10 Best Practices to Run a Better Webinar

10 best practices to run a better webinar

Done right, a webinar is a powerful tool that can rapidly move even the coldest of prospects through your sales funnel, and lock in a sale.

But when it comes to running a successful webinar, it gets tricky. There are so many moving parts, you need to ensure you’re not the one sabotaging the process.

Just a few weeks back I sat through one of the most horrendous excuses for a webinar I’ve ever watched, only staying to the very end out of some morbid curiosity to really determine if this was it.

Yes, yes it was, and it left me very disappointed.

And while I’m not going to point any fingers, I’d much rather focus on what you should be doing, so none of you fall victim to making the same mistakes.

No one should ever have to sit through a webinar like that.

I’ll skip the basics like, make sure you start on time, and you know how to actually use the software and all that.

This is common sense, but if you’ve never done a webinar before, it’s a good idea to run a dummy event with a couple of close friends or a colleague first, just to make sure it’s all going to go to plan when you’re live in the big one.

Right, onto the tips.

 

Be interesting, dammit.

The big one.

You’ve got to put together an interesting presentation.

Otherwise, why would anyone give up their valuable time to listen to you prattle on.

Think about your ideal customer, and what they’re struggling with. The pain points they have to overcome, every time they sit down at their desk. What do they hate doing, where are they falling short, what could they be doing better?

This is your hook.

And for a hook to be any good, it needs to create intrigue, a little mystery.

Tell me, if you had to choose between one of these two webinars, based on the TITLE alone, which one would you be most interested to listen in on…?

  1. Sales Prospecting Training.
  2. Learn how to create an evergreen lead generation system, and with less than 60 minutes a week, send prospect after prospect after prospect to your door.

Which one sounds more exciting?

(Of course, the second one – stay with me here).

Make sure you’ve got an interesting hook, that gets people excited to register.

 

Start using a warm-up sequence

You are warming your prospects up, right?

If not, get on this as a priority now.

These days, a single ad may be enough to get a prospect to take a small action, like registering for your webinar, but it’s not enough for much more.

There are a thousand different things pulling our time, attention and focus. Remember, if you want to be remembered, you need to get in front of a prospect eight times.

Yep, eight.

Ideally, you’ve got a sequence of emails to do this automatically.

(note: this is different to your reminder emails, we’ll get to that next).

What you want to do is introduce yourself to your registrants.

Hit on things like key parts of your story (to help forge a connection), highlight specific learnings they’ll get on the webinar (to build interest in the event), and perhaps even get them excited by dangling enough incentives in front of them they are actually looking forward to your upcoming webinar.

The trick here is balance, you need to space out your emails so as not to be annoying, you don’t want to be pushy, you want to be present.

I’d stick to 3 or 4 emails, starting 2 weeks out.

Send them around 3 days apart, and start building interest.

 

Don’t forget to send reminders

Once you set this up your webinar software does this for you, it just needs to be set up.

Go set it up now, or check you’ve got the timings right on your reminders.

I see this as a different sequence to your warm-up emails, but it’s important too.

This sequence is pretty evergreen, and I’d do it like this…

One week out, they need a heads up the webinar is coming, along with a juicy piece of content. Think like an e-guide or a quick intro training video, so you’re top of mind.

72 hours out, let them know the webinar is coming soon, and talk again about the bonuses you’re going to be giving away on the call, to get them excited and looking forward to it.

24 hours out, you’re reconfirming the webinar is coming, so they can start planning their day and setting enough time aside to manage the call when you’re live.

1 hour out, this is the final reminder and I like to include an agenda in here too so they know what’s coming on the call, and are eager to join and get stuck into the content.

Right on time, the final email that goes out is to let them know you’re ready to go, and you’re popping into their inbox at crunch time with all the links they need to get on the call.

Phew.

It’s almost overkill isn’t it?

You’ll have sent 8 or 9 emails before your webinar even goes live.

