Webinars aren’t dead. If somebody told you this, then they would’t be telling you the truth and, most probably, they’d want to keep this a secret. After all, the webinar is one of the most powerful weapons a marketer has ever known.
Over the last few years, webinars have become more popular as entrepreneurs have started using them as a vehicle of communication to accommodate the needs of their online businesses. Regardless their industry and niche, professionals from all around the world are increasingly incorporating this tool in their marketing strategies to promote their products and reach out to their target audience.
The issue though is that, while conducting a live webinar sounds like a marvellous idea, most people avoid getting their heads around it. Is it really that difficult?
The purpose of this article is to shed light on the misconceptions around webinars and help you create yours to market your online courses with greater confidence.
Let’s get started!
What is a webinar?
A webinar is an online presentation that everyone can join live or watch as a recording after it is finished. It varies in time duration, though its purpose is to discover needs, to educate or present ideas. In order to attend a webinar, registrars need to sign up with their email addresses and get access to a private link prior to the live event. It’s an event that can be hosted by an organization or an individual and may cover anything from an informal interview to the discussion on a specific subject that is predetermined.
A webinar is also often referred to as:
As you would expect, there are many name variations for webinars, but this largely depends on the purpose of its creation, what you really need it to say to people and what you are hoping they will get out from it.
Why use a webinar?
Conducting webinars is an effective way to build trust, respect and increase brand awareness either for a product (your courses) or your online school. Webinars offer that kind of flexibility every online instructor needs in terms of attracting more students, informing them or educating them while presenting ideas, explaining or justifying an important point within a course/assignment.
Apart from these however, webinars can boost your marketing efforts at large. According to InsideSales, 73 percent of marketing and sales readers say that conducting webinars is one of the best ways to generate new leads. Looking at this figure through a marketing scope, we understand that with webinars you have the added advantage of increasing the number of your following and building your email list.
To Selling Online Courses
Lastly, webinars can be used as evergreen content within online courses, just like blog articles that are saved, read and reviewed at any point. From this perspective, we see that webinars have a future use too as you can record them and then re-watch them at any time.
Generally, this is how webinars are being used in online courses:
Just like the e-book and the video, webinar is another content form that has the potential to create a unique kind of online experience delivering a targeted message either for informative, educative or marketing purposes. In contrast to video and podcasts, people sign up to attend a webinar, giving out their name and email address as another opportunity to opt-in.
In case you are wondering, these are some of the biggest advantages of a webinar:
Now that you we have covered all the benefits of conducting webinars, it’s time to take a look at some examples to figure out how it can be done and what comes with it.
1Example 1: Changing the Game: Always on Testing with Artificial Intelligence
Peep Laja from ConversionXL has created a webinar discussing AI and came up with this winning title. On this popular topic, Peep co-hosts the webinar with Jonathan Epstein who is an expert on the topic. During the webinar, Peep makes sure to introduce the subject first and then cleverly makes his pass to the guest. As the presentation progresses, Peep intervenes to make his points and ensure that they are both on the right track, providing comments and asking the right questions. His style is casual and this makes it easier to follow what he says. Also, he always relies on the given data before making key points or assumptions.
Another great element of Peep’s webinars is his success on choosing the right title for his webinar and other previous ones:
It’s important for a webinar title to include all the necessary information for interested participants. This way, they know exactly what to expect from it and also judge if it’s of any value. Detailed information as to what solution or answer you are giving out, is important here. Also, the word ‘mistakes’ in the title, is indicating that there is something they are doing wrong which can be intriguing for some people. More information on choosing the right title and structuring it effectively here.
More of Peep’s webinars here.
2Example 2: Beyond Lead Generation: From Landing Page Forms to Email Follow-Ups
Hunter Boyle from AWeber created a webinar talking about email marketing (which you need to sign up to Unbounce to watch), that includes many interesting elements but what’s great about Hunter’s approach is what happens after the webinar. After the end of the webinar Hunter engaged his audience on Twitter through tweets that answered the participants’ questions using the hashtag #unwebinar.
With this move, he managed to get other people involved in the discussion and gained awareness on his webinar series. As you can see, creativity can go a long way, but it surely works hand-to-hand with webinar success. If you follow Hunter’s example, I can assure you that you have nothing to lose, but to gain.
3Example 3: Connect Marketing Webinars: Beyond Lead Generation
Wayne Turmel, webinar expert is creating his own webinars about webinars(!). In this webinar (which you have to sign up on AdobeConnect to watch), Wayne explains how webinars can help generate leads and goes into much detail demonstrating the various stages of the customer lifecycle. What’s great about this webinar is that the host is giving the necessary attention to answering participants’ questions as he spends a total of 20 minutes on it. This shows Wayne’s dedication to his audience as well as his expertise on the subject. Wayne’s example shows that going the extra mile pays off dramatically.
So, we have seen a few examples…Now it’s the time to take action and create your own webinar! Ready? Set, go!
Creating a Webinar: A Step-by-Step Guide
1Step 1: Decide what you need
Before you do anything make sure to decide on the topic first. In this case, your product is your course/school but you need to decide what you want to do with it. Make plans as to how you are going to approach the subject and then determine what you want to take out from the webinar. If it helps, ask yourself the following questions:
Do you want…
There are many ‘types’ of webinars (sales, training, corporate/communications, educational, customer retention/nurturing, branding/reputation, etc.) and deciding on this is a priority since it defines the purpose behind the creation of the webinar.
