Do you know that webinars are an absolutely fantastic marketing tactic if you want to get people in to your sales funnel

If you didn’t.  Trust me.  They are!

Have you ever thought about running one yourself, but been put off because you just didn’t know where to start, or the whole tech side of it was too daunting?  Maybe you didn’t know what you could talk about that would be interesting, or didn’t see how all the time you invested in running a webinar would help you to get clients.

Well, here’s the thing.

Pretty much anyone running a service based business can run a webinar.  If you’re providing a service, there’s probably loads of stuff that you do, or know about, that would be really useful to other people.  People pay you to do stuff for them, don’t they?  Running a webinar might seem counterintuitive, as if you’re giving all of your secrets away, but it actually helps to establish you as an expert, and often makes people realise that they’re better off paying an expert to help them rather than just do it themselves.

Where to start?

So if you’re thinking about running a webinar, but don’t know where to start, you could try thinking about the most common questions you get asked by prospects and customers.  If it’s something people ask about, then there are people out there looking for the answers.  A free webinar offering answers to those common questions is going to be useful.

What about industry “stuff”?  Are there things that clients do that make it harder for you to do your job?  Could a webinar about “Things you can do to reduce your accountancy fees” or “Top Tips for getting an even better website” help you get accountancy clients to submit their expenses in a way that’s easier to deal with, or have website clients create better briefs that make it easier for your designers and content writers to do their job.

Often, doing a Google search of other webinars or blogs or even book titles for that are related to your field will help to find topics and titles that you can run a webinar on.

Plan Plan Plan

Once you’ve decided to run a webinar, the trick is not to run at it too hard!  If you want to maximise effectiveness, you need to plan it out.

Randomly, writing your webinar content will often be the last activity on that plan.

Planning Your Goals

What do you want to get from the webinar?  Are you trying to sell a product there and then or get people in to your pipeline so you can build relationships?  How many people do you want to attend the webinar?  Who’s your target market?  What step do you want them to take next?

Content Plan

You’ll need a content plan to start with, but that’s to make sure that you’ve got enough information to get people interested in what you’re going to talk about.  You’ll need to be able to add snippets to your landing pages, your promotional posts and even your reminder emails.

Tech

What tech are you going to use, and what training might you need?  You’ll need some software that will allow you to create a landing page, collect sign up details and send emails.  MailChimp, Mailerlite, Active Campaign and HubSpot are all examples of this kind of software.  If you’re just starting out and looking for a free option that is easy to use then I can highly recommend Mailerlite.  It’s a great starting point.

Mailerlite’s drag and drop landing page builder means that you can create fantastic looking landing pages, particularly if you use something like Canva to help you with your graphics.

Remember, though, the landing page has got to encourage people to sign up, so it’s got to be compelling as well as look good.  There’s no point in creating something that’s essentially style over substance.

There are lots of recommendations for how landing pages should be laid out to get the best kinds of conversion rates.  Check out Donald Miller’s “Marketing Made Simple” for some great insight into this.

It’s not just about the sign up

You won’t be able to get complacent just because people sign up.  People have terrible memories, so you need to build automations into your tech to keep reminding them about the date and time of your webinar.  It’s all about making it as easy as possible for them to remember, keeping them excited about what you’re going to be talking about, reducing the likelihood that they’ll double book and encouraging them to turn up on the day.  A 100% turnout on the day is never going to happen, so be prepared for that!

Shouting from the rooftops

No-one’s going to be booking on to your webinar if you don’t tell anyone about it.  You’ll need at least two – three weeks to promote it to make sure that people still have space in their diaries.

Social Media is an obvious place to promote, especially as it means that people can click on the links in your posts and immediately book on.  And remember that social media isn’t just limited to your own accounts.  Check out all of those Local Business Facebook pages and Linked In posts that encourage you to share what you’re doing.  You could cast your net pretty wide.  What are you going to post?  Where?  When?

But don’t be blinkered into thinking that social media is your only option. Email footers, blogs, newsletters, flyers, local advertising, networking etc are ways of getting the link out.  Consider partnering with someone who has the same client base, but offers something different – could they promote your webinar to their client base as an added value offering?  Facebook ads are an option too, but if you’re just starting out, then make sure you take proper expert advice before making any decisions.  The investment has got to be worth any potential sales value that you’re going to make from converting the leads that you make from your webinar.

Follow Up

The fortune is in the follow up.  You can easily automate this, though think about whether you’ll need to send out different messages to attendees and no shows.  You might want to add in bonuses for people who turn up – recordings, e-books, free trials etc.  Planning all of that in now gives you stuff to add on to your landing page and your social media posts.

Creating Your Webinar

Writing your webinar is one of the last things you’ll do before you deliver it.  Give yourself enough time so you don’t have to rush this bit at the end.  Think about how you’re going to deliver it – whether you’ll use slides (make sure you don’t subject people to death by PowerPoint, whatever you do) or whether you’re going to just speak more naturally.  Will you have interaction during the webinar, or save everything for a Q&A section at the end?

Identify the key takeaways you want people to leave your webinar with and create your content based around those.

Remember that most people learn best when they’re really engaged, so giving  people tasks to do based on what you’re talking to them about will really help to keep them interested.

Measurement

Make sure that you are keeping an eye on your webinars from start to finish.  Measure, measure, measure!

  • How much time are you spending on prepping for the webinar?  That includes setting up your webinar, creating your landing pages, writing content, putting the promotional elements together etc.
  • How many sign ups?
  • How many turn up?
  • How many turn into “Discovery Calls”?
  • How many turn into Sales?
  • What’s your hourly rate?
  • How much did you have to spend on software or promotion?
  • What’s the value of your post webinar sales?
  • So what’s the return on investment from your webinar?

Obviously it’ll get easier and quicker the more webinars that you do, and you need to be learning from them each time.  It might be more cost effective to outsource some of the stuff that takes you a long time.

Reward

Webinars are a great way of getting people into your sales funnel so that you can build long term relationships and make sales.

You won’t necessarily get sales instantly from your webinars, but if you run them over a three month period and don’t get anything, it will be worth performing a good evaluation on each area and identifying whether you might need to change things.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you getting enough people signing up? – If not, what’s the problem – do you need to update your landing page or promote it more, for example
  • Are you getting a good conversion rate from people signing up to attending? – If not, what’s the drop off?  Maybe you need to change the number of reminders?
  • Are your attendees target market? – If not, do you need to look at your messaging?
  • Are you converting attendees? – If not, what do you need to change about your content, your delivery or your follow up process?

If you are getting the results you want – fantastic!

The next step is to look at how you can leverage this.  If you run more webinars will you get better results?  Or do you need to promote harder to get more people on to your existing webinars?  It’s a constant learning curve!

If you do want more help around putting on webinars – planning, creating, delivering, following up etc, then feel free to book on to the upcoming ZHR Marketing Webinar about Webinars!  All aimed at helping small business owners run webinars that get them red hot leads.

Wednesday 2nd March at 10.30am.  Just click here to sign up

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