WorkCast’s platform has been powering the online events for global subscription organisations, media owners, publishers and more for more than a decade.
What these organisations and publications have in common is that they have successfully built profitable lines of business based on webinars, webcasts, and virtual events. Essentially, they were able to monetize their online events.
How exactly did they do this? What are the key ingredients that make online events a profitable venture?
First, it’s important to know the basics of a monetized online event.
There are three forms: pay to sponsor (a third party pays to sponsor your webinar), pay to present (a third party pays to present a webinar to your audience), and pay to attend (the audience pays to watch the online event).
No matter what type of event you go with, they all have common attributes that make the monetized model work.
I’ve put together a list of what I believe to be the top five elements to successfully monetizing your online event.
Audience & Value
With any type of online event - whether monetized or not - the audience is the key consideration. Driving attendance as well as engagement is important (especially if paid sponsorship is involved).
It’s not just about having a big database of validated contacts (although this helps). The main consideration is to ensure you are targeting the right buyer persona for what you are trying to achieve.
For example, if you are selling webinar sponsorship to an organization that wants to target CIOs, what key attributes does data set need? Well, to start with, a list of CIOs.
The value of the audience to a sponsor then depends on the market, audience, their product etc. A small audience comprised of the core buyer persona for a sponsor has a greater value than a large audience of the wrong persona.
In this context, authority applies mainly to your content. How authoritative your content - and speakers by extension - both drives a bigger and more relevant audience, and it means the content is valuable enough to justify paying (or paying more) for the webinar. This becomes especially relevant when offering training, best practice, or accreditation.
A great example of this is when the webinar content provider is authorized to provide CPD/CPE credits. Authoritative content in this case will not only drive the core audience (those who are required to maintain continued education) but can also be a significant factor in charging for access to the content.
Industries where this can be relevant include:
- Veterinary Sciences
Brand and Exposure
Your brand is important. Ensuring you maintain a strong brand identity will not only drive audience engagement with your company, it will dictate how other brands interact with you.
The stronger your brand, the more likely it is that publishers, media owners, and other businesses will be willing to pay to associate with your company, like sponsoring a webinar or paying to be a presenter.
Because, not only with they be associating with a great brand, they’ll be able to increase their own exposure to a high-quality, curated audience. The opportunity for brand association and exposure is particularly great when hosting a conference or driving a thought leadership campaign on a particular topic - the strategic marketing programmes surrounding events like these provide endless opportunities for increasing brand awareness and exposure.
Possibly one of the key components when trying to monetize a webinar program is the data that is collected and provided to sponsors.
Ensuring that the data is high-quality and accurate is vital. This not only applies to registration info - which is important - but also elements such as poll and survey results, engagement statistics, attendance, on-demand viewing, and engagement with the campaign overall.
An often overlooked area of value is the re-running of a webinar to the audience that were unable to attend. Not only does it mean you increase webinar viewing, but you get a whole host of new interactions for your data set.
Webinars are about the content, but can also be about providing an actual service, and this can be important when trying to monetize your online events.
The media owners and brands that are able to successfully run paid online events are often offering a specific service to a certain audience.
Service organisations drive revenue through the provision of many aspects of the webinar workflow such as :
- Project management
- Speaker acquisition
- Audience acquisition
- Design and delivery
- Integration services
The key element here is to think about what services your own company can offer. If you can drill down to a core service, that could be your starting point for monetized webinars.
While these are the five elements I identify as being key to monetizing online events, these are just the beginning. Monetizing your online events takes a well thought out strategy and the right platform of course.
If you’d like to speak to one of our experts about what the best way forward is for you, you can set up a demo and we can walk you through all of your options.