Webinars are like any other marketing tool.
They work best when the goal is to trigger the right action at the right time.
Do you want people to...
- Know you exist?
- Join your email list?
- Trust your brand?
- Become customers?
Whatever the goal, use the right type of webinar for that goal.
Live or automated? Solo or co-hosted? Paid or free?
Think of this guide as your webinar Swiss Army knife.
It’s a playbook of webinars that actually convert people — from stranger to lead, lead to customer, and beyond.
Understanding This Guide: Digital Marketing 101
This guide will make more sense if you brush up on the basics.
If you’re already good on concepts like the “buyer’s journey,” and the marketing “funnel,” you can skip this chapter.
Otherwise, let’s review a little Marketing 101 — and a few basic elements most webinars share.
The Buyer's Journey
Every content marketing expert breaks the “buyer’s journey” down to some version of the following stages:
Some people throw other stages or sub-stages in between. But the basic premise is consistent, logical, and proven:
- Awareness is when someone has heard of you or your brand.
In a study I just made up, 100% of consumers reported being aware that the companies they buy from exist.
- Consideration is when someone is thinking about maybe becoming a customer. There’s a broad spectrum here, from casual consideration to serious intention.
Basically, this stage covers everything between “heard of you” and “customer.”
- Purchase is when — you guessed it — someone actually buys something. Here’s a huge mistake people make: thinking the journey ends here.
Just because they’re a customer doesn’t mean you stop marketing!
- Loyalty is when a customer loves your product/service so much, they spread the word.
Loyalists are the best marketing/sales team you’ll ever have. They create awareness, provide social proof, and generate leads you never would have on your own.
The Marketing & Sales Funnel
To move people along the buyer’s journey, marketers and salespeople build “funnels.”
Funnels are just a way to organize all your marketing/sales assets (like content, webinars, ads, etc.) in a way that moves people closer to becoming a customer.
Again, the specifics vary. But we all agree on the overall concept.
People outside your funnel enter at the top, when they first realize you exist.
- Of those people, a certain percentage will “convert,” or move further down the funnel to where they think about becoming customers.
- Of those, some will “convert” to customers.
- Of those, some will “convert” to evangelists...
- ...who in turn “convert” others on your behalf.
At the top of the funnel, you do things just to get your name out there. Things like posting on social media, guesting on podcasts, guest blogging, writing a book, hosting webinars etc.
In other words, you create awareness in potential leads.
In the middle of the funnel, you do things to build your authority, create interest in your product, and get potential customers’ contact info. Things like blogging, gated content, hosting webinars, etc.
In other words, you identify leads and encourage consideration.
Towards the bottom, you do things to get sales. Sharing testimonials and case studies, offering discounts, hosting webinars, etc.
In other words, you inspire purchases to create customers.
And finally, at the very bottom, you do things to make your customers love you. Things like onboarding, members-only deals, hosting webinars, etc.
In other words, you please customers to create loyalists.
I was super subtle about including one thing that works at every level of the funnel. Did you notice?
It was webi — nah, you noticed.There are other analogies to describe how people become customers, like HubSpot’s flywheel concept. But the basic ideas behind the “funnel” will always apply.
The CTA (Call to Action)
Every webinar should include a CTA (Call to Action). That’s whatever you want your audience to do by way of moving down the funnel.
For example, the CTA for an automated webinar workshop might be to sign up for a live sales webinar. The CTA for a sales webinar is to buy something. The CTA for a customer webinar might be to offer a testimonial.
In essence, an effective webinar is an exchange. The audience gets information or skills, and you get the desired “Action.”
CTA by CTA, your webinars will convert people from stranger, to lead, to customer, to loyalist.
Each chapter in this guide will include recommendations.
For each webinar type, we’ll recommend the best stage of the buyer’s journey/funnel to use it. We’ll also recommend a CTA that moves attendees to the next stage.
Bear in mind these are recommendations. Feel free to use your own judgment!
In fact, this guide includes a downloadable PDF outlining various "paths" you can establish for people to take on their journey with you.
For example, some people might skip from an “Open Q&A” webinar straight to a sales webinar, with no educational webinar in between to deepen trust. If that works for you...go for it!
Our recommendations are based on our experience. But you can always factor in your own!
This guide is platform-neutral. It’s up to you to choose the webinar platform you like best.
But no matter what you go with, every successful webinar requires a few elements.
Pretty much every type of webinar will need:
A landing/registration page
However you promote your webinar (plenty more on that in the following chapters), you’ll need a good landing page.
That’s where people actually register for your webinar. All your social posts, blog posts, emails, etc. should include clickable CTA’s linked to the landing page.
The landing page itself should briefly describe what registrants can expect to learn, with a registration form front & center.
A “Thank You” page
This is where your landing page sends registrants right after they register.
Besides confirming the registration (and thanking the registrant), this page should do one more thing. It should encourage the registrant to lock the webinar into their schedule.
Some platforms even integrate the “Thank You” page directly with online calendar apps like Google Calendar.
A slide presentation (optional)
Not every webinar needs this.
