Automated Webinars May Be the Tool You Need to Scale Your Marketing Efforts

Barbara Spagnola - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

by Eric Siu
CEO, Single Grain. Founder, Growth Everywhere.

Running webinars is a great way to boost engagement with your audience as well as create a new revenue stream for your business.

Just ask Rick Mulready, who made $30,000 in four weeks after selling seats to his FB ADvantage webinar series (a course he hadn’t even fully developed before registration opened), or Jason Caruso, who generated$14,000 in product referrals from his first webinar.

While webinars can be powerful, they can also be difficult to scale. Actively running a webinar takes time away from other aspects of your business and puts a strain on your voice and your energy levels. At the same time, the administrative effort required to set up each individual session and manage registration cuts into event profits, which can diminish the return on investment of this marketing channel.

So if you appreciate the power of webinars as a business growth tool but hate the level of commitment required, automated webinars may be a better solution for you.

Automated webinars aren’t merely monoliths. Today’s technology makes it possible to incorporate automation practices into traditional webinars in a number of different ways:

  • Fully automated events. In this instance, you record your webinar ahead of time -- using either a slide deck presentation or a video of you speaking into the camera -- and upload it to the webinar service of your choice (I use EasyWebinar). Once it’s uploaded, you can set your service to stream your webinar at certain times and to manage the registration process associated with the different start times you’ve specified.

  • Live streaming events. Alternatively, if you feel that pre-recording your webinars takes the energy out of them, you can elect to partially automate your live streaming events. While you’ll still be the one giving the presentation in real time, a webinar service can automate the sales funnel creation process for you by building landing pages, registration models, email notifications and more.

Depending on the service that you use, you may also be able to create hybrid events that combine live streaming and fully automated components. Decide on the approach you want to take before selecting your webinar service to ensure that you have access to the features and modules you need.

Once you’ve got your technology solutions chosen, it’s time to start planning the content to include in your webinar. The following best practices will help you get the most out of the effort you put into this unique strategy:

1. Make it evergreen.

If you’re planning to run the same automated webinar over and over again (as in the case of a fully automated event), select your topic with care to make sure that it remains relevant to future viewers. Say, for instance, that you’re planning an automated webinar on a digital marketing topic titled “Top 25 SEO Tactics for 2015.” That’s all well and good for now, but come 2016, you’ll have to re-record the event, costing you time that could have been saved by choosing a more universal topic such as “Top 25 SEO Tactics To Get More Traffic.”

2. Run live events before transitioning to automated webinars.

Even if you plan to run fully automated events later on, you should think about starting with live events first because of the benefits you’ll gain. First, if you allow audience questions, you’ll get plenty of feedback on how to improve your presentation. Then you can incorporate these answers into your content before you record the version you’ll ultimately use in automated events.

At the same time, you can also take advantage of the relatively full-featured analytics programs most live webinar providers offer. One metric in particular you’ll want to pay attention to is when people start dropping out of your event. Once you spot major trends, you can adjust your content to make it more engaging during these times, especially if these drop offs occur before you have a chance to present your calls to action.

3. Watch for lapses in engagement.

Speaking of engagement, a good automated webinar service will give you plenty of data on the way your viewers are responding to your content. Don’t just look for trends in when they drop out of viewing though. If, for example, you’re seeing a high number of RSVPs but a low turnout, this could indicate that your entry funnel needs more work. Adding more quality content or time/date reminders in advance could improve the number of viewers that are ultimately exposed to your sales message.

Automated webinars remove the grunt work and allow you to be more productive by focusing on the things you’re best at, such as growing your business. As with any other marketing technique, automated webinars come with a learning curve. But if you’re willing to put in the time to master this great tool, you’ll find it easier than ever before to scale your webinar marketing efforts -- and profit while you do.

7 Ways Solopreneurs Can Turn a One-time Webinar Into a Content Goldmine

Barbara Spagnola - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

by Jill Brown
Writer, Author, Marketer and Director of Royally Awesome

Webinars are a powerful and affordable way all "solopreneurs" can leverage their time to share a powerful message with their audience. One reason is that webinars provide an opportunity to speak directly with your audience and clients worldwide in real time. Another is the great opportunity they provide to spotlight your expertise, informally pitch and promote your product or service and potentially gain new clients.

Webinars are also fairly easy to mount, given the variety of platforms out there, like the popular applications GoToWebinarWebinarJam andSpreeCast. With all the bottom-line business and sales implications of a webinar, the marketing potential a well-produced webinar offers might be missed.

One more thing: You probably already know to record your webinar for playback to any registrants unable to attend the live version. But are you leveraging the goldmine of content marketing creation you can garner from the video?

Here are seven simple ways every solopreneur can turn a one-time webinar into a content goldmine.

