Hosting a paid webinar can be highly profitable… if you’ve got something truly valuable to share.
In this blog post I’ll walk you through how to host a paid webinar and when you should use them.
Why host paid webinars?
Most people tend to start with free webinars. They’re easier to set up and webinar attendees will have lower expectations. And it’s definitely worthwhile to get your feet wet with free webinars before you run a paid webinar.
That being said you should run paid webinars when:
You’ve got advanced expert knowledge that is highly valuable
Consultants charge astronomical fees for their insights, so why shouldn’t you in your webinar? If someone can’t afford your normal fees then a paid webinar can be a cheaper alternative.
People would ordinarily pay for this knowledge
Just because it’s in webinar format, does not mean it should be free… If people would ordinarily pay for this information, then they should also in your paid webinar.
You already have a loyal following
If getting people to show up to free webinars is hard. Getting them to show up for a paid webinar is 10x harder. But not if you’ve already got a strong following who you regularly share actionable free advice. Some of these are very likely to want to pay something to get more advanced knowledge.
Paid webinars are not a good way to build an audience, but can be a profitable way to monetize your audience.
Benefits of paid webinars
The main benefit of a paid webinar vs a free webinar is that you make your money upfront… Before the webinar even happens.
Free webinars are normally used to generate leads to upsell later. Whereas paid webinars are great at monetizing existing leads.
This also means that your cash flow is great. If you’re running paid advertisements for your webinar then you’ll see an instant return on your spend.
When to use paid webinars vs free webinars
We’ve already seen why paid webinars are great. But when should you use them? And when should you use free webinars?
When to use paid webinars
- When you’re sharing expert actionable advice not found for free
- When users would ordinarily pay for the information you’re providing
- To monetize an existing audience
When to use free webinars
- To build your email list and generate leads
- To share high-level insights
- To build your personal brand
- To collect a prospects email address to upsell an online course
Do people actually pay for webinars?
People absolutely do pay for webinars. But only if the webinar is actionable and valuable. No one is going to pay for your “How to grow your business in 2020” webinar. It just isn’t valuable.
However, people will pay to attend webinars held by subject matter experts sharing industry insights and secrets that will help them succeed. This is especially true if it is a live webinar where they can ask questions. Or, if it is part of a webinar series that provides a walk through of the whole topic area.
How paid webinars work
So you’ve decided to go ahead and run a paid webinar, there are plenty of webinar hosting websites out there. But maybe you’re still not exactly sure how they work and how they’re different to a free webinar.
The process for paid webinars from a users perspective goes like this.
User lands on webinar registration page> registers for the webinar > is then redirected to the payment page > they complete the order form and pay the registration fee > is redirected to the paid webinar
As you can see, the main difference is that your webinar attendees will pay at the point of registration… Before they get the link to the webinar.
Next, I’ll walk you through this process showing you exactly how to host a paid webinar from creation to getting paid.
Choose a Webinar Topic
We mentioned it earlier, but if you’re thinking about hosting a paid webinar you better have some detailed insights to share.
You need to choose a webinar topic that resonates with your audience and is going to provide a lot of value.
Remember: Paid attendees have much higher expectations than free attendees.
Make sure that your topic really resonates with your target audience.
Create your webinar outline
Once you have your webinar topic you need to create the outline. List the subtopics that you’re going to cover. Focus on the core problems you’re trying to help your attendees with.
And unlike a free webinar, these need to be super actionable and deeper than surface-level insights.
Think about what free information is out there on the topic and the knowledge you possess that is more exclusive or insightful. The process you use to solve these problems is always very valuable so make sure you include these where relevant.
Use a tool like Dynalist to create a list of topics you’ll include in your webinar content. Be sure to highlight the key value points offering.
Your outline could look like this:
Once you have your outline you need to build your narrative. We’ll walk through this next
Write your webinar script
If you’re like me and you hate public speaking then you’ll need a webinar script. If you’re an orator, you may not need it… but a paid webinar is not the place to try out new material.
People expect excellence, so carefully craft your webinar into a beautiful soliloquy.
Your script should take your outline and use it to build a narrative throughout the presentation.
You should have a timeline in mind for your presentation. Test your script to make sure the duration of the webinar isn’t too long. Anything between 45 minutes to 1 hour is ideal.
Design your webinar slides
No one wants to stare at a blank screen for an hour, so create something beautiful and professional. Don’t use some half baked powerpoint template.
Thinking to use that presentation from a few months ago that’s already on slideshare?
Think again. That isn’t going to cut it here. Your audience will feel cheated and it will kill the exclusive nature of your paid webinar.
Use a professional service, or even Fiverr and Upwork if you aren’t confident yourself.
Simple is better and they should emphasise the narrative you’re creating.
Create your offer
Now that you’ve built out what will be “the product” you need to craft the perfect sales pitch. If you want to host your paid webinar to more than an audience of one then you need to get people to sign up.