For example, open Q&A webinars might not. But for the most part, a slide show/deck is the best way to keep your webinar on track.
Naturally, you’ll promote your webinar via email, using whatever CRM you have.
But the moment someone registers, an automatic sequence of reminder emails should follow. This helps boost attendance rates.
After the webinar, follow-up emails should go out to everyone who attended, and everyone who registered but didn’t attend.
Now that you’ve got the basics down, let’s get into it:
Introduce (and Prove) Yourself: The Open Q&A Webinar
Invite to educational webinar
This is the first webinar you should host.
It’s also the last!
Don’t worry, I’ll explain.
An “Open Q&A” webinar is perfect for your first webinar, if you haven’t done one yet.
But even if you have, it’s still a simple, powerful way to earn credibility.
It’s also great for retaining customers and reducing “churn,” or the rate at which you lose customers over time.
Best of all, it’s the easiest type of webinar to plan for. Here’s how it’s done:
An Open Q&A webinar is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of giving a presentation, you answer questions.
It sounds simple, but it’s incredibly powerful.
We’d call it an “AMA (Ask Me Anything) webinar” if Reddit hadn’t actually trademarked the term. But it’s the same exact concept.
You simply invite people to a webinar on your area of expertise. But instead of planning a whole lesson or pitch, you just tell people to — you guessed it — ask you anything.
This is an incredible awareness builder/lead generator, because it’s pure value. You’re inviting people to bring their troubles to an expert.
You’re not pitching. You’re not selling.
You’re barely marketing. You’re listening, and giving out only what you’re asked for.
Why It Works
It generates registrations because the audience is in control.
Each registrant (correctly) feels like they’re in the driver’s seat, because the agenda is up to them.
For you, it’s a gold mine. People are literally bringing you their “pain points,” something marketers invest crazy time and money to try to identify.
And of course, your helpful answers skyrocket your credibility.
It’s a great way to introduce yourself to your audience, and get your first webinar under your belt. On the other end of the funnel, it’s a perfect way to onboard your customers and keep them happy.
In fact, we host “Members Only” open Q&A sessions every month, for our users. It keeps them in the loop, ensures they’re getting what they paid for, and keeps them loyal.
How to Promote It
For non-customer Q&A webinars, lean on your credentials and previous exposure.
Invite your social media followers, your podcast listeners, other people’s podcast listeners, and your website visitors.
Most importantly, highlight your qualifications (remember, people don’t totally trust you yet).
If you’ve written an e-book, earned a degree, built a business, or accomplished anything that proves you can help with people's pain points, put that front and center. Include it in your social media invites, registration page, and anywhere else you promote the webinar. For some more in-depth publicity-building tricks, check out this free guide to getting your name out there.
For those “Members Only” customer onboarding Q&A’s, send email invites that make customers feel special. They’re part of an exclusive club, and you’re inviting them to be a part of the conversation about your product.
Every customer loves to be heard.
The Open Q&A is a chance to get help with any problems they’re having with your product. It’s a chance to request or recommend features or updates. Let your invites reflect that.
You can even have a few topics or talking points on standby — like planned updates, or how people actually use the product.
What to Do Next
For the non-customer Q&A’s, you might ask: “All I did was let a bunch of people pick my brain for an hour. What did I get out of that?
Well, besides practice running a webinar…
...and a database of common pain points…”
I’ll tell you what you got out of that: email addresses.
And now that you have those, you have people to invite to your other webinars (and contacts for every other marketing campaign).
In addition, you’ve earned serious credibility.
You don’t just have contacts. You have warm contacts, if not full-blown qualified leads. For everyone who came to your webinar, you are now a known (trusted) quantity.
Which means when they’re ready to watch your evergreen automated webinar, or attend your next live lesson, or whatever.
Everyone who registered for your Open Q&A is now in your funnel. Everyone who attended is now a step further down that funnel. Imagine hosting an Open Q&A every month or so, as your reputation grows and self-reinforces.
For the customer Q&A’s, you’ve turned a transaction into a relationship. This pays off hugely.
Reducing churn and turning one-time buyers into lifers stabilizes your business — and creates loyalists who bring new business your way.
Invite to Sales Webinar
Not sure if there’s a market for your product or service?
By inviting your audience to a frank discussion on what they need, you’ll set yourself up for success.
It’s the smartest way to start designing your “MVP (Minimum Viable Product)."
Why It Works
Like the “Open Q&A” webinar, the Idea Validation webinar makes the audience part of the conversation.
Instead of designing a product or service you think people want, design something they ask for.
Best of all, this webinar doesn’t just improve the product you design. It creates excitement and buzz for it.
How much more likely are people to buy something they had input on?
By inviting people to help create the solution to their problems, you give yourself a massive head start in marketing it to them.
By the time, it’s ready, you’ll have pre-qualified leads lining up to be the first to try it!
How to Promote It
First, include polls in your content. This will get the engagement started, and help you narrow down the product idea.
For example, say you’re a business coach. You’re thinking about designing a paid course. In your emails, social posts, etc., ask if your audience would prefer:
- Training in a particular software
- General marketing coaching
- Help with sales skills
You can use services like SurveyMonkey, Survicate, or Outgrow. Once you understand what people are looking for, you can refine your product/service idea.
