Webinars, like other forms of content marketing, can be very effective for improving your sales funnel. But sometimes, your webinar just isn’t functioning as a good lead magnet. Offering excellent content in the webinar won’t automatically result in sales; many factors are in play. But if your webinar isn’t converting leads into customers, try these relatively easy fixes before you try more complicated or expensive strategies.
1. Plan your webinar with the product in mind
Very often, I see clients who say, “We’re going to run a webinar and invite everyone to come.”
Okay, great! But remember, the whole idea of offering a webinar is to get leads and make conversions. That requires strategy.
Webinars can be very expensive. Even if you don’t hire a speaker for $5K (which some companies do!) you’ll still have expenses related to your own time and your teammates time in planning, attending/supporting, and follow-up for the webinar.
2. Establish metrics
Remember, you’re not offering the webinar to be nice. You’re offering the webinar to attract new leads and nurture existing leads.
Unless you establish metrics, you’ll never know if your webinar isn’t converting leads into customers – or if it is! Establish metrics early in the game so you know what you’re aiming for.
Beware, however, that those in the middle or bottom of your sales funnel are the ones who are most likely to buy the product. It’s just the way it works.
Meaning, if you attract and convert leads in the top of your sales funnel immediately after the webinar, great! But webinars are more likely to convert those in the middle of your sales funnel.
3. Provide 6-weeks lead time
Advertising the webinar today and hoping people will show up next week probably won’t work. Many people need to plan their calendar much further in advance.
Others might not have scheduling conflicts. But if they don’t know you, they won’t register. To get people to sign up, you need to use the magic potion:
Another version of that is:
- Compatibility (or some call it “engagement”)
It may take your prospects the better part of 6 weeks to “know” you and to get past their “curious” state. Many people simply won’t sign up unless they like you, and that won’t happen unless they first know you.
4. Hold the live session on Wednesday
Studies have shown that Wednesday is the best day to hold a webinar.
I can’t speak to other disciplines, but from own experience, offering webinars to healthcare professionals, this makes a lot of sense. Typically, hospital staffing is best on Wednesdays, so issues of low staffing are less likely to be a deterrent to attending. Of course, if census and acuity is high on that particular Wednesday, then it won’t matter.
5. Introduce yourself and your business
Be sure to introduce yourself and/or your presenter in a way that establishes authority. (In my case, I’m often both the host and the presenter, but not always.)
First, state your unique value proposition (UVP) that describes either your business, or the specific product you’re hoping to sell to webinar attendees. I don’t know if there are any strict rules on this, but off the bat, I’d say that if a UVP exceeds 50 words, it’s probably too long.
Here’s my rule: Make your UVP short enough so that your entire team can memorize it. It needs to be short, easy to say, and easy to comprehend.
And, whether you’re the presenter or the host, be sure to show some authority. Ones I’ve heard lately include:
“… and I’m a NYT best-selling author of …”
“… and we work with Forbes, Chick Fil-A, General Dynamics and…”
“… and I’m a retired professor of XYZ university …”
6. Plan for plenty of engagement
I recently attended a webinar where the presenter started off by asking for a moment of silence for a local cause or person I’d never heard of.
Whereas almost all webinar presenters are highly focused on getting engagement right out of the gate, this ranked as the biggest killer of engagement I’d ever seen.
I often start with simple calls for engagement. For example, I might ask attendees to write in the chat box where they are located. Almost everyone will answer. I see Charleston, Wilmington, Bozeman, Memphis, Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco, London, Perth, and more.
If I know some of the people on the webinar, I call on them during my presentation! “Jane, I know you’ve had that problem in your organization. How did you handle it?” You can ask Jane to unmute herself and speak, or to type in the chat box, whichever is more appropriate to the situation.
A few weeks ago, I was able to get about 30 attendees – including people I didn’t know – to open their mics and give a short synopsis of their experience. I’m not able to do that every time, but I do aim for that!
7. Run live polls during the webinar
Live polls are a great way to keep people engaged, even if they aren’t “contributing.” Generally, people like to participate in polls, and polls do keep attendees engaged.
However, live polls are tough to run. I know, because I’ve done plenty of them.
The trick is to load up the questions and/or options before the webinar starts.
8. Give a simple summary of research
I admit, having spent years teaching in universities and working in major medical centers, I do love to spout the research!
But I’ve learned that webinar attendees don’t want an academic lecture. They want just the nuts-n-bolts of what the research says.
9. Create actionable tips
Academic lectures are often filled with research results, theories, and sprinkled with a few platitudes.
But webinars must help the listeners to walk away with some relatively straight-forward actions they can the first day back on the job.
10. Be product-relevant without giving a product pitch
No one wants to attend a webinar and hear the presenter yammer on about a product or service.
Basically, here’s the formula: Talk about their problem, and several components of the solution. One component of the solution is your product. For example, you could say:
“A sprained ankle sometimes needs medical attention, but most times, the pain and swelling can be alleviated by some simple techniques. Stay off the ankle as much as possible for the first day or so. You may want to use an elastic bandage to reduce the swelling. Elevating the ankle also helps to reduce swelling, and while it’s elevated, use an ice pack for about 15-20 minutes about 3 times a day. Our reusable gel packs mold to your ankle, won’t sweat, and come in different sizes.”
11. Be sure to say, “If you stay to the end …”
These days, all webinar attendees know that webinar organizers are holding the webinar to give a sales pitch for something.
As part of your strategy for an engaging webinar, plan a 10-15 minute Q&A session. Present your offer after that.
Generally, make your offer brief and to the point so that it doesn’t come across as too salesy. (And, you might want to include a limited-time offer.) Use this simple formula to make your pitch:
- Here’s what we’ve got for you
- Here’s what it does (or how it works) to solve your problem
- Here’s how you get it
You could offer:
- An additional free resource related to the webinar content
- A special discount for a specific product
- A quick sweepstakes (random drawing) for one lucky attendee to win your product for free.
12. Follow up with attendees by email
To my knowledge, there is no evidence to suggest that your webinar will work by simply turning attendees’ names over to your sales team.
Don’t expect any sales unless you follow up with at least 5 emails to each attendee.
13. Use the replay as a lead generator magnet
I’ve seen some companies offer the webinar, and then put the replay on their website. That’s terrific, but unless there’s an opt-in page, it’s not effective for boosting sales.
Again, what’s the purpose of the webinar? To attract leads and make conversions. If you aren’t asking people to opt in, you’re losing an opportunity to sell.
14. Review and analyze your metrics
You won’t know if your webinar was effective if you don’t measure your success.
Which one of these suggestions will you tackle first?