Likewise there are many presentation formats and choosing the most ideal for the purpose you need it can boost the webinar performance:
In terms of the subject, it is important that your webinar involves around one main idea and the content of the presentation clearly supports that. Many professionals suggest choosing an evergreen topic to increase participation and reviews. The secret is in setting up clear objectives, preparing key notes that can potentially facilitate the discussion in the live session.
Tip: Determine the costs of webinar production and the price you want to put to it. Depending on what you choose to do and what the results you expect to get after, pricing will differ. Most webinars however are offered for free.
2Step 2: Get people to sign up for the webinar
Once you are set with the material you are going to need, it’s time to start calling out for participants. Promoting your webinar can happen in many ways but most importantly on social media. Create a Facebook or LinkedIn group/page (if you don’t have any), and reach out to other businesses and bloggers asking them to promote the event to their audience. In the meantime, do the same with yours. Run Facebook ads and send out the invitation link to people who are more likely to be interested in it.
Before you start sending out invitations, think about how many registrants you will need or can ‘handle’. Usually there is 3 to 5% conversion rate which means that in order to secure 10 registrants you might need to send out 300-500 invites. Ask their full name, email and telephone number if you are sending out text notifications.
Tip: Creating an attractive registration page, the right headlines, testimonials and making the process easy for interested participants can give you extra bonus! Also, if it’s free to attend the webinar, don’t forget to mention it!
3Step 3: Invite people to attend the live session
Whether the webinar will be a success resulting to more course sales – or not, can be made clear on the number of live participants. If you want to get the maximum figure available, you can send out a sequence of emails (onboarding emails) to those who have registered for the event. This helps to create anticipation and excitement and provides the opportunity to share more information on the webinar or even offer some freebies and workbooks.
The ideal number of emails is 3 to 4 depending on the day of registration and you can use an automation tool to set this up. So let’s say if you are counting down to the webinar from day 7, you can send the first on day 7 to say ‘thank you’ and confirm registration on the day of the sign up, another one or two in the middle of the week – day 5, day 3 to prepare them for it and one on day 1 as a reminder. Those who register in the middle of the week will get fewer emails as a reminder.
Tip: Think about geographical specifications and population characteristics when organizing the webinar e.g. the different time zone of locations for the time of the event and the speaking languages.
4Step 4: Prepare your pitch and start selling
Figure out the best way to promote the webinar in a nutshell. If you do this effectively and come up with a spot-on sales pitch, you can do wonders. However, you will need to let the words come out naturally and speak from your heart. When you are genuinely trying to help people, they will feel it in their hearts and will sign up for the event with no further question. In your pitch, give a short description of what the webinar is all about explaining the 4Ws – What, Who, When, Where. You can also urge more people to it, creating scarcity with the availability of seats, or giving out something for free e.g. a one-to-one session with you or a checklist.
5Step 5: Follow up
Once the webinar is done, it’s a good idea to send out follow-up emails. Those onboarding emails you sent out to people prior to the event can prove useful after it’s completed. With these emails you offer the opportunity to those who took part in it and those who didn’t make it to replay the webinar and review the information you have given. On top of that, you can ask them to provide some feedback on your presentation. This can help you improve the effectiveness of your content strategy and discover more creative ways to reach out your target audience.
How to Host a Webinar on LearnWorlds
If you have an online school with LearnWorlds, you can follow the steps of our super easy to follow article on how to create a live webinar with the help of YouTube Live. To do this, all you need is a Google and a YouTube account.
Creating a webinar with YouTube Live becomes a piece of cake once you get to learn the procedure. The YouTube’s Live Streaming feature allows you to create an ‘event’ and choose the date, time (start/end) and other basic information about the webinar such as livestream title, location, tags, type of stream and broadcast control that gives you the choice to make your webinar public, unlisted (available only through invite link) or private.
Once you are done, you simply go to your LearnWorlds school and find the course you want to embed the live stream to. You click on ‘Add an Activity’ and then ‘Embed’ to insert the code. Lastly, you write down the description details for your webinar and you are set to go. To invite people to your webinar you can send them the YouTube page link.
Necessary Equipment: What will you need?
What’s great about webinars is that they don’t need much equipment to begin with. As a matter of fact, all you need to create a webinar is a computer (or a laptop) that has a webcam/video, a mic for the audio, and an internet connection. While you can use an expensive camera and a mic especially made for this purpose, there isn’t much need to do so. Your computer is most probably already equipped with these tools and so much so your mobile phone or tablet.
Once you have settle with the equipment, you can browse some tools and software that are dedicated to hosting webinars e.g. Skype, JoinMe, Mikogo, Cisco Webex, Adobe Connect, Mega Meeting, ReadyTalk, AnyMeeting, OnStream, Livestream, ClickWebinar, Growdcast, Openmeetings, GoToMeeting, WebinarJam, Facebook, Zoom and choose the one that suits you the best.
Remember that you have the option to choose a free or a paid webinar tool depending on what you are hoping to get out of it in terms of available features. However, please keep in mind that not all of the Webinar tools can be embedded in your school, that’s why LearnWorlds suggests you use the ideal solution of YouTube Live.
Lastly, a few things to consider:
Don’t forget that webinars are all about participation and it is in its nature to allow other voices to be heard. This way the learners get the opportunity to ask questions and seek for more advice, which is what every webinar aims to do at its core. As such, if you care about your online academy and want to promote it further, webinars should be a key element of your marketing strategy.
Hosting a live webinar might take some time, but it isn’t rocket science and once you get the grips of it, you can easily establish a webinar series. If you manage to impress the participants with your first webinars, then gradually you will get more people interested in your course and even create more in time.
Best of luck! If you need any additional help with it, don’t hesitate to contact us!