Design a basic prototype. To stick with the business course example, simply create an outline of the lessons, resources, structure, and pricing. This isn’t the “MVP” yet. It’s just an early vision of your product.
Then, invite everyone who responded to your polls to a free, live webinar.
Incentivize invitees to sign up. You can offer...
- Special beta access to the product (when it’s ready)
- Special discounts on existing products, or the one you’re designing (when it’s ready)
- Bonuses or upgrades on existing products, or the one you’re designing (when it’s ready)
- Company swag
In exchange, all you want is for them to show up, take a look at your idea, and provide feedback.
What to Do Next
Send follow-up emails to attendees thanking them for their input.
When your product is ready for launch, give them the first opportunity to attend an exclusive live sales webinar for it.
Or, if they’re ready to buy it, give them exclusive first-round access and a special discount/bonus (if you haven’t already offered that).
This group of people can be a huge marketing asset!
They’re excited for your product, and likely excited to spread the word for you. Once some of them are using your product, ask them to post reviews, and gather their testimonials.
Assuming your product is everything they hoped for, these attendees will be your first “loyalists.” Take advantage!
Build A Bigger Audience, Fast: The Co-Hosted Webinar
Invite to educational webinar
Co-hosted webinars exponentially grow your following — quickly.
By teaming up with another trusted thought leader, you put yourself in front of their followers.
...and some of your co-host’s authority rubs off on you.
Best of all, a healthy number of your co-host’s contacts become your contacts, too.
Talk about a win-win! Here's how it's done:
Why It Works
By tagging in a friend, you essentially double the webinar's value and exposure — and cut the workload in half.
First, the webinar has twice the promotion. Twice the emails, social posts, podcast mentions, etc.
You gain access to your partner’s audience. Everyone on your co-host’s contact list and all their various followers will hear about you and this webinar.
Second, co-hosting doubles the value of the webinar for attendees. That’s a huge registration driver, too.
Single host webinars are common, but a special guest is exciting — especially if they have unique credentials.
It’s also more fun.
You can banter and establish chemistry that your audience responds to. There’s just something more interesting, human, and genuine about it.
Co-hosting can also improve a webinar’s conversion rates.
You’ll get more registrants and attendees, but you’ll also get more people responding to the CTA. Whether that’s buying your product, starting a trial, or signing up for a sales webinar, more people will do it.
Why? Because your co-host’s trust in you is a kind of social proof.
If a credible co-host finds you credible, so will the audience.
How to Plan It
First, choose a co-host.
The name of the game here is “added value.” Who can bring something relevant to the table that you can’t?
Choose someone with experience or knowledge you lack — but that both your audiences can benefit from.
For example, a fitness coach can choose a nutrition expert. A financial consultant can choose an accountant. You get the idea.
Next, work out what you can do in exchange. What are you willing to do for your co-host?
You can return the favor on a webinar of theirs, guest post on their blog (or vice versa), invite them on your podcast, be a guest on theirs, promote their business on social media...so on, so forth.
Map the presentation. Once you’ve got a partner on board, choose the format.
Decide together if your webinar is a presentation you make together, an interview, or something in between.
Establish who’s responsible for managing various aspects of the webinar, and how to avoid stepping on each other’s toes.
It sounds obvious, but you don’t want to compete for oxygen.
We recommend creating and using a slideshow as a guide for who speaks when. You can even include a color code or other visual cue on the slides to mark who should take the lead at a given moment.
Divide the tasks. Agree on who takes care of things like:
- Managing the slideshow: Creating the slideshow, changing slides during the webinar, displaying content within each slide, etc.
- Chat: Who’s manning the conversation with the audience? A good rule of thumb is that when one host is talking, the other is primarily responsible for the chat.
- Q&A: Different webinar platforms have different options regarding questions.
Separate from the chat, some platforms let you designate specific questions for a response, whether it’s during the presentation or at the end. You can even time-stamp questions on some platforms, for easy review on the replay.
- Polls: Who reveals polls when the time is right, and prompts people to respond?
- CTA (Call to Action): Whether it’s an invitation to another webinar, a trial, or a sales offer, work out who makes the “pitch,” when.
I suggest dividing all the tasks into two buckets: a “Host A” bucket and a “Host B” bucket.
Decide if one of you takes a given bucket for the whole presentation, or if you’ll switch buckets throughout. Both ways are effective. What matters most is your timing and chemistry.
Speaking of which...
Practice. Do a dry run to nail transitions, practice questions/responses, and work out the tech aspects.
This will make the webinar easier, more fun, and more effective.
What To Do Next
Whatever your CTA is, follow up via email.
As with every webinar, you should make a replay available to non-attendee registrants. Statistically, you’ll get a healthy percentage to watch — and potentially respond to the CTA from there.
We recommend making the CTA an invite to an educational webinar, live or automated. This leverages the credibility that rubbed off from your co-host into a chance to earn more trust on your own.
