THE ART AND BUSINESS OF SPEAKING

Innovating the Webinar Model

Innovating the Webinar Model

How many times have you heard webinars are a way to make passive income in this business?

A few years ago, I put together a series of webinars and invited clients, prospects — anyone who was breathing. I charged a paltry sum. Lo and behold, about five or six people checked in the day of the webinar, and several of those I had bribed in the first place. Needless to say, I decided to leave webinars to my colleagues.

Then, I came across an opportunity just over three years ago that changed my mind — and my bank account balance. In fact, it ended up increasing my income by about 25 percent in 2012 (my best year in more than 20 years of speaking).

The story starts innocently enough. I had a client say something you have probably heard many times: “Our people love you. How do we bring you to them on a regular basis?” My mind raced from a monthly blog to a podcast to a video conference to a … webinar. But who was I kidding? I didn’t have enough material to create a new program every month, nor did I want to spend the time that it would require.

That’s when it hit me. I could let somebody else do the program for me.

I developed a turnkey solution I now use with four clients each month. Each client commits to a one-year program that includes a different webinar each month. They sign a contract, and I bill them monthly. As part of my solution, I survey their audience to find the top 12 topics they need and would enjoy.

Then, I find someone in NSA who is a thought leader on each topic, and I pay them half of my monthly fee to present a one-hour webinar. I act as the producer — by opening the session, taking questions behind the scenes, asking questions at appropriate times and closing the session. I provide the consistency from month-to-month. The beauty is that both the presenter and I can do it from anywhere in the world as long as we have a telephone and an Internet connection.

You might be thinking that your client(s) cannot afford a one-year commitment. I had the same concern until I suggested to my clients that they turn around and sell pieces of the program to their vendors/sponsors. My original client was set to divide the fee into three parts and sell it off to sponsors, but the first vendor they approached chose to fund the entire year!

Each month, we invite the sponsor(s) to start the program with a two-minute advertisement, we put their logo on the opening and closing slides, and we mention them a few times during the opening/closing. The idea is that you must offer the webinar to the participants for free. On my original series, we now have more than 1,000 people enrolled each month.

Sharing this idea with some NSA colleagues, I found that it is an underused model. It truly is a way to ensure you have some guaranteed income every month without boarding an airplane!

Jeff Tobe

Jeff Tobe

Jeff Tobe, MEd, CSP, teaches organizations how to be more creative when creating the ideal customer experience. His newest book, ANTICIPATE: Knowing What Customers Need Before They Do, was released in December 2012.
Jeff Tobe
Jeff Tobe
Jeff Tobe
Jeff Tobe

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