8 Ways to Generate More Webinar Revenue

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According to GoToWebinar's benchmark report last year, 36% of registrations occur between 8-10 am. So if you're sending out a marketing email, early might be best. They also note that 59% of registrations occur less than a week before the webinar. The problem is that we get nervous when not that many people are signed up.

"Start your webinar promotion at least four weeks prior to your webinar," wrote GoToWebinar's Amber Tiffany. "Then increase promotion the week before your webinar—post more on social and send one more email blast the day of the webinar. (17% of registrants sign up the same day.) For recipients who haven't registered yet, send out a "last chance" email to encourage last-minute registrations."

On Associations Now, Philip Forte, founder and CEO of Blue Sky eLearn, shared a few ways companies can generate new revenue from their webinars.

1. Make webinars a prerequisite to an in-person meeting. Take your traditional lecture-type sessions of a conference and package them as webinars instead. Then ask attendees to participate (and potentially purchase) these before the actual face-to-face meeting. We talked a couple weeks ago about attaching CE credits to surveys to get people to fill them out. Attaching webinars to CE credits—which some already do—or some other greater goal could work.

2. Take advantage of sponsorships. There are so many ways to appeal to potential sponsors, whether by acknowledging them briefly on the webinar or giving them a minute to deliver their message. And it's important to mention that there's branding associated not only with the actual live event, but also the promotion of the event, Forte said. Modern Distribution Management (MDM) transitioned to sponsored-only "webcasts" around 2009. On Feb. 27, they have one scheduled titled Upgrade Your Customer-Specific Pricing to Win More Orders and Improve Profits. "Join us at 1p.m. Eastern for this MDM Webcast, sponsored by Zilliant." Sponsors co-brand the event and get all the leads. Attendance is free.

3. Market to non-subscribers and non-members. You can never tell what people will pay more for. Sometimes it's just in their budget to take webinars and not subscribe to a publication (where the webinars are included). Don't argue. Hopefully you can convince the attendees that membership/subscription is better for them in the long run.

4. Don't give up on those who didn't watch. About a third of all webinar attendees are only watching your webinars on-demand. So just because the webinar has taken place, you still need to be clear to your audience how they can view it. Maybe update an intro to it after the event. MDM writes on their registration: "Even if you can't make it, sign up anyway! We'll send you the recording."

5. Sell in other forms. "We've learned this," advised Adam Goldstein, publisher of Business Management Daily. "We still do a healthy business with CDs. New laptops [often don't even have ports], but people buy CDs." He believes that in the HR space you can get certification credits for just buying a CD, so it may be like that in other areas as well.

6. Save money on the speaker and cross-promote anywhere you can—it's good for the speaker and good for you. "If you must pay a speaker, don't use your own money," Goldstein said. (He called it the OPM model—other people's money.) "Give them in-kind promotions, post their articles on your site and use them in social media. Promote their own webinar to your people on a royalty basis. Trade ad space. We'll put their products in our store. Monetize their participation."

7. Promote after. Business Management Daily also knows that a webinar still has value after its airing. They transcribe every webinar—as a journalist, I love when places transcribe interviews—and then put it into a $49 executive summary that includes the Powerpoint. "We'll take out the 'urs' and 'ums,'" said Goldstein, "but still try to leave it a little raw... Content is a fixed cost so any time you can reuse, it benefits you and the speaker."

8. Stay with 60-minute webinars. "Contrary to popular belief, shorter webinars aren't better," Tiffany wrote. "This was one of the most surprising insights we discovered. Webinars scheduled for 60 minutes attract 67% of registrations, while 30-minute webinars only attract 8% of registrations. Longer webinars are viewed as more valuable, so you'll get more high-quality registrants. But don't be afraid to experiment and see what works best for your audience. You might want to set aside 30 minutes for your presentation and leave 30 minutes at the end for Q&A or a live demonstration."

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…