Webinars aren’t a new concept…
They have been around for years now in some form or another and are still a very relevant way of broadcasting and communicating knowledge to multiple people in an engaging way.
In the last couple of years with advances in technology, and lots of new webinar platforms appearing, webinars are actually being used more and more by firms that want to build meaningful relationships with their audience.
Just in case you have been living under a rock for the last few years and have never heard of the term ‘webinar’ before, here is a little bit of info about what one actually is:
A webinar is an online presentation which allows companies and thought leaders to educate and engage their target audience. The great thing about a webinar compared to a video (except a live video) is that you can interact and respond to viewers in real time. Modern webinar platforms even have interactive features like polls and calls to action.
Now you are up to speed, let's look at why a firm would use webinars and the benefits.
Increasing awareness and reach - As webinars are based on the internet, you can reach a global audience. Some platforms even allow you to target webinars to your exact audience.
They work as great content pieces - Webinars have a great shelf-life and after you have broadcast your initial webinar you can save it and post it out on your website, blog or social channels at later dates.
Positioning yourself as an industry leader - Webinars are the perfect platform to demonstrate your industry knowledge and earn trust from your audience.
Let's take a deeper look at how you can use webinars to build your sales funnel.
Using webinars to generate leads
You may be thinking, webinars look like they take a lot of time and effort to create and run, why should I even bother?
Well it’s a matter of fact that people who sign up for a webinar are more likely to be a higher quality lead than someone who downloads a piece of content.
Think about it… when someone signs up for a webinar they are signing up to spend a portion of their day listening to what you have to say about your topic. They are seeking an answer to a question and are connecting with you and your company because they think you can give them the answer.
Webinars also give you the chance to capture more data on a sign up page. People are willing to give more details for a webinar because the perceived value of the content is higher.
So now you know the value webinars can bring, let's see how you can get your first one up a running.
Setting up your first webinar for lead generation
So, as we have anticipated, setting up a webinar takes a bit of graft.
The one thing you don’t want to do is go into a webinar unprepared; it could end in a disaster!
Planning correctly can save you a whole lot of hassle in the long run.
1. Decide on your overall objective
You need to have a main objective for your webinar so that you can measure how successful it has been.
Is the objective based on how many leads / sign ups you generate? Or is it based on brand awareness and how many people have seen it overall?
After you have decided on an objective you can then pick the right metrics to measure and report on.
2. Decide on your target audience
Your audience is just as important as your overall objective as it will define the content and title of your webinar.
You don’t need me to tell you how disastrous it would be if you were to host a webinar on marketing your legal firm to a bunch of HR Managers in the pharmaceutical industry....
You should hopefully have an idea of who your target audience is and from this you should think about creating ‘personas’ for them before putting together the content for the webinar.
3. Decide on a title and summary for your webinar
The title is a crucial part of your webinar setup… it is the first thing someone will see and is the hook for getting someone to sign up.
If your title is too long or irrelevant people simply won’t sign up…
Make it to the point so it clearly explains what the webinar is about, but don’t go into too much detail. A good strategy is to use steps or numbers as people are more receptive to this type of title and it will help you build a framework for the webinars content.
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The summary is where you need to sell the overall subject of the webinar. Clearly lay out what people will get out of the session and what they will learn. Bullet points are a great way of attracting people's attention.
4. Set up the landing page & sign up process
Before you get stuck into the main bulk of the webinar you should think about building your sign up process.
The sooner you can set up your landing page the quicker you can start promoting your webinar and generating sign ups.
Make your landing page compelling and include your title and summary. Remember this is the place where you are really selling the webinar so make it enticing.
Think about recording a short video introducing the webinar theme and get some buzz going.
Add a form to the landing page. This is where you will capture user details so it needs to be the focal point. Remember you can normally ask for a few more details than on a normal landing page due to the value of the content you are offering.
Don’t forget to add that it will be a free webinar!
5. Promotion of the webinar
Once you have all of your marketing assets ready to launch, you can start to promote your webinar out to your audience.
Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Email your database announcing the webinar and include a link to the sign up page
- Write a blog about the webinar announcing it
- Promote it across your social media accounts
- Use paid advertising
- Use a 3rd party platform to promote it
- Create an announcement video for it
- Encourage your sales team to promote it to prospects
If you are running advertising campaigns around your webinar, make sure you are targeting the right audience for your webinar. You paid audience will likely be new to your business and will often be the type of lead you are trying to attract.
You will want to send a confirmation email and some reminder emails to your sign ups to make sure they are kept up to date. If you have email automation software this can be easy to set up.
6. Create your webinar
Now you have all of the assets in place to capture leads and you are actively promoting it, you should have a steady stream of sign ups coming in.
This is the point where you can start to build your webinar, and because you have more of an idea about the people who are signing up you can start to tailor it a little more to your audience.
You will want to build your webinar on a presentation software, so something like Powerpoint (or keynote if you are a MAC user). You could also use Google’s G-suite to build it too.
The framework for a webinar will vary depending on the subject, but generally looks like:
Intro ----> Knowledge -----> Offer -------> Q&A
You may want to add in a story or two to add context and keep people interested.
The presentation should be as visual as possible, with the bulk of delivery from yourself over audio.
The imagery should be there to provide a visual stimulus and to keep people watching.
Keep your webinar below 60 minutes… It can be tempting to create a million slides, but people are generally busy and have a pretty short attention span.
7. Choosing your tech
Now that you have your presentation you need to figure out how you are going to present it to your audience.
There are a multitude of webinar platforms on the web, and most of them do the same thing which is allow your to broadcast your webinar to your sign ups. Some are more expensive than others but allow more engaging features. Most also offer a free trial period.
Once you pick your platform, spend some time learning how to use it, so if a disaster did happen on the day, you should have an idea on how to solve it.
You will need a good microphone. You will be speaking for the majority of the webinar so shop around and look at reviews. You can use the built in mic in your headphones or computer, but remember that the sound quality may drop.
8. Deliver the webinar
The day is finally here! You can now deliver your knowledge and wisdom to your audience.
Make sure you have prepared and ran through your webinar a few times to practice. Test the platform and run through it properly with your own presentation.
Set up your work area so your won’t be distracted by people or any external noise, and have all of your equipment set up up so you’re comfortable.
Remember that the majority of your listeners will probably be new to your company, so a little intro to who you and your company are will go a long way to instill confidence.
Relax, and try and make it as light hearted and fun as possible!
After you have finished, you may want to send a follow up email to attendees thanking them and offering the full slides or even a recording of the webinar for future reference.
Leads glorious leads
There you have it!
You have successfully ran your first webinar for lead generation.
As you can see most of the actual lead generation is done before you have even produced the webinar content.
A webinar is really just another piece of content, and is lot more valuable than a guide or whitepaper.
Treat it like any other lead generation campaign.
The great thing about a webinar is that it creates a more personal connection with your potential clients, so leads off the back of webinars are often much more further down the sales funnel.
If you have smashed it, and held a great webinar then you will have greatly increased your firm's reputation and in the process captured great quality leads.
You never know… if it’s really good they might come back for the next one!