Why should you use webinars to build your business? There are a lot of reasons webinars work better than other marketing models for boosting engagement, building your list, making sales and improving your business profile. If you are thinking about hosting a webinar and you are not sure if it is right for your business, consider the following statistics:
- According to the Content Marketing Institute, more than 60% of marketers polled said they are consistently using webinars as part of an overall content marketing program.
- People are more time-crunched than ever before. That is why they love webinars. With recorded webinars, they can listen whenever they like.
- Physical seminars can be incredibly expensive, and require sometimes a sizable time investment. There is lodging and travel to consider, and none of these time or financial costs is a consideration with a webinar.
- A webinar introduces you as a real person, not just a website or a text-based marketing message. No matter what you think about yourself, there is an audience out there that will immediately “connect” with you as a person, and this deeper connection with your audience can create loyal, lifetime customers.
- Webinars level the playing field. Small businesses can compete with even the largest businesses in the world. You may not have the advertising budget of an Amazon, but you have the exact same Internet Amazon uses, meaning you have access to all of the people on the Internet.
- You can reach a global audience from your kitchen table. Many kitchen table millionaires have been made thanks to the power of the Internet. You have that same ability with webinars.
- Webinars cost little to no money to produce and host, and can turn into passive sales funnels that make you money with little input from you for the rest of your life.
Every large niche or marketplace has countless questions and problems that plague people interested in that topic. As an example, when you choose a topic for your webinar, as well as a title, “Weight Loss” is much too large of a focus. Even if you desire to lose weight, if you saw a webinar offered that was titled something like “How to Lose Weight”, you would probably not sign up.
That is because the topic is too large.
It doesn’t draw your attention. There is also entirely too much information to cover during a single webinar. That is too much information for even a single book. You need to figure out 1 big question or 1 big problem your audience needs to solve in the weight loss market. Focusing on a single micro-topic in a larger niche makes your content more relevant to those people searching for that particular answer.
It also serves you well. It makes your research easier. It makes you look like an authority figure to people that are desperately trying to solve that 1 problem you are going to talk about. This means a higher number of sign-ups, as well as a higher click through rate. It means better sales conversions. You also have a good opportunity to really identifying with someone, when you answer a question or solve a problem that people in your niche market stay up at night worrying about.
In the writer’s market, if you offered a webinar titled “How to Write a Killer Headline that Gets Your Content Read”, and you focused your marketing efforts on writer’s forums and writer’s groups on Facebook, you would have a win/win situation for both you and writers looking to improve their skills.
There are literally hundreds of different skills a writer must develop. Focusing on one topic that is crucially important to getting content read online and off, rather than attempting to cover everything a writer needs to know to be successful, will create a better experience for you and your audience.
What will someone come away with after listening to or viewing your webinar? The answer is, they should be able to achieve a “quick win”. This means that what you teach in your webinar should be able to be employed quickly. This goes back to the idea of answering just 1 big question or solving 1 big problem. When you stick to just 1 question or problem, it is easier for your audience to take action.
This means it is easier as well for your attendees to realize the result you taught during your seminar.
Suppose you have developed a lot of knowledge on the topic of training New Zealand goldfinches. You know how to get a goldfinch to do just about anything, including playing games, picking up bits of trash around the house, acting as an attack bird, singing and whistling, and mowing the grass.
You would love to teach your audience all of those things. However, the New Zealand goldfinch lovers out there would have a hard time implementing all of that knowledge at once. Pick one small thing you know you can teach, that just about anybody could do. For instance, maybe you found that it is very easy to get a New Zealand goldfinch to whistle happy birthday. That one skill would be an excellent webinar topic.
When choosing a topic for your webinar, make sure you deliver a quick win to your audience, something that even beginners to your niche or industry can put into practice.
This is where a lot of webinar providers spend too much time trying to figure out. Just remember that your webinar should be as long as it needs to be, without being any longer. It is like writing a piece of content. When you write anything for the web, it should be as short as possible and as long as it needs to be, not one word more. People consuming online content have extremely short attention spans. So your webinar should not be so long that it becomes boring.
However, you want to cover all the content concerning the 1 big problem or 1 big question you are going to speak about. One way to figure out exactly how long your webinar is going to be is to first streamline your introduction and conclusion.
