Webinars are a particularly popular marketing tool, especially in the B2B industry. More than 60% of B2B sellers are using webinars as one of their key tools, but most of them are doing it all wrong. Here are the nine keys to running a successful sales driven webinar.
#1. Create Interaction
Webinars are only effective when they generate audience interactions. No one likes sitting behind a screen to watch random slides while a monotonous voice rambles on with statistics and key points. The most successful webinars tend to have these components.
- Don’t just ask questions at the end. Having a Q&A session after every section of the webinar can help to reinforce the information that people have received.
- Practice makes perfect. Webinars that give people a chance to practice what they’re learning in real time. This will help them to build new skills, retain more information, and increase your value proposition.
- Stay on point. It’s easy to become distracted by tangents, stories, or questions that are off-topic. You need to stay on point so that you don’t have your webinar run into overtime.
Webinars that run long are webinars that have lower conversion rates. Finish on time, allow for audience participation, and stay true to your structure to create the interactions that will increase your conversion rates instead.
#2. Go Live
Have you ever spent 20 minutes on hold with someone, listening to their hold music while thinking about everything else you could be doing? Now imagine that hold music ends and an automated attendant tries to help you. Would you hang up in frustration? That’s the feeling a recorded webinar leaves in many people. It’s important to go live with webinars so you can take advantage of these benefits.
- It lets people feel like you care. A recorded webinar feels more like an automated sales pitch. It reduces interactions, even if a live Q&A is available afterward.
- It is authentic. People want to know who you are. They want to know your story. They won’t feel like they can get that if you’re running stealth webinars.
- It provides the needed human element. People sign up for webinars because they have some sort of problem that needs to be solved. They want your expertise. If they wanted a recording, they could just run a few Google searches.
Being live with a webinar also means you’ve got the chance to individualize the experience. People react better to customized answers, which is something a recording just can’t do. Although you may need to offer stealth webinars to some distant foreign markets for practicality’s sake, going live will always be your best option to drive sales.
#3. Be Prepared
People sign up for a webinar because there are specific topics that they want to learn about. Going into a webinar expecting attendees to give you topics to cover is a recipe that will surely bring you failure. Most people don’t know specifics about what they want until they get data from sources like your webinar in the first place. That’s why these structural elements are so important to the preparation process.
- Focus on the trends in your industry. Learning from the past is important, but the future is where growth will be achieved. By focusing on current and future trends, a webinar can set the stage for that growth to be achieved.
- Include indirect input and take it seriously. Attendees will often post comments about your webinar during and afterward. Include this input into your structure so you can make any needed adjustments that are causing a weakness in your sales effort.
- Talk about what they’re talking about. There are top voices in your industry. They’re talking about key subjects right now. This is what your webinar should also include.
Webinars that are rich in structure are webinars that will drive sales because of their focused content. Don’t just focus on the loudest voice in the audience. That voice has important feedback, but you must always take the entire audience into account, not just the thoughts and potential conversion of 1 or 2 attendees.
#4. Plan It Like Your Day
The most productive people in today’s world tend to accomplish their toughest tasks right away when they start their day. This is because they have the most energy at that point in time. The easiest tasks are reserved for late in the day when energy is at a premium. A webinar should be structured in a similar way.
- Always start with your meaty content. It’s tempting to ease into a difficult subject. Don’t fall for this trap. People are highly energized at the beginning of a webinar. Take advantage of their anticipation by giving them substantive key points to digest.
- Use multiple calls to action. Instead of having one major pitch to your audience, incorporate lighter pitches throughout your presentation. People will remember a specific call to action that spoke to them and act upon it, even if it happens 60 minutes before the webinar ends.
- Create a big rock ending. Rock shows finish with a flourish, pyro, and other special effects because that makes the concert memorable. Your webinar needs a big offer with a direct call for action at the end. It’s your last chance to make a pitch. You have nothing to lose.
When energy levels are reversed and the heaviest or toughest tasks are left for the end of the day, the end result is almost always procrastination. You can’t drive sales with hesitant leads. Plan your webinar like you’d plan a productive day and it will make a big difference in your conversion rates.
#5. Don’t Hide
Being transparent is incredibly important within the context of a webinar. People know when they’re listening to a recorded webinar, no matter how it is structured. They also know when you’re using a webinar to drive sales. Trying to hide that fact from them is literally an insult to their intelligence. When you’re transparent from the very beginning, you can also take these pressure points off your presentation.
- You don’t have to be perfect. If something came out the wrong way, take the time to correct it. Being transparent means you fix errors instead of pretending that they don’t exist.
- You can confront sticky issues. If you’re having a tech problem, then say so. Transparency on this point means some folks suddenly understand why they can hear your voice, but not see anything .
