The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly's The Content Marketing Handbook. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble or click here to buy it directly from us Webinars have long been an effective content marketing tactic. Your prospects can hear you talk and see your slides right on their computer screens. A typical sales funnel for a content marketing campaign incorporating a free webinar is:
Put up a webinar registration page.
Drive traffic to the registration page with an email invitation.
Hold the webinar.
Make a special offer at the close of the webinar.
Follow up with emails reminding attendees and registrants of the special offer.
The biggest problem with webinars is that more and more companies are producing them. That means the web is getting cluttered with them, making it more difficult to get attention for your event. Build your visual webinar presentation like a high-quality sales letter, including all the elements that lead to closing a sale.
Plan sales follow-up early. Too often you'll see a lot of work and money wasted on a great webinar or teleseminar because leads aren't followed up quickly. Don't make this mistake; it's better to over-prepare for follow-up by automating as much as possible and running reports to inspect the process and track results. After all, the key webinar metric is most often the sales attributed to the event.
Here are eight more methods that can improve your webinars:
1. Use a Topic That Attracts Attendees
Which topic will likely pull in more attendees: a) "How to Buy Our Product Now" or b) "Making Your Business Life Easier Through New Strategies"? If you said b) because it promises a benefit, you're right.
If you test different topics, you'll find that promising an interesting, timely, and educational webinar will pull the best. Your presentation should be "solution-oriented," so give participants practical ways to solve their problems. This topic should, of course, tie in with the real goal of your presentation: education, lead generation, or product launching.
2. Research to Target the Right People
It would be impractical of me to market a teleseminar on "breaking into the ebook writing business" to people who were already successful ebook authors. I'd need to search out forums, chat rooms, mail groups, or ezine lists that cater to the beginning ebook writer. Once you find a topic of interest, create a sales follow-up plan, and then build your event marketing plan from there.
3. Temper Your Attendance Expectations
You should expect a show rate of roughly 30 percent of those registered for a free webinar.
If your numbers are significantly below that, make sure you're doing day-of and 24-hour reminders via email. Invite more prospects to your event and invite them multiple times.
4. Use Polling Questions
Most leading webinar platforms allow you to pre-load interactive polling questions into a presentation. You can capture attendee-specific data that may help you tailor this webinar as well as the next one. Ask things like:
What interests you most about this webinar?
What's your biggest challenge today?
Where are you in the buying process?
Would you like more information on our new technology?
5. Craft to Reach Specific Needs
You can craft a webinar to meet any content need, such as:
Educational marketing events
List- or database-building events
One-to-many sales pitches
Upsell or resell events
Thank you or loyalty events
For example, consider holding database-building webinars to restock the top of your sales funnel. Other webinars help educate your prospects and clients over time, which in turn helps you achieve your marketing, sales, and organizational objectives over the long run.
Choose your technology with your overall goal in mind. You'll want a reliable web conferencing solution that is compatible with a variety of operating systems. It should be scalable to the size of your audience and have the features you are looking for: polling, Q&A, and recording. My favorite is Webex.
6. Focus on Live Events First
There are many reasons for this, including the use of polling questions, the chance to answer live questions, and the immediacy and excitement created for participants by a live event.
You can always use a recording of a presentation-only webinar as a sales tool on your website, but the live events truly create relationships and quickly build your business.
7. Inspire and Motivate Prospects
Have your attendees try, buy, or contact you for more information. Also, consider a limited-time offer for webinar attendees to add extra incentive and urgency to your call to action. This can be a simple but effective way of getting more results from your webinars. If you're doing an educational webinar followed by a sales presentation, tell them to stay on for "more information on how they can put the information presented into action with [your product or service]."
8. Speak with Energy
Be enthusiastic. Your exuberance and friendly personality can inspire and motivate your participants. Engage them in conversation and make them feel comfortable enough to ask questions if you've enabled the chat or Q&A features. Have fun with your presentations!