Multiply Your Leads: The Automated Webinar Lesson
Invite to live sales webinar
Automation is a marketing buzzword for a reason.
Automated webinars can reach way, way more people than live webinars.
...that doesn’t mean there’s no disadvantages, though.
All that reach won’t convert if you don’t automate properly.
There’s tons of confusion around this. Many can’t even agree on what exactly an “automated webinar” is.
If you want results, it’s crucial to execute with intent. Read on!
First, Let's Clear A Few Things Up About Automation...
Some people call automation a “Hack.” I don’t like that.
It implies a shortcut, instead of a strategy.
Automated webinars have certain advantages, that’s all.
They maximize the return on your investment of time. They let you “host” webinars around the clock, even while you’re sleeping or working out or binging The Wire.
So, they have a greater reach. You will appeal to more people in less time by automating.
But that reach comes at a cost — no in-person engagement. No real-time interaction. No way to read the room and act accordingly. No improvising!
That’s why we have to play to the strengths of automation while we navigate the weaknesses. Our expectations have to make sense. And the way we run automated webinars has to align with reality.
Automated webinars should not be:
- A simple instructional video, like the ones you find on YouTube.
- A replay of an old live webinar.
- A fake live webinar. Don’t even get me started.
Automated webinars should be:
- A convenient way for people to learn something, regardless of their time zone or schedule.
- A smart way for you to get more people into your funnel.
That’s why we recommend the automated webinar lesson.
Why It Works
Automated webinars can be “scheduled” however you like. Depending on the webinar platform you use, you can make them available for viewing at times of your choosing.
You can also make them “On Demand,” or instantly available whenever people want.
That means more people can attend the webinar, and more people want to. It’s pure convenience.
You also have the advantage of making it perfect. Cut, edit, add multimedia. You can create something really professional, memorable, and stunning.
Best of all, it’s passive. You record this webinar once, and it’s “evergreen.” It’ll bring new leads for as long as it’s out there.
So what’s the difference between this and a plain old YouTube video?
YouTube isn’t a marketing platform. A simple video doesn’t require an email address, or organize those addresses for a marketing campaign. It doesn’t include engaging features like polls you can get important data from.
On YouTube, people just watch and leave. Not that there’s no marketing value to that; it’s great for raising awareness. It’s just not as valuable as a webinar.
How To Plan It
This is not a live webinar. Get into the automated mindset, and create a presentation designed for automation. Remember — because it’s pre-recorded, you can get fancier with the multimedia.
You won’t have to worry about transitions and timing as much, because you can always edit.
So what should the lesson be about?
Start with your CTA. We recommend the “Action” be registering for a live sales webinar. So the content of your automated webinar should help people deal with a problem that your product solves.
For example, if you sell fitness coaching, create an automated lesson with a HIIT workout, or a keto-friendly meal prep plan. Give them a little win, then invite them to learn more about the BIG win — on a webinar where you’ll showcase your paid coaching program or course.
Be specific! You’re giving away a small, focused result as proof of concept.
Whatever specific mini-problem you address, an audience that needs it is out there. Automating your webinar will increase your chances of finding them.
So don’t be afraid to niche down — way down.
How To Promote It
As with other webinar types, you’ll use the usual promotional channels:
- Your highest-trafficked website pages: Usually that’s the homepage and “About” page. Include an embedded registration form, or create pop-ups that lead to your registration page.
- Your blog: Write a great post on the topic of your lesson, and include links to your registration page. Share the blog post with your email list and social followers.
- Email: At least a week before the webinar, send an invitation to contacts who are warm enough (as in, they engage with your emails and content). Keep it short, sweet, and value-centric.
- Social media: Paid ads or regular posts, depending on the size of your following. Pro tip — don’t let people register right on the social platform. Drive traffic to your website, always, and let them register there.
- Podcasts: Either your own, or be a guest on someone else’s. Make sure your reg page has an easy-to-remember URL, or just send them to a page on your site that has a link to your reg page.
Crucial: be up front about the fact that this webinar is automated. Deceit is always bad marketing. Your promotional copy should say something like:
“This free on-demand lesson will show you exactly how to [lesson objective] in just 30 minutes — whenever it’s convenient for you.”
In other words, don’t shy away from the fact that it’s not live. Embrace it!
How To Execute
Structure your automated lesson in a way that’s tight and concise. Let your audience get in, get what they need, and take the next step.
- Break the information down into subsections. The point is to make it all digestible: nobody likes a lecture, especially when it’s pre-recorded.
If you’re helping people with, say, weightlifting, outline the subsections: equipment, form, reps, supplements, etc. We recommend the “5 x 3” method: 5 subtopics, with 3 steps per subtopic.
Keep it snappy, moving from one point to the next. You won’t be able to “work the room” like during a live webinar, so compensate.
- Use as many visuals and bits of multimedia, like short videos, as you can.
- Do not use your slides as a script. Slides contain cues, not lines. If you’re just reading slides...why host a webinar? Just share the slide deck!
- Since it’s automated, feel free to have a script for yourself, but don’t share it with the audience.
