Wondering how to create a webinar that actually sells.
Webinar can be an excellent way to generate leads. But if you don’t do them right, they are massive waste of time.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the webinar basics and teach you how to create a webinar that sells.
What’s a Webinar, Anyway?
With all the new ways to connect via video, it’s easy to get lost in the lingo.
So let’s take a step back and break down what exactly a webinar is.
In the simplest terms, a webinar is literally a web-based seminar; it’s a video conference that connects the speaker (host) to their audience through the internet.
Your traditional conference is typically held at a physical location, with all attendees physically in attendance. But with a webinar, all you need is an internet connection.
The webinar host can speak directly to their audience, share slideshows, and communicate with the audience via various software. No muss, no fuss, and no need to change out of your PJs.
So as you can imagine, the motivation behind hosting a webinar is similar to why someone would hold a traditional conference: they have expertise in an area, and will typically exchange that expertise for a.) money, b). lead/contact information.
I’m a fan of the latter, but we’ll dig into that momentarily.
How To Create a Webinar: Why Host and What to Present
I won’t lie, webinars are a lot of work.
They require an excellent topic, spotless presentation, and a well-thought-out promotion strategy.
So why do we do it? Easy: customer love them, they drive demand, and offer a real way to connect a brand with its audience.
Not to mention, 73% of B2B marketers and sales leaders say a webinar is the best way to generate quality leads.
But before you jump on your own, ask yourself this: is a webinar best for your brand?
Not all content is well-suited to a webinar, and like all successful marketing strategies and tactics, the topic you choose to present should have undeniable value to your audience.
For reference, B2B companies blow the competition away when it comes to webinar production, with 61% of total webinars being hosted by B2Bs.
As far as content, consider some of the following:
- Panel discussion of anything newsworthy in your industry. DO: focus on fresh takes and expert opinions. DON’T: simply report the news
- A detailed look at a niche topic. DO: Offer real strategies and deep examinations of the subject at hand. DON’T: share broad overviews with little actionable strategy or information
- New product demonstrations or how-to tutorials. DO: Show the details and any expert tips or tricks or step-by-step processes. DON’T: Show the bare bones
When in doubt, look at past blog posts that have performed well, think about any new or emerging trends in your industry, or look at common questions you receive from clients.
Remember, you’ll want to choose a highly-specific content area. So rather than hold a webinar on a broad topic like what is email marketing, narrow it down to something like how to increase conversions or ROI through email marketing.
Equally important is choosing the right speakers for your webinar. They should always be hosted by someone with knowledge and expertise in the given subject, and be comfortable on camera and potentially taking questions. For example, if I were to hold a webinar on paid media strategies, I would bring in an expert in the paid media division of the company to help.
How to Create a Webinar: To Charge or Not to Charge
You’ve likely encountered both the free and paid model. Both are common, but keep in mind, they serve very different purposes.
Simply put: you’ll probably have more success with a free model unless you already have a loyal list of followers and offer very specialized coaching or training.
Free webinars are much better suited to lead generation and brand awareness, and come with a very low barrier to entry – meaning you’ll likely see a higher attendance rate.
How to Create a Webinar: How to Drive Leads
Speaking of lead generation, one of the best uses of a webinar is to drive more business leads. Which means you’re focusing on top-of-the-funnel goals like brand awareness.
For that, you’ll likely want to focus on content areas like detailed niche topics, panels, or how-to processes. More specific information like product demonstrations are best for those already familiar with your brand.
With that in mind, it’s important to use your webinar as a way to introduce your brand. Tell your story – who you are, what you do, and how you help – before diving into the nitty-gritty of the topic. Your webinar should address common audience problems and issues, and how your brand can solve them.
The key? You need to present all that before the webinar. People need to know why they should care about what you have to say on a given subject. You need to give them a reason to sign up, and one of the best places to do so is your landing page.
An effective landing page outlines what you’re about, what your webinar is about, and why people should trust you.
Let’s look at an example: Jon Morrow’s Freedom Machine.
As you scroll through the page, you’ll notice he does a few things absolutely right:
- Begins with an enticing offer
- Includes a countdown timer to increase the sense of urgency
- Tells you what exactly to expect from the webinar
- Uses facts and figures to back up his expertise and increase credibility
- Includes testimonials from past attendees
- Outlines who the webinar is ideally suited for (and who it isn’t)
- Teases just enough of the key information from the webinar to induce curiosity
- Includes a clear CTA
It’s chock-full of all the right information. One issue? It’s long.
That’s not always a bad thing, but if you can include all the relevant information in a concise fashion, do so.
Another thing to keep in mind: ask for as little information as possible. Every landing page should include a sign-up form, but one of the biggest turn-offs for prospects is requesting way too much information.
Try to keep it simple: email, first name, and perhaps job title. Your sign-up numbers will more than make up for any missing information.
How to Create a Webinar: How to Promote Your Webinar
Here’s the thing about webinars: you need to recruit a big enough audience to make the whole production worth it.