Your introduction should talk about who you are and why someone should believe what you are saying. Make this as short as possible. It is important for people to believe you, and understand why they should listen to you, but you should not spend more than 3 to 5 minutes on your introduction.
As far as your conclusion goes, here is where you want to wrap things up and include a call to action. This may be an opportunity for you to present a value-filled offer for your audience. If you do so, make your offer extremely rich in value. Give your audience the opportunity of purchasing a product you usually sell at $97 for just $17. Add scarcity and a limited time for your offer, and you will do well. Just remember to make your conclusion no more than 3 to 5 minutes, just like your introduction.
Now you see you already have 6 to 10 minutes of time committed to your webinar.
You should have a question and answer period, after you deliver the meat of your webinar. This Q and A session should be no more than 10 to 15 minutes, and is important because it drives engagement and gets your audience involved. Since research across dozens of markets shows that 60 minutes seems to be an ideal length for webinars, this leaves anywhere from about 35 to 44 minutes for the body of the webinar to deliver a big win for your audience.
Now it is time to practice, practice, practice. Practice your introduction until you could do it without reading your script. Practice your call to action. This should be polished, engaging and enticing. Write down several frequently asked questions in case your question and answer session does not draw too many questions from your audience.
Finally, work on presenting your material. You should be intimately familiar with your webinar software, as well as exactly how you are going to present your webinar content, which we will go into in the next session.
The feature of webinars that can develop a dedicated, interested prospect pool is engagement. This means you should have a few spots in your webinar where you ask questions where the answer is a simple yes or no. Depending on the webinar software you are using, you can have your audience enter their responses on their tablet, computer or smartphone, and this input can be seen by everyone in the webinar.
This makes those people that answer your questions feel important, and a part of the process.
The same happens when you offer polls or quizzes. Polls are a great way to find out exactly what is bothering your audience, and what questions they need answered. This can give you excellent data for a future webinar, or input you can use to develop a product you already have a built-in audience for.
ReadyTalk knows a lot about hosting webinars. You will learn more about that company’s bona fides in a later section entitled “Promoting Your Webinar”. According to a lot of data, ReadyTalk says Tuesday and Wednesday seem to be the best days for hosting a webinar. Attendance seems to be higher on those days, as is engagement, giving you a better chance at building your list, selling your products or services, or whatever it is you are trying to do through your webinar presentation.
There are any number of ways to present your webinar content. Depending upon the webinar software you’ll be using, something we will look at in the next section of this report, you may tend towards one or another type of media for your webinar. Generally speaking, you will be using 1 of 3 ways to present your webinar content:
- A slideshow presentation
- Screen capture
All of those presentation models will be accompanied by audio. You, a webinar guest or a paid voiceover artist will be addressing your audience. You may also choose some combination of those 3 most common webinar presentation models just listed. Let’s take a look at each in turn.
PowerPoint makes giving slideshow presentations simple. This type of presentation is widely recognized by your webinar audience, and allows you to keep your topics short and simple. Nearly all of the webinar software providers mentioned in the next section will support PowerPoint, ProShow Gold, PhotoStage, KeyNote for Mac and other top slideshow software suites.
YouTube Live and Google Hangouts are two simple ways (and free, by the way) to use video in your webinar. When you include yourself in your video, at least for a little bit, you come across as more of a unique and real human being than if your audience doesn’t get to see who you are. You may also use the video camera built into your laptop or desktop computer, but these are usually of inferior quality.
Screen captures are excellent for showing a process or illustrating how a product works. You can either record still shots of your screen or short lenghts of video, recording exactly what you are doing on your computer. This video is then broadcast in real time to your webinar audience. Free Screen Video Recorder, CamStudio, Camtasia, EZVid, Screenflow and Screencast-O-Matic are just a few popular and easy to use screenshot and screen video capture software programs.