To do this… You need to sell.
To create your sell, ask yourself:
- What is unique about your webinar?
- What key value does your webinar have?
- Why would someone want to attend?
- Who should attend this?
From this exercise, you should have clearly identified two things.
- Who should attend the webinar
- Why they should attend
Write down your sell and 5 key selling points. You’ll need these later.
Decide on the registration fee
The last exercise should give you an idea of how valuable your webinar is. Use this as well as market research to decide how much to charge.
While a lower number might get you more attendees, it might not be the most profitable.
Consider how valuable the information you’re sharing is. Will sharing this information cost you in the future? If so, you should charge a premium for it.
Select your Webinar Software
Great! You’ve got all the content decided. Next, you’ll need to host your paid webinar somewhere. To do that you’ll need to find a webinar platform that lets you charge for webinars.
Hosting a paid webinar has enough challenges. You don’t need the webinar software to be another one. The key requirements for your paid webinar should be:
- Easy to use and set up
- Native integration with payment providers (Paypal, Stripe)
- No software to download for attendees
- Record webinars to send replays
To save you time I’ve already used and researched the best webinar platform providers to help you find one that suits you.
I recommend using WebinarJam.
It natively integrates with many email marketing platforms so you can sync your email list. They don’t have live chat, but they do have excellent support! Functionality wise, you can build converting landing pages easily with their templates. But most importantly there is a Paypal integration so you can charge for your webinar!
Design your registration page
Once you’ve picked your webinar software you need a strong sales page. Your landing page should convey the value of your offering and be conversion driven. WebinarJam has prebuilt webinar landing page templates you can customise to promote your event.
But… don’t be afraid to splash out and create a custom landing page.
You want your paid webinar to look premium and exclusive.
A template may not give off this look so be sure to think about this ahead of time.
Take the 5 value points you collected earlier and place them on the page.
Be sure that your registration form has a clear call to action that gets people to click!
Decide when to hold your webinar
A key point in your webinar is when to hold it. After all if you want to make money from your paid webinar, you need people to attend!
Check my guide on the best time for webinars for an in-depth understanding. But here are the highlights.
- Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the highest attendance days.
- Between 11am & 2pm at the highest attended times.
Before you commit to one of these times, ask yourself…
Is my webinar work-related or hobby related?
Work-related webinars can be held during peak attendance times in the week. Non-work-related webinars will need to be held on evenings and weekends.
This means that you’ll really need to get your offer in check. People won’t spend money and use their free time on something that isn’t worth their time.
Promote your webinar online
I can’t emphasise how hard you need to promote webinars to get people to register. Not to mention getting them to actually show up!
And a paid webinar is going to be even harder!
After all, you’re asking for their money.
From my experience, the best opportunity for webinar registrations is from an existing email list. They know who you are and the value you can offer. What I’ve done is create a 3 email sequence over the two weeks before the event goes live.
However, you can definitely start earlier and extend the sequence over more emails. Some selling, some pure value. Put this strategy on hyperdrive by offering upgrades and price reductions to maximize attendance.
Promoting your paid webinar with paid channels
Depending on your experience Facebook adverts are a fantastic way to promote a paid webinar. But it’s going to be hard… and expensive unless you know what you’re doing.
I’ve read a lot of guides on how to do this effectively and will include a useful resource below.
A few things to consider:
- Videos perform great (my click through rates for video ads to my webinar were nearly double the static image click through rates!)
- Be authentic in your ad copy
- Align your messaging between the advert, landing page and webinar
Promotion through free channels
Organic reach on Facebook may be dying, but social media is still a good option and free channel to promote your live event.
Schedule 3 posts starting at least 2 weeks out from the webinar in order to build awareness and start getting registrations.
You can also consider Facebook groups, which are very popular currently. Try not to be too spammy when promoting your event and be high-value.
How to host your paid webinar
Now that you’ve got your script, your slides and you’re set up on a webinar platform you can go live.
But not before practising… You should practice, practice, practice to make sure you get it right.
This is the part that most people have the most anxiety over. It’s a strange feeling talking to a screen with no one responding for 40 minutes. But if you’ve done the first bits right this should actually be the easiest part.
You’ve established your offer and expertise… So you should feel confident in the value.
You’ve written an awesome outline, script and have awesome slides… so it will look great and sound great.
And you’re using professional but easy to use software… So you can be confident it will run smoothly.
Just be sure to follow your script and focus on providing value.
You should talk slowly and clearly. And don’t worry if you stutter or stumble a little bit at the start.
Be sure to give plenty of time for questions and be engaging.
Post webinar Follow up
Once you’ve held your webinar you need to follow up. Always follow up with the slides and the replay. And be sure to send the replay to people who couldn’t attend!
You should also be sure to send a post-webinar survey. This will help you to understand how it went and if your customers are happy. Not sure what to send? Check out my article with a host of post webinar survey questions.