One of the first (and most important) questions people ask when exploring webinar options is, how much will it cost?
Understanding the expenses associated with a webinar is key to being able to project and manage your return on investment.
The most obvious cost associated with running a webinar is the platform. Some simple platforms are free up to a certain number of attendees, while more advanced technologies typically require that you pay a monthly or annual fee to host events. Pricing for a robust webinar platform ranges from $150 to $500 US per month, depending on the package and your unique needs.
Be sure to read the fine print regardless of chosen platform. Many companies, most often those that don’t publish their pricing online, include hidden fees and other event costs. For example, you may be penalized for additional presenter logins, having more attendees than expected or even getting technical support during your event, if you only purchased a basic package.
One of the great things about webinars is they don’t require a lot of fancy equipment or technologies to run. All you really need are headsets that connect via USB port for your presenters, a webcam and good Internet connections. A brand-new full webinar kit for two presenters will cost between $200 and $400 US. If running multiple webinars throughout the year, the investment in good equipment becomes easy to justify.
On top of this, you’ll want to budget for stock imagery, music, video licenses and other creative assets, should you require them. Prices will vary.
If hiring consultants or keynote speakers, costs will be lower than in-person events because you don’t have to fly people across the country or pay for meals, hotels and other items. Fees will fluctuate depending on the required talent and there’s likely room to negotiate in the current climate. However, it’s important to offer a pricing package that is fair and focuses on building a long-term relationship. The value that these experts can offer your audience has not changed since COVID-19. Plus, you don’t want them to feel like they’ve been taken advantage of during a tough situation.
Promotional costs will vary based on your webinar goal (for example, lead generation, thought leadership or training).
When the focus is lead generation, you will want to put some spend behind paid social media, pay-per-click advertising and other third-party driven campaigns to help get the word out to new audiences. Expect to spend 40 to 60 per cent of your allocated budget to ensure you’re generating quality leads.
If the webinar is for internal training purposes, you will probably rely more heavily on e-mail and word of mouth to drive sign-ups. As a result, costs will be low or possibly even nothing.
The biggest surprise cost of planning, promoting and hosting a webinar is the amount of time spent and people power required.
For those who have used an agency for design work or other tasks associated with pulling off an online event, this will be obvious to you. Agencies bill for every minute of work and your invoice will reflect the exact amount of time invested in the project.
If you have an in-house team that doesn’t time-track projects or bill departments for each job, you can quickly lose sight of how much time and resources are being dedicated to your event. While you may not be billed for this in dollars, it does have an opportunity cost that can have a more detrimental impact on the success of other teams or projects you’re managing. Always try to optimize your webinar creation process to mitigate these costs.
Melissa Hugel is the marketing manager at WorkCast, a software-as-a-service platform designed to bring together innovative online events with proactive support. WorkCast and its team make webinars, webcasts and virtual events simpler and more engaging, allowing users to generate more leads and connect with audiences on a global scale. Melissa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.