1. Consider gate-keeping.

Before you automatically provide a recorded video link of your webinar to registrants who missed it, consider a few alternatives. First, think carefully before allowing and advertising a free recap link ahead of time; if you do this, there’s less incentive for people to attend the live event.

Some critics will argue that you’ve already gotten what you want -- viewers' registration info -- and that with everyone’s busy schedule, it’s hard for people to attend webinars live. But while, yes, you now have them as prospects in your database, your real leads will make the time to attend live. So, by seeing who attended live and who did not, you’ll distinguish who is a prospect vs. a warm lead.

Utilizing CRM platforms like Infusionsoft or Marketo that offer common webinar service plugins, you can segment and follow up with your leads for the chance at a better sales conversion opportunity without offering anyone the video recap. You could alternately offer the video recap on a landing page for those who missed it, but only after they register to download it or exchange their contact information for it.

That’s a gate-keeping method that, again, will allow you to find out who is a prospect and who is a warmer lead. Utilizing your webinar for content marketing and contact segmentation will help you get the most from your efforts. To find out if your content is valuable enough to work with a gate-keeping strategy, check out this helpful infographic from HubSpot.

2. Make your recordings available for your membership.

Another option for your webinar recordings is to make them available only to your membership base, behind a login dashboard. If your business or site supports membership programs, offering recordings can be a great “members-only” perk you can advertise and utilize. Members will still be required to register, but by doing so will be guaranteed access to the video posted after the webinar event and have the convenience of viewing the content afterward.

The only caveat here is to ensure that your webinar is packed with the right kind of valuable content to truly enhance a member’s experience. Your webinars should never be straight sales pitches; this rule becomes particularly critical if you’re offering video recaps only to members, who won’t appreciate or find value in a membership program that offers only sales-pitch videos.

3. Utilize SlideShare.

You can quickly and easily curate the slides of your webinar presentation into a simple, elegant SlideShare presentation. By offering a cohesive sample of your webinar content to the SlideShare audience, you can share your expertise without giving away the entire presentation, create residual traffic and views to your site through the SlideShare platform and leverage the time you spent creating a valuable presentation.

Again, the name of the game here is value. Even as you scale down your full presentation from the webinar into a SlideShare presentation draft, the content still needs to be meaningful, valuable and well presented. Don’t think of this as a receptacle for your old sales-pitch decks or you’ll find a backlash against, or outright ban of, your presentations.

4. Segment for socials.

Whether you have video-editing skills, or you hire a freelancer, for a relatively cheap and easy investment you can break out your webinar into content-packed short segments, give them individual title pages and provide them to your social media followers in short, action-packed video chunks that get the most traction out of your video.

Obviously, if you choose this tactic, you won't be able to gate-keep your video as explained in Step one, but this can be a great opportunity to segment your large webinar into bite-size content with distinct titles and calls to action that will play well on social media.

5. Transcribe to transform.

White papers are an important part of a healthy content-marketing mix, but they can take a substantial amount of time to create if you aren’t careful. One great trick with a webinar is to have the video transcribed by a professional service, then move in to quickly and efficiently parse that transcription down to a great source of content for a white paper.

Services like Speechpad will transcribe your video for as little as one dollar a minute. Once you have your white paper outline, you can find and hire a graphic designer for a baseline price of just $5 on Fivrr, to add visual design to your transcribed outline of content. Then, voila! You have yourself a great white paper for an affordable cost.

6. Create brilliant Q&A graphics

Don’t leave question-and-answer segments off the list of content sources. Utilize your video transcript’s Q&A session to create some simple and effective graphics you can use as blog post images or social media posts. Take a question and distill the answer from the webinar recording into a single sentence, or simple, short takeaway. You can then provide that copy to a graphic designer, like the one you found on Fivrr, to make a single image.

For example, a “buy local” nonprofit program in Alaska transformed a question about why it was important to buy local into a simple image that shared key stats and demos about the impact of local purchasing decisions. You can use this same tactic for highlighting a great quote from the transcription. Quotes, questions and answers that are presented in a visual way are much more compelling to view and much more sharable, helping you to create a viral aspect to your webinar, too.

7. Make questions into topics.

Now that you have segmented all your questions and answers from the transcript, you can turn that content into blog posts or article topics. Utilize the question itself to be the topic or to formulate a related topic title. Then lean on the great content already in the answer from the transcripts, to formulate the basis of a response that you can add to for a unique piece of content.

By having already extracted the outline and bones of a great article from your webinar transcript, you’ll only have to add a minimum amount of time and effort to fill in some additional information, to round out a great piece of content. Do this for the majority of your questions generated during the Q&A session, and you should have anywhere from three to five solid posts at your fingertips.