Due to the onset of COVID-19, it seems as though everybody and their grandmother are on Zoom. Unable to physically gather with their friends and families, people have taken to spending time with them virtually.
This familiarity with Zoom and other video chatting software has spurred a marked increase in business webinars. Last year, the number of B2B brands offering webinars grew by 36%.
It seems everyone is throwing their hats into the webinar ring. Should you join them?
Based on statistics, that would be a “yes.” A recent study found that webinar conversion rates were as high as 55%.
Webinars have always been a great way to engage your audience while showcasing the human side of your business. But there’s a wide gulf between the desire to host a webinar, and the ability to execute one skillfully.
Here are some ways to achieve the latter:
Focus on the Client
Design content with your ideal client in mind. Creating the content is 10% of the work. Use stories and examples that will draw those prospects in. Where possible, have people provide information during registration that lets you know why they’re attending – and encourage them to submit questions in advance.
Chances are that your content already addresses their questions. You won’t need to change the slides – just change how you talk about them!
Promote the Value, Not the Title
Nearly everyone sends out a standard “announcement,” with the title of their webinar, date, time, and register button. Even when they’re good friends or business colleagues, I can’t help but wonder “What’s in it for me?”
Segment your existing contacts, using criteria that fit who they are, combined with the specific value you bring to them. Say you’re an investment manager. Why would someone within 5 years of retirement want to join your webinar? What value do you provide to a newly married couple? Or someone whose kids are entering college soon?
Boost registrations through targeted emails that highlight a specific value proposition for each audience segment. (Don’t have segments? Add a related question to your registration form.)
Don’t give them the out
I’m constantly amazed by the statement “if you can’t make it, you’ll get a link to the recording.” NO ONE watches those links. Seriously. Of those who have viewed webinars, 28% signed up to do so after registration was over, indicating that they wanted to view it later.
But still, why would you give them an out?
The point of a webinar is to get people interested in working with you – and if they’re not seeing you live then they have no idea what it’s like to work with you. As a result, you could potentially lose the opportunity to move them to the next stage of your sales funnel while they’re still engaged.
A third option is known as a simulive webinar which allows you to record your webinar first but interact with viewers in real-time.
If you want to offer recordings, consider doing so with evergreen content as opposed to living webinars.
Give them a Reason to Participate Live
Build the excitement. Link live participation with special offers that no one else gets. (Free 30-minute consultation? 5-day access to a premium course? Extra discount on the featured product/service?) Your goal is to convert the participants, and providing them with an exclusive offer is a great way to do that.
Separate your Follow Up Emails
Don’t send a “thank you for joining” email to people who didn’t join. (Duh!) If you’re providing valuable information, it’s not unreasonable to ask people to register.
Send the ones who joined a sequence of emails that repeat key takeaways, offer suggestions for next steps (what they can do on their own; where you can help them get started; future sessions they might find valuable), and remind them of any special offers or promotions. Include a link to the recording, and track those who access the recording.
For those who didn’t join live … let them know what they missed. Tell them what they will find in the recording, including highlights at various points throughout – this gives them an incentive to at least watch part of it. Point out which offers discussed were only for live participants, as well as what they can get from the recording and how you can help them start using the suggestions.
Oh, and, About Slides:
Some notes on slides:
Keep some to yourself
DO NOT put everything you’re going to say on your slides. Put a couple of key phrases that you can use as jumping-off points to get into what you really want to say. Your goal should be to speak extemporaneously and have a conversational tone. This is hard to do if you are reading. Your audience should be curious, and leaning forward, not sitting back with their eyes glazed over as you read long sentences directly off of slides.
Your deck is your own
DO NOT send out your slide “deck.” No one watches your PowerPoint slides. Where you have detailed information that you want them to receive, create a series of handouts that focus on each point. Maybe an ebook. Better yet, you could craft several slideshows or videos that they can access on your website, or through your social media posts.
Turn your handouts into collateral
Consider mailing your key handouts – wouldn’t it be great if a mom had your parenting tips magnet on her refrigerator? Or a small business owner has your top tips for keeping their website up-to-date pinned to their bulletin board? Giving people key information in unique and convenient ways, with your branding and contact information, is a terrific way to reinforce your value, and stay top-of-mind when they need your help.
People are becoming more familiar with different forms of technology in order to stay connected. For you and your business, this is great news, because webinars are becoming more popular. They afford you another way to reach out to your customers and allow them to see the human side of your business.
Leading up to your webinar, you should ask people to register, let the customer know what’s in it for them, present them with special offers only available to live viewers, and follow up afterward. For the webinar itself, you should plan your content, gear it toward your ideal customer, and practice it extensively. It wouldn’t hurt to ask your audience for questions and feedback either.
Hopefully, at the end of the webinar, you’ve made your mark upon your audience, allowed them to get to know you, and provided them with valuable content and information regarding your business. And in the process, you’ve shown that no physical distance can stop people from hearing your message!