When it comes to producing fee-based webinars from start to end, one of the most established service providers I know of is KRM Information Services. They do a lot of work with professional associations and membership groups who provide value-based content for their members. I wrote about their work with Harvard Business School Publishing in an article last year.
KRM has come up with an interesting new approach to fighting the problem of how to promote and publicize events. Some of the content they work with is "horizontal" in nature. That's a marketing buzzword that means there is no specific industry or audience to target. Strangely enough, an event that could be of interest to everyone is often the hardest type of event to market. If you have a topic that is highly focused on a single industry or geographic region or other demographic segment, you can find ways to get the message to the right people... through industry newsletters, website portals, mailing lists, and so on. But if you are offering a topic of general business interest, you can't afford to send an email to every business person in the world.
KRM is promoting a marketing partnership program for their general business topic webinars. If you are an association or other entity with a permission-based list of many names, you can sign up to co-sponsor an existing, scheduled event. KRM has already scheduled the date and time, organized the speakers, created the content, and put the technology in place. All you are doing is pushing the content as a valuable offering from your organization. You don't get to take part in the presentation, but you are seen as a provider of the information by association.
KRM gives you an email template with the proper marketing copy and links to a custom-built registration page with your organization highlighted. They track how many people sign up from your registration link. And they cut you a check for a percentage of the gross fees collected from your attendees. In effect, they are paying you to be a list mailer on their behalf, but letting you co-brand the event and have the audience perception that you are supplying beneficial material and education.
I like this concept. It seems to be a win for everyone involved. Of course the potential fly in the ointment is that as a sponsorship partner you have no control over the quality of the content that your audience ends up seeing. If something goes wrong and the event isn't received well by the attendees, it is hard to explain that you didn't actually have anything to do with what they saw!
The first set of topics are online at a special KRM website (not accessible through their main site) with dates through June and into early July. Most are very broad business education subjects such as "11 Things Not To Say To Your Customers" and "Low- and No-Cost Benefits to Help You Tame Turnover." There is more information about how to participate as a sponsor and how responsibilities are shared.
I'll be interested to see how this works out. If you decide to sign up as a sponsor and want to share your experiences, please drop me a line.
UPDATE (June 12 8:40am EDT)
Christopher Dean at KRM responded to a couple of the points I brought up in this post. He points out that I made it sound like KRM is the content provider on these events. That's just a matter of sloppy writing on my part. If you look at the webinar calendar, you can see that the speakers and content creators are companies like Kiplinger, Harvard Business School Publishing, Soundview Executive Book Summaries, and Centers for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. KRM is purely involved from the production and promotion side.
He also wants people to know that each event is backed by a 100% guarantee of satisfaction with the quality and value of the content.