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The Ultimate Guide to Event Monetisation Strategies

In the world of events, it's all about standing out—whether you're throwing a film festival that lights up the screens and turns the night into day or hosting a conference that draws in the smartest folks around. The game has changed. With so many options available now, it's tougher than ever to grab attention, excite sponsors, and sell those tickets.


Monetising an event means devising strategies to generate income through (or as a result of) the event. This income can stem from direct sales, sponsorships, advertising, and a host of other creative avenues. Event monetisation not only serves to cover the costs of the event but can also enhance brand value and create a more engaging and memorable experience for attendees.


Maarit Mäeveer and Sten-Kristian Saluveer at European Film Forum Tallinn 2021, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, PÖFF
Maarit Mäeveer–Eller and Sten-Kristian Saluveer at European Film Forum Tallinn 2021

This article draws on insights from the keynote presentation "How Event Engagement Strategy Helps Monetise Festivals," delivered by Maarit Mäeveer, Votemo CEO and Co-Founder, at the European Film Forum Tallinn of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in 2021.



Without further ado, let's dive into the first step of setting goals.


1. Create an Event Monetisation Strategy


Incorporating an event monetisation strategy into your overall event plan is crucial to boosting the ROI (return on investment) of your event. Whether you’re organising an in-person or a hybrid event, you’ll likely need a variety of digital tools to host your guests and attendees, manage programming and ticket sales, engage with your audience, and collect visitor feedback. These elements offer numerous opportunities to monetise your event. Sharing the strategy with all your stakeholders is essential to ensure everyone is on the same page with the planned approach.


2. Map Out a Tactical Plan for Monetisation Activities


The monetisation strategy ensures all stakeholders understand what you plan to do and what you're aiming for, while the tactical plan outlines how you're going to achieve all that. It's vital to share this plan with every member of the team so they know their roles and understand that their contribution is a crucial part of the event.


In your tactical plan, address questions such as:


  • How will you utilise digital tools and extensions to engage the audience? What are the main goals?

  • How do you plan to engage audiences both on-site and online, and how can visitors access engagement tools? What are the plans for communicating participation options at venues?

  • How do you intend to involve sponsors and partners, and how can they achieve their goals, e.g., generate leads, convey their brand messages, or receive data reports?

  • How is the digital Ad space for sponsors planned and measured?

  • How do you plan to implement e-commerce solutions for upselling merchandise, tickets, or books by the speakers, etc.?

  • How are you planning to collect feedback and use audience data to improve your next event?


Sharing a detailed tactical plan not only aligns your team’s efforts but also ensures that every aspect of the event monetisation strategy is executed effectively.


3. Understand Your Sponsors' Goals and Deliver Accordingly


Potential sponsors are always on the lookout for events that align with their brand values and target demographics. Adopting a flexible approach to collaboration and offering various tiers of sponsorship packages can provide customisable visibility options for sponsors and increase revenue for the event.


Votemo assists event organisers in monetising several visual placements within the audience participation user journey. These sponsored spaces are integrated into the platform in such a way that the brand becomes a meaningful part of the engagement layer and the event itself. Beyond visual placements, you can build sponsored Q&A sessions and feedback corners, or organise interactive side events that feature your sponsors and promote interactivity.


Branded interactivity is pivotal for your partners to obtain real data, enabling you to foster better and long-term relationships with your sponsors. Utilising the Votemo Lead Generation feature allows your sponsors to generate leads and offer prizes to participants interested in obtaining more information about products and presentations.


4. On-Demand Content for a Younger Audience


Offering exclusive content or access to a community through subscription models before, during, or after the event can captivate an online and younger audience, serving as a powerful tool for event monetisation. Monetising on-demand screenings, panel discussions, Q&A sessions of any industry event, and webinars with film directors and keynote speakers can be achieved by charging for certifications or providing access to exclusive additional content post-event.


Considering that the proportion of a younger audience attending film festivals is declining, addressing this challenge is particularly crucial for this sector. The traditional film festival experience contrasts sharply with the media consumption habits of young people, who often prefer on-demand, accessible-anywhere content that is free or available through subscription models.


Identify a sponsor who is particularly interested in targeting these audience segments and develop a robust event engagement strategy to attract them. Votemo has conducted several research studies on this topic, and we invite you to reach out for further information and discussion.


5. Collect and Analyse Engagement Data


Analysing audience participation data during and after the event is crucial. Monitor participation activity, identify who participated and when, track user location, and measure engagement levels. Encourage participants to provide feedback on keynote presentations and seminars. Make feedback forms and Q&As available during or after each presentation, session, or screening. Utilise this data to develop an even more effective event monetisation strategy for your next event.


If you have online extensions or on-demand videos, integrate engagement tools such as Votemo to display calls to action and participation results on top of the video stream as branded and animated overlays. This approach enables data collection from online and home audiences as well. The overlays can be custom-designed to reflect your event or sponsor branding. Votemo offers customisation and branding options for Live Comments and Polling, Emoji Reactions, and Audience Voting, allowing for a more interactive and engaging experience.


Why is Audience Engagement So Important for Event Monetisation?


Most film markets and festivals rely heavily on returning audiences and sponsors that continue to support the industry. From an event organiser’s perspective, it’s crucial to do everything possible to build an audience that leaves happy, writes glowing reviews, and promotes the event to others.


Data from various surveys indicate that keeping the audience interested and engaged is considered the most challenging aspect of event organising by many organisers. At Votemo, we firmly believe that giving the audience a voice and the opportunity to interact with creators and speakers is the best way to cultivate and expand a loyal audience base. This holds true regardless of whether the event is held in-person or online.


From a monetisation standpoint, ensuring that sponsors and partners are satisfied and recognise the growing value in their collaboration is vital. Sponsors increasingly demand more data to inform their strategic decisions on which events to support. Votemo provides data reports that sponsors can utilise in their decision-making process. With Votemo’s engagement tools, event organisers can ensure that every attendee, whether they are present physically or online, sees the sponsored engagement layer. The data collected will lead to deeper collaborations with sponsors, founded on trust and measurable outcomes.


Should you have any ideas or questions you wish to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact us at hello@votemo.eu, or fill in the contact form on our website. Don't forget to check out what's "Trending in Events 2023."

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