It’s hard to argue with a strategy that offers a new product to consumers for free. Facebook did it, Spotify did it, and most new “freemium” business models do it.
And, of course, who hasn’t “eaten lunch” cascading through the aisles of Costco tasting every free sample offered? Free trials work!
It's no wonder that ComicCon chose to offer their new virtual event to their wildly loyal fan base of attendees at no charge. They are playing the long-game and know that when they resume their in-person (and probably hybrid) event in the future, that their audience will remember this gesture and reward them with full-price paid registrations when they "reopen" next year.
So, when most associations decided to offer free or very low price offers to stimulate trial, reduce barriers to entry, and invite everyone to their new virtual event, it all made perfect sense.
OK, so now what?
Your second virtual event is coming, and in spite of how much you may wish for a live event to “get back to normal,” the best you can hope for, even mid-next year, is a hybrid that may be 50% or more virtual.
You can’t keep offering virtual events for free or at rock-bottom registration fees. Sure, low-cost registration works if you can get two, three, or four times the number of attendees. This allows you to monetize them to great advantage by obtaining more industry partners, sponsors, and exhibitors who want access to that large audience.
Here’s the real question: If you can’t get close to the attendee registration revenue of your live event, how do you convince the industry to support you when virtual event platforms offer little more than digital convention centers, virtual meeting rooms, online hallway "floor clings," and the equivalent of hanging signs and banners? You can’t.
The good news is that there are 10 proven ways to generate new revenue from your virtual event that work right from the start, and give your exhibitors and sponsors exactly what they want.
Click here to get the first three of these tried-and-true solutions.
Virtual events are here to stay and free is not a pricing strategy that works in the long term. Your industry partners will step up and support you if you can deliver a compelling event, a large audience, and relevant access to the people they want to meet.
Founder & CEO
360 Live Media