Many seminar promoters feel that figuring out what to charge is the hardest part of marketing their events. Charge too much, and you could scare away a significant portion of your audience. But charge too little, and you might not only leave money on the table, you could also communicate that your event is of inferior quality.
Begin the fee-setting process by researching what promoters of similar events are charging and evaluate what they are providing for that price. How do their events compare with yours in terms of quality and quantity of information, bonuses, networking, instructor access, and so on? Use your competitive research to ensure that you are playing in the same ballpark as the other providers.
You don’t want to offer the lowest-priced seminar on the market. Competing on price can be difficult over the long haul. If the only distinguishing factor about your seminar is that it is cheap, your only choice when a competitor lowers his or her price is to do the same. Eventually, you’ll run out of room and your seminars will run at a loss.
A better proposition is to distinguish yourself by the value you add to your course. If you offer a significantly different experience than your competitors, you even may be able to charge higher fees than others speakers and trainers.
Another way to set your fees is to determine the cost you’ll incur if you run the program. Include only the fees involved in producing your event, not those you’ll incur in promoting your event. Then divide the production cost by the minimum number of people you want before you’ll run the course, and you’ll end up with a minimum tuition you should charge. For instance, if your meeting room and audiovisual expenses will be $600 and you want a minimum of six attendees before you’ll run the seminar, you’ll need to charge at least $100 if you want to break even on your expenses with the minimum number of people in the room.
Another point to consider is your target audience. Generally speaking, you will be able to charge more per day for seminars targeted to professionals vs. seminars that will be paid for by individuals.
However, you also must consider your topic, how unique your seminar is and your reputation. Seminars teaching employees how to use Microsoft® Word are a commodity and will need to be lower priced than a seminar teaching your exclusive and proven process to generate qualified leads. Seminars to teach people how to knit will not garner as big of a price as a small-group personal development seminar that leads people through deeply healing processes. If you are brand-new to your field, you will probably not be able to charge as much as an individual who has published a book and been working in the industry for a few decades.
The final question to explore when setting a seminar’s price is what the event’s goal is. Do you want and need to make money with tuition, or do you simply want to get people into the seats so that you can sell them something? If the latter, you can charge a token fee simply so registrants feel obligated to follow through and attend your event. In this scenario, be sure to tell prospects what your seminar is worth – what you would be charging if you wanted to make money on the event itself – so that they understand how big of a discount you are offering.
Once you determine your price, shift your focus to helping prospects recognize the tremendous value your event delivers. If prospects don’t agree that your seminar is worth more than you are charging, you won’t see the registrations you want – even if your event is dirt cheap.