Once your lesson is recorded, you’ll need to build a marketing structure around it. That includes:
- Registration/Thank You pages
- Email Sequences
Optionally, you might also include something for attendees to remember you by. Little downloadables, like short e-books or infographics, can keep you in mind after the webinar is over.
What To Do Next
Invite attendees to your live sales webinar!
Create an email campaign for attendees who didn’t respond to the CTA. Remember — if you were able to help them a little, you can help them a lot.
Your automated webinar was just a taste of what you can do for them. That's your message.
Qualify Leads & Earn Trust: The Live Webinar Lesson
Invite to Live Sales Webinar
This type represents webinars at their most powerful.
All webinars are “educational” in some way. But combining great lessons with live interaction is empowering.
A properly executed live educational webinar turns leads into students.
Grateful students become loyal customers.
The key is to prioritize interactivity, engagement, and personal connection.
Share yourself in real time, and the results can be incredible. Let’s go!
Why It Works
When you give someone knowledge and/or skills in exchange for nothing but their time and contact info, you earn a permanent place on their good side.
We’ve noticed in our own business that some of our biggest “loyalists” didn’t just sign up one day. They attended multiple live webinar lessons. Sometimes 5 or 6.
It took time. It took us giving and giving. But it paid off.
As we like to paraphrase: Sell someone a fish, and you earn revenue for a day. Teach someone to fish, and they’ll buy rods, bait, and tackle from you for a lifetime.
How To Promote It
Educational webinars are easier to promote. That’s because you’re not selling a thing — you’re offering.
Lean into the value of your lesson. Focus on the essential promise, the outcome or “win” your lesson will provide.
Use the same methods outlined in Chapter x on automated educational webinars. Except now, you’ve got something more enticing to highlight: you.
You’ll be there, live in real time, to take questions and dive deeper.
Segment your email campaigns. Separate “colder” contacts who’ve never attended your other webinars from “warmer” contacts who have. For the latter group, reference what they’ve already gotten out of past interactions with you.
How To Execute It
Think like a teacher. Start with a learning outcome, then design a well-structured lesson around it.
We recommend finishing this sentence: By the end of the webinar, they [your attendees] will be able to....
Design a lesson using the “5 x 3” method. Break your information into 5 steps/ tips/ strategies. For each of the 5, provide 3 sub-steps, details, or clarifications.
This works, because it locks the information into attendees’ brains in an actionable way. In other words, they’ll be able to remember and apply your lesson!
At the beginning of the webinar, highlight the learning outcome. Remind them why they signed up, and promise that by the end, they’ll be able to…
After the lesson, invite everyone to stick around for a few minutes of Q&A. This gives them a chance to clarify everything they’ve learned.
What To Do Next
There are two ways to leverage this lesson into sales.
- Make a sales offer at the end of the webinar.
Be sure to announce that you’ll be doing so at the beginning! Never, ever ambush people with a sales pitch.
I like to put the sales offer between the lesson and the Q&A. That way, I’ve delivered what people came for, but they still have a reason to stick around.
And of course, make sure that whatever you’re selling is relevant to the pain point of your lesson. Don’t sell a course on accounting after a lesson on marketing, for example.
- Invite attendees to a sales webinar.
In the following chapters, we’ll discuss both live and automated sales webinars.
Sales webinars are only for people who are seriously considering your product. That’s why you invested time into non-sales webinars — to get people to that point.
Send follow-up emails to attendees with invitations to your sales webinar and/or reiterations of the sales offer you presented after the lesson. Include access to a replay of the webinar, for reference.
Emails to non-attendees should include access to the replay. If and when they watch it, that should trigger the next emails with an invitation to your sales webinar.
Turn Listeners Into Leads: The Podcast-Based Webinar
Live sales webinar
Got a good podcast going? Got a decent-sized audience?
Well played. Now, let’s capitalize.
The one weakness of a podcast? It’s not much of a lead capture.
There’s nowhere to enter your email address when you listen to a podcast, right?
So give them a reason to hit your website.
Your podcast can feed your webinars, which feed your sales. It’s just a matter of aligning your webinar to what your podcast audience loves.
Why It Works
To your podcast audience, you’re a known quantity. The awareness is there. The trust is there
...or almost there, at least.
So much groundwork has already been laid. It’s just a matter of getting those listeners onto your contact list and into a conversation.
Once your listeners are at your webinar, you can lean on their familiarity with you to deliver a different message — a Call to Action.
How To Promote It
Um...use your podcast.
Obviously, promoting your webinar on your podcast is the most direct strategy. Just make sure your landing/registration page URL is short and easy to remember.
The best way to get people signed up is to devote an episode of your podcast to the topic of your webinar.
If it’s an educational webinar, discuss one of your “5 x 3” steps. If it’s a sales webinar (more on those in the next chapter), discuss some aspect of the problem your product solves.
But if that’s too direct, consider adding a step. Here are two options:
Instead of asking people to sign up for the webinar, offer a different incentive first, to build your contact list. Direct people to your website homepage to get a free download (e-book, infographic, etc).
Promote your blog on the podcast, and net subscribers from there.
