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Virtual Event ROI: How to Maximize It in 7 Ways

ROI is a key event metric because it’s an important indicator of event success, as well as profitability. But ROI isn’t only about the money. To maximize virtual or hybrid event ROI, focus not just on direct revenue, but on indirect strategies such as content creation and audience engagement.

1. Expand Your Reach and Grow Your Audience

One of the biggest benefits of virtual and hybrid events is the vast potential for growing your audience. You can reach more people online, more easily, because the internet isn’t limited by geography. This means you can expand your audience pool to include people from other continents and countries.

Holding an event online means the people who attend don’t have to travel to get there. Virtual events are more convenient and less expensive to attend than in-person events. And there are no issues like venue size or availability to restrict the number of tickets you can offer.

Overall, virtual event audiences are easier to reach, and there are fewer attendance barriers than there are for a live event. Holding a virtual event gives you the opportunity to reach more people, sell more tickets, and meet—or exceed—your event goals.

2. Add Tiered Ticket Options

ROI can be measured in multiple ways, but the core is the financial return. For a virtual event, part of that return may come from ticket sales. Of course, the larger your audience, the more tickets you sell and the greater your ROI. But what if you want to maximize virtual event ROI?

Creating tiered ticket prices can be one way to do this. Offering multiple ticket tiers that provide different levels of access or content means attendees have more options. Some people may only be interested in one or two specific sessions and don’t want to pay full price. At the other end of the scale, some companies might want to send a large group of employees to the event. With tiered pricing you can accommodate everyone.

You might end up with several different tiers; for instance:

  • Tier 1: Individual half-price tickets for access to a limited number of sessions
  • Tier 2: Individual full-price tickets for full event access
  • Tier 3: Group ticket, for up to six people, at a discount
  • Tier 4: Corporate ticket, with a deeper discount, for up to 30 employees of a single company

3. Offer Sponsorship Opportunities

Another way to maximize virtual event ROI is to add sponsors to your lineup. Sponsorship can add a significant amount to your event revenue. In fact, the average sponsorship package for a virtual event is worth over $8,000.

The key to selling sponsorships is to offer excellent value in return. For a virtual event, that can mean:

  • Exposure: The core benefit of sponsorship is that sponsors get exposure to hundreds or even thousands of event attendees.
  • Advertising: Ads can be deployed on the event website, registration page, social media channels, and within the event itself.
  • Sponsored content: Sponsored speaking slots help your sponsors reach and engage their audience. It’s a very effective way to make your sponsorship packages more attractive and also bulks up your content schedule.
  • Data: Virtual events produce vast amounts of data on attendee preferences and behavior. Most potential sponsors will jump at the chance to get access to the data you collect during the event.
hybrid event roi

4. Create Valuable Content

Content is an integral part of a virtual or hybrid event, not just during the event itself, but in the lead-up to the event too. Whether it’s social media content, blogs, videos, or infographics, a well-developed content schedule is a solid addition to your event marketing campaign. It shows your audience that you’re a credible source of information and even innovation and thought leadership. And it’s a way of sign-posting to your audience that your event is worth attending.

Pre-event content helps you prove your event’s worth and maximize attendee figures. But to seal the deal, your main event content has to be even better. Offer a mix of content types to create a valuable content lineup that ticks all the right boxes; things like:

Bonus: Find Ways to Reuse Event Content

One key benefit of virtual events is that event content can easily be reused after the event is over. Record each session as it happens, and you have a valuable content bank you can use in a wide range of ways, for months and years to come.

Some options for reusing event content include:

  • Post-event emails and social media content
  • Social media content for marketing future events
  • Gated or pay-per-view video content
  • In blog posts, infographics, podcasts, and more

It’s difficult to calculate what this adds to your event ROI. You can potentially continue to use and repurpose event content for years to come. This means you can’t accurately quantify how much extra revenue this strategy might bring. However, you can measure the impact over time and use that data to inform future event proposals and ROI reports.

5. Focus on Audience Engagement

Audience satisfaction is an important part of event ROI. It may be an intangible quality that doesn’t directly translate to financial value, but it’s the key to a successful event. And the key to audience satisfaction is engagement. If your audience is engaged, it means they’re alert, involved, and actively enjoying themselves.

More importantly for virtual or hybrid event ROI, engaged event attendees are more likely to keep showing up for your brand—whether that’s by becoming customers, making future purchases, or attending future events.

virtual event roi

6. Add Calls-to-Action

What do you want your audience to do after attending your event? Are you looking to generate new leads, sell products, or something else? Whatever your event goals are, it’s important to signpost the “next steps.” One way to do this is to integrate clear calls-to-action (CTA) into your event content schedule.

If your primary event goal is to convert attendees into new leads, then an effective CTA might be a request for email sign-ups. Integrate those requests into event content, for instance, by inserting a CTA at the end of selected event sessions. To increase sign-ups, make sure each CTA relates to the session of which it’s a part. Highlight the benefits of signing up, as they relate to the content of that specific session, to maximize sign-up numbers.

7. Keep Refining Your ROI Strategies

Key to maximizing virtual event ROI is continually reassessing and refining your strategies. That means both your marketing and event-planning strategies and the metrics you use to measure and quantify ROI. The first event is always the hardest to measure because you have no data on its long-term impact. But over time, that initial event will produce long-term data that will help you measure ROI for future events.

It’s also important to keep in mind that ROI is often difficult to quantify. Many forms of ROI are intangible or can’t be quantified, but they’re no less valuable than hard numbers such as attendance figures and ticket revenue. For an event that runs at a financial loss, there may very well be gains in brand recognition or lead generation that tip the balance over time.

Build ROI to Maximize Your Event Impact

Focusing on virtual event ROI is useful for a number of reasons. Of course, it’s a way to directly measure the financial success of your event, but ROI can be about more than the money. Your virtual event success can come in the form of new leads, brand awareness, and industry reputation, among other things. Your event ROI can serve as a kind of shorthand that lets you know you’re on the right track, building digital events that are valuable to your audience.

Take your virtual event to the next level and Go Beyond

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