In pre-COVID days, companies used in-person events as an effective way to build brand awareness and sell to a qualified audience. Event booths would be staffed with the best sales people on the team and they'd offer in-show exclusives and promos to sell as much as possible during the event.
Now that everyone has shifted to hosting their events online, many are looking for ways to monetize their webinar or virtual event experience to generate revenue and keep a healthy sales pipeline.
So how do you monetize a webinar? Let me share a few easy ways to help you make money from your webinar and increase the ROI of your event.
Three Ways to Make Money From Webinars
When selecting a monetization method for your webinar you need to consider the quality and exclusivity of your content, the authority of your presenters, and also your audience expectations.
There are three main ways that companies can monetize their upcoming webinars.
Pay to sponsor - This is where a third party pays to sponsor your webinar. Similar to an in-person event, sponsored webinars can provide advertising for the sponsor, guest speakers opportunities, special offers or swag for your attendees, and other promotional elements to amplify their brand and message to your audience.
Sponsors will normally provide all of the required advertising assets but your team will still do all of the work to prep and host the event. You will also be responsible for reporting back to sponsors on KPIs and results.
You can have multiple sponsors for your webinar or virtual event, just be sure that you are able to provide enough value to your sponsors without compromising the quality or integrity of the webinar experience for your audience.
Pay to present - Pay to present webinars are a great way to make some money from your webinar and reduce the workload for your team. This is where a third party wants to present the webinar content to your audience.
This option helps position the third party as a voice of authority on the topic to your audience. It is also beneficial for you because you're able to create the desired revenue stream while also reducing the amount of resources invested into the preparation and creation of the webinar. You may still need to provide the script and slides for the presentation but you won't need to find, prep, or pay guest speakers to present your webinar content.
We highly recommend scheduling a full rehearsal with the presenting company to make sure everything runs smoothly for the event.
Pay to attend - Pay to attend options are a great way to monetize your webinar when you have high profile presenters or are offering advice that is extremely valuable. The higher the price of entry, the more value needs to be offered to attendees.
This option is frequently used in the academic world where people are learning a new skill, by consultants who offer specialized advice, and by financial investment companies.
Integrating a payment option at point of registration should be fast and easy with any martech webinar platform. Just be sure to ask about this functionality before signing a contract with your webinar provider if you plan to monetize your events.
Charging the Right Amount
If you choose to monetize your event by using sponsorship or pay to present options, you need to run your numbers to be able to justify your price. Price should be determined based on level of service provided by your team to the sponsors/presenters and also the advertising value provided.
Very few sponsors will be happy with impressions as the main KPI so you need to look for creative solutions to help them achieve their goals during your event.
Sponsored polling questions are a great way to add value and insight for your sponsors. By including sponsored polling questions you're able to capture data from attendees that your sponsors otherwise could not obtain. You can also let your sponsors add a re-targeting pixel on your thank you for registering page to get some pre-event branding out there. These types of value-adds help provide a safety net for you if you don't reach your targeted attendance rates or have low engagement.
In general, when working with sponsors it is always best to set realistic expectations and to over deliver during the promotion period by throwing in a few freebies. This helps sponsors feel like they made a good investment, while also preventing problems for future-you.
If you opt to monetize by charging attendees a fee for your webinar there has to be significant value offered to attends to justify the barrier to entry. It is always a good idea to do some preliminary research and ask people how much they'd be willing to pay for a webinar on your topic ahead of time so that your pricing is aligned with their expectations.
Webinars can be an excellent revenue stream for companies, especially during COVID-19. However, if you want to make money from your webinars, you must produce exceptional content and have a flawless technical execution. If you can tick off those two boxes then you should have no problems making money from your webinars.