Webinars have become the new buzz word in the marketing world. Perhaps your brand has run a few, perhaps you have even taken some yourself, but the bottom line is, webinars are quickly going to become just as important as blogging.
One survey conducted on the effectiveness of webinars found that they are currently the second highest way for brands to make a positive return of investment when it comes to online marketing strategies.
Another study also found that 20-40 percent of those who attend webinars end up turning into qualified leads, which are leads that are actually interesting in purchasing from your brand.
That is huge in terms of success rates and if your brand wants to be able to claim some of these statistics as their own, the time to act is really now.
The webinar market is increasingly becoming more and more saturated, but right now there is such a huge demand and very little competition to fill that demand.
Currently it is estimated that around 60 percent of content marketers are using webinars as part of their marketing strategy, however despite this, success rates seem to vary a lot.
One popular software company was able to generate over 1 million in revenue from 77 webinars conducted throughout the year, whereas other brands have reported making minimal from their investment.
In general, webinars are extremely profitable and suitable for almost any business whether it be a B2B, B2C or SaaS. You just have to know what you are doing and avoid falling into common traps or mistakes that so many brands and marketers do.
To help you along with the process, we have devised an “all you need” guide to help you run a successful webinar.
All You Need to Know About Hosting the Ultimate Webinar
1. Picking a Topic
Picking a topic for your webinar is really important as this is going to be your main selling point. It doesn’t matter how good your marketing is, the topic of your webinar is really going to be the driving force here so you have to work out what is really going to attract a crowd.
To help you pick the right topic you firstly need to think about your customers and what needs they may have. Then you want to think about your products and services, and how customers can go from obtaining information from the webinar and then signing up to purchase your product.
Think of it this way- if your product solves a problem that your target audience has, your webinar has to build a bridge between the customers problem and your product or service.
For example, say you run a coaching business where you help other coaches to build a website, deal with clients and manage their initial set up. As a coach, your ultimate goal is getting other coaches who need a mentor to sign up with your business.
Because you know your demographic, you may know that the number one problem that your clients or leads face is being able to attract more clients to their coaching business. You also know that without clients, your clients won’t have the money to even hire you.
There may be many “bridges” between your customers problems and the services you offer, however if you choose the one that stands out to your demographic the most, it is more likely to lead to sign ups.
2. Getting People to Show Up
You now have a killer topic to discuss at your webinar and heaps of useful information, the trick now is to get people to actually register and show up.
Keep in mind that your register rate and attendance rate may differ slightly or drastically depending on your demographic. A lot of the time people sign up and then forget, lose interest or can’t make the allocated time slot.
Research currently shows that around 40-70 percent of registrants show up for the webinar, meaning that your attendance rates are usually half of what your register rates are. Companies that fall in the 60 percent and above range are therefore doing well.
While it is not always possible to convince those who have registered to actually show up to your webinar, there are a few measures that you can put in place to help.
a. Offering a free content upgrade or bonus at the end of the webinar
By offering a free upgrade or service at the end of your webinar it helps to increase the perceived value and helps registrants to actually commit to turning up. By offering it at the end of the webinar, it also helps participants to stay engaged and avoid dropping off half way through the session.
Examples of what you may want to offer include a free e-book, templates, some sort of discount or coupon code or even a gift that is related to your products or services in some way. Make sure that your “bonus”, whatever it is, offers some value to your customers that will really get them excited, otherwise it may not be enough of an incentive to ensure that they stick around.
Also, make sure that this bonus is available only to those who actually turn up for your live webinar. This will help increase your attendance rate and avoid people forgetting.
b. Don’t plug your product until the very end
It is very important to remember that webinars are not about plugging or selling your product the entire time. As previously mentioned, your webinar really needs to act like bridge between helping your customers solve their problems and having your customers order your product or services.
We see many companies make the crucial mistake of turning their webinar into a salesy pitch, and this is the fastest way to turn off your customers and keep them away from your webinars for good.
Of course, you want to be able to mention you products and services in some way to your webinar attendees, even if it is just subtly.
