Tash Corbin a bit scared talking about webinar pricingEeek! I felt a little uncomfortable recording this episode about charging for webinars, because it goes against the grain of consistent advice from other business mentors. But I think it’s an important topic to cover with some depth.

Let’s discuss why I don’t (often) recommend charging for webinars.

I know there’s a groundswell of charging people for webinars, and it’s commonly said that if people buy one thing from you, they’re far more likely to buy another thing. There is a lot of logic behind why charging for webinars is such a good idea and why it is believed to be an amazing strategy.

But some of that logic is outdated. And a lot of the data is flawed and not relevant to our businesses today.

I’m going to lay out why I don’t generally recommend it, and what I would recommend doing instead.

And yes, I’ll probably regret recording this episode because I’m going to get a bunch of #buttashes. But I am totally up for that conversation. Have a listen, and we can continue the conversation over on Facebook or Instagram.

Let’s do it, shall we?!

Webinar Pricing Heart Centred Business Podcast Tash Corbin

 


Here for the links referenced in the show notes?

Webinar-related podcast episodes:

Check out all the details of the next Client Attraction Challenge! I hope you can join us.


 

EPISODE 394: Listen using the player below, or click the links to your fave platform to subscribe and listen over there:

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If you are struggling with getting your webinars to convert, or you are hesitant to even run them in the first place, I understand why it can seem like a smart decision to charge people to attend your webinars.

To clarify: A webinar is any online event where people are attending to learn from you.

Webinar is short for web-based seminar, so it might be described as a workshop, masterclass, online class… But ultimately, when I refer to webinar I am referring to a free or paid live event that people enrol for with either their email, or they pay for it. In most cases, live webinars also include a recording that people can watch in their own time, and in some cases, webinars that pretend to be live are actually already pre-recorded. (If you sign up for a webinar and there are three times to choose from in the next day or two, that’s a sign that it’s actually pre-recorded.)

The key drivers I hear as to why people might want to charge for their webinars are:

  • They’ve run a few webinars already and they haven’t converted (ie. no one has ended up being a paying client)
  • They don’t want to keep giving away great information and training for free
  • They feel like it’s devaluing what they have to share
  • They’ve been told that if they’ve already got some money out of someone, then it’s easier to get more money out of them (so that will fix a conversion from webinar issue)
  • They’re struggling to bring money in, so if they charge for the webinar then at least they get something

As I said earlier, I understand the logic behind it. But I also know that in my experience, a lot of that logic just doesn’t stand up anymore.

Let’s first talk about using paid webinars to improve upsell rates.

You may have experienced running webinars where no one converted into your paid offer. It can be easy to then assume that if people pay for the webinar, they’re more likely to pay for the offer at the end of the webinar. Or even if they don’t pay for the upsell, at least you’ve been paid a little.

But that’s actually no longer a given – especially not in the online business space.

Why aren’t people buying from your webinars?

In most cases, if someone is coming to your free webinar and they aren’t buying the upsell (ie. the offer that you’re pitching during and after the webinar), simply charging for the webinar itself does not magically solve the upsell issue.

If a free webinar is not converting, chances are:

  1. The webinar isn’t positioned to match the offer – if the webinar and the upsell aren’t linked together closely enough and the webinar does not resolve the final hurdle or barrier before people are ready to invest in the bigger upsell, you’ll struggle to convert.
  2. The upsell pitch isn’t strong – if you are not articulating the value proposition of what you are selling effectively enough, people will be unlikely to purchase it, regardless of how much they have already spent with you. Making them pay for the webinar won’t fix that.

In most cases, if you’ve got a webinar that isn’t working (i.e. making sales), charging for it just delays the solution. If you want to maximise the return on your time, you are likely better off focusing on improving your webinar design, and your upsell pitch.

Webinar design is a skill that takes practice.

Putting a workshop together simply because it’s a topic you want to share, doesn’t necessarily make for great business strategy. There’s a lot more to it, particularly with how you position and promote the webinar itself, and the webinar structure as it leads into the sales pitch section.

Let’s address the next reason why you might have been encouraged to charge for webinars. It’s based on a common marketing principle you’ll see and hear everywhere:

It’s easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one.

Yes, at its core, this is generally true. However, there are nuances to it, which we can’t overlook when designing your strategy and getting your webinars converting.