But trust me.

People get busy.

You’re not bugging them if every email you send has a nugget.

Something of real value.

Do this, and you’ll get a higher percentage of registrants becoming attendees.

(just remember, the average is around 40% attendance).

Don’t fret if you’re not getting 100% of registrants on your webinars.

 

Dangle a big carrot to boost attendance

Want to give your attendance ratio a boost?

Make it worth their while to attend.

Otherwise prospects get excited initially, but they let life get in the way.

They’ve de-prioritized your webinar. There’s just not enough value in it to disrupt everything else going on in their world at that moment, so they don’t jump on the call.

Same goes for the people that drop off halfway through.

You need to make it worth their while.

You do want registrants to turn up and stay till the end so they can hear your pitch, right?

Of course, you do. That’s the whole reason you’re doing a webinar.

Now, an interesting, value packed webinar is a great start, especially if you’re tapping into the pain points and offering a solution your audience can’t get anywhere else.

But you know what keeps listeners around even longer?

Free stuff.

People go mental over it.

So, do this. Think about your webinar topic, and put together a freebie that ties into it. It could be a set of templates you use in parallel to your big-ticket offer, a checklist to simplify part of their business, or even an ebook giveaway if you’re keen to do it.

But with two caveats.

Tell them upfront when the freebie is coming, so they know.

And remind them a few times throughout the webinar (people do need to be told the same things multiple times for them to actually remember).

 

Reward genuine engagement and interaction

On that same line of thought, you need to encourage participation.

If people know there’s something in it for them to speak up, well, you guessed it, you’re much more likely that they’ll contribute.

Don’t just give a freebie away.

Do something bigger, with a prize that’s truly valuable for the people on the call.

Some presenters tie this to their offer, (the first five people who buy today get the bonus), but I’d recommend doing this as a reward. Tell your listeners what’s on the line, whether it’s a free coaching call with you, a hard-copy of your book that you’ll post out, or whatever it is.

Then send it out.

Not only does it give you a nice excuse to send a first follow up email as soon as the webinar ends (announcing the winner or winners), it cements you in your audience’s mind as someone who actually delivers what they promise.

Someone who follows through.

Planting a seed of trust.

In the digital marketing world, there’s not enough people who are genuinely trustworthy.

Give something away, for free, without obligation.

 

Turn your webcam on and say hello

You want to know the best way to connect with an audience?

Turn your webcam on.

The vast majority of hosts never do this.

Over half of the webinars I’ve watched, you don’t ever see a human face.

Except maybe the professional photos they have scattered in the slides.

That’s crazy.

Your goal behind doing a webinar is to connect with people.

You need to be connecting with them, so turn your frikken camera on.

I don’t care if you’ve got a face for radio.

I don’t care if you’re having a bad hair day.

Turn your camera on.

All you need is a plain backdrop, some natural lighting (or a few lamps positioned around to avoid weird shadows also works), and a halfway decent webcam.

Then just be yourself.

You’ll see me on my webinars, I wave when I flick the camera on.

I’m a little goofy on camera and I’ll joke around with my callers in the first few minutes as I get setup and ready to start.

People like this, it humanizes you, and makes you more relatable.

 

Slow down and don’t be boring

I hate listening to some of the first webinars I did.

A complete nervous wreck, I sped through my script like a machine gun.

I was worried I would go over time, and my solution was to yammer on like a rocket.

Trouble was, people were actually interested.

But I was talking too fast for them to keep up, and understand what I was saying.

And if there’s one piece of advice I can recommend as you start doing webinars…

Just slow down.

Take a breath.

Pause during the script.

It gives the audience time to process what you’re saying, and that’s a good thing.

And remember, try not to bore them to death.

Stand up, and have energy in your voice.

Because the last thing you want is to…

Read the script in a flat and robotic monotone voice…

You need to emphasize certain words as you talk.

In my scripts, I’ve got markers for pauses and inflections.

