How to Make Money With a Free Event

If you’ve ever hosted a virtual summit, then you know how much work they can be. You spend weeks planning, foot the bill for graphics and landing pages, shell out for webinar systems, and pay for Facebook ads. Not only that, but you have to invest time and energy in recording interviews and piecing all the technology together.

Sure, you’re adding lots and lots of names to your mailing list (at least we hope you are), but if there’s no money to be made on the event, is it really worth it?

Yes! Because there most certainly is money to be made, even in a free event.

Backend sales. One of the biggest benefits of hosting an event is the opportunity to grow your mailing list, so hopefully you already have an autoresponder that’s working well in terms of driving sales and affiliate commissions. If not, then spend some time creating follow-up emails that specifically promote your products and services, and those of your colleagues and JV partners.

Upsells and downsells. As you’re setting up your summit funnel, be sure you’re adding in logical up- and down-sells in appropriate places. Some common locations for upsells include:

  • Confirmation pages—this is the page registrants see immediately after they opt-in, but before they confirm their email address. Typically it will say something like “Check your email now” but you can (and should) also include an upsell here.
  • Thank you pages—this is the page registrants will see after confirming their email. This page tells them what to expect next (dates and times of your event, where to log in, etc.) and like your confirmation page, should also include something for readers to buy.
  • Downloadable content—if you’re offering a transcript, workbook, or other downloadable item, remember to include an advertisement for a related product or service.

Extended access. Many summit hosts allow registrants to watch the event for a very limited time, and sell extended access.

Repurpose the recordings for paid products. Bundle your recordings with transcripts or other related content and turn them into stand-alone products you can sell to your list.

Just because your initial event is free to attend doesn’t mean it’s not profitable. With a little thought and planning, you can not only recoup your initial investment, but even make a tidy profit on your next free event.

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