Poor audio kills a webinar. You could be giving away the best value and answering the biggest questions your industry has ever seen, and if you have poor audio quality, your audience will disappear. This means ensuring you have a decent microphone recording your voice, as well as the voice of your webinar guest. Your webinar software should be up to snuff also. A few proven tools for delivering a successful webinar include:
- Google+ Hangouts
- YouTube Live
- AnyMeeting (free for up to 10 attendees)
- ClickWebinar (free 30 day trial)
- iLinc (free trial)
- Blackboard Collaborate (free trial)
- GoToWebinar (starts at $79 per month)
- Cisco WebEx (starts at $79 per month)
- ReadyTalk Starts at $49 per Month)
- Adobe Connect (starts at $45 per month)
- MegaMeeting (starts at $39 per month)
- Webinars OnAir (starts at $25 per month)
- OnStream (per usage, call for quote)
- Samson Q2U
- Rode Procaster / Podcaster
- Shure SM58
- Blue Yeti
- Heil PR40
- Shure SM7b
ReadyTalk became a part of Premier Global Services, Inc. in 2017. PGi is a recognized multinational leader providing conferencing and collaboration solutions for businesses, including webcasting, web conferencing, videoconferencing and webinars. As a subsidiary of PGi, ReadyTalk understands the incredible power of webinars to build businesses both big and small. That is why when ReadyTalk suggests a best practice for promoting your webinar, you should probably listen.
According to that company, you should begin promoting
3 weeks prior to the date you are giving your webinar.
This means approximately 3 weeks before you are giving your webinar, start sending out email reminders to the people who signed up to attend.
Offer them an incentive, a free product or discounted service, for sharing your webinar sign-up link on their social media channels. This is also the time you should reach out to your own social media followers and begin promoting your webinar. You can of course explore paid marketing options here. Be very careful. It is easy to blow a lot of money on Google AdWords or Facebook ads if you do not know what you are doing.
Beginning 3 weeks out, think about how many attendees you can support. This will be dictated by the limits your free or paid webinar software provider allows. However, don’t stop promoting your webinar once your number of sign-ups equals the number of attendees your software can support. This is because sometimes more than 50% of the people who sign up for your webinar will not attend.
So if your webinar can support 100 attendees, try to get at least 200 people to sign up. Honestly, getting as many as possible to sign up is your best move. This builds your email list, and if people end up not being able to attend your webinar, you can always provide them a link to your recorded webinar later. Here are a few other webinar promotion tips that work regardless what market or niche you are in.
- Install a Hello Bar on your website. This is a thin, side to side ribbon or strip that loads at the top of your screen and spans the full width of your browser. You can install it on just your homepage or every page of your site or blog, including a link to your webinar sign-up page.
- Add a “bottom of the blog” call to action. This is a simple script which you can include at the bottom of all your blog posts, advertising your webinar.
- How about writing an entire blog dedicated to nothing but your webinar? This could include just 3 to 5 web pages or posts on a simple website that all drive traffic to your webinar sign-up page.
- Include an offer to attend your webinar in your email signature and on all of your thank you pages.
- What a lot of marketers don’t know is there are Webinar Listing Sites where you can promote your webinar. There are free and paid marketing options.
- Send a link to your webinar sign-up page in your current autoresponder email sequence, as long as the topic in those emails is relevant your webinar.
- Add an Exit Intent pop-up. You have probably seen these. If a user scrolls his or her mouse towards the “X” located in the upper right corner of the screen to leave your web page, an Exit Intent pop-up appears, and you can use this marketing tactic to present your webinar offer.
- Hit all of your social media sites, and don’t forget YouTube, Vimeo and the other top video sharing sites. Video engages like blog posts and Facebook updates can’t.
3 weeks out – Begin promoting 3 weeks before your webinar launch, as mentioned earlier. This should be your initial invite that goes out to everyone on your list who has not signed up for your webinar.
1 week out – Send out a reminder email, to both those who have signed up and have not signed up for your webinar.
1 day before – This is your second reminder.
Day of – 1 hour before the webinar, send a final reminder.
1 or 2 days after – Send a thank you email for attending, including any applicable offers.
There are definitely some best practices regarding tech troubles and other problems which may arise during your webinar. One best practice is to open your webinar 15 minutes before you begin your introduction.
This gives your audience time to get signed up and not to get left out, since many webinar software platforms limit the number of attendees. It also provides you with enough time to open the software, get ready, prepare your slideshow presentation, videos and or script, and see that the software is working properly. The following tips will help you handle any technical or other problems like a pro.
Believe it or not, a smile can be “seen” or sensed online, even if your face is not on video. There is no need to panic. Stay calm. A lot of times, a marketer who makes it through a troublesome webinar is seen as more of a real person to the audience.
