll thank you for that.
Rehearse the event, including all technology. A rehearsal lets you test your equipment, your internet connection, and your online event hosting chops all at once. Practicing the event will also give you a sense of runtime, so you can start and finish on time. Respecting attendees’ time remains important, even in quarantine. Consider recording this practice run-through, so you can review it in your spare time and find ways to improve. This will also let you see the event through the eyes of an attendee, invaluable for optimizing attendee experience.
Step 3: Sell Tickets
Create a registration page where attendees can buy tickets. Be sure to give all the event logistical details like you would for an IRL event, while also including specific tech details. If your streaming platform requires you to sigh-up, be sure to include that information before you go live. You can use Sparxo to register attendees and sell tickets to your online event directly from your website with no redirects – all for free! Sparxo lets you:
- Keep 100% of your online ticket sales
- Import your guest and sales lists from other systems
- Put all your customer data in one place
- Improves your SEO & Brand as a Whitelabel system
- Host online events from anywhere in the world
Be sure to market the event with as much gusto as you’d market an IRL event. Excluding the physical or guerilla tactics like flyers, of course. Promote the event to your mailing list, advertise it on social media, and to share it with your personal network. Send out a reminder the night before and about an hour before the online event starts. This ensures neither your event or attendee experience slips under the radar, showing you care about keeping attendees in the loop.
Online Events for Fitness Event Planners:
If you are a fitness instructor, you can sell online tickets to access your live-stream classes hosted in realtime or event pre-recorded workout sessions, with possible consultation opportunities like personal diet and exercise plans through offering one-on-one sessions.
As a fitness instructor, attendees turn to you not just for fitness education, but accountability. Having another human expect to see and report to them makes them commit to fitness. Accountability is extra important, especially in quarantine. Equipment and human contact are sparse while junk food and excuses not to exercise are everywhere. The gym is closed but the fridge is open. As a fitness instructor, offering consultations and weekly check-ins, especially as a live stream, gives attendees valuable accountability they’re more than happy to pay for.
Even without a studio, you can still offer valuable fitness education. Do attendees have a diet plan for the quarantine? How will they resist temptation if they’re inside all day? Do they have an exercise routine? Nobody came into quarantine with a fitness plan, it blindsided everyone. As a fitness instructor, you can offer valuable instruction and tips on practicing at home. Plus, the exercise routine and even annual meeting routine will be invaluable for attendee mental health.
If you lead events in more technical activities like yoga or dance, you can still teach via online events. In fact, attendees in quarantine may be working from home or not working at all, meaning they may have more time than ever to practice. A month of uninterrupted practice is incredibly rare—this could be the perfect opportunity to go from novice to expert. Continue to hold classes via live stream, offering one-on-one critiques via Facetime or Google Hangouts which are both free of cost. Attendees can also record themselves practicing and send you the video, allowing for an in-depth critique and a rare opportunity for them to see their own form up close.
Online Events For Food & Drink Event Planners:
Instead of selling tasting and tours, you might consider selling tasting kits with access to videos of your sommelier walking them their tasting kit. Or one-on-one sommelier sessions or access to a group live stream with your sommelier. You can include pamphlets and informational cards with each sample. This could actually help attendees learn even more about the wines as there are no real-world distractions. They can rewind and catch every word. A live stream option can also let tasters connect with friends, much-needed entertainment and companionship during the quarantine.
Cooking classes and tutorials are also a great option. These live tutorials allow for great attendee interaction, and can easily be hosted weekly. They’re great fun, and provide a healthy social routine many attendees may miss in quarantine. It might add some extra fun and SEO to your website to post photos of the online sessions of how your attendee’s dishes turned out. This also becomes an interactive way to get audience participation through competition.
Online Events for Kids Event Planners:
With schools closed and parents swamped, there has never been more of a need for online kids’ events. Here’s how to come to the rescue to bored kids and busy parents, putting on an event that leaves a smile on everyone’s faces.
You can sell online tickets to access pre-recorded sessions or live streaming events where kids can follow along with you doing an activity.
Galileo Camps, for example, focuses on hands-on science and art projects kids can do with simple household materials. These types of projects can easily be turned into a digital DIY experience, offering tutorials and live support as kids and parents work on the projects at home. A live stream also allows for collaboration with other kids working on the project, as well as extra help from instructors.
Conferences can be adapted to an online format as well, speakers pre-recording seminars or even presenting live. For example, Canada’s Everywhere Book Festival offers writers, readers, and book lovers a live conference experience, networking included. Attendees can get to participate in live seminars and workshops from authors and publishing experts. authors and illustrators take live questions from attendees, including personal glimpses into their daily lives. After the conference, they can connect via email and even meet up after the quarantine and shelter-in-place mandates are lifted.
These are only a few of the many, many online event options. With lower overhead, less setup time, and excellent streaming technology, the only limit is the event planner’s imagination. Think outside the box! But do try to stay inside your home box, at least until this quarantine ends and covid19 is contained. Stay healthy and wash your hands!