Most often, the answer to this question is:
Nothing. It should be free.
Wait, wait, wait!
Most often does not mean always. We’re just covering why free is great before we move onto when a fee is called for.
So, free… When you’re asking people to give up their valuable time to attend your webinar, the last thing you want to do is put up a monetary barrier. Your webinar registration page is a lead capture opportunity and you want as many people adding themselves to your list as possible.
However, if you’re wondering what an appropriate amount to charge for a webinar seat is, there’s a good chance that you’ve created a specific webinar type.
For instance, you may historically have conducted live training seminars for which people happily paid four or even five-figure sums to attend. Now that you’re transferring your content to a webinar setting, isn’t it reasonable that attendees still pay a fee to access your expertise?
This is why, in the opening line of this article, I said that “no” is the answer MOST OFTEN. For most business owners, free webinars that are monetized through back-end sales IS the simplest and most effective use of this technology.
But there are exceptions…
And this article will help you figure out if your webinars fall into the exception category.
Paid Webinar Pros (and Cons)
There’s no doubt that putting a price tag on your webinar has some advantages. The primary bonus being that it massively raises the perceived value of your event.
Since most people are accustomed to webinars being available without charge, the simple act of adding a price tag will elevate your event in the minds of your prospects.
The other significant benefit is that, if people hand over money to attend your event, they’re far more likely to show up on the day, and far more likely to stay until the end of the presentation.
Your registrants will be determined to get their money’s worth.
The downside, of course, is that your overall attendance figure is likely to be lower.
Essentially, putting a price tag on your webinar is a trade-off in which you concede lower conversions at the point of registration in exchange for a much higher show-up and retention rate.
All of this is information worth knowing, but it doesn’t get us any closer to answering the original question.
And it’s not as simple as saying, “Well, people paid money to attend my events in the real world, so they’ll be just as happy to pay money to attend a virtual version.”
In the real world, your event provided notepads, branded pens, bottles of mineral water, nice-looking surroundings, and networking opportunities. When your attendees are sitting in their cluttered office, on their own, drinking instant coffee, watching your presentation on a laptop, the perception is very different, like it or not.
The bottom line is that the only way to make a correct decision, at least from a commercial point of view, is for you to be 100% clear on the following question…
Will charging people to attend my webinar generate more profits?
Paying for Convenience
A well-known Internet Marketer created an annual marketing event. It was the usual mix of networking, workshops, lectures, and pitches.
But one year, the host decided to stream the event online. He figured that if people were willing to pay $500-$1,000 to attend the real-world event, those that weren’t able to attend in person would happily pay $97 to watch from home.
The tickets for attending in person sold out, as usual. But sales of virtual tickets…?
So, the host tried a different approach. He invited his list to register to watch the event online, free of charge. But after they registered, they were shown a one-time-offer through which they could purchase advance access to a RECORDING of the event, that they could watch any time, for… $97.
And… you guessed it… he sold a bunch!
This example may have as much to do with people’s enthusiasm for paying for convenience as it does their unwillingness to pay for online events. Either way, it nicely demonstrates that just because you believe your content is valuable enough to justify charging a fee, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be more profitable to give it away for free and monetize your webinar in a different way.
Which is why most people who charge for their webinars are doing so because their events have been positioned as a product. Often times, one that they’ve sold through an earlier sales webinar that they delivered for free.
For example, you could host a free webinar on which you deliver an hour of incredible content, and close by selling access to an intense coaching course, delivered through 12 premium webinars.
Now THAT’S a good reason to charge for your webinars!
Yeah… But How Much? Get to it, Lady.
So, you’re going to use free webinars to pitch premium webinars. That’s a good business model. But still leaves the question of how much to charge.
How much are people REALLY willing to pay to attend a webinar (or a series of webinars)?
There’s a wide range of variables to consider…
- How specialized is your training?
- How loyal are your customers to you or your brand?
- How easily available is the information if your prospects were to search other sources?
- Is your content based on a “hot topic” that people are hungry to learn more about?
- Are you considered an expert in your field and, if so, how significant is your status?
- Are you including specialized experts as co-presenters?
- Are your co-presenters well-known and esteemed by your audience?
- How many hours of content are you planning to deliver?
- Is there a direct (or indirect) monetary benefit to be gained from the knowledge your audience will acquire?
- Is your audience going to receive any tangible perks, such as free access to additional content, downloadable handouts, templates, one-to-one coaching, and so on?
We’ve seen premium webinar access sell for as little as $5 (presumably just to ensure a minimum level of commitment), and as much as $1,000 for half a dozen weekly sessions.
Ultimately, it will boil down to what your market will bear. And you won’t know until you give it a try, and test the results.
Maybe for your first set of premium webinars you charge $500 and make 50 sales. And then, next time around, you charge $1,000 and only make 30 sales.
Which means fewer customers… BUT more money.
Predictably, then, there’s no simple answer to the question of whether or what you should charge people to attend your webinar.
What can be said with certainty is that you shouldn’t charge without first exploring whether there are more profits to be made by delivering webinars for free and monetizing your events through other means.
And if, ultimately, you decide to charge for your webinars, be sure to study your results and your analytics carefully to ensure you’re getting the outcomes your business deserves.