Free vs Paid Seminars – Which Is Better?

Date: May 12, 2020
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Free vs paid seminars

Should you do a free or paid seminar or event? Which one is better for marketing your product or service?

In this video, I will talk about an actual seminar that we promoted and why we did what we did.

You will learn about the pros and cons of organizing free versus paid seminars and get valuable tips on which one to choose depending on the situation.

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Video Transcript

So we were approached last month by a client who wanted to do his first event ever. And he was asking us a very important question. And that question was: “Do I do a paid or a free seminar?”

This client basically hadn’t done seminars before this and he has no brand, no following. So my suggestion was that we first do a free seminar just to test the waters and to see how many people we can get.

Now he told me his minimum target was 125 people. So in order to achieve 125 people, we needed to get 400 people for this event. Now this, we’re still promoting this event and so far we have over one week to go and we have hit 395 signups. So we’re just five short, which we will probably fulfill today.

So we are hitting our target and even despite the many setbacks that we had along the way, which was a bit technical and issues with Facebook and so on. But we are managing to achieve our target of 400 people signing up and hopefully around 125 or 150 of them will show up at this event, which is being held in Las Vegas, in the USA.

So in this video, I want to basically explain why we opted for the free seminar rather than doing a paid seminar in this case. Now, as I alluded to earlier, one of the key reasons was that this client of mine didn’t have any database whatsoever. They had no following. They had no personal brand. So this was one of the key reasons why we decided to do it as a free event.

Because if you want to get people to pay you money, basically you have to have had a relationship or at least some kind of recognition or brand awareness among your following. And actually have a following. In this case, he had no following. So that was one of the key deciding factors why we decided to just go for a free event.

Now, the second reason why we decided to go for a free event as opposed to a paid event was that we had very little time to market this event. By the time we got everything ready, we basically had about four weeks, which is not a lot at all to actually market this event and get 400 people signed up for this event.

So the lead time was an important factor because if you want to do a paid event, you need more lead time because you need time to indoctrinate and to educate people as to why your event is actually worth paying for to come and not to mention the air ticket, the hotel fees and all that kind of other stuff that factors into coming for your event.

Now obviously there is one key consideration with free events is that you get generally less qualified people. Because the barrier to entry is so low, anyone and everyone can register for your event. So the quality of people that show up at your event is probably not as good if you were to have a paid event. So that’s one important consideration.

So in this case, yeah, we wanted to have good quality people, but because of the time factor we decided, yeah, let’s have, you know, a lot of people register and then qualify them with a phone call from there. So that’s one of the other tactics that we use in this case is to qualify prospects with a phone call.

One of the key considerations of a free event versus a paid event is that the show-up rates at free events tend to be much lower because they have not vested any interest into the event at this stage. Right? There’s no payment. There’s no pain for not showing up.

So in this case, we had to make sure we had ample numbers so that we still could fill the room of 125 people. So that is a key consideration as well. So you know, it’s really pros and cons as to whether you want to have that free or that paid event.

And finally, why we decided to go for a free event, in this case, was that the speaker had not produced a lot of marketing assets yet. So what do I mean by this? They didn’t have any brochures. They didn’t have any videos. Well, very few videos and basically, they did not have time to produce these assets for us.

So given that scenario, we had to basically go with the free event. So if you want to have a paid event, video is essential and we did have some videos but they were just not suitable for this particular instance. So they did not have time to produce more videos for us. So we just had to go with what we had.

So when you are deciding whether you want a free event or a paid event, you have to look at whether you have an online following. Do you have a database? A list? Do you have a personal brand? Do you have the right marketing assets? Do you have the proper lead time? Do you have the proper budget? And all these factors to see whether going for a free event or a paid event is going to be better for you.

So I hope this helps to clear up a few things around whether you should have a free event or a paid event. Thanks for watching and I hope you found this useful. Feel free to like, share or comment and I look forward to seeing you maybe on my next video.

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Terence has been passionately practicing and teaching marketing for 20 years. Since 2014 when Radical Marketing was set up, Terence has been helping business owners, speakers and experts from all over the world to fill up their seminar and webinar rooms with attendees.

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