Paid webinars can prove to be extremely profitable ventures and even work as part of a larger sales funnel. However, they’re usually a lot harder to pull off than people think. Below, we’ll explain why this is and what you can do about it.
People Expect More
This is probably pretty obvious, but it’s still worth bringing up, just in case.
You cannot ignore that people are going to expect more from paid webinars than free ones.
Hosting a paid webinar that turns out to be waste of time and money for people won’t just result in disappointed customers. It could quickly turn into a ruined reputation. Now, not only do people not want to pay for future webinars; they also aren’t so confident about your other products/services, either.
This is why we always tell people to start out with free webinar hosting first. Get a read on your market. Figure out what they like. Listen to feedback about what you could do better.
You Really Need to Market Yourself
The other reason to host at least one or two free webinars first is because you want to drum up interest in your paid version.
For your free webinar hosting, you still want as much traffic as possible, but, worst case scenario, you weren’t going to make any money off it anyway, so if you end up disappointed, it’s not a huge loss.
With paid webinars, though, a lot of time and effort has (hopefully) gone into creating the best possible product. If no one registers for it, you’ve just incurred a serious loss.
Therefore, some of that time and energy you need to invest in your webinar hosting must be spent on its promotion.
Again, free webinars are very effective for building this kind of following that you can then leverage for paid seminars.
You Have to Charge the Right Price
One of the main reasons a lot of companies initially struggle with their paid webinars is because they have no idea how much to charge.
On the one hand, you don’t want to charge too little. Aside from the fact that you want to actually make a profit from your paid webinars, the main problem with not charging enough is that your viewers are going to have extremely low expectations.
So, right off the bat, your sign-ups are going to lack. People will see your bargain-bin price and think that’s exactly what you have to offer. Why would they sign up for that?
Now, some people might, but many of them are not going to expect much. You may think that this is your cue to take them by surprise with some really amazing material. However, it’s just as likely that people will stick to their preconceived notions. They’re convinced your low price means your webinar hosting is going to be awful, so you’re starting from a massive deficit.
Instead, pick a price you can be proud of and then deliver on the expectations that amount sets. This is going to go a lot further toward succeeding with paid webinars than trying to be the cheapest possible option out there.
Everything Else Must Be Perfect
Plain and simple, you have to manage your audience’s expectations in order for your paid webinars to be a success.
Not only does this concept apply to the content of your webinars, but also applies to the effort you put into marketing them.
A lot goes into getting people to sign up. While it’s a bit different for everyone, it generally includes a landing page, emails and maybe a few promo videos.
Again, these aren’t just arbitrary tools you’re using to get people to sign up. They are absolutely vital to the expectations you’re setting for your audience.
If your promo videos have anything other than perfect audio, why would anyone want to risk paying money to listen to more of that?
If your landing page has misspelled words or otherwise looks amateur, people are not going to be impressed.
Reminder emails that show up every day for the week leading up to the event seem desperate. At the same time, if the text is off, even a little, you’ll probably find poor attendance or that people otherwise drop off.
In other words, manage your marketing strategy wisely, or people won’t consider signing up for your paid webinars.
So what can you do to ensure your paid webinars are a success? Follow the tips below to effectively prepare for your premium webinars.
It Takes Premium Software
Obviously, we’re a bit biased here, but it’s probably pretty easy to appreciate that people who pay money to attend your paid webinars want it to be a high-quality experience.
It’s really easy these days to find “free webinar software.” However, you’ve probably heard that you get what you pay for.
Imagine if you paid good money for a personal trainer only to find out that your sessions would take place in their unfinished basement with some “free equipment” they had picked up somewhere. Wouldn’t you be a bit upset? You paid good money and they couldn’t even invest in your success?
This also applies to the slides you create and any graphics you use for the event, as well. This shouldn’t look like a second-rate PowerPoint presentation. It has to look like you put a lot of effort into developing premium content.
Paying for quality software isn’t enough, either. Go the extra mile to become proficient in it so you’re able to put on a truly impressive event.
You Need High-Quality Equipment
This is pretty much the advice we just gave except it’s about web cameras and web microphones. Fortunately, you can get a really good webcam for under $200, and a great web mic for even less. Then it’s just a matter of getting the lighting right and practicing with it – nothing too difficult, but again, the results are definitely worth it.
You Need to Target a Specific Group with a Specific Need
Generally speaking, this is good advice for selling any product or service, but it’s easy to forget when it comes to paid webinars. Usually, you’re going to be talking for 30 minutes to an hour. This can be an intimidating prospect, one that many people think they can only overcome by covering huge topics.
For example, they might host a webinar on “online marketing.” There are entire books written on the topic. College kids all over the country take 101 classes on the topic that last whole semesters. Professionals sign up for courses that go on for just as long – or longer – to get a grasp on what online marketing entails.
