The Ultimate Guide to Hosting Profitable Webinars
Content marketing can take between six and nine months to start seeing results, and even then, you might not be getting the traffic or conversions you’d hoped for. But, you might’ve forgotten about the power of webinars.
Webinars are a highly effective marketing tool that helped bring in over $13,400 in sales for one company, from an audience size of just 208 people.
Imagine if you could see the same return on your investment - even if you’re only running the webinar for 10 people!
You don’t need a powerful imagination, though, because I’m going to teach you how to produce webinars that bring you customers and grow your business! Here’s everything you need to know about hosting profitable webinars.
What is a webinar?
A webinar is a lesson or presentation (similar to a seminar) done over the internet. They’re not just for college professors, though. In fact, Text Request holds a dozen webinars a day to showcase the product! (You can sign up for one here).
You could - and should - be using webinars to promote your business, engage new people, and turn those viewers into high-paying customers. Why?
Because webinars educate people about your industry, product, or service, and education leads to trust - one of the most important aspects of any purchasing decision. It also brings you more valuable customers.
Think about it. You wouldn’t buy something off-the-cuff without any background knowledge of the company you’re purchasing from, right? Your audience is the same, but providing value and education through a webinar is a fantastic way to gain their trust and turn them into customers.
What can I use webinars for?
Over 60% of B2B marketers are using webinars as part of their content strategy. But you don't have to target B2B audiences for webinars to be effective. They're also a great asset if you’re looking to meet key business goals, such as:
- Brand awareness
- Industry authority
- Building a community or email list
- Lead generation (between 20-40% of webinar attendees turn into qualified leads)
- Product sales
5 Webinar Ideas to Get the Ball Rolling
Stuck on how to get your webinars off the ground? I don’t blame you. It takes time, effort, resources, and cash to make a successful webinar, but I won't let you use a lack of ideas as an excuse! Here are a few to get your gears turning.
1. Product Demonstrations
If you’ve got a list of people who are classed as ‘warm leads’, get them to take the next step with an in-depth demo of how to use your product. (This works really well for Text Request.)
2. Q&A Sessions
What questions do people have before they buy? Or about your industry? Host a webinar to answer them (in depth).
3. Influencer Interview
Invite a popular influencer in your industry to talk about a hot topic. They’ll bring their audience, and you’ll raise brand awareness. It’s a great co-marketing opportunity to expose you to new people.
4. Product Training
Retain your existing customers - and convince them to buy again - by delivering training on how to get the most out of your product. Free training is a great way to make customers happy and encourages them to use your product more. (This also works well for Text Request.)
5. Case Studies
Case studies feel like real educational sessions. They break down what others did to be successful, and how the viewer can do the same. They also give you an opportunity to wow prospects with user-generated content, which takes little time to put together.
Now you’ve got no excuse to start using webinars to grow your business!
Related: View Text Request Case Studies
10 Steps to Run Your First Webinar
Ready to start using webinars, and turn them into your business’ most effective form of content?
Great! Let’s make sure you have a solid strategy to make your webinars effective and profitable. Just follow these steps.
1. Nail your buyer personas.
A buyer persona documents every common or shared trait that your ideal customer has. It includes info like:
- Job titles
- Interests and goals
- Pain points
Why are these buyer personas so important? Because that’s who you’re creating webinars for! You can’t make sales without crafting your messaging for the right people.
Let’s take another look at that list of traits above. One of the most important is pain points - a list of challenges that your ideal customer is struggling with, and that your business can solve.
Here are a few examples:
- “I can’t collect resumes for people interested in our open job roles without paying expensive fees” (pain point for recruitment agency’s buyer persona).
- “I need someone to remove the wasp nest from my kid’s bedroom tonight, and not have to wait until next week” (pain point for a pest control’s buyer persona).
- “We need someone that is Gas Safe certified to fix the air conditioning unit for the school I run” (pain point for an HVAC repair company’s buyer persona.)
Follow this guide to creating buyer personas before planning a single webinar, and discover your audience’s pain points. It’ll save you time and help you make a lot of money in the long-run!