People have problems in their lives all the time. They can relate to you when you make the best of a bad situation. Sometimes things happen with computers and software, and if you lose your mind and start stressing out, it will only make a bad thing worse.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re a small businessperson. You don’t have enough money to pay some technologically gifted individual to work as an assistant on your webinar. If this is the case, offer a percentage of the sales generated by your webinar, give that individual a free product or service that you offer, or otherwise incentivize their involvement.
You are good at what you do. Someone who understands the webinar process is good at what they do. Paying someone for their talents in this area is always a good idea to keep problems from wrecking your webinar.
Generals during wartime are famous for saying, “A battle plan only lasts as long as the first encounter with the enemy.” Certainly, you should not be looking at your webinar software or your audience as the enemy. Still, the point is well made.
If your audio goes down, your Internet crashes, your webinar software provider has a problem or your guest speaker disappears, what are you going to do? Have a backup plan in place, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a backup plan to your backup plan.
If your Internet crashes before or during the webinar, that is obviously not a good thing. Ensuring that your computer is connected to the Internet via a physical ethernet cable provides a much more guaranteed connection than Wi-Fi. Internet connectivity could also be a problem with your webinar software provider, and that means the techno-genius you hired should contact the relevant helpdesk immediately.
You should probably never give a webinar using a really old computer. It is also wise not to run a webinar an hour after taking a new computer out-of-the-box. Having a backup computer ready to go, loaded with all relevant software and webinar scripts is a simple solution.
Sometimes you can’t see the hardware issue from your end, but your audience may be having problems. In this case, ask them to try watching the webinar in another Internet browser.
There are a lot of smart reasons to join together with another professional in your niche or market if you are thinking about giving a webinar. Keep the following benefits in mind before you go solo with your next webinar.
- One of the benefits of teaming up with someone else in a joint effort on a webinar is lower cost for both parties. Depending on your niche and your presentation software, the average cost of conducting a webinar is somewhere between $100 and $3,000.
Teaming up with a joint venture (JV) partner makes a lot of sense financially. You and someone else split the costs, so this is an attractive benefit of JV webinars for small, cash-strapped businesses.
- You double your marketing efforts without doing any more work yourself. You have an audience. Your joint venture partner has an audience. You immediately increase your exposure, as does your JV partner, when you team to offer a webinar. This means without doing any additional work, you automatically have the possibility of reaching more people than if you were to run a webinar by yourself.
- If you choose your partner correctly, your skill sets complement each other. You are good at some things and probably not good at other things, when it comes to marketing and running your business. The same is true with other business owners in your area of interest. When you are really good at engagement and presentation, and your JV webinar partner excels at marketing and promotion, you have a partnership that benefits both parties.
- You probably have a product that you would like to offer at the end of your webinar. If you go the JV route, your partner will as well. Someone may not decide to purchase your product, but they may purchase your partners. This gives you an added revenue stream. Aside from that, if you structure your offer correctly and work with your partner, a small group of your attendees are going to purchase both your offering and that of your partner. This improves your possible income and profits.
- Maybe the biggest benefit of teaming up with someone else to offer a webinar has to do with mental and emotional support. Things are going to go wrong, there will be hurdles to overcome, software may crash, your writers or product developers may cause problems, and a million other things can happen.
Knowing there is someone else involved in the webinar creation and delivery process, as well as sales and customer follow-up, can take a lot of unnecessary stress off your mind.
- Team up with a partner on a single webinar, and you sometimes can create a JV partner for life. This means reducing your effort in marketing, product creation, list building, webinar delivery and every other aspect of your business when you webinar partner becomes a lifelong JV source.
You may be delivering your webinar just to give away some incredibly valuable free information. This means you are using this marketing platform to build your email list. However, you eventually want to monetize your webinar. Let’s take a look at how to generate money from your webinar, while also delivering massive value to your audience.
The best way to make consistent and serious money from a webinar is to never forget the marketing adage WIIFM.
One simple lesson to make the most possible money from your business and all of your marketing efforts is to stop thinking about what you want. Sure, you want to develop consistent cash flow, hopefully a passive income. You can do that if you stop thinking about your end of the relationship with your audience. Instead of thinking, “I want to make money from this webinar,” why not think, “What is my audience getting from this webinar?”
