Webinars are powerful tools. They can be used to educate, engage, inform and inspire… as well as sell. If you have a crowd which you would like to convert into a thriving, engaging community, hosting a regular (or semi-regular) webinar will not only help convert that crowd into a community, but it will help them stick, all-the-while delivering the kind of richness and value that passive written content (as awesome as that is, I don’t want to be doing myself out of a job here!) may not.
I’ll be writing a second piece on how to fill these up next week… but for now let’s focus on the fun part: the delivery!
I have to set up (and in some cases deliver) a lot of webinars for DB and his varying business units in the last year, and I have tried out many different things in that time. Some of which worked beautifully, and produced amazing results for the business… other stuff? Not so much. It’s a topic I could write essays about, but for now, I’ll boil it down to the 5 top tops.
… we’ll get the housekeeping out of the way first:
What is a webinar?
Quite simply, it’s a seminar or class that is hosted online. You conduct it from your desk, your There are a number of different platforms available which offer different features (we use GoToWebinar, a good-all-rounder. More on that in Part II) and the format in itself can be fairly versatile, so it’s important to make a plan. In fact, that’s where we’re starting.
1# MAKE A PLAN
Before you worry about setting it up (and filling it up – more on that in Part II), you must first ask yourself… why do I want to host this webinar?
There has to be a more specific answer than “to engage with my community”. That’s all well and good, but unless all you want it to be directionless chaos, you need to have a purpose.
Is your webinar…
- A webclass? Are you teaching them something practical or strategic?
- A seminar? Are you giving a talk about something?
- A mentoring session? Are you answering questions specific to their needs?
- A sales pitch? Selling a product or service on the back of valuable content
- A mastermind group? Are you letting the attendees input shape the class?
- Something else entirely?
Once you’ve nailed the purpose, you must then nail the outcome. What will the attendees walk away with? This could be a practical strategy for them to implement, it could be the answers to a question, it could be awareness of something new and exciting, it could be a new product. All of your content for the webinar, whatever its format, must be geared towards the outcome.
#2 FRAME IT
There’s an old adage in the education training world that can be applied to webinars too…
#1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them
#2. Tell them
#3. Tell them what you’ve told them
If you’ve ever attended a poor class, workshop or seminar, it’s often the framing that’s the problem. Make sure your attendees know what to expect the second they enter. Introduce yourself, your business and why they are in the right place. Lay out the structure of the webinar before leaping into the content, and take some time once the content has been delivered to recap the key points, and set up for…
#3. CREATE A CALL TO ACTION
My #1 rule with content creation is: never miss a call to action. A popular misconception about this term is that it always means “sell something” but that’s not true. Sure, if the purpose of your webinar is a sales pitch then yes, make sure the call to action is “buy the thing”, but if you’re not trying to directly sell something, you still need to include a call to action of some sort to encourage another level of engagement beyond the webinar.
Here’s a few ideas for a softer call to action to keep your crowd engaged for a little longer…
- Sign up to our: newsletter/mailing list/video series/facebook community etc. (make sure you don’t use the medium through which your filled the webinar)
- Email in for a free follow up call (a great method for ascension/upselling, and you can have some fun with it: “the first five people to email me [this word] get’s a free one-on-one session)
- Register for the next webinar (this one is extremely effective – but requires some pretty nifty – and quick – tech skills)
I would recommend only having one CTA per piece of content as a general rule, unless you’re also asking for feedback (which is also highly recommended – if you don’t know how you’re doing, how will you ever improve?)
#4. GET A BUDDY
If your webinar is going well, you will have questions and queries pouring in. And while the delivery of a webinar isn’t difficult, per-say, it can be quite daunting to go it alone, handling both the technical element and the content in one fell swoop. Being distracted by something technical can lead to dead air, and silence on a webinar can lead to mass disengagement.
A buddy can either be a silent partner who just handles the technical side, or they can be a co-host chipping in with valuable insights here and there (just make sure they’re fully briefed on ‘the plan’) to add a little variety. Two voices as opposed to one can help keep the energy in the group up, and will prevent dead air, boredom and overwhelm.
This is probably the most important thing to remember in the whole process. The most beautiful thing about a webinar is that it’s fully interactive. You can see the names of those in attendance, they can ask you questions which you can either answer on air or type in a private message. A basic fact of being human is we love interaction and recognition, so the harder you nail this, the bigger the impact of engagement.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Webinars are powerful tools. They can be used to educate, engage, inform and inspire… as well as sell ” quote=”Webinars are powerful tools. They can be used to educate, engage, inform and inspire… as well as sell”]
Here’s a few of the best ways to encourage interaction, and to keep engagement high.
- Welcome each attendee by name and ask them a specific question (recommended for the opening of the webinar while the attendees are filing in)
- Ask questions to the group and ask them to type their answers back (yes/no or A, B, C style questions work well in this format)
- Get registrants to ask questions before the webinar, so they can be answered during (more on this in Part II)
- Open the mics of attendees (in a controlled way – one at a time is best) so they can ask questions and interact with you live on air
Got that? Great. Next time, I’ll tell you how to get them filled. Until then, I suggest you start making a plan. How can you use webinars to engage with your crowd… and transform them into your community?
And now for a call to action:
Did you like that? If the answer was “yes” then you should click the banner below and see what else my team and I get up to. Proven strategies in the field of marketing, sales and business development (including regular webinars with the boss!) and you can try it all out for just £2!