The model of selling something lower-priced, and then quickly upselling to something higher-priced is called an ascension model. A key part of an ascension model, is that once the person has invested in the lower ticket offer, you start to sell them into the next fairly quickly. This generally involves explaining why they now need to purchase something else in order to achieve their goal. But often, that’s what they assumed they would be able to achieve with the first purchase.

For those building a values-driven, consent-based business, the idea of discrediting or eroding the value of the thing that people just paid you money for doesn’t feel particularly aligned.

What can then end up happening, is that to avoid having to discredit the first sale, people design paid webinars that are on a separate topic or too distinct from the upsell. But because the offers don’t align, the conversion rates that have been quoted as ‘expected’ from a paid webinar aren’t achieved. Some coaches say that charging for webinars triples their conversion rate.

To be blunt: if you think charging for your webinar will multiply your conversion rate, remember three times zero is still zero.

And we need to remember that there are other challenges when you charge for a low ticket product, especially a webinar:

Primarily – you’ll have less people register. 

Let’s put it in a scenario – let’s say that you get 50 people signed up for a free webinar, and you don’t get any sales. You decide to fix that by charging $9 for the webinar, but now you only get five registrants. (These are numbers I see CONSISTENTLY)

And whilst you’ve made $45 in sales, now you only have 5 potential clients for your upsell, instead of 50.

Don’t forget that one of the other benefits of running webinars consistently, is list growth. Even if people don’t end up buying from you in this webinar, you’ve now got an opportunity to build a relationship, to add value, and to talk about your work from multiple angles. I can tell you from experience, that the list growth I get from webinars is a big contributor to the long-term growth of my business.

The people who join my mailing list on a webinar are the most likely people to buy from me at my next webinar.

People who sign up to my webinars from my mailing list are far more likely to buy from me, than people who sign up to my webinars from cold sources on the internet. Because of that, I don’t need to put pressure on people who’ve just signed up to a webinar, to buy something from me immediately.

I can approach it from a space of abundance instead, and know that if now is not the right time for them, there’s no pressure. Yes, I take the time to structure my webinars effectively, and I do my pitch at the end of the webinar, ensuring that I am presenting it in the best light. My webinars convert well, but there is zero pressure. Particularly not for people who are new to my list. They don’t really know me that well, and I want people to really get a good read of what it’s like to work with me first, anyway.

I know it’s far more important that we build a relationship. I know that that person is going to be a valued member of the Heart-Centred community, and I love that I can get to know them over time, through their contributions, our emails back and forth, and the relationship we get to build.

Ultimately, the longer someone stays as an engaged member of my mailing list, the more likely they are to buy from me. But I have no attachment to that purchase, because I know that the more I grow my mailing list, the sales I will make, especially long-term. I then don’t have to put pressure on people signing up at a certain time to buy from me.

It feels far more abundant, and it’s more energetically aligned.

Let’s go to the next challenge: The time and cost that it takes to get each webinar registrant.

Whether you’re promoting organically (and investing time) or promoting via ads (and investing money), we know that the cost per lead for a free webinar is around 10-20% of the cost per lead for a paid webinar. The multi six-figure and seven-figure business owners that I know running paid webinars pay more per person signing up for the webinar than they get from the signup fee.

I know someone who charges $9 for their webinar, and they pay between $30 and $40 per lead. They are willing to do that, because they’ve got a very aggressive, very strong upsell from that paid webinar into their next offer.

That also impacts the volume of registrations; In a lot of cases, it actually takes more budget to get the same number of people signed up to a paid webinar than it does to get them signed up to a free one. If we are looking at this as a long term growth strategy for your business, then don’t discount the list growth cost. We don’t need to be attached to always converting people into paying clients straight away from every webinar.

In addition, we have the homework issue.

Charging for webinars Tash Corbin Podcast

If you charge for webinars, you may strike the homework issue…

If people have paid for something, we strike another key issue when it comes to upselling, particularly if you sell to women and marginalised people.

The homework issue arises when people are reluctant to purchase something further, because they haven’t fully implemented the first purchase. Women and marginalised people in particular can experience spender’s guilt if they haven’t fully implemented something they purchased.

Even if someone spent $25 signing up for your webinar, and they got three pieces of key homework they needed to complete, then until that homework is done, they don’t allow themselves to even consider another investment.

Let’s put it together.