Once you have the viewpoint of your audience first and foremost in your mind, you can employ the following strategies and techniques proven to deliver sales and profits from a successful webinar:
- Free is the New Paid – Have you ever considered making money by giving stuff away? This is the cornerstone of the Internet marketing business model. Mom-and-pop companies and Internet Goliaths like Amazon understand that sometimes giving away something of great value now can lead to sales in the future. A free webinar that blows the socks off of your audience with the value it delivers and the problems it solves could lead to sales and profits in the future.
- Reward “Right Now” Behavior – Every webinar should have an inexpensive but value-rich offer that expires rapidly. Remember that your engagement is never going to be higher with your audience than during and immediately after your webinar. Offering a regularly priced $297 course for $47 and having that offer expire 30 minutes after webinar is over is an example of a fast action bonus which works well during webinars for creating immediate sales.
- Offer a Future Discount For a Purchase Today – When you include a substantial discount on a future purchase when a webinar attendee buys something today, you promote buying behavior not just now, but also in the future.
- Presell the Webinar as an Information Product – The people on your webinar want to be appreciated, just like anyone else. On your webinar sign-up page, tell your prospects that you will be selling the webinar in the future as an information product in PDF format, as well as video and audio. Offer webinar attendees a substantial discount price of 50% to 75% or more off of the price of the recorded webinar you will eventually sell.
- You Can Always Keep it Simple – Do you have an e-book, course, product or service you currently sell? On your webinar sign-up page that you will be offering a substantial discount that solves a big problem relevant to your webinar topic. Then after your webinar, offer the product you have already created at a substantial discount, after giving away lots of industry-related free value. This is the tried and tested “give away something for free, then make an offer” sales tactic.
- Sell Access to the Webinar – One effective sales tool to use with your free webinar is to offer a low-priced access to a one-time replay. This will set up the next monetization tip.
- Sell Unlimited Access to a One-Year or Lifetime Webinar Membership – This works if you give a really great webinar that drives engagement and offers a lot of free value that your audience loves. When the webinar is over, you can offer a flat fee price for a one-year or lifetime access to any and all webinars you create during that timeframe.
- Use Your Recorded Webinar as Bonus Material – Offer the webinar as a bonus in a future course offering, or a current course you have already developed. This doesn’t make money from your webinar today, but adds a wonderful bonus to encourage future course sales.
You have probably heard Internet marketers tell you that you absolutely must be building a list. This is so true, whether you operate a brick-and-mortar business and have no presence on the web, or whether your entire business is Internet-based. You must develop a contact list of prospects as well as current and previous customers. These people have shown an interest in what you have to say and sell, and can provide input into what products and services need to be developed, as well as delivering sales and profits.
There is no doubt developing a list or prospect pool is the first thing you should be doing online. That email list you are building does little good until you have an evergreen, passive, set-and-forget sales funnel in place.
A sales funnel is simply a path you create for your prospects. Online, it begins with a squeeze page. You offer something free in return for a web surfer signing up to your email list or newsletter. You then deliver an autoresponder sequence of emails that includes a “welcome to the list” email, followed by several emails that provide great value. You eventually offer a product or service for sale.
When one of your list members purchases something from you, an upsell option should be provided. If the person declines to purchase something from you, they should be sent to a different email autoresponder sequence, to get them back into the sales process. That is a very simple and down and dirty description of a sales funnel.
An evergreen plant or tree retains green leaves throughout the year. It always looks fresh, lush and beautiful. That is how you want your webinar to look if you make it a part of a sales funnel. This means that the topic of your webinar should be something that is relevant to your audience for years, if not decades.
Here is an example.
Do you remember the social media site MySpace? It was blowing up long before Facebook was even an ideain the mind of Mark Zuckerberg. It was the largest social media site in existence. It is still around, but is not even an afterthought when people want to hang out and socialize online. If you had given a “How to Market on MySpace” webinar for small business owners when MySpace was popular, you may have done well then, but that would not have been an evergreen topic.
Giving a webinar titled “How Any Woman Can Lose 20 Pounds in 60 Days After Your First Pregnancy” is going to be a topic that will always and forever draw an interested and engaged audience.
Once you have an idea of a webinar on an evergreen topic, write up an applicable autoresponder series. Create a squeeze page that is not topical or year-specific, and create a product to sell during or after the webinar. This squeeze page to email list to webinar to product offer series can be used literally forever to generate sales and profits and build your business, when the topic of that webinar will always be something of interest.