Business Transformation Leaders want to reach out to existing and new clients globally.
Webinars are an effective channel to connect with your attendees, grow your audience and convert prospects into customers rapidly.
RapidKnowHow intends using webinars in the future. We analyzed some webinar provider, finally, we’ve chosen Webinarpress because of their simple and actionable step-by-step lessons, and their most complete software package.
Here’re the five lessons from Webinarpress
By the end of this series, you’ll know exactly how to create engaging webinars that delight your attendees, grow your audience, and convert prospects into customers.
Let’s jump in!
[Lesson 1: Good Webinars start with a plan]
Like all marketing plans, your webinars should be based on a strategy.
If you try to run a webinar without a plan, you’re likely to create a boring experience that doesn’t convert anyone into customers (if you manage to run the webinar at all).
So what goes into a webinar marketing strategy?
Before you start inviting people or building slides, your first step is to create some goals.
Goals are essential because they give your strategic direction. Your goals will inform every decision you make as you build your webinar and conduct the meeting. Set at least one qualitative and one quantitative goal for each webinar.
A qualitative goal is something like “establish thought leadership” or “spread brand awareness.” It’s tough to measure, but still, something to strive for.
A quantitative goal is something like “register 100 people” “convert eight attendees into customers,” or “gain 25 email subscribers.” These are easily measured. You’ll know correctly whether you hit your goal. Over time, you’ll learn how your presentation affects your goals.
Keep these goals in mind as you develop the rest of your presentation, send emails to your list, and during your presentation.
It’s important to give yourself plenty of time to prepare and promote before you give your presentation.
Host your webinar at a time when your audience is most likely to attend.
Busy professionals tend to prefer to participate in webinars on weekday afternoons, often during their lunch break.
However, if your audience were nightclub owners, you would set the webinar for the late morning before they had to open their businesses.
Plan to host your webinar for 30 to 60 minutes. Dense topics take time but don’t expect your attendees to give you their full day. A longtime commitment will deter people from attending.
Start promoting your webinar at least a month in advance. If you’re working with a partner, they’ll need time to develop to their audiences as well.
Naturally, you need to pick a topic that resonates with your audience. It should be something you can teach well, with plenty of information that’s not readily available on the web.
People don’t attend webinars for necessary information, so choose something you know well and can teach deeply.
It helps to speak with your customers or people that resemble your audience. Find out what kinds of things they want to learn about. This will help you provide the most value.
Ideally, your topic should be timely (relevant to people now) and alleviate a specific pain point. If you plan to host your webinar with a partner, consult with them on a topic, so you teach something that appeals to both audiences.
It’s best to begin preparing your presentation as early as possible. Creating enough content to fill 30-60 minutes is difficult. You’ll be surprised how long it takes you to write notes and craft slides.
Most webinar hosts start with a content outline. You could write a complete script to read during the webinar, but that breaks the conversational tone of the experience. Frankly, you should know the topic well enough to speak intelligently with just notes.
With your notes, create your slides and supporting documents. If you intend to reference any outside material (maybe you want to open a YouTube link at one point), jot instructions down for yourself with any crucial links, so you don’t have to search for materials mid-presentation.
We’ll talk more about creating your presentation in another email, but it’s good to think about it early in case you need to track down any unique information, like charts/diagrams or quotes from influential people.
Promoting your webinar will be the most stressful part of the experience, so it’s essential to give yourself plenty of time and map out a set of tasks with dates to keep you on track.
A registration page is one of your most valuable assets. It should communicate your webinar’s value along with any essential information. Include a form for guests to register so you can send email reminders. Remember to add registrants to your usual email marketing list.
You’ll also want to pre-prepare social media content to attract new people. Post regularly in the month leading up to the webinar date. Consider spending some money on boosting posts or ads to reach a bigger audience.
If you plan to present with another host, work together to come up with unique ways to promote your registration page.
