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How to Scale Your Webinar Business with Online Learning

Barry Kelly
Nov 23, 2015 10:00:10 AM

Accompanying the boom in content marketing, webinars have become a powerful tool for attracting and engaging prospects and customers. In fact, according to the 2014 ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report, webinars are playing an increasingly important role for both companies and viewers.

Another primary use of the webinar format is to provide education and training to millions of individuals worldwide. Whether it’s a product team communicating new information to its sales force or a medical professional learning about new procedures or treatments, the webinar is a powerful medium for one-to-many knowledge transfers.

Organizations that are successfully building healthy, high-margin webinar businesses with paying customers and sponsors will want to look for growth options once they generate traction. However, most will grapple with the challenges of scale, as synchronous delivery demands moderators, instructors and support staff to be in place for each event. Not only that, but synchronous events challenge the audience to commit to a time to be available. This factor alone considerably affects the ability to maximize revenue. And here is where learning fits in.

Building out and extending learning products is the key to growing a webinar base. Let’s take a look at how an organization can scale learning revenues from its existing webinar business:

Self-Paced Online On-Demand Courses

As your webinar business grows, so will staff, bandwidth costs, admin support and all the other components you need to bring a webinar to life at a particular time. On demand self-paced or online courses, which can also be offered with asynchronous instructor feedback, provide a learning experience where your audience can buy and begin learning 24/7/365. They can also do this with peers and instructors in a way that fits their schedule and learning style. Many organizations leverage content and training created for their webinars and then repurpose by adding additional multi-media objects such as videos, slideshows, interactions and peer-based galleries and discussions.

Session-Based Online Courses

Course sessions that start and end on a specific date are a great way to gather a cohort of learners together with an instructor or subject matter expert over a defined period of time, e.g. four week courses with an industry expert. Courses that are delivered over a number of weeks often have weekly chats or office hours as well as feedback from the instructors through projects and assignments. Bringing a group of learners through an online course together makes for a great experience where peers can communicate and share work and ideas.

Guides, Updates, and Short-Format Learning

Free short-form learning experiences are tremendous ways for many organizations to develop audience and capture leads. Whether it’s a new product overview, skill refresher or software update, this is a quality content option for prospects, customers and any key audience member. One of the most powerful elements of online learning is the level of engagement achieved with learners—they spend way more time, volunteer more information and are more willing to engage with peers. The learning experience is also a captive environment to cross-sell other learning and physical learning products.

Ad-Supported/Sponsored Learning Experiences

Current webinar business may be delivering free sessions that are sponsored by advertising partners, but this model is not exclusive to webinars alone and can be easily leveraged in self-paced, session-based and short-format learning. You can start with simple options such as pre-roll post-roll video ads to full page interstitials and a host of other placements delivering ads from your ad server to the learning environment. A more elegant way to deliver the sponsored experience is to brand the learning interface so that learners are exposed to a more integrated experience.

Of course there are many more learning products, derivatives and hybrids that can be delivered as you expand the revenue options from your existing webinar base. The key is look for more scalable options so that your content and subject matter expertise can be working for you day and night all across the globe.

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