Yes there’s a logical and proven pattern, that an existing client is five times more likely to buy something from you than a new one. But that’s generally not within the first 30-day period. That is, unless you apply pressure and diminish the value of the thing that they just purchased.

You’ve basically got to tell your webinar purchasers:

“Oh, don’t worry about doing the homework from that webinar that you just paid for. That doesn’t count. If you really want the outcome, you have to do this thing instead.”

Most people feel out of alignment saying that, so they don’t. So you get an even bigger delay between people buying a paid webinar and purchasing from you, compared to if they had just signed up for a free webinar, and purchase the upsell a little later.

We also have the overwhelm issue.

This comes from the trend that people who buy low ticket products, tend to buy a lot of them.

Your low-ticket webinar replay will be sitting accumulating digital dust in a digital graveyard, full of things that they have purchased cheaply, but … they must get back to that! Oh that’s right, I forgot I bought that template, and that ebook, and that training… whoops.

If they registered for a FREE webinar and they haven’t completed it, they have far less guilt about the fact that they haven’t. They’re far less likely to hold themselves back from purchasing anything else, because the sunk costs aren’t there (other than the time they spent signing up for it, or maybe watching half… or is that just me?).

Next, we have the delayed upsell issue.

It’s pretty straightforward, considering the above experiences. In a nutshell, if someone has paid for your webinar, they need to watch it and do the homework to be ready to buy the next thing. And if they have signed up for quite a lot of those types of things, they’ll need to finish MOST of them before being ready for the next.

Charging for webinars can in fact delay the upsell, instead of fast-track it the way that some marketers would have you believe it does.

“But people don’t value things they get for free.”

This assumption is also linked with the belief that you are somehow undervaluing or devaluing yourself by giving away this information, and presenting your webinars for free.

First, I recommend you check out a previous episode, from Day 12 of #Tashmas not long ago, where I talked about the premise that if you give away too much for free, people won’t buy from you. I actually covered that from a lot of different angles, so I won’t repeat all of it here. (I also cried n that episode, so I’m surprised I’m telling you go back and watch it.)

Let’s unpack the belief that if you give great advice for free, you’ll somehow devalue your expertise:

  1. If you think all the value you have to offer and share with your audience can be shared in a one-hour webinar, then I think you are undervaluing yourself. That’s severely under-estimating the impact you could have!
  2. In reality, people don’t really pay for information these days. Information is readily available online. We have a plethora of information available at our fingertips, and thanks to AI, we don’t even have to do the searching and collating of that information ourselves. We can just ask ChatGPT to do it for us.
  3. People are not investing in working with you because you have amassed a certain one hour structured piece of information. People are investing to work with you because they have something they want to change, achieve or transform in their lived experience. And in order to do that, they need the experience of working with you in most cases. Even if it’s a group program that you’re offering, or a self study course, if they’re well designed, they are not purely throwing information at people, they are leading people through a process of transformation: That’s where the value of courses and group programs comes from, and the value that you have to offer. Transformation!

If you think that you can somehow devalue yourself, or talk people out of working with you simply because they heard one hour of information, then let’s unpack the mindset blocks. I also would love to have a look at your value proposition and your core messaging, because it sounds to me like your value proposition is missing a huge component of the transformation that you facilitate.

Every marketer and their dog wants to convince you that when people pay for something, they value it far more.

But I get far more gratitude, shoutouts, and people referring their friends through to me because of the epic value I’ve delivered in free offerings, webinars and challenges that I’ve run over the course of my business, than I’ve ever got in relation to paid ones. People expect value when they’ve paid for it. But what they don’t expect is how much they are surprised and delighted to get really deep insights, and practical step-by step-strategy from something free.

The longer you keep convincing yourself that the cause of your low conversion is that no one paid for it will keep you stuck with poor quality messaging and the belief that everyone on the internet is just chasing stuff for free.

Think about the energy when you show up online and in your business: You are subconsciously dismissing your audience, and I believe it shows. You’re giving off the vibe you don’t think they are that interested, and that they won’t value anything unless they pay for it. So how much energy do you give to your free content?

Maybe that’s why people aren’t buying? Because they feel like you’re dismissive of them?

At the end of the day, I ask myself this:

Do I want to be known as the person who charges for what other people give away for free?

Or do I want to be known as a person who gives away for free, what other people charge for?

