If you’ve decided to host your own webinars one of the things you need to consider is whether or not to charge people to attend these events. It’s not actually as simple as just saying yes we will charge and no we won’t, as each decision has benefits and consequences and you have to study your particular situation filly to understand.
Define your Goal for Hosting the Webinar
When choosing whether or not to charge for webinar, it matters a great deal whether or not you are trying to collect business leads versus whether or not you want to make money from the webinar itself as your business. If you want to get more followers, friends, likes, and email subscribers so that you can market other products and or services, then you should consider hosting a free event. If you are teaching at webinars as one of your main sources of income, then you obviously need to charge. However it can often be a combination of the two, so determine your goals and rank them in order of importance.
Determine Your Webinar Budget
The technology needed to host a webinar can be expensive, especially for large numbers if using a specialist hosting service, whereas it can be free to host a webinar on Google Hangouts On Air, so you’ll need to figure out if the investment in a paid webinar is worth it to meet your goals or not. There are programs that you can use that make it simple to charge, for example GoToMeeting and also a system that works with Google Hangouts On Air called Webinars OnAir.
Choose Your Technology
Your budget and the technology available, along with the reasons you are having the webinar, should help lead you to the decision about whether to charge for your event or not. Charging for a webinar is not necessary to earn money. You might even earn more over the long term by hosting free webinars, depending upon your goals.
Understand Your Audience
If you feel like you have a good enough topic and a large enough audience to charge for an event, first consider how charging for your webinar will affect registration and attendance. You will get fewer registrations for a paid event than a free one, but a higher percentage of people will show up to the paid as they won’t want to waste money, whereas the drop off rate for free webinars is high.
Consider Your Subject Matter
Does the audience really need to be at the live event for you to disseminate the information to them? Is the subject matter something that your audience needs to know now, or can they learn it over time? If it’s an immediate thing that they need to know to use in their business, such as training, you might consider charging. If, instead your point of the webinar is to tell them about your products that they can buy over time, then you may want to offer it for free.
Who Are Your Webinar Presenters?
Often, people are more than willing to pay to attend online events with big name speakers and movers and shakers within their niche. If you can attract that type of speaker who is a known expert, who is very sought after, and whom you have to pay to attend, then you’ll want to charge. If this is a way for you and a few joint venture partners to get more subscribers and widen your audience, then you again, may want to offer your webinar free.
Decide If You Can Earn another Way
Make a list of all the ways in which you can earn money due to hosting a webinar, based on increasing your mailing list. You can charge for recordings, promote all your products and services to them using webinars as the free bait instead of eBooks and other works that you can now sell. Turning the tables and offering a free webinar versus a free product, is a strategy that has been shown to work and that is growing in popularity.
Determine the Value of Registrations
Remember that for many types of webinar, the value is in the connection more than the attendance. This is especially true if the webinar is a way to bring them into your product funnel. Over a customer’s lifetime, how much can you sell them? What is your conversion rate for your email lists? If you can answer these questions, you can determine the value of someone who registers for an event versus what you can charge for the event and remember they should be added to your sales funnel if they attend or not.
When you add up all the ways you can earn money and consider the goals of hosting a webinar, and balance that with the lifetime earning potential of each person on your mailing list, then you can choose whether to charge for a webinar or host it for free. I’ve personally attended many free and paid webinars and I have found that price often doesn’t determine the quality of the webinar, but more the expectation.