You just launched your website and you are hoping a ton of traffic is going to flood your homepage. You don’t even know who your fans are and the type of content they will find valuable. Then again, all the investors and CEOs want to hear is: where is the ROI? When do I get money in my wallet? They aren’t open to paid media so your only options are earned media and owned media. What are you going to do?
In cases like these I have used webinars to save the day and the marketing budget at that. I would attend several different events and learn from top speakers consistently. After their “show” I would ask them if they were interested in possibly partnering up for a webinar that would deliver value to their audience and ours. Most of them would say yes right away and this was the key for getting that initial traction going.
Initially, traction is most important in the growth phase of a startup. Then with traction, you have to have the reach. Events and other activities may be effective but what are the exact revenue-generating activities? When you measure each of the revenue-generating activities through a swim-lane process which one wins? In most cases, I’ve seen webinars conquer all. They provide a way for business to promote ubiquitously without challenging reach.
Here are some tips that have helped me create winning webinars:
Set it, Forget it and Fail
When I executed my first webinar I just created the webinar page and thought everyone would sign-up because I was a rockstar like that. Guess what? The webinar date came around and no one showed up. This is when I learned how to effectively engage my pipeline before, during and after webinars.
Before a webinar:
- Generate blog posts around a webinar topic two weeks before the webinar. Create 2-3 blog posts around the topic and fill it with juicy information to get them to opt-in.
- Create 3 training videos around the meatiest information in your webinar. Send them to your list prior to the webinar date.
- Create a sharable hashtag that allows your audience to spread the word about the webinar.
- Build a contest that builds anticipation with your audience, and gets them excited about finding out who the winner is during the webinar.
- Giveaway a fun prize that will only be announced in the webinar.
- Send them a worksheet that allows your audience to see exactly what they will be receiving in your webinar. It will serve as a filter for those who are extremely excited and those who simply aren’t.
- Send two reminder emails before the webinar date. One 24-hours before the webinar and one 4 –hours before the webinar.
- Keep the different time zones in mind.
During a webinar:
- Ask questions throughout the webinar so you can understand your audience and not lose them.
- Build bonuses into the webinar so they find value in your core offer.
- The education must be powerful and cutting-edge. If they have heard the information somewhere else, they will leave in a heartbeat.
- Read the bios of everyone who will be speaking without make it seem like you are reading off of a script.
- Turn off all other gadgets during the webinar
- Use a microphone for the best audio quality. I recommend Audio-Technica.
After a webinar:
- Thank your audience for joining the webinar and send them a summary.
- Send them 3 reminder emails about watching the webinar before it expires.
- At the end of your blog posts create a click-to-tweet link so they can share the webinar with the world.
Laser-Specifics win every time
From hosting previous webinars I have noticed that the more specific I got about the topic the higher the opt-in rate was.
For example, instead of just creating a webinar around content marketing, I would create a webinar where the topic was about “How to Win 10 New Customers a Day through Content Curation.” See how specific I got with the topic?
The next step is to reach out to a thought-leader who can support your topic and provide valuable information to your audience.
This will help you prevent from going off on tangents when it comes to hosting a webinar.
It may be tough to get the best of the best to come speak on your webinar but aim for the stars. Try to track them down on Twitter and LinkedIn and show them what type of value they’d be getting by spending an hour of their time in a webinar. If you can get 2,000 or more people to opt-in for your webinar, will they want to join? Of course! Surprise them with the data.
You can even create a landing page with a “mystery guest” to show them the opt-in rate for the webinar around the specific topic. If it is an interest to them and their audience, they will not mind contributing.
What Type of Webinar will you produce?
I recommend GoToWebinars, Webex Webinars (for larger robust webinars) or the EverGreen Webinar System for executing webinars. Why? The other services I’ve tested have resulted in more technical issues than you can imagine. Just like work-out plans and fitness, each business owner has their way of doing things. There are other ways of carrying out webinars through BrightTALK, Google Hangouts, and Adobe Connect so I would urge you to check them out before settling for my recommendations.
The format of the webinar is key and it should match your topic. Here are possible formats you can choose from:
A. Q &A:
The best way to carry this out is by collecting questions from your audience around a specific topic beforehand. I usually assign a hashtag and ask my audience to ask their questions via Twitter through the hashtag. Then, during the webinar, I would answer the top five questions I have received and answer additional questions in the chat. In order to engage with the audience, I have them answer questions as well. Peer-to-peer feedback is effective.
Presentations aren’t always engaging but the will build authority and engage your audience with the core offer. Visual marketing is trending more than ever, when someone understands through the visuals, they are more likely to buy from you.
Customers may purchase through social proof. If they see that a national brand or global company is using your product or service, they might be interested. Also, by interviewing experts, you can build your brand and reputation. Give your audience value through other experts in your rolodex.
When you create a panel you can offer different types of opinions around your topic. This will allow your audience to see and relate to the different perspectives.
E. Adoption Demo:
There is no other way to increase your reach than to put on a demo for various different audiences who are attracted to your product or service. Make sure you shine on the benefits to really help your audience see what your product or service can do for them.
Q & A Webinar
Expert Interview Webinar
Expert Panel Webinar
Demo Adoption Webinar
The Presentation itself
Now, after you pick the presentation format, the most essential items will be:
A. The Deck:
The slides in your presentation need to be different from your roadmap and script. You should not be reading off of your slides. The slides will simply provide a visually appealing factor for your audience. They will be able to see the slides and connect them with what you are talking about. For example, if you tell a story about a whale and the slide has a whale on it, they will remember the whale story because of the visual.
B. Roadmap everything out:
I have noticed how my webinars have run smoothly when everything was scripted out. The roadmap really helped me identify the key takeaways and the topics that I’d be covering. I was also able to give my audience “golden nuggets” every step of the way to keep them engaged.
Once you have the format in place, it is time to start promoting like crazy.
Promote it like Crazy
One of the best ways to promote is through Facebook groups and a Twitter hashtag. If you have a panel make sure you have all the speakers tweet out the webinar.
Another way is to make your nurture sequence sharable so your list is able to share it with several different audiences and refer others to the webinar itself.
The other way to promote is through LinkedIn groups. However, make sure you read the rules in the LinkedIn group prior to promoting your webinar. Some of the groups will not allow you to promote a webinar.
Then if all else fails, turn on the demand gen. ad engine and fire up the ads to the landing page of the webinar. You should not be paying more than $3.00-$5.00 per opt-in.
Multimedia Promotes Interactive Webinars
The best webinars are interactive. They provide an assortment of different types multimedia and interact with their audience. For example, I can show different movie clips throughout my webinar to engage my audience.
I can ask for feedback and create different survey polls, have my audience ask questions, or by creating clickable links within the webinar itself.
Get the Audience Buy-In
The audience is super excited about your webinar. They loved every moment of it. Here are a few things you want to think about:
o What is the call-to-action?
o What do you want them to do next?
o Is your audience wanting more? If not, your job is not done.
o Are you providing them with contact information for each of the speakers?
o Are you going to send them the winners for your giveaway through an email blast?
o How and when can they see the replay?
o How will you collect feedback from them?
The recession hit everyone’s business hard. Marketing budgets have been slashed, we’re all working with fewer employees, and we need to do more with less. Webinars offer a great way to do exactly that. Rather than hosting an in-person conference and only attracting attendees that are local to the area, you can host a webinar and bring in clients from around the globe.
How have webinars changed your business?