I love that my business is successful enough that I can show up and generously provide free resources, free training, and free information to my audience, to build their confidence in the growth strategy they’ve chosen for their business, and how they deliver. I would rather facilitate all of that for free, than to hold back and provide it only to those people who are already committed.

Ultimately, I feel like that also gives off this vibe that my business is only for those people who pay for things. And that’s not the vibe that I want. At all.

Let’s look at the positive case for charging for webinars.

I think I should give some balance to this episode, because there are some times where it makes sense, and it’s a more strategic approach to charge for webinars, challenges and lead magnets that are normally free.

A great reason to start charging for a webinar or challenge is demand. If you need to reduce registration numbers in order to hold space for participants, charging is a great strategy.

If you are getting hundreds of people signing up for your free webinars, and finding it challenging to connect with the most engaged participants, charging for your webinar can reduce numbers, so you can be more effective at space holding, and able to answer the questions and keep up with the chat.

The only caveat I’d give is to ensure you also implement ongoing list growth strategies with freebies, and get those working before you start charging for your webinars.

I have a tangible example of this, which is my Client Attraction Challenge.

The last few times I have facilitated the challenge, I’ve had 750-1100 people registered. It’s so popular, but part of the process is getting feedback from me on your niche decisions and messaging, particularly in the first two days.

The last few times I ran the challenge, I found it quite challenging to keep up with giving feedback, and ensuring that participants got that attention and support needed to complete the process.

I also found that I was getting tagged in posts (even though I had asked people not to do that), and people became quite demanding for feedback and advice from me – even though it was a free event. Interestingly, it was also the people who asked for the most help who didn’t read the instructions, didn’t complete the self-study components, and it felt like they were expecting 1:1 mentorship. In a free challenge.

But here’s the thing: I want to give high-touch support in the challenge. I want to give feedback to everyone on their niche, messaging and offers.

In 2024, I’ve decided to charge for the challenge, so that every participant can get feedback, and I can give that guarantee to people that if they participate in the feedback threads, they’ll get feedback on their posts.

Charging for the challenge also allows me to protect the space more effectively.

An interesting development last year was discovering that when I ran the challenge for free, I had some not-quite-ethical people targeting the participants. Yep, I had half a dozen business and messaging ‘experts’ friend-requesting challenge participants and messaging them based on their posts.

People received gushingly positive comments on their posts, and DMs from these ‘super-helpful’ mentors, either pretending to be interested in their services, or offering free support.

And I can understand why participants would take them up on it.

Imagine getting a message like this:

“Would you be open to hearing some feedback? I’m a messaging specialist and I just love what you do, and would love to see you attracting more clients. Your work deserves to be seen and heard!”

Of course, you’d accept.

Especially if you’re struggling with your messaging. So I have no judgment towards any participant for taking up that offer. The coaches who would swoop in and target participants in my challenge, on the other hand….

These two reasons are the basis for changing the challenge into a paid one – it means I can give far more specific and consistent feedback to participants, and they won’t be subjected sales pitches in disguise, or being targeted as ‘leads’ by unethical providers. It feels like an abundant and strategic decision, and I am so excited to deliver it.

BUT – I’m also changing that event’s role in my business strategy. I’m not relying on that challenge as a lead magnet for a Take Off launch anymore. As a paid experience, with more support and feedback, the product delivers a stronger outcome on its own, and doesn’t need upsells in order to be viable. The challenge previously converted between 5-11% of participants into Take Off as a free lead magnet – as a paid product, I don’t have that (or any) expectation. It will be interesting to see the results!

So yes.

There are some great business cases for a low-ticket offer.

But not all of them are as strong as others. Most of the reasons people discuss with me are built on fuzzy logic or old-school marketing premises that don’t apply to the current online environment. Others don’t take into consideration the specifics of your audience, timeframes, or the reluctance of certain audiences to purchase two products in quick succession.

Hopefully you’ve found this helpful!

If you’d like to keep going with this deep-dive into webinars, check out these other podcast episodes:

I also wouldn’t be doing my job as a marketer if I didn’t include all the details of the next Client Attraction Challenge!

If you’re looking for extra support to nail your niche, your messaging, your value proposition, and how you attract and convert clients from online channels in particular, then make sure you come and check it out.

Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the podcast.

And until next time, I cannot wait to see you shine.

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist