Over the past couple years the latest and greatest strategy in online marketing circles has appeared to be live webinars.
I’ve seen many notable marketers claiming that 80%+ of their online sales came specifically from these live calls – which is extraordinarily impressive in my book.
The experience I’ve had with webinars, while relatively limited, has also been pretty eye opening.
I’ve marketed a live webinar, put on by someone else, to my mailing list probably half a dozen times.
- 1 flopped, and we only made one sale.
- 4 netted me in the low 4 figure range.
- 1 of them made me over $10k.
So even though I’ve only done a handful of webinars (and part of the reason I was successful was due to careful selection of the presenters), it was clear that this could be a fantastic alternative way to sell a product.
For the past two years I’ve known exactly what my webinar would be, how I would present it, and where the value to the audience would be.
Finally, my good friend Derek Johanson pushed me to create one, and he was a tremendous help building out the marketing plan for it..
Today, I’m going to share with you the exact strategies we used to make nearly $10,000 in my very first live webinar.
This will cover every aspect from the tools, to the content, to the pitch. This is a long post, so grab a cup of coffee and a notebook and let’s get this thing going!
Pre-Amble: Are You Ready to Do a Sales Webinar?
As I’ve mentioned, doing a webinar is one of the trendy things to do right now. I like them because when done right they can be incredibly useful for people who just want to show up and get free information, but for people who want additional handholding and are willing to invest, there’s a solution for them as well.
However, it isn’t something everyone should run right out and do. Webinars are generally most effective for people that have an established business and a way to leverage the sales power of this type of marketing.
A few general guidelines for whether or not this is right for you:
- Do you have an email list of at least 1,000 people?
- Do you have a product available to sell?
- Do you have really solid testimonials for the product?
- Do you have $500-$1k to invest in tools and advertising?
- Are you comfortable with public speaking/selling?
If you can’t answer yes to all of these questions is it a total deal breaker? No, but it might make it more difficult to get people on the call and subsequently convert them to paying customers.
Assess where you’re at, and if you’re truly ready to invest the time and effort it takes to creating a successful webinar.
Did you answer yes to all of these questions and are ready to get started? Awesome, let’s do this.
1) Make Sure You Have A Compelling Idea
The very first thing you need to do when preparing a sales webinar is to come up with a compelling idea. After all, if people don’t want to learn about what you’re presenting then you won’t even have a chance to make the sale – they won’t show up to begin with.
For my first webinar I thought about my core competencies here on Location 180: I help people build small businesses that allow them to work from anywhere in the world.
Naturally, something along those lines seemed like it would be a good fit.
So for my webinar I put together a presentation called “The Simple Three Step Process for Building A Business You Can Run from Anywhere”
So how do you find your idea?
Here are some ideas:
- Do you already have a physical product you want to sell at the end of the call? Great, do your webinar around one specific concept in that course. Another route is to do a larger scale overview of exactly what you teach in the product (this was the route I took for my first webinar).
- Look at your ten most popular blog posts. These show you what your audience is most interested in. Turn that post into a webinar and add in a few pieces of new content to really make it worth the time for someone to join.
- Try some of the strategies in this post.
I want to say this upfront, and it’s something I will repeat multiple times throughout this post.
I hate webinars that are all pitch. I especially hate webinars that are all pitch under the guise of being really useful.
I’ve been on a lot of webinars where it’s 45 minutes of information, but doesn’t ever really give you anything that’s actually tangible.
Then during the Q&A session, the answer 8 times out of 10 is something along the lines of “we cover all of that in the course I have for sale.”
If you’ve ever been on a call like this, I’m sure you can relate to my frustration.
My one biggest goal for my own webinar was to make it extremely valuable for the person on the call who has absolutely no interest in buying anything.
I wanted to give them a strategy they can start implementing right away – and even if there’s a pitch at the end, they can either leave, or would be happy to sit through it since I provided so much value earlier in the call.
Then for the people that wanted more help and a roadmap through all of the stuff I presented, I offered Location Rebel.
2) Outline the Content
The next step for me is to outline the content.
When done well, a proper outline will make your life a thousand times easier when you actually go to create the presentation.
This isn’t just a few bullet points of what you’re going to cover, with this we’re talking a detailed document the has every point you want to make, every story you’re going to tell, and every image or resource that goes along with it.
When it comes to outlining the content for the presentation itself, here are some really important things to keep in mind and work into the outline:
- How can you build rapport? What stories are you going to tell that will help people to not only like you, but relate to you. What images can you use to support this?
- What are the 3-5 key points of your presentation. These are those lightbulb moments that makes an attendee go “That one piece of information was worth the time I spent on the call.” Detail these out and then include 3-5 sub-bullet points to hammer home your ideas.
- How can you make it a two way street? Webinars are the most effective when you continue to engage the audience and get them to respond. Ask them questions and try and get short responses in the chat box. Make sure you’re keeping them engaged throughout the presentation.
Spend the time to make your outline as detailed as possible. I’d recommend starting with content you know inside and out.
With mine, I present this general concept on podcasts and interviews all the time, so it was a natural fit to tweak it just a little bit and build my webinar around it.
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3) Establish the Offer
Once you know what the presentation is going to look like, you’ll need to establish the offer.
It’s great that you want to be helpful, but in the end, you’ve got a business – and you need to make sales.
If you have a great presentation, but a horrible pitch and offer, you’re doing yourself a giant disservice.
What can you offer that will make buying your product a complete no-brainer?
A few examples:
- Can you give attendees a discount? I personally, never discount Location Rebel – but if you’re willing to, this is a great strategy to get people to buy – especially if it’s not something you do often, as it adds real urgency to the offer.
- Can you offer a unique payment plan? For instance, my course is either $497/one time, or I have a payment plan of $149/4 months. Maybe on a webinar I do 5 payments of $99? This is essentially still full price, but has lower payments than the usual monthly plan, and doesn’t make you pay an extra $100 to go with that option.
- Do you have access to other products you could give away? This is my preferred method. I like to provide additional resources or products of either mine, my friends, or my co-presenters to sweeten the pot. On this last call I gave away Derek’s Copyhour program – and then split commissions with him.
- Can you do more live group calls? A monthly live call can be a great incentive to get people to join, as it ensures them they won’t be alone after they buy. If they have questions, there will be a forum for which they can still get answers later on.
- Can you offer a consulting call if they join? Depending on your numbers, you can offer a 20 or 30 minute Skype call with anyone who joins. I usually do this for people who join live during the webinar, and then offer reduced bonuses if they join in the next couple of days.
The point here is to think about what you’re going to sell, and then craft a package that helps compliment the main product. Think about urgency, why should someone join now, as opposed to a few months from now? There needs to be enough incentive to get them to pull out their wallet.
4) Select Your Tools
One of the most important parts of creating your webinar is selecting the tools you’re going to use to do the presentation. There are all kinds of different services out there, and many do similar things. Each one will have special considerations though, so I’m going to do my best to cover all of these in this section.
To market and present your webinar effectively, you’re going to need a few different tools:
- Email Marketing Software
- Landing Page Creator
- Webinar Presentation Software
Let’s look at a few of the best options for each, and then I’ll make recommendations on what I think works best.
Email Marketing Software
There’s a side benefit to doing webinars on top of the potential for making sales – it’s also a fantastic opportunity to grow your mailing list.
When setup properly, you can make it so that everyone who signs up for your webinar also gets signed up to your email list. This way, even if they don’t show up for the call, you can still build a relationship with them in the future.
If you’re just getting going, there are two services I’d recommend:
- Aweber – This is what I use for my email marketing. It’s got a rich set of features, is easy to use, and it integrates with just about everything.
- Mailchimp – Many people are drawn to Mailchimp because they have a free plan. Most of the services you’ll need are not part of this free plan, so the cost is similar to Aweber. Personally, I think Aweber is easier to use and more powerful, so it gets my recommendation.
If you have a more advanced business, you probably already have email software, but Ontraport and Infusionsoft are two more expensive, and robust, alternatives.
Landing Page Creator
To get people on your webinar, you’ll need a landing page to sell them on why they should sign up.
Fortunately, these days there are a lot of services out there that make this really easy – and don’t require you to have any technical expertise.
Here are a couple that I personally use and like:
- Optimize Press
- Lead Pages
The two major differences between these is customizability and ease.
Optimize Press is a WordPress plugin that will let you customize just about anything and make truly unique looking sales and landing pages. This is what I used to create the Location Rebel Academy sales page.
Lead Pages doesn’t give you nearly as much control, but there’s less of a learning curve, and it definitely takes less time to setup.
Either product works well, but it really depends on what you want:
If you want full customizability, a one time fee, but a bit more of a learning curve – get Optimize Press
If you want generic looking sales pages (that convert well), an annual fee, but easier setup – get Lead Pages.
Both of these can integrate with certain webinar services, so we’ll talk about that in a second.
Here’s the obvious one. If you’re going to do a webinar, you’ve gotta have a way to actually do the webinar!
This is a space that’s evolving, and there are a lot of things to consider.
Some questions to ask yourself before you invest in webinar software:
- What’s your budget?
- Is it important that other attendees be able to chat amongst themselves/post publicly?
- Do you want to be on video during your webinar?
- Which email/landing page software are you using, and does your webinar solution integrate with it?
- How many people do you want to be on your calls?
- Are you only doing live webinars? Or do you want to also do recorded webinars?
- Will you be offering replays?
You may or may not know all of the answers to these questions, but they are all important things to consider. By the end of this post, you’ll have an idea of which of these are the most important, and hopefully this will help you decide the best solution for you.
There are a lot of different options out there, but for now I’m just going to focus on two in order to make it easy.
Go to Webinar
This is the incumbent. It’s been around forever, is well known, and is rock solid when it comes to stability and the platform it’s built on.
This is what I’ve personally been using for all of the webinars I do. While you can’t really go too far wrong with Go to Webinar, the reality is, some of it’s competitors are blowing it away in terms of features, and doing it for much less money.
- Well known
- Rock solid infrastructure
- Good call quality
- Integrates with most services I use
- Expensive ($79/mo for 100 attendees, $319 for 500 attendees)
- Doesn’t have more advanced marketing features of it’s competitors
- Forces users to download the Go to Webinar app
Unlike Go to Webinar which is it’s own standalone application, Easy Webinar is built around Google Hangouts. If you’re doing a call for only a handful of people, you can use Google Hangouts as a free alternative to any of these, but if you’re getting more than 10 people on and are serious about the marketing side, it just won’t cut it.
Easy Webinar has marketing features that blow Go to Webinar out of the water, but some people will find they have a desire for the more traditional GTW format, and more importantly the stability that GTW provides.
- Advanced marketing features – Easily bring any attendee on the call, ability to add countdowns to offers, replica replays etc.
- Built in Event Pages – Don’t want to use Lead Pages or Optimize Press? There are built in landing pages with Easy Webinar. Don’t want them? Don’t worry, Easy Webinar still integrates with the Lead and Optimize.
- Hybrid Presentation – You can switch from a live presentation to a recorded presentation seamlessly. You can also do fully automated webinars which could be a good fit for more advanced marketing funnels. Go to Webinar can’t do this.
- Cost – Still not cheap at $397, it’s about 10% of the cost of a midrange Go to Webinar account.
- Not a Native App – Part of the reason Go to Webinar is still so popular even with the outdated interface and expense is simple: because it works. A big part of this is due to the fact it’s got a native app that has been perfected over the last decade +
- Jack of All Trades, Master of None – Easy Webinar has a lot of stuff built into it. Cool right? Well yes, when it works. It’s kind of like the saying “jack of all trades, master of none”. Because it’s so in depth, some features don’t always work well.
- Stability – I’ve experienced quite a few stability issues with Google Hangouts – and I know marketers who have experienced the same with services like Easy Webinar and it’s competitor Webinar Jam.
So, have a clear answer about which one is best for you? Me either.
My personal setup consists of Optimize Press, Aweber, and Go to Webinar. This has worked pretty well for me, and while it will take a little time to get everything integrated properly it works well, and I never have to worry about things going wrong on my calls.
With that said, I’m really intrigued by Easy Webinar both for the features and the price. I haven’t personally put one on with it yet, but I’ve attended ones that looked great on the platform.
I think it’s kind of analagous to buying a grill. If you just want something sturdy, basic and will last – you buy a Weber.
If you want a grill with 5 burners, two side burners, that will also clean your house – you can buy any number of off brands for half the price of the Weber.
Will it work as well? Maybe.
So if money is tight, I’d totally recommend giving Easy Webinar a try first and see how it works. If it’s too buggy, you know you’ll have a rock solid option with Go to Webinar, it just won’t be quite as feature heavy…which may be a good thing.
5) Drive Traffic
At risk of stating the obvious, in order to make your webinar a success you’ve gotta have people show up!
This can be tricky depending on your reputation, your offer, your email list etc – so having a solid strategy and willingness to test out different methods will be key.
There are a lot of different ways you can drive traffic, but I’m going to share some of the ones that have worked best for me.
When I’ve done webinars here are my main drivers of traffic:
- Mailing List
- Facebook Ads
- Guest Posts
In a perfect world, if you’re doing a one off webinar you’ll want to leverage all of these. If you’re doing this on a recurring basis – then you might need to adjust your strategy.
Let’s look at the benefits of each.
If you have a mailing list already, this is the easiest and most effective way to get people to show up to a webinar. These people already know who you are, so you don’t have to work as hard to establish trust and build authority.
To be most effective, you’ll want to send at least 2-3 emails to your general list to maximize the chance of people showing up.
Depending on the webinar, I usually send one dedicated email to my main Location 180 and Location Rebel emails lists, and also mention it in my weekly newsletter.
This usually results in a strong turnout, and doesn’t overwhelm people with too many emails.
This is one of the best ways to reach a new, targeted audience. I could write an entire book on Facebook Ad strategy…ok, I couldn’t, but someone could, so I won’t go into too much detail here.
However if you’d like a more in depth post on Facebook, check out How to Become a Facebook Expert in 48 Hours.
I will say however, that I found one strategy that seems to be really effective.
Derek and I created a series of ads and paid attention to which ones converted the best.
I did a “look alike” list from my current Location Rebel members list, and I ran ads starting on the Friday before doing a Wednesday or Thursday webinar.
Each time I’ve done it, I’ve got about 200 people to sign up at a cost of just under $2 per lead – not bad.
Here are a few useful posts on Facebook ads:
- 3 Things You Must Know About Facebook Ads in 2015
- The 4 Step Approach to Facebook Ad Targeting
- 5 Ridiculously Powerful Facebook Ad Targeting Strategies
I’ve talked in the past about how valuable I think guest posting is as a traffic and list building strategy – well it can also be effective for getting people on webinars.
If you’re guest posting on a site that you know is going to drive some traffic, create a special opt in page for you webinar and link to it in your bio at the end of the post.
Offer them a killer free gift, in addition to the invitation to attend the webinar. You’re then providing value, building your email list, and getting more people on your webinar – all at the same time.
Follow up Emails
Great, you’ve gotten some people to sign up for your webinar. However just because someone signed up, doesn’t mean they’re going to show up.
Quite the contrary.
I’ve found when I market something to my primary email list I can count on about 40-50% of people showing up for the call.
With people who found me via a Facebook ad, that percentage can be 25% or less – so in order to make sure you get as many people as possible, you’ll want to be diligent in your follow ups, and also solicit feedback and questions to get them engaged in what you’re doing.
Here’s a quick follow up strategy that will help get as many people on the call as possible:
- Add an “Add to Calendar” Link – Once someone signs up in your first email to confirm the sign up, make sure there’s an easy way to add the call to their calendar. They are much more likely to show up if they actually schedule it.
- Ask for Questions – In your confirmation email, ask people to hit reply with one question they’d like answered on the call. Not only will this make them more likely to tune in, but it will help your tailor the presentation to your audience.
- Send TWO Reminder Emails Day Of – This could be seen as overkill, but I’ve found it to be really effective in boosting attendance. I like to send one 4 hours before and 10 minutes before.
6) Hone Your Pitch
I’ve found the hardest part of a webinar to be the pitch itself. If you’re not used to selling on a call, this can be really difficult to do in a compelling and persuasive way.
Most of the webinars I do last about an hour and a half.
The first 45-50 minutes is introduction and content, then about 10 minutes is devoted to the pitch itself, and the final half an hour (or more if people are still there) is for answering audience questions.
You want your pitch to be structured, planned, and casual – pulling this off can be tough.
Here’s the general formula I follow for the pitch on a webinar
- Recap everything they just learned – Cover the key points they just learned, and do your best to remind them how actionable the free information was.
- Introduce the product – Take a couple minutes and introduce the product, the broad strokes, and some of the most compelling facts/features.
- Detail exactly how the product solves and aids everything discussed on the webinar – I like to think of this as, the webinar is the “what to do” the product is the “how to do it.”
- Elaborate on bonuses one at a time – Review section 3 on what to give away, but I spend 1-2 minutes on each bonus to really hammer home why each has been selected for this particular offer.
- Add sense of urgency and tell them the price – The people who join live, on the call, should get the best deal. I then usually have a second level where anyone who joins in the next 3 days still gets most of the bonuses.
- Mention 1-3 case studies – This is the most powerful part of the pitch. The real world stories of people who have had success with your product. I like to use vary the examples as much as possible. For instance: one guy, one girl. One US, one non-US, one person who did freelance writing, one who did something else.
- Take questions – Take as much time as you can answer every question asked. The more time you spend answering questions, the more sales you’ll make.
This is a pretty abbreviated version of the pitch, and I may do a whole blog post just on this, but this should give you enough to get started with.
7) The 12 Step Webinar Funnel
At this point you’ve pretty much already got the basics of your webinar funnel created:
- You have your topic
- You know what your offer is going to be
- You know the technical details of the setup.
- You’ve crafted your pitch
Now you just ned to put all of the pieces together to create your funnel.
There are three key components: The signup, the webinar, and the follow up.