2. Pick your webinar topic.
Use your ideal customers’ pain points to come up with engaging topics to cover in your webinar. What questions are your customers asking? What concerns do they have? These are great topics to cover.
(Remember: The aim of your webinar is to get targeted, high-quality potential leads to view your content. They can turn into raving fans and customers later.)
Let’s say you’re a pest control company. Your topic could be: “How to prevent wasp invasions this summer.” Your webinar could go into detail about why wasps swarm homes, how to minimize the chances of an invasion, and what to do if you find a nest.
Notice how that webinar topic is related to their audiences’ interest, but doesn’t go straight in with the hard sell? Your webinar topic needs to do the same.
Focus on education and value over delivering a pitch.
Grace McKenzie, Content Marketing Co-ordinator at Tiapos, told me another fantastic tip to suss-out webinar topics:
“Find out exactly what your registrants want to get out of your webinar by sending them a survey. In your survey, give them a few options to choose from.
Here’s the clever bit: based on how they answer the survey, you should put them into a different ‘show up’ email sequence to encourage them to attend the webinar to learn how to achieve the exact thing they want to learn.
That means your show-up sequence speaks right to their needs.”
Makes sense, right? This helps you add more personalization to your webinar strategy.
A quick warning:
Avoid the trap of hosting a webinar that isn’t related to your business just because your buyer persona has an interest - it’s a total waste of time. Your topic has to relate to the product or service you’re selling if you want to make sales!
3. Write a script for your webinar.
There’s nothing more distracting for your audience than waffling or babbling. It also wastes time and makes you look unprofessional. No one wants that.
However, you can prevent this by writing a script beforehand (or planning your slides if you’re using text and visual data).
The script will help you stay on track and know exactly what you want to say. You don’t have to read it verbatim, but following your script will help you create a more engaging webinar.
4. Invite influencers to take part.
You’ve probably seen the statistics about influencer marketing:
- 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger (Collective Bias)
- 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations (Annalect)
- Influencer marketing has an average ROI of $6.50 (Tomoson)
For reference, an “influencer” is someone with a large social media or blog following. These people can have a big impact, so why not invite them to join your webinar?
You could ask them to host a section or run the entire thing, which takes a lot of the legwork off your hands. It’ll also bring their audience to your webinar. But finding the right influencers can be hard.
Here’s Tom Corson-Knowles, CEO of TCK Publishing, sharing the criteria he uses for selecting influencers to invite onto his webinars:
“Here are our principles that have helped us pick the best partners:
- We only work with webinar partners who are leaders in their industry and have a rock solid reputation.
- We only work with webinar partners that sell products or services that get extremely high customer ratings and great feedback.
- We only work with webinar partners who share our values and core principles.
After making these changes, we've noticed several great benefits. First of all, our sales went up and refunds went down significantly over the first year. We made other changes too, so obviously, there were other factors involved, but we believe a big difference was made by choosing our partners more wisely.
Another unexpected benefit of making these changes was that we ended up having a lot more fun, a lot less stress, and our work environment improved substantially.”
Sounds easy enough, right?
5. Set the date (and time).
You have to set a date and time before you can invite people to show up for your webinar. But is there a best practice for webinar timings?
Research has found that Tuesday morning webinars, hosted between 10am and 11am, tend to get the most attendees.
But don’t fall into the trap of sticking to those hours in your timezone. Stick to your buyer persona and run your webinar between 10 and 11 am in their timezone.
10am in Atlanta would be 7am in San Francisco, and you won’t get many people on the west coast signing on at that time.
6. Choose a platform to run your webinar on.
Now you’ve set the date and time for your webinar, you’ll need to choose a platform to run it on.
Allan Dib, Founder of Successwise, explains why he thinks choosing the correct platform is one of the most important factors of your entire webinar strategy:
“Choose a webinar software that's going to deliver the best experience possible for your users. The last thing you want is to be hosting a webinar, and the service goes down. It just doesn't set a good impression.