This may include mentioning what services you can offer, or reminding them that they can find out more about your products at a particular landing page or website.
Introduce the idea of your products and services slowly, and be sure that you are always providing value and information to your customers before you start asking them to hand over their money.
c. Send Multiple Reminders Between Signing Up and your Webinar Date
When someone signs up to your webinar, be sure that you collect the appropriate details, such as an email address, so you can reach them whenever you need to.
You can also use their email address to send them reminders about the webinar and what they stand to learn or gain. You may also want to remind them of all the benefits they will receive if they show up.
The trick with sending reminder emails is the timing and the frequency, here is what we recommend-
- 7 days before: send them a friendly reminder email and highlight the benefits and what they will learn. You may even want to ask them to “save the date” and send them a full list of instructions on how to proceed and access the webinar.
- 1 day before: send them another reminder and highlight the free product or bonus that they will receive.
- 60 minutes before: send them the final reminder with simple step by step instructions on how to proceed to access the webinar. You may also want to remind them to use a particular hashtag or social media reference throughout the webinar.
You may need to send more reminders depending on the scale of your event and the number of people who have registered. We recommend anywhere between 3-5 reminder emails, however make sure that they contain beneficial information so registrants are more likely to open them.
d. Make it exclusive
Everyone wants to feel part of something special and exclusive. If you advertise that you are going to run the same webinar every day for the rest of the year, chances are people are not going to make your webinar a priority.
Creating some level of scarcity when it comes to the branding and marketing of your webinar is a great way to gain attention and keep engagement rates high. Remember, you are asking people to take an allocated portion out of their day to listen to what you have to say, so in their mind it has to be worth it.
Scarcity and exclusiveness also helps to squash your competition as it makes your registrants feel that they are getting something they can’t access anywhere else.
To incorporate scarcity into your webinar marketing strategy, you may want to limit the number of people who can attend, limit the number of people who can access certain content or limit the number of free bonuses or upgrades.
Most webinar hosting platforms allow for 1000 attendees, however it doesn’t mean that you need to fill all these spaces. We recommend for a small to medium business, a maximum of 250 spots to begin with, as this will help to make it seem more personalised or exclusive.
You may also want to run an early-bird promotion that gives a certain number of people access to a special set of instructions or features.
3. Introducing your Webinar
You may assume that because people have signed up to your webinar that they know who you are and what your brand is about. This is a huge mistake that marketers make when it comes to running their webinars, as often this is not the case.
While there may be some participants that know your content and your brand really well, there may also be others who just happened to stumble across your page.
In order to cater to both these attendees, it is very important to dedicate the introduction of your webinar to explaining who you are and what you do.
This is important as it helps to build trust and it allows those listening to know exactly what you stand for and what you can really offer them. It also helps to build your credibility and makes people more interested in getting to know you.
To help you navigate through the introduction of your webinar, we recommend you talk about-
- Who you are- include your qualifications and personality.
- Who you have helped- companies you have worked for, professional organisations you are aligned with etc.
- What you have achieved- career milestones etc.
- Something personable- a story as to how you got here, or what is your passion
This last point is the most important as it helps your audience to relate to you. If you just start bragging about everything that you have done, your audience will tune out. Instead, try to tell a story about your ups and downs and how you got to where you are today.
A lot of successful webinar creators also recommend making the tone of your webinar light hearted by throwing in a few jokes and keeping everything easy-going. This of course will depend on your demographic and who you are trying to target.
After you have introduced yourself, you want to move on to an overview of your webinar. This helps your audience to know what to expect and sets your webinar up a professional and structured speech.
Keep your overview brief however, you don’t want to give away all your juicy bits in the first 10 minutes, however at the same time you need to also wet your audiences appetite.
We recommend doing this in dot point form. Keep it to about 4-5 main dot points about what you are going to cover so your audience knows the main topics and then leave it at that.
4. How to Present Yourself as a Speaker
We have all been in lectures where the teachers voice has been nothing but a soothing lullaby that has lulled us into a complete state of boredom. Do not be that teacher.
