12 Ways to Make Money from a Free Event

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Oftentimes, free events lead to more publicity, more conversions, and even more sales. If your event tickets don’t cost a dime, your target audience is more inclined to consider attending and benefiting from your event.

However, some event organizers struggle to come up with effective ways to still make money from a free event. If you want your free event to be a smash, have an open mind and consider the following ideas to make money from a free event.

1. Set up booths.

make money from a free event

Booths at your event are stations to promote additional services or activities. At these stations, you may consider offering a paid experience. For example, attendees could pay to fly a drone, use VR, or network with industry leaders. You may also employ a ticket system where guests purchase tickets at the door then use these tickets at various booths.

2. Sell materials.

You can sell optional materials or content to accompany your event—for example, a workbook for your event. You could also sell additional content before, during, and after the event such as a PDF of the speaker’s notes, an in-depth video series, or an eBook.

3. Require action with registration.

One way to keep event registration free without losing money is to require another profitable action from your guest. Instead of paying for a ticket, they could be required to share your event page on social media, sign up for a free trial of your service, or even purchase something.

4. Sell VIP tickets.

make money from a free event

VIP tickets may include behind the scenes experiences, additional content, or leisurely services. Free events are the perfect way to draw in your target audience, while selling premium tickets can help you make a profit. Make sure to promote your VIP tickets on the event registration page.

5. Host a drawing.

Hosting a drawing or contest is a popular way to make money from a free event. Guests take interested in your drawing if you promote it before, during, and after the event. Additionally, make sure your grand prize is relevant and appealing. For example, a concert could create a drawing for a $50 iTunes gift card.

6. Sell branded merchandise.

This tactic may sound outdated, but stylish merchandise sells. Whether you want to create a hoodie for your event or sell headphones with your logo on them, selling merchandise earns you a profit. You can sell online or at the event only; you may even consider hosting a drawing for guests who show up wearing your hat or T-shirt.

7. Generate commerce at your event.

make money from a free event

Consider turning your event into a spritely marketplace to connect businesses and people. Promote your event to local businesses and online brands in your niche. You could allow these companies to set up booths at your event in return for a fee or a percent from their revenue.

8. Host a live stream.

How can a live stream generate revenue for your event? Well, hosting a hybrid event could change the revenue structure of your event. You could host a free live stream in conjunction with a paid event, or vice versa. This allows you to still secure free attendees without losing a significant revenue source.

9. Sell sponsorships.

You might not think of your company as the type of brand that would sell sponsorships. But sponsorships are an easy way to earn hundreds and thousands of dollars at your event. They are mutually beneficial to you and your sponsors.

To stay true to your event attendees, be sure to only partner with sponsors who are relevant to your target niche. For best results, try promoting your sponsors in unique and creative ways:

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10. Sell photos and videos.

Attendees love to remember their experience at a memorable event. Creating a trendy photo booth is a great idea to make money from a free event. You could also sell exclusive footage to attendees during and after an event.

11. Focus on after-event leads.

For most companies, the main point of a free event is branding and promotion. Instead of letting your event end, keep it going online. Create contacts at your event by collecting email addresses or social media profiles.

By establishing these relationships in an in-person setting, you have a greater chance of success when promoting to these potential clients afterwards. Turn your leads into sales and be sure to thank them for attending your event.

12. Sell data and analytics from your event.

make money from a free event

Event marketing nowadays is all about target marketing. With a little effort, you may be able to line up brands within your niche to purchase analytics, data, and information from your event. For example, you can host surveys at your event, potentially including questions about a certain brand, and log the demographics of your attendees.


These event commerce tips can help any company make money from a free event. The key takeaway for any sales effort at a free event is to never lose focus of offering your audience value, not sales pitches.

Only sell what is necessary at a free event, but besides that, focus more on building your brand awareness and connecting with your audience.

If you want to host a successful free event, Valoso can help. Our experienced team provides event marketing services and video production to ensure that your event is a hit. Thinking about hosting an event? Visit Valoso to upgrade your strategy.

Do you have more ideas on generating revenue from a free event? Share your ideas in the comment section below!