Reminding me to slow down as I talk, and driving the message home on key words in my script.

 

Get the audience involved and engaging

In a technique that’s almost done to death, is the webinar welcome intro.

Tell me if you’ve seen this before.

You’re on a call, and the host is greeting people by name, asking them where they’re from, what the weather is like today, what time zone they’re dialing in from, this kind of thing.

There’s a reason.

It works.

Speaking to attendees by name, engaging with them and interacting is the best possible way to warm them up to you on a call. You need to do it too, just add your own twist.

For me, I do a few things on my calls.

  • Starting the webinar 10 minutes early so I can talk to the handful of people that are already on the call (trust me, there’s always a few who get there early).
  • Ask them questions right off the bat, what they’re looking to learn on the call today, the pain points they’re stuck on which they’re hoping you can help with.

Then once the whole thing is underway, I try to ask something every few minutes…

  • “Just give me a quick rating, 1 to 10, how clear is this to all of you?”
  • “…if this’ll work in your business type MORE SALES (or whatever keyword) in the chat right now…”

And of course, answering any questions quickly as they come up.

It does interrupt the flow of your script if you let it, but you want engagement to be high, so work on weaving in questions naturally. I read them out when there’s a pause, and if I can answer it immediately I will, otherwise I’ll let them know when we’ll get to it…

Now there’s two reasons for boosting engagement.

It makes the webinars that much more fun (trust me, when you’ve done the same pitch a hundred times you’ll be looking forward to the curve-balls), but also…

Listeners who are engaged will stay on the webinar longer (sticking around until you make your pitch), and they’re much more likely to buy when you make the ask.

 

Always add value before pitching

One of the fastest ways to send prospects running for the hills is a bait and switch.

What’s a bait and switch?

Promise one thing, but deliver something else entirely. I’ve noticed this happening in a more and more webinars recently, where their content is stretched far too thin.

Instead of learning something new, you’re wasting your precious time listening to…

The entire backstory and life history of the coach

Testimonial after testimonial after testimonial

Success stories and case studies that are vaguely relevant

And then suddenly they’re pitching you a product.

Hang on, you wonder.

Where the heck was the learning I signed up for?

Was it covered so fast I missed it, or was it just touched on so briefly you can’t believe the “fluff” you’ve spent an hour waiting for was the value the session promised.

Don’t be like that.

You’ll burn bridges with people who go out on a limb to promote you, and you’ll never get a second chance with the audience members whose time you wasted. Always focus on adding value, and only once you’ve done so have you earnt the right to make a pitch.

 

Give them a replay to watch later

You did record your webinar, right?

Instead of just keeping a record that you’ll never watch again (believe me, watching your own pitches and hearing your voice on record is its own special form of torture), use it.

Now, some presenters promote the fact they don’t do replays.

It boosts their attendance levels and also makes it more difficult for people to download their content, copy their pitches and re-work their funnels backwards

But I see replays as an asset.

Take the recorded version, strip out any time sensitive parts, and put it up as an on-demand version. Just do me a favor, don’t pretend your recorded webinar is a live one.

It drives me nuts when people do this, because it’s a lie.

Listeners get frustrated because they’re not being heard on the calls, and you lose fans.

Don’t do that.

Use your recorded webinar for what it is, and promote it.

You’ll get people who registered but missed the live event interested.

They won’t be quite as engaged, but the alternative is to lose these prospects entirely, or hope they stick around until you run another live webinar.

Plus, letting people watch your webinar on-demand better caters to time zone differences.

I know for me here in Asia, catering to U.S. time zones becomes a killer, and there’s far better things to be doing with my time than hosting webinars at 1am. Like sleep, I like sleep.

Just remember to gate the content, and at least grab an email subscription to watch the full thing. Perhaps an intro that starts up and then requires them to join.

 

With these tips in mind, here’s to an avalanche of sales coming to you through your webinars.

 

Keep up the great work,

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