6. Email Reminders
Most webinar hosts set up an email flow to remind guests about the event. You can set up an automated series in your email marketing tool. Alternatively, you can send automated emails through WebinarPress, our comprehensive webinar tool.
Webinar hosts typically send the following emails:
“Thank you for registering” email
Reminder email, one week out
Reminder email, one day before
Reminder email, one hour before
Reminder email, join now
“Thank you for attending” email
You’ll also want to prepare a series of emails to send to your email list announcing the webinar and linking them to your landing page. If you have a host, you may need to write emails for them to send to their list, depending on your arrangement.
7. Test Run
Before you host your webinar, it’s smart to set aside some time for a test run. This is especially important if you’ve never run a webinar before or if you’re using a new tool for the first time.
Launch your webinar as you usually would and invite one or two friends to join. Make sure they can see your slides, hear your voice, and see your face. Test the live chat feature and the webinar recording, too. Use this opportunity to check for any technical difficulties, so your webinar is smooth for your guests.
If your friends don’t mind sticking around, this is also an excellent time to practice your presentation. If you aren’t used to speaking in front of a group, a “dress rehearsal” in a safe environment helps. Plus you’ll get their feedback.
8. The Follow-Up
Once the webinar is over, it’s essential to send a follow-up email to your attendees. Thank them for attending, give them a recording of the webinar along with any assets you gave out, then provide them with another opportunity to buy whatever you’re selling.
This is a vital part of the process. Many people will resist the urge to buy during the webinar but may be more interested after they’ve thought about it.
There you have it!
[Lesson 2] Creating captivating webinar slides
While it’s possible to run your entire webinar with the camera pointed at your face, that’s usually not in your best interest.
It’s good to show your face every once in a while so your guests can connect with you, but you’ll also want to display a slide deck with information and images to keep them engaged.
However, don’t worry – You don’t have to be a designer to create engaging webinar slides.
First, choose your preferred slide creation tools. Your main options are PowerPoint, Google Slides, Keynote, and Canva. They’re all about equal in terms of features and ease of use.
Keynote is limited to Mac users. Google Slides and Canva are online and free. Most people have some experience with PowerPoint, but you need an Office license.
Start with Your Content
The purpose of your slide deck is to support whatever you plan to say during your webinar. This means it’s essential to have an outline for your presentation before you create your slides.
If you didn’t do this when you created your webinar strategy (see my last email), now’s the time.
You don’t have to write a full script, but some hosts feel more comfortable knowing exactly what they’ll say. At the very least, you need detailed notes.
Now you’ll create the structure for your presentation. Don’t worry about creating a smart design yet. Just create some variation on the slides below with the content.
Start your presentation with a slide that shows the webinar’s title. This will inform people they’re in the right place as they join the webinar.
Next, include an introduction slide. This is where you’ll briefly explain what guests will learn during the webinar. Use benefits-based language, so they understand how the information will benefit them.
Your third slide should talk about you and your credentials. Tell them your story and your successes. This lets them connect with you and accept that you’re credible enough to teach the webinar.
Next, create a slide for each main point of your presentation. Think of this like creating chapters in a book. Each section should be somewhat self-contained, so there are a clear beginning and end. This helps your guests keep the webinar organised in their head.
You can create as many sections as you feel necessary, but don’t get too granular right now. You’ll add slides in between these sections later.
Finally, cap your presentation with a pitch. This is where you’ll try to convert your guests into customers.
Sample Presentation Structure
Here’s a sample presentation structure for a webinar titled “How to Grow Your Email List with a Blog.”
Section 1: The Benefits of Blogging
Section 2: Understanding Your Customer
Section 3: Blogging Strategies
Section 4: Producing Quality Blog Content
Section 5: Converting Readers Into Subscribers
Remember, don’t bother turning your slides into beautiful designs yet. We’ll get to that later.
Now that you have your content outline and you’ve established a structure, it’s time to determine what you’ll put on each interior slide.