Yet, someone thinks they’re going to do the topic justice by talking about it for about an hour.
That’s not going to happen.
Our advice is to pick a topic you know your market cares about and list out the subtopics you’re going to cover. Then, see if you could talk about one of those topics for 30 to 60 minutes or however long your paid webinar hosting is going to be.
Then, list the subtopics and see if one of those can be covered in the same time period.
You get the idea.
This kind of specificity will ensure that you’re far more likely to satisfy the people who pay for your webinar. Remember what we said at the beginning about the importance of your reputation. This is especially key when you’re just starting out.
Drill down to the most specific topic you can think of and then blow people away by covering it better than anyone else ever has.
Even though this could lower your enrollment numbers, it will mean potentially increasing the satisfaction rate and rave reviews you receive.
Also – and this goes back to our point about marketing yourself – you may need to really go into detail about why this niche topic is so important that it’s worth paying to learn about for an hour or so.
You’re Dealing with a Smarter/More Experienced Audience
For the most part, anyway, the people who will be attending your seminar are going to be fairly learned on the topic.
There are exceptions, of course. You might be hosting a webinar “for beginners” but even then, if they’re paying, they’re showing up with a certain amount of expectations (see our first point).
Taking this into consideration, you’ll need to think about what they’ve already seen/heard in the past. You can’t hope to get away with offering the same advice everyone’s heard before. Even if you have a new twist on some of these tips, you’ll have to really make sure it resonates with your audience as truly helpful.
Clearly, this is something you need to think about long before you begin advertising your webinar. If you want to make money from it, you’ll have to offer something truly valuable in return.
You Need to Absolutely Nail the Performance
It’s no secret that public speaking tends to be the most prevalent thing people fear above all else across all populations. Unfortunately, this may also pertain to public speaking that happens through a webcam.
This is where we’ll recommend, yet again, that you host free webinars to help yourself prepare for a paid version sometime in the future.
Otherwise, simply practice them for coworkers or, if you’re a one-person company, get honest feedback from your friends.
You simply can’t afford to do webinar hosting and not speak clearly, become nervous, lose your train of thought, etc. It should go without saying that, if this happens, it will be the last time your viewers ever pay you for a webinar.
You Must Understand Sales
Here’s a tip that not nearly enough people take advantage of: good paid webinars are almost always the result of a host who understands how to sell to people.
While you’re probably not using a paid webinar to sell people on a product or service, but you still need to be convincing.
If you’re trying to teach people about how to sell themselves as freelance animators, you better convince them and get them to take action.
If you’re trying to show people how to fix their back pain from sitting down all day, they better leave your webinar ready to do the exercises you showed them and achieve comfort.
Get the point?
Don’t fall into the trap of just reading off information to your audience. Even if you’re the world’s foremost expert on something, you can still fail miserably with your webinar hosting if your audience isn’t convinced of your “argument.”
Many people will even want their money back. More than a few might let their network know that your paid webinar really wasn’t worth it.
Take some time to learn a bit about how to influence people so they appreciate the information you’re sharing with them and are able to use it in the very near future.
It Takes Work to Optimize the Event Once It’s Over
If you’ve made it this far, the good news is that you’re ready to put on an impressive webinar that you can actually charge people for (provided you actually follow the advice we gave).
This last tip isn’t so much a challenge involved with the task, but we think it’s bonus information that we’d be remiss to leave out.
Imagine you’ve just finished hosting an amazing webinar. You came up with a great topic, marketed it well, correctly set expectations, charged enough and then delivered in a big way.
How do you think your audience is going to react?
They’re going to be pretty happy, right?
After all, you gave them a lot of good information that they can use to improve their lives in some way.
Whatever you do, do not leave this opportunity untapped. Do not fail to take advantage of this positive reaction to all your hard work.
You should be looking for people talking about this on social media (search for the name of your event, company, etc.) and then sharing those sentiments with everyone else. You’re effectively telling them, “Look! Other people really liked my event!”
This will encourage more people to sign up for your next webinar.
You should send out follow-up emails to ask people for their thoughts. You should make yourself available to answer questions if people have them down the line.
In short, your job doesn’t end just because your webinar went well. You need to capitalize on this success in any way possible.
Don’t let the above intimidate you. Just because paid webinars are hard to do doesn’t make them any less worthwhile. Keep the above in mind as you begin working on your paid webinars and you’ll have a much easier time succeeding.
At the same time, if you’d like help with your paid webinars, our marketing team at BigMarker is available. Aside from our suite of software, we specialize in teaching people how to market their webinars and make money from them. Send us a message!
Beginners guide to hosting webinars for your creative business.