In our Better Online Events series so far, we've looked at how to run better online classes, online meetings and online physical classes.
Today, we'll look at another crucial type of online event: sales & marketing webinars.
Whatever it is that your business sells, you could almost certainly sell more of it by learning how to create a webinar as part of your marketing. This is especially true for high-priced products.
If you've never considered running webinars before, or you want to upgrade your webinar game — keep reading!
Why Choose a Webinar for Sales and Marketing?
A webinar is a powerful lead generation strategy that enables you to virtually sit in front of your prospects and present your product to them.
When COVID started making its way around the world, the largest remote-working experiment in the world began. Suddenly, businesses that had previously only conducted sales pitches in person had to learn how to get the same results online.
But when it came to marketing webinars, businesses were not just getting the same results — they were getting better.
Webinars can get between a 35 and 55% registrant-to-attendee conversion rate… People actually show up!
Online events have wider reach, more data to measure success, and direct contact with the attendees – before, during and after the event!
But how do you create a webinar that warrants this sky-high attendance rate?
What Exactly is a Webinar and How Does It Work?
A webinar — specifically for sales and marketing — is a live pitch and demonstration of a specific feature or product that you’re selling, followed by a question and answer session in an online event space.
Webinars allow you to showcase the benefits of your product or service by demonstrating how it solves a specific problem. It’s important that your webinar does solve a real problem for your audience too, as people are unlikely to enjoy a commercial sales pitch with no additional benefits.
How Long Should a Webinar Be?
Keep in mind that humans aren’t built to focus for a long period of time. It’s not the way your brain operates.
Try to strike a balance between how long you can keep someone’s attention, and how much time your attendees are willing to set aside — so cap your webinar at around 60 minutes.
How Much Does It Cost to Run a Webinar?
Many people shy away from adding a webinar to their marketing strategy because of how expensive the tools are… but that’s no reason to back out of hosting a webinar. There are solutions for all budgets.
First, you can use pretty much any online meeting tool to run a webinar. If you're on a tight budget, you can work out how to create a free webinar using something like Google Hangouts or Skype Meetings or Jitsi. These platforms may seem like they’re “less than ideal”, but they will help you get the job done — and getting the job done is better than not doing a webinar at all.lesson 6 in Better Online Events.
How to Create a Webinar in 4 Steps
1. Select Your Topic
To choose a topic your audience wants to engage in, it must be:
This can be related to a product release or update, or offer a valuable takeaway that promises a transformative change.
A good example is the Quiz Masterclass webinar hosted by Hanne and Christine.
We received many questions asking how to use Thrive Quiz Builder effectively in marketing funnels — so we hosted a webinar to demonstrate how to do just that.
Simple, relevant, and it solves a problem!
2. How to Set Up a Webinar
There are 7 must-have items to set up a webinar that allows you to deliver a high-quality presentation smoothly.
In lesson 1, all of these items are covered in-depth, as well as some product suggestions based on my experience of what works.
To summarize here, you’ll need:
Your webinar setup directly affects how well your presentation will go.
For example, while you can definitely run a webinar using only one screen, it can cause noticeable pauses and moments of hesitation as you juggle between the webinar tool, your presentation, the screen sharing software etc.
So, although investing in a second screen is not necessary, it will make your webinar transitions much easier to manage, as you’ll see in this video.
And, to avoid running into these issues when you’re presenting to your audience, test your setup before the event to make sure it works.
3. Prepare for Your Webinar
I can't overstate how important it is to deliver your presentation comfortably and smoothly.
Even small interruptions mean you will lose some people's attention, and that can ultimately affect how many people convert on your final offer.
To make your webinar run like clockwork, make sure that both you and your audience know what to expect.
Divide your webinar into sections with allocated times for:
This will prevent frequent interruptions that could distract you, or make the webinar go over time.
This is also a good time to decide if you’ll benefit from having an assistant. Whether in-person or remotely, having an extra person at hand to manage incoming questions and resolving any technical issues will prevent you from being distracted when presenting.
4. Practice Your Webinar
Just as actors can’t expect to shoot the perfect scene first-time around — your webinar is unlikely to go smoothly the first time you present!
Practicing your webinar allows you to master switching between slides, reading notes and managing online tools to create a clean experience for your attendees.
You can use your webinar tool of choice to run through your webinar beforehand, so you’re familiar with your material and transitions.
To create your practice space, open a digital meeting in your webinar tool — but don’t invite anyone else in! Present your webinar as if your audience is there and record it. Then, you can watch your webinar back as a participant to see which parts feel clunky, or if your content starts to feel boring.
You can do this once… twice… as many times as you wish, until you feel your webinar is ready for a live audience.
In this lesson, Shane takes you through how you can navigate your webinar with two screens and practice it in an empty meeting room using Live Webinar.
Extra Tips For Making the Most of Your Webinar When It’s Over
To keep your attendees engaged and more likely to become a customer, consider the following tips…
Send a Follow Up Email
When someone signs up for your webinar, they also become part of your mailing list.
Follow up emails help to ease your attendees into being an engaged subscriber. With a simple request for feedback and a link to other relevant content related to the webinar, you can make this transition smooth.
This has the added benefit of letting you send them new content and offers for many months after the webinar has ended.
No matter how many emails you send out, you’re never going to get a 100% attendance rate. People have other commitments, deadlines to meet… or just forget — life happens!
To fill that void, sending out a replay allows the late-comers to catch up on your webinar.
Most webinar tools save a recording of your presentation. So, you can simply upload your replay to your video player of choice (set to invite only, of course). Then, send the link to your registrants in the follow-up email, letting them know how much they missed out on!
Be sure to keep the comments active, so the late-comers can continue the conversation post-event. And don’t forget to reply to the comments too 😉
Feel like you packed in a lot of valuable takeaways that other members of your audience could benefit from?
Repurposing your webinar allows you to attract more traffic to your content by repackaging it in a different format such as an online course, blog post, podcast, or video.
For example, Thrive University is full of helpful past webinars, now repurposed as single-lesson courses that are free to access if you’re already a member.
Not yet a member of Thrive University? You’re missing out... click here to change that!
Ready to Create a Webinar for Sales and Marketing?
To create a webinar for sales and marketing purposes, you can boil the process down into the following:
So, when’s your next online event?
Invite us in the comments below.