A popular podcast is a powerful tool. It’s up to you whether to “funnel” people directly from podcast to webinar, or from podcast to email list to webinar.
What To Do Next
Follow the post-webinar procedure for the kind of webinar you ran. See the appropriate chapter based on whether you hosted a Q&A, validation, educational, or sales webinar.
Your podcast can work for all of them!
Close Sales & Rake In The Revenue: The Live Sales Webinar
Live webinars have fantastic sales conversion rates: 15% - 19%, depending on whom you ask.
This is the home stretch of the “consideration” stage. Your audience is there because they’re already interested in your product.
They’re warm. They’re qualified. They’re ready.
You just have to bring it home.
Say hello to your new customers.
Why It Works
Selling isn’t easy.
Many of us independents are uncomfortable thinking of ourselves as “salespeople.”
That’s normal. It’s a version of the “imposter syndrome” that holds so many of us back. It feels unnatural to “sell” because we’re conditioned to think of selling as a form manipulation.
That’s unfortunate, and inaccurate. And webinars are a kind of cure.
By showing up in person, in real time, you’re giving more than a presentation. Yes, you’re pitching your product. But you’re offering yourself up for something more valuable than that.
You’re standing behind your solution. You’re inviting feedback and questions. You’re saying to the audience, “Hold me accountable. Tell me what you think. And ask me anything you want.”
That’s not “selling” in the pejorative sense. That’s honesty.
We live by the adage “Teach, Don’t Sell.” A live sales webinar is a lesson about your solution to the audience’s pain points.
Think of every product/service you’ve ever paid for. Now imagine if before you bought it, you could sit down with whoever made it. Imagine a frank conversation about why it’s the best choice, why it’s right for you, and how to use it.
What could possibly inspire more consumer confidence?
That question isn’t totally rhetorical. There is one thing: the testimony of other consumers. But guess what? You can also include that in your live sales webinar.
A live sales webinar is where you put yourself on the line. You demo your product or service, as much as possible.
You “teach” people that there’s an answer to their needs, and show them what it looks like. And you stand behind it, then and there, in person.
How To Plan It
Remember: Teach, don’t sell.
Think of the webinar as a lesson, just like the educational webinars in chapters 5 and 6. Except the “learning outcome” in this case is something like:
By the end of this webinar, attendees will be able to decide with complete confidence whether or not [your product/service] is right for them.
Note that the outcome isn’t for them to buy your product/service.
It’s for them to know — not suspect, not wonder if — your thing is for them. In some cases, the answer will be “no.” And that’s ok.
In fact, this approach gives you much more credibility, and inspires more trust. You want attendees to win. You don’t want them to buy something that won’t work for them, even if it benefits you in the short term.
This also reduces churn, in the long run.
You’re only selling to people who really will love your product. You’re setting yourself up to earn loyalists, not just customers. That means better outcomes, better reviews, more stable revenue, and a stronger brand.
Let’s break it down step by step.
Begin with a “before and after” statement. Paint a picture of their situation without your product/service. Then contrast that with what happens with your product/service.
Right now, you rely on pre-packaged web design services like SquareSpace and Weebly. You’re limited to their templates, and the more unique you want to make your website, the more it costs.
But after you complete my course on web design, you’ll be free to build YOUR website, the way you want, without the restrictions of a website-in-a-box service.
Then, move on to an outline of what you’ll be teaching. We recommend the following structure:
- 5 minutes for "Meet & Greet”
- 30 minutes for your “lesson”
- 7 minutes to pitch your sales offer
- Q&A , for as long as it lasts
Create a slide presentation. We’ve got a detailed guide to slideshows for sales webinars, but here’s the short version:
- Title Slide
- A “table of contents” outlining the lesson, sales offer, and Q&A
- An “About” slide describing your credentials (keep it short)
- The lesson slides
- Your special sales offer, available only on the webinar
For the lesson, stick with the “5 x 3” method. Except in this case, it’s the steps they’ll take to gain their desired outcome with your product/service.
Interspersed in your slideshow should be some testimonials, if you have them. I like to bookend the sales offer with those.
If you have the option, bring on a live testimonial, right before the sales offer. Recruit and incentivize a loyalist to hop on, share their success with your product/service, and stick around for Q&A.
How To Promote It
Once again, engage your marketing machine: blog, social media, your homepage, your YouTube channel, and — crucially — your other webinars.
Divide your email campaigns into two main segments: “cold” contacts who just subscribed without really engaging, and “warm” contacts who’ve already attended your previous webinars.
There’s nothing wrong with inviting cold contacts, just as there’s nothing wrong with promoting your sales webinar to strangers on social. But be realistic in your expectations. Most of these people aren’t ready, so use a light touch.
Short, infrequent invitations are the move. If you pester these contacts, they’ll unsubscribe or worse.
For warm contacts, lean into what they’ve already gotten from you. If they had fun at your Open Q&A, this is a chance to ask more specific questions about your product. If they got a win from your educational webinars, you can give them a bigger one with your product.
You’ve worked hard and earned the right to market more aggressively. Send at least 3 emails in the weeks, days, and hours leading up to the live webinar.