- You get a follow-up opportunity. There is always a question or two that comes up in a webinar for which you won’t have an answer. Don’t pretend you know it or worse, guess at it. Tell them that’s a great question and you’ll follow-up with them as soon as you can with their contact details. This gives you a second shot at a sale.
Webinars only work well to drive sales when you can be seen as a person on the other side of the screen. Everyone realizes that no one is perfect and that tech issues can happen. Tell people lightly that you’re selling them something if they’re interested, be polite about it, and you might be amazed by the response you receive in return.
#6. It’s Not a Routine
When you’re doing the same webinar over and over again, you can start to fall into a routine rut. Don’t let this happen. When you’re flying on auto-pilot, you won’t be able to make the strong pitches you’ll need to create the sales you want. How do you stay out of this routine rut? By making sure the webinars aren’t exactly the same every time. Here’s how you create consistency with some uniqueness.
- Always add new info that is popular. If you get a lot of questions regarding certain topics and your answers are popular, then add that info into your webinar. It should be something that is a living and breathing being instead of a static presentation.
- Specialize your webinars. You have a general customer segment to reach, but there are also specialty sub-segments that can benefit from expanded content in certain areas. Don’t be afraid to specialize your presentations to meet the most needs.
- Remove content that falls on deaf ears. Some content is just flat and boring. You might think it’s awesome stuff, but if your audience is not-so-silently yawning at you, then it’s time to remove that content.
When you treat each webinar as its own special event instead of a routine you’ve got to power through, then you’ll be able to drive sales because your focus is where it belongs. Maybe it is relatively the same thing time after time, yet a good conversion rate will always drive away the darkness which a routine rut tries to generate.
#7. Keep It Simple
A webinar that has you building up your credibility for 30 minutes is a webinar that is destined to fail. Your data and presentation automatically establish your credibility. Keep it simple and make sure you’re getting straight to the point when it comes to your teachable moments. Simplicity brings these advantages.
- You earn more. When you teach less during a webinar, you open up the chance to earn more. Information that is overwhelming will lead to stress, which leads you away from a sale.
- You shorten your webinar time. If you’re using a minimalistic approach to your teaching moments, then you’ll be saving yourself a lot of time. Shorter webinars tend to convert better than longer ones.
- You get their attention. When there’s too much data, people have their eyes glaze over and their ears shut off. Shorter, more precise presentations keep an adult’s attention span much more effectively.
If you can’t keep someone’s attention, then you can’t make an effective sales pitch to them. If you want to run webinars that drive sales, then remember to keep it simple. Use the bare minimum required to get your point made. This will improve the responses you receive from your efforts.
#8. It’s Not Just the Webinar
This might be one of the biggest and most common mistakes everyone makes. A webinar isn’t just a one-time event. It requires preparation and follow-up to maximize its potential for success. Far too often the actual webinar receives all of the attention to the sales process and no focus is placed on the beginning or end. Here’s how you can improve right now if this is what you’re doing.
- Offer materials to study 1-2 weeks in advance. Sending out an email with essential information you’ll be covering in the webinar ahead of time gives participants the chance to review it and come up with targeted questions they can ask.
- Follow-up within 3-7 days with every participant. This gives you feedback. It gives you a second chance to make a sales pitch. If nothing else, maybe you can get them into a follow-up webinar.
- Make your content immediately useable. Driving sales ultimately means pointing out that you’ve got more value to offer than anyone else. Make the content you share with everyone something that is easy to implement.
A solid presentation is important to the success of a webinar. You’ve also got to pre-load your sales funnel and make sure you keep following up with those who get stuck somewhere within that funnel to maximize your conversion rates.
#9. Increase the Energy
When you’re working 1-on-1 with a lead, then you’ve got a chance to build a solid relationship. For a webinar, you want more. When there is a lot of energy in a webinar from its participants, then you’re going to drive more sales. Why does this happen? Because the group feeds off of the energy each is producing and this makes them want what you’re offering. Here’s how you can take advantage of this key point.
- Confidence always leads to success. Hosts tends to be more intimidated by intimate small groups than robust and rowdy large groups. More people means more confidence and that is an easy way to drive more sales.
- Target at least 100 people. When your group is 100 or more, then you’ve got a massive amount of positive energy flowing through the webinar. More energy means more sales opportunities.
- It targets the passion. Three elements comprise the average conversion: knowledge, experience, and passion. Most webinars have the first two in solid amounts. Larger groups tend to bring out the passions of everyone and this helps to fuel the sales process.
If you can’t go big yet, don’t feel pressured into thinking you have to reach massive numbers. A 50% conversion rate from a group of 20 is better than an 8% conversion rate from a group of 100. Know your group as a host, be passionate, and be confident. This will help you drive sales like never before.