Instead, channel your inner Tony Robins or Oprah Winfrey and work on creating an engaging and interesting tone that is going to help keep readers wide awake and maybe even inspire them to take notes.
To help you achieve this we have four main tips that we believe can help turn you into an amazing speaker-
- Rehearse your speech but don’t memorise it: you can tell when someone is just reading off a piece of paper and when they are fully engaged in actually talking to their audience. Rehearse your speech so you know how you are going to move from one point to the next and so you sound professional, but don’t learn how to recite it like a machine. This also allows your speech to have a certain level of freshness and spontaneity.
- Use Natural Inflection: If you speak in the same dull tone all the way through your webinar you will succeed in putting people to sleep. Try giving your voice some natural inflection by enhancing certain words and actually feeling each word that you are saying. Of course, you don’t want to artificially strain your voice, but when you feel passionate or you believe in what you are saying, the inflection will naturally be there. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a pause. Sometimes pausing, even if it is just to gather your thoughts, can be a very powerful moment and can help draw in the attention of your listeners.
- Don’t Rush: We see so many marketers rush through their webinars at lightening speed. This usually happens when they feel nervous and are doubtful if people are really listening or engaged. While you don’t want to drag your speech, at the same time you want to make sure that you are speaking in a clear, firm and calm voice. When we get nervous we naturally speed up our speech, so keep this in mind and ensure that you slow down. You may also want to have a timer near you so you can keep track of the time and if you are going too fast or too slow.
- Practice: practice definitely makes perfect. We recommend that you spend at least 1-2 hours every day practicing and tweaking your speech at least one week before you go live. This will help you to feel confident and secure about your webinar and will give you the opportunity to improve. No matter how many public speeches you have done, practice is always the best way to hone in on your talents.
5. Involve Your Audience
The beauty of a webinar is that you can actually connect with your audience in real time. This is an amazing experience for people and can really help your business to stay fresh in the minds of your attendees.
While asking for audience involvement during a webinar can be messy and tricky, we have a few ways that you can help your audience to get involved, while keeping things simple.
- Ask attendees to use the chat function: most webinar hosting platforms have a chat box where users can write comments to you in real time. Get your listeners to send in questions and then call them out by name when you want to answer them. This helps your audience members to feel valued, heard and that they are part of the conversation. You may also want to remind listeners that there will be question time at a certain point in your webinar incase they start typing and wonder why you are not responding.
- Prompt Listeners with Questions: if your attendees are on the shy side, prompt them by asking them certain questions. These questions may vary depending on your brand and business model but asking common or “frequently asked questions” is a good place to start. Try to choose questions that are going to evoke a discussion as well, so you can keep your audience engaged for as long as possible.
- Polls and Surveys: most webinar software also offers a polls and survey section, which you can use at any time to engage with your audience. This can help you to gain an understanding of what your audience thinks and how you can improve your webinar.
6. Follow a Method Proven to Succeed
There has been a lot of research conducted on what makes a powerful speech and webinar and this can be narrowed down to one simple formula.
Of course, how you use this formula will depend on your brand and it’s own unique services and style, however this format is generally a golden rule to follow:
- Start with a problem: this is the most common problem facing your demographic today.
- Amplify the problem: this intensifies the need for the problem to be solved.
- Tell a story and offer a solution: this helps to reveal the solution to your problem.
- Provide testimonials: this is to show how your solution really works in the real world, make sure to provide examples.
- Offer something to your audience: this is like your giveaway or bonus at the end.
- Evoke a response: this is like your call to action and requests that the listener takes action.
When you stick to a model similar to this, it will help your talk to follow an arc which will make your webinar memorable and inspire your listeners to take action.
Out of all the online marketing tools available for your business, webinars are truly one of the most powerful. Not only do they help you to really connect with your audience but they are also proven to earn your business a solid ROI.
If you are looking for that next level up from just a simple blog, if you are looking to really stay ahead of the curve and work on being a leader in your field, than offering a webinar truly is the way to go.
Even though we have highlighted many tips and tricks in this article, practice is truly what is going to make perfect in this situation. The more you practice, the more you will learn what your audience will respond to and what their needs are.