How To Execute
Chapter 8 of our How to Run A Webinar guide dives deep into presentation, speaking, and sales skills. For now, keep the following tips in mind:
Use visual aids. Pics, graphs, short videos: anything to break up the “you talking over a slide” thing. Attention spans are shrinking, and some people are visual learners anyway.
Rephrase. Never say anything once. Restate important points using different phrasing. For example:
You can’t spot-reduce fat.
- It’s not possible to choose where on your body fat will decrease, no matter what exercise you’re doing.
- Everyone’s genes determine where they gain and lose fat, and in what order. Some of us will lose it from the butt first, others from the midsection.
- No exercise can “target” fat loss on a specific part of your body. For example, ab exercises can’t burn fat specifically from your belly.
The same words won’t resonate with everyone, so give it two or three iterations.
Practice. Do a dry run or two of every new webinar before you go live. Practice the delivery, managing the media, and transitioning between points.
Vary your voice. Monotones don’t sell. Change the pitch, tone, speed, and volume of your voice as you speak. Get public speaking training if necessary.
Do it standing up.
Get the audience involved. Ask questions to encourage participation, not just attention.
- “Give me a thumbs up in the chat if you’ve ever experienced [common problem].
- “In the chat, tell me one thing you want to walk away from this webinar with.”
- “Who thinks this won’t work for them, and why?”
Don’t be afraid of your audience’s knowledge. If you’re going to make a point by asking a question, see if they can beat you to it. For example:
“Does anybody know why ab exercises alone can’t get rid of an unsightly gut?”
If you read the example above, you know the answer. Use “wait time,” and encourage people to guess. Offer praise for any answers you get, even the wrong ones.
Use your webinar platform’s engagement features. Things like quick polls, Q&A features, even downloadable “handouts.”
Some platforms have an option where you can invite attendees to share their webcam. If anyone wants to volunteer their own experience, comments, or questions, use that.
Comprehension check. Don’t assume that your points are landing. Ask. “Does this sound realistic? Give me a ‘yes’ in the chat if you could see yourself doing this.”
Invite challenge. Part of sales is addressing objections. Encourage your audience to tell you if they disagree. Ask them why your solution won’t work, and address their concern.
Craft a 100-word offer. Be able to explain, in about 100 words, why your offer makes sense. How is your product/service different from the rest? What’s the ROI in actual dollars and cents?
Everything you say about your offer should be rooted in this concise, go-to pitch.
Use a script or notes. Do. Not. Read. Your. Slides. To. Your. Audience.
Supplement Your Revenue (While You Sleep): The Automated Sales Webinar
Automation is tricky.
It has tons of advantages...but your expectations have to be realistic.
Know what you can and can’t do with automation.
The simple truth? An automated webinar will never sell as much as a live one.
But with the right techniques, you can create an asset that still brings in customers.
Why It Works
As with the automated educational webinar, the key here is reach.
You can run automated webinars all day, every day if you choose. That means schedules, time zones, and sheer volume are non-issues.
And what automation lacks in sales conversion percentages, it makes up for in raw numbers.
If your live webinar can reach 100 people, a 15% sales conversion rate means 15 sales. Let’s be pessimistic and say your automated webinar gets a 5% conversion rate.That sounds weak, until you realize that your automated webinar can reach 300 people. That’s still 15 sales — while you’re sleeping, mowing the lawn, finally reading The Brothers Karamazov.
How To Plan It
First, decide if you want your automated webinar to have a set schedule, or be “on demand,” (i.e. available for people to watch whenever).
If you plan on following up in ways that aren’t automated, you may not go with the “on demand” option.
You can’t address things like Q&A on an automated webinar, for example. But you can let people submit questions for you to address later, via email or on a future live webinar. You also may want time to analyze statistics after each automated webinar.
Also, bear in mind that an “on demand” webinar lacks urgency.
It’s counterintuitive, but some people commit more to showing up when it’s only happening at a set time. Being able to attend whenever can make people so complacent that they just “never get around to it.”
Of course, “on demand” has its advantages, too. So make your choice, set up your webinar and email sequences, and let it rip.
When it comes to your actual presentation, you’ll structure it mostly like a live sales webinar, but with a few key differences. Keep the following in mind:
Don’t f’ing fake it. As we discussed in chapter 5, nothing destroys trust like pretending a recorded webinar is live. The fact that some platforms actually offer “simulated” chat for automated webinars is...shady, at best.
Encourage people to submit questions, even though you’re not there. You can always follow up, or at the very least mine those questions for common pain points.
Swing for the fences. Really go all out with the multimedia, the energy, the presentation. You’re only filming this thing once, and leaving it out there indefinitely.
Do as many takes as it...um, takes...to nail every second of it. Take your time.Keep it tight. Say everything relevant you have to say, but in as little time as possible. Without interaction, people lose interest more quickly. Keep the whole thing around 30 minutes.
What To Do Next
For “on demand” webinars:
Reiterate that sales offer with your automated email sequence. Again, you can extend the offer from the webinar for a limited time after they attend. You can also create an alternative offer that’s still exclusive.