I use GoToWebinar for all my live training. It offers stability, and I can record the call.
My team will then create transcripts to be emailed to those who joined the webinar. These stand me in good stead because my webinar attendees don't have to take notes, I'll hand it to them on a silver platter.”
Here’s a neat little table to help you decide on the best platform to host your webinar:
Fantastic for live webinars and has a chat feature to build community.
Integrates with other marketing software to make planning and promotion easier.
You might already use for internal conferences, but they also offer a webinar feature.
|Free for up to 100 attendees|
Great reports for diving into webinar analytics and measuring ROI.
Very cheap; good choice for webinar beginners or businesses with small marketing budgets.
7. Do a dress rehearsal.
You don’t want your first experience with the webinar software you’ve chosen to be on the day of your webinar, five minutes before you go live. That’s why you need to run through a dress rehearsal a few days before to get to know your way around the software and practice your script.
This is a technique Julianna Lantz, Talent Services Manager at Voices, uses for her webinars. She says:
“When it comes to planning a webinar, my best tip would be to host a trial run the day before. You'll be able to iron out any kinks, get your guest comfortable with the process, and address any technical glitches in time. You'll find that by doing this, everything will run way more smoothly on the day of.”
The more times you run through your webinar, the better you’ll be, which will make it more effective. There’s a reason the phrase “practice makes perfect” is so popular!
8. Promote your upcoming webinar.
What good is holding a webinar if you don’t tell anyone about it? You’ve done the planning, now you need to get people to turn up!
Most webinar tools, and others like EventBrite, make it easy to setup event registration and share it with others. A few quick things you can do to promote your webinar include:
- Guide website viewers to your sign-up page
- Promote the sign-up page for your webinar on social media
- Write a press release for industry publishers
- Send an email (or several) to your subscriber list, and submit the page to a site like Webinary
Not got as many sign-ups as you’d hoped for? That’s okay!
You can still get really good engagement rates with a small number of attendees.
Plus, 27% of webinar registrations happen 2-7 days before the event, and a third happen the same day.
9. Go live!
The date has arrived and you’ve meticulously gone over everything you’re about to discuss. Now it’s time to do it!
Starting your first webinar can be nerve-wracking (especially if it’s live), but here’s one thing to remember: You’re only human. We all make mistakes, and if you make one on your webinar, try to move past it.
Chances are, people won’t spot it unless you highlight it.
Questioning how you can host a webinar that people actually watch?
Here are a few tips to make your webinar engaging:
- Speak clearly (preferably with an external microphone)
- Ask questions to get your viewers engaged
- Comment on things your audience are saying in the comments section - a Q&A section at the end is a great way to do this!
- Inject humor and show off your personality
- Be respectful of your audience’s time
The last one is mega important. Don’t take more time than you asked for.
Between 30 and 45 minutes is the sweet spot for webinars, so you don’t have much time to waffle.
10. Follow-up with attendees
The average conversion rate for webinars falls somewhere between 2% and 5%.
I know, it doesn’t sound like much - but it’s possible to skyrocket that conversion rate by following-up with your attendees.
Let them know your business still exists, and give them a push to complete one of your goals by:
- Recording your webinar and sending it to everyone who registered
- Sending emails to people who attended with a special discount code
- Running another webinar, and turn a one-off event into a series - this is great for moving people through a funnel
- Asking attendees for their feedback, and ideas for future topics
In a nutshell: Do anything you can to keep webinar attendees engaged post-event.
It can take time, but you will have people willing to take the next step at each stage. And as you do a few webinars, you will get better at presenting and at identifying exactly what your target customers want out of a webinar from you.
Before long, you’ll have a self-turning webinar machine that consistently brings you qualified leads and sales. How does that sound?
Final Thoughts on Webinars
There’s no better time to start hosting webinars than now! One brand made $17,000 in sales from a webinar with 100 attendees, proving it is possible to generate a decent return on your webinar strategy, should you plan it correctly.
In fact, Text Request has built a $1 million + per year sales funnel around webinars. Why shouldn’t you be able to create the same results?