To do so, you need to incorporate promotion strategies aimed at acquiring a massive reach. After all, it’s a number’s game; only a small percentage of people exposed to your webinar will actually sign up, so you need to ensure you’re hitting as many people as possible.
A good promotion strategy, as usual, is a multi-channel affair.
When planning yours, you’ll want to ask yourself the following: Typically, what’s the most effective channel for communication with my audience? Do they respond best to email or engage frequently on Facebook?
Ideally, you want to focus on a strong promotion campaign on the channels most frequented by your audience. Those may include:
- Your website (build a dedicated landing and sign up page!)
- Partner sites (see if any related sites would be willing to accept to guest posts)
- Your blog (produce promotional posts, as well as pop-ups to promote and collect emails)
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to begin promotions about a month in advance. And one of the best ways to do it is through Facebook ads.
Using Facebook Ads
Facebook offers some of the very best targeting abilities when it comes to advertising, and it’s an ideal platform for both lead generation and overall exposure.
One of the best features ways if Facebook’s powerful remarketing capabilities. Using this method enables you to track users who have visited your site (including specific pages, like say, your webinar landing page), and serve them ads on Facebook. It’s highly effective, and you can read all about it here.
But when it comes to webinars, one of your goals to increase your reach outside of your existing audience. Which is where a lookalike audience comes in.
A lookalike audience allows you to reach people who are similar to your existing followers or customers. That way you’re able to target a new, broad audience that’s already somewhat pre-qualified.
Beyond Facebook, there are plenty of methods to incorporate into your promotion strategy. Here are a few other best practices when it comes to webinar promotion:
Email is the number one, go-to channel with 45% of marketers always using email in their webinar promotion.
Don’t wait to promote your topic; once you have it fully-formed and scheduled, let your audience know: 15% of registrations take place 3-4 weeks ahead of the webinar.
Promote on Tuesdays.
As far as registrations, 24% of them happen on Tuesdays, followed by Monday (17%), Thursday (16%), and Monday (15%).
Naturally, this will vary by industry and audience, so make sure you test across days and times to see which works best for you.
Promote Early in The Day.
Again, this will vary depending on your audience, but as a rule of thumb, there tends to be an increased number of registrations between 8-10AM. This drops off significantly towards the later afternoon. Plan (and test!) accordingly.
Save the Best (Promotions) For Last.
Get this: According to GoToWebinar, 69% of registrations happen in the week leading up to the webinar, and 33% occur the day of!
These numbers are as good as gold when it comes to advertising. Now, you know to ramp up your marketing efforts in the final week, and send plenty of reminders all the way until the actual day of the event.
So if you have an advertising budget, save a good chunk of it until the end. Produce promotional blog posts, send reminder emails, and save your best guest posts until the very end.
How to Create a Webinar: Best Webinar Platforms
Choosing the right software is another must when it comes to creating a good webinar experience.
Deciding which is right for you will depend largely on overall compatibility – how comfortable are you operating the software? Most platforms will include a free trial to allow you to test and ultimately decide which works best for you.
Each will vary a bit in their presenter tools and features. Some, like GoToWebinar, can integrate with customer relationship management software (CRM) to allow your sales representatives to follow up post-webinar.
Others will allow you to easily create polls, assign live customer service agents, and moderate attendees.
How to Create a Webinar: Best Practices
Last but not least, here are a few tips to make sure your webinars run as smoothly as possible.
- Don’t pick a subject that’s been (over)done
People will be far less excited about a webinar they’ve already seen or been exposed to. Try to keep your topics exciting and unique as possible by putting your own spin on it. Present a new angle or insight, and advertising accordingly.
- Don’t cut it short
Webinars over an hour long tend to draw a bigger crowd. In fact, 60-minute webinars attract 2.1X more registrations than 30-minute webinars, and 90-minute webinars attract 4.6X as many.
The longer your webinar is, the more perceived value it holds for your audience; they anticipate it will hold more in-depth information on a topic with key strategies and actionable takeaways. Make sure you don’t disappoint.
- Create a great slideshow
…But don’t just read from it. A slideshow should emphasize your key points and be visually pleasing, without detracting from what you’re saying. It’s also a great visual to repurpose on SlideShare or turn into an infographic
- Include a Q&A
The allure of real-time interaction is key to a successful webinar. Remember, part of the appeal is the personal connection, and your audience will appreciate the chance to communicate with you in real time.
Make sure you include a dedicated portion of time at the end for questions and periodically ask for any throughout your presentation.
Another great way to keep your audience engaged is to hold polls or ask for audience agreement or opinions throughout.
- Run a test
Don’t assume your software, equipment (or nerves) will cooperate. Always run a test leading up to and the day of the event. After all, the worst webinar is the one that never happened.
How To Create A Webinar And Get Sales
Towards the end of the webinar, you always want to have a next step.
Talk a little about what you offer. Direct the users into a funnel. Get them to convert.
Also, good news is you will get everyones information who attends. Make sure to have a clear way to follow up.