For scheduled webinars:
Send emails to non-attendee registrants with an invitation to…
Attend the next scheduled automated sales webinar
Sign up for your next live sales webinar
Send emails to attendees with…
A reiteration of the sales offer, or alternative offer
Be The Product: The Paid Webinar
With paid webinars, the presentation doesn’t sell the product.
The presentation is the product.
This is a bit more advanced.
If you haven’t already established a decent following and credible authority, use free webinars to do so first.
But if you have, it’s time to charge for a valuable, expert education in...whatever you do.
Why It Works
You’re a known, trusted quantity. You’ve helped people with your unique expertise and experience.
Think of it as a mini course. People pay thousands for instruction from thought leaders and influencers.
This is where you literally cash in on the credibility you’ve built up. All those blog posts, videos, books, and — wait for it — webinars brought you to this moment.
Now, you’re not in the market for “attendees.” You’re in the market for students.
How To Plan It
First, figure out what pain points are highest-priority for your audience. Things your special expertise can address, obviously.
Your lesson can’t just be useful — it has to be near the top of your audience’s “I need help with this” list.
Be strategic. Track the pain points your attendees reveal to you in other webinars (in chat, Q&A, etc). Determine which problems come up the most.
Say you coach copy and content writers. Over multiple free webinars, you ask what attendees’ greatest challenges are. They come up with things like...
“Don’t know enough about SEO.”
“Have trouble navigating WordPress.”
“Don’t know how to segment my contact list of potential clients.”
Categorize the pain points. Create a shorthand for each problem: Tech. Email marketing. SEO. Populate a spreadsheet of poll responses, questions, and chat comments.
See what jumps out. Then dig deeper.
Get even more specific. Suppose SEO comes up a lot. Create a separate list of what aspects of SEO hurt the most. Keyword strategy. Featured snippets. Technical SEO.
Whichever comes up the most is your topic.
The key is to consistently track pain points over time, across multiple free webinars and other interactions.
Next, decide what type of paid webinar you’ll run. Your options include:
Single Webinar: A one-time — but really thorough — lesson. It should be at least an hour. It should be dense. And it should include free replay access.
Series Webinar: Multiple webinars tackling a topic over several hours.
Consider selling each webinar session individually. You can charge less for the first session, to get more people in. Offer a bulk discount for buying all the sessions at once.
Paid Replays: Offer a lesson that’s free to attend live, but charge for access to a replay.
(That one’s a little different. It’s more of a way to increase attendance for free live webinars. But it’s a strategy that’s worked to raise revenue for some.)
Finally, plan the lesson.
Use the same principles and structure you would for any webinar lesson, but...more.
The learning objective should be something difficult or impossible to learn elsewhere, at least for free. Your “5x3” might be a “10x5,” or several “5x3’s” in a row.
Create valuable digital materials for attendees to keep: SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) documents with step-by-step instructions, infographics, e-books, even video files.
Give attendees any materials that would help them replicate the lesson objective in the future.
Leave plenty of time to address every question, thoroughly. No one should leave a paid webinar still confused about something.
Consider bringing other experts in as co-hosts or guests.
A Note On Pricing
Charge too little, and it’ll send the wrong message. Charge too much, and people won’t come.
Figure out what the skill you’re teaching is worth — literally, in dollars and cents.
For example: If the SEO skills you impart can allow freelancers to raise their rates to...say, $400 per blog post, then charging $200 makes sense.
Finally, make sure your webinar looks and feels like it’s worth the money. Invest in high-quality equipment (you can see our recommendations here). Get your background right. Dress like a pro.
And practice the hell out of it.
How To Promote It
Getting people to show up to a webinar is one thing. Getting them to pay for it is a question of value.
You have to communicate the ROI (Return on Investment). As discussed above, it’s about contrasting the value and the price.
Value > Price. The bigger the difference, the more people sign up.
And of course, the standard channels apply.
Write blog posts related to the topic, and link or embed your registration form.
Pose pain-point-oriented “yes” questions ("Are you overwhelmed by keyword tools?") on social media, linked to your registration page.
Promote the webinar on your podcast, or go on someone else’s.
Email your list, especially previous webinar attendees.
But above all, use webinars.
Put in the time on free lessons. Give people wins. Help people for nothing, and they won’t think twice about paying you when the time comes.
What To Do Next
Yes, you already have their money. But that doesn’t mean there’s no follow-up.
Check in with attendees in the days, weeks, and months after your webinar. Consider including satisfaction surveys and polls. This serves two purposes:
Creating “loyalists.” Make sure they’re actually using the skills you imparted and getting the results they paid for.
Gathering testimonials. Nothing promotes a brand better. Get every bit of good feedback you can, and ask if you can use it for marketing purposes.
Create Your Webinar Marketing & Sales Funnel
Check this out.
Below is an outline of the ways you can use webinars to move people from total strangers to loyal, paying customers.
Your goal is to get people to one of the three purchase types (of your product or service, or of a paid webinar), and beyond.
Plot your path, and get ready for your business to take off!
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