I blogged recently about Why I Hosted a Free Telesummit (And Why I’d Never Do It Again) after getting asked that question by someone who seemed upset that I would host free telesummit considering my very vocal stance AGAINST this model.
I explained my reasons why from a mindset level, the free telesummit model does more harm to the relationship between host and prospect.
Why I Prefer the Premium Telesummit Model
So, the model I typically produce for my clients is the premium one – that’s where you give a sample, but the sample isn’t 10, 12 or more one hour calls. The sample is a preview call – one gift – that the prospect can manage without getting overwhelmed.
Then, on the preview call, you invite the listener to upgrade to one of the packages containing access to the live call PLUS access to the downloadable recordings, transcripts and online networking group.
In the past, I used to host up 3-4 preview calls, but then again, I was charging $200-$600 per ticket to attend the virtual series. Times have changed. People are HIGHLY distracted and have the equivalent to digital ADD. You’ve got to hit them with information quickly while you have their attention.
Also, consumers are no longer willing to invest in multiple hundreds of dollars in telesummit content. You’ll need to offer way more if you want to charge that much. Or, you need to target a market that would find it suspicious if you did NOT charge multiple hundreds of dollars for admission (I explained all this in my now defunct program, Telesummit Pricing Secrets).
What the Single Free Preview Gift Does
The free preview allows you to do several things:
- The host gives a gift ONCE. This helps the host avoid the urge to overgive.
- The prospect doesn’t go into overwhelm because they get one gift that they can easily consume.
- Those who never have any intention of buying get their free sample without feeling like they’re obligated to give you anything in return.
The premium telesummit model is a powerful strategy because it allows you to build your list AND make money without overgiving. The thinking behind overgiving is that if you give more, the prospect will see the host as being generous.
In fact, the opposite happens. Overgiving causes the prospect to “check out” because deep down, they don’t want to feel obligated that they owe you something for the 10, 12 or 15 free gifts you’re offering on a daily or weekly basis.
The High Cost of Free
The free telesummit model attracts those who demand attention when they haven’t (or don’t intend to) buy anything from you. Because you have given so much for free, the prospect feels they’re owed more – for free.
Free does have costs.
I didn’t offer a 48-hour replay on my free telesummit because it would’ve cost me money to get my technical virtual assistant (Tech VA) to make the audio & page available – and then unavailable. She would’ve had to do that for all 18 sessions.
Given that only 10% of those who opt-in to a free telesummit upgrade to get the recordings, I asked myself if the return on investment (ROI) would justify paying my Tech VA the 30-minutes per session to put up and take down the page and to support the limited replays. Plus, there’s all the additional email messages that need to be written to support the availability – and non-availability – of the replays.
I’m glad I made the decision NOT to make the replays available. Only 4% of those who opted in upgraded to get the recordings, far below the average of 10%. A good portion of that revenue would’ve been eaten up paying my Tech VA to make the replays available.
Debbie Downers Galore
In all the telesummits I’ve ever run, I’ve never received such a large number of complainers. After thousands of hours producing telesummits for myself and my clients since 2007, I was shocked at the type of emails we got from free attendees. It was nothing but complaints.
And what’s even more incredible is that the telesummit was focused on adding more faith to your business, so to see a bunch of angry faith-driven entrpreneurs left me mystified.
- They complained about the number of emails
- They accused us of adding them to our list without their permission (which is impossible given the system we use)
- They demanded that we make the replay available since they didn’t get (or more accurately see) our email on time
- One lady accused us for being un-Christian because the cost to invest in the upgrade ($67) was too expensive (oy!)
The Final Word
I get sooooooooooooooooooooooo much pushback when I beg, tell, implore people not to host a free telesummit. I feel like those philosophers who were unpopular while alive, but whose teachings became mainstream after their death.
Those who support my stance do so in private. They send emails or messages on Twitter or Facebook. Those who oppose me do so in public. And in BIG numbers.
But I’m used to being the oddball – the one who stands out. So, this doesn’t bug me in the least.
What does bug me is that both models – free vs premium – do help you list build and make money. But if one model helps you lessen the number of customer service tickets, cover your costs and make money before, during and after the event, wouldn’t it make sense to use the model that’ll help you heighten your return on investment?