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Generating Revenue With Automated Continuing Education Webinars

Matt Tobin
06-Mar-2017 15:50:31

High-calibre continuing education webinars, that generate revenue? Not impossible! With some commercially-minded thinking, your organisation's automated content can become a real moneymaker.

Reaping the benefits of sponsorships and subscriptions can provide business opportunities that will help add significant value to the certifications you have to offer.

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The Models

Firstly, we’ll lay out the three business models that stand out as potential options to generate earnings from automated webinars:

  • Member Access
  • Paid Access
  • Sponsorships

Let’s examine them in greater depth!

Member Access

With Member Access, content is gated to block access to those who haven’t signed up to be paid members beforehand.

A significant plus-point of this model is that it drives membership of people who would otherwise miss out if they didn’t sign up. This not only adds exclusivity to your automated materials, but it ensures it isn’t devalued in any way by being offered free of charge.

This model is used frequently by educational associations who offer certifications that are held in high regard or that are extremely difficult to obtain.

Paid Access

Similar to Member Access and occasionally used in conjunction with it, Paid Access guarantees direct returns from paying subscribers.

Not only does it protect intellectual property by ‘locking-out’ those who haven’t signed up beforehand, but it is ideal for webinars that include very technical and valuable information.

You can place particular emphasis on the fact that students won’t be able to access this content anywhere else. This can act as the unique selling point for several of your webinars, thus increasing their value.

Sponsorships

A brilliant method of monetising webinars. Sponsored online events can generate vast streams of revenue for educational organisations and publishers.

Commonly, sponsorship packages are productised into a media kit and sold to potential clients who want to advertise their business/product and generate leads from attendees.

This package typically consists of; dual branding, a presentation spot during the event and access to all audience registration data, post-event.

Adding accreditations into the mix can seriously boost both your earnings and the value of your presentations.

Students will need to view the automated content in order to gain accreditation for their qualification, guaranteeing big numbers for possible sponsors and extremely valuable registration data they can generate future leads from.

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Issues To Consider

Now, before making a commitment to the model you believe is suitable, study the following important issues that will influence your decision:

  • Your Audience
  • Balancing Education & Profit
  • The Value Of Your Content

Let’s delve into these a little further!

Your Audience

Choosing the most relevant model according to your audience is a major consideration to make. There are several instances where models are suitable and unsuitable.

For example; if you have a certification that has a negligible number of students enrolled, it is highly unlikely a sponsorship package will attract larger companies due to the niche viewership.

Another scenario would be; if your educational content isn’t accredited, will your audience see the value in spending their own money to view it?

Granted, it would be beneficial to their learning experience, however, they may feel the information presented could be found elsewhere for a lesser price, or for free.

Similarly, for larger courses such as Law or Psychology, scholarly materials would likely be available to view in numerous other formats. Webinars for certifications such as these will lack exclusivity. So, in this case, Paid Access would bring in minimal revenue.

Evaluate your potential audience by looking at their resources and how their decision-making will be influenced by them before applying a business model to your content.

Balancing Education & Profit

A particularly relevant argument for and against the Sponsorship model is; Education vs Profit.

The conflict is that naturally, the sponsor will want to plug their product to the audience as frequently as possible (that’s the privilege they’ve paid for). However, the educational organisation are bound to providing learning materials to scholars attending.

Being unable to balance sponsor rights and privileges with the fact that the audience want to listen to the speaker, means running the risk of alienating attendees with webinars that sound like a sales pitch.

Sometimes selling off sponsorship space can compromise the learning aspect. It’s a very fine line to walk. Be sure to assess your sponsorship package carefully before offering it to the business domain.

This conflict means sponsored event audience numbers can be unpredictable and fluctuate depending on how ‘salesy’ they think the presentation will be.

Negating this with accreditations, as mentioned previously, is a way to stabilise attendance numbers through necessity.

The Value Of Your Content

How highly does your organisation and its scholars value your educational webinars? This question should be assessed thoroughly, as your conclusions from this will heavily influence the business model you choose.

It’s important to know the value of the content you have, both internally and externally. Questioning whether your audience will pay to view your automated presentation is important to do.

Figure out what your attendees think. Invite them to participate in polls and surveys afterwards to discover whether they believe your automated presentations offer value for money.

Gaining feedback from attendees is invaluable consumer data. It can help decide upon a model, set future prices and help improve the overall audience experience.

Again, offering accreditations can vastly improve the value of your content as we mentioned earlier. So look for ways to embellish the value of your automated presentations and make them as attractive as possible to attendees and possible clients!

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