We’ve talked about each of these, but I want to more clearly outline the components to give you a solid strategy to work from.
- Build the landing page – Spend time on your headline and include 5-10 bullet points of what people will learn on the call.
- Implement traffic strategies – As discussed above, start implementing your tactics for getting people on the call
- Confirmation email with calendar button and asking a question – This will get them more engaged and more likely to show up.
- Reminder email – Send an email 4-8 hours before the call starts reminding them
- Second reminder email – Send an email 15 minutes before the call starts
- Present the webinar
- Send out the replay – The day after the webinar, send over an unlisted you tube link to the video. Be sure to remind them it will only be available for a couple days.
- Send out a Case Study/Testimonial Email – Send an email telling the story of 2-3 more case studies from people who had success with your program. I’ll often link to a video of these. Here’s an example.
- Send out a FAQ Email – Send out an email with some of the most frequently asked questions, and make sure to tell them to email you back personally with any questions.
- Send out a Closing Soon Email – One final reminder that the bonus offer will end in the next 6-12 hours.
- Migrate anyone who didn’t buy to primary mailing list – For the people that didn’t buy, transfer them to your normal mailing list.
That’s a rough overview of what your whole process is going to look like.
Make sure you spend some time thinking through each individual step, and spend time crafting the emails on the back end of the funnel.
During one of my most recent calls I converted 8 people on the call into sales, but then another 12 during the follow up sequence after the call.
So even if you don’t get as many people to join up front as you might like, there’s a good chance that you’ll get just as many, if not more in the days following.
8) Create the Slides
Now that you have all the pieces ready to go, it’s time to create the actual slide presentation itself!
I’ve seen many webinars that just use a super basic powerpoint with black text on a white background – that can work if your content is good.
However, taking it a step further and making an effort to make your presentation look good will go a long ways toward building trust with your audience.
The slides are pretty easy to make, and I usually forgo any fancy transitions and just keep it basic.
Here are a few tools to make slide creation easy:
- Powerpoint – Everyone has used this at some point right?
- Google Slides – The free Google version of Powerpoint.
- Keynote – The Mac version of Powerpoint
- Canva – A free solution that’s easy to use
I personally like doing my presentations in Keynote and using the confidence monitor. It will show me how long I’ve been talking, show me the current slide, as well as the one coming up next – which I’ve found to be really valuable for my flow.
A few tips for building your slides:
- Ask Questions – Early on you want to establish this as an interactive event. Include slides asking where people are from, as well as one asking questions where the common answer will be yes.
- Include Photos – The more visually interesting, the better. This can also establish trust and build rapport.
- Don’t put a ton of info on one slide – I like to keep the slides moving as much as possible. If you stay on one slide for too long people can zone out.
- Add slides for each section of your pitch – Have a separate slide for every section of your pitch to really play up each aspect of your offer.
9) Practice the Webinar
Seems like a no-brainer, but this is really important. You’re going to be talking for an hour plus, so you want to make sure you’ve got your points down.
Imagine yourself getting on stage and talking in front of 100 people for an hour. This is essentially the same thing, so you want to know your content well enough that you can casually hit on all your points.
With that said, you also don’t want to over prepare to the point where you’re a robot reading from a script. This is especially dangerous if something happens to throw you off your flow – as it can be tough to recover.
I’ve heard it said that you should practice a webinar at least a dozen times before doing it live. That’s a significant time investment, but one that has the potential to be well worth it.
10) Test the Funnel
You want to constantly be testing as you’re going throughout this whole process. The last thing you want is to start running Facebook ads to a landing page, only to find up that it’s not hooked up to your email software correctly.
So test twice before you make anything go live.
Thing you want to make sure you test:
- Does your landing page sign people up for both email list and webinar?
- Do you know how to use your webinar software easily? Do a bunch of trial runs on this.
- Are all of your follow up emails being sent out properly?
- Is all of your copy free of errors?
- Is your sound setup properly for the call itself?
While these seem like no-brainers, just one mistake can also be the difference in a successful show and a total flop.
In this post you should have learned:
- How to come up with a compelling webinar idea
- How to create an offer for your webinar that will convert
- What tools and resources you should use to create the webinar
- How to setup your slides
- How to leverage emails and followups to boost attendance and sales
- The funnel you should put in place to ensure the whole process goes smoothly and is a success
I could go on for another 5,000 words plus, but I’ll save that for another time.
This should be a solid overview to help you get started crafting your first sales webinar for your brand or business. If you have any questions or if there was anything that I didn’t cover, just leave a comment and I’ll do my best to make sure you get an answer!
Image Credit: Webinar Chalkboard from Big Stock
Sean OgleSean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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