Go through your outline and plan which concepts/notes/visuals will go on each slide. You don’t have to put every single word you say on screen. Let your slides support your spoken points. They’re visual aids, not a transcript. If you want to include charts and data, drop them into the right slides. We’ll make them pretty in the next step.
For instance, using our example webinar titled “How to Grow Your Email List with a Blog,” you might create a new slide in Section 1 for each of the benefits of blogging.
Craft the Design
Once your information is in the right spot, it’s time to go through each slide and give it a pleasing design. You’re doing this part last because it’s essential to let the content drive the presentation.
Stick to a set of complementary colours to make your presentation feel cohesive and familiar. Limit yourself to no more than three fonts, though two is better. It’s usually best to use colours and fonts from your existing branding if you have a style guide.
You don’t have to do much to make your designs pretty. Use simple backgrounds, a hierarchy of font sizes, icons, and basic layouts (columns and rows). Don’t get fancy.
As you go through your slides, give each one the layout and design they deserve for that bit of content. If something is best depicted as a list, use a checklist. If a charge is best, use a chart.
Make sure you reuse slides as templates where appropriate. For instance, your section title slides should all be the same (except for the copy, of course). This creates familiarity and organisation in your presentation.
Tips for Engaging Slides
1. Bullets are better than paragraphs but don’t overuse them.
If you put a long list on a slide, your guests will read the list before you get to the end. When they finish reading, they’ll discover you’re still talking about the first item. This makes webinars feel long. Instead of using long lists, spread your points to more slides.
2. Your slide deck is not your outline
It’s tempting just to put everything you want to say on the slide deck, right? Isn’t that more value for your guests?
Nope. An abundance of information on your slides is overwhelming for your guests. They’ll try to consume it all and stop paying attention to what you’re saying.
3. Create consistency in your design
As you design your slides, make sure to keep things consistent. For instance, if one slide shows a quote with a black background and the speaker’s portrait, use that same format for all quote slides. If you use an icon above a slide’s title, do the same for all titles.
That said, avoid monotonous repetition. Don’t use the same type of slides with the same designs over and over, or you’ll bore your guests.
4. Get some inspiration
If you struggle to be creative, browse SlideShare to find great presentations. Use Impact and to search for SlideShare presentations based on the number of views, comments, and downloads.
There you have it! A step-by-step process to create quality webinar slides.
[Lesson 3] Writing a compelling webinar script
In my last two emails, I talked about creating a webinar strategy and the slides you’ll present to your audience.
Once you have your notes and your visual assets in place, the next thing you’ll want to do is flesh out your script.
Why is this important? Because notes usually aren’t enough. Even if you’ve performed the same webinar several times, you’ll want some specific language to consult throughout the event.
Crafting a script is especially crucial for first-time webinar hosts. If you don’t, you’ll end up blowing through your presentation far quicker than you expect. After the webinar, you’ll recall a million little details you wish you’d mentioned.
Writing a script has other benefits, too. It forces you to dive even deeper into the topic to make sure you’ve covered everything. Many experts who host webinars say that writing a script teaches them new things about the subject.
That said, you don’t need to write out every single word you’ll say during your presentation. It’s fine to write your script loosely, so it seems natural.
Plus, if you perform the same webinar topic again, you don’t want your presentation to look exactly like the last one. If someone attends the same webinar topic twice, they might feel cheated out of personalised teaching experience.
This means there’s no right way to write a webinar script. Yours can vary in structure and length. As you present, you’ll undoubtedly veer off the script because you think of something in the moment. Or perhaps a guest will ask a question whose answer you think should be a part of your presentation.
So how do you flesh out a script?
It’s quite simple. Pull out your notes and your slides. Start at the beginning and start teaching. Imagine you’re talking to a room full of people.
As you follow your slides, expand your notes to include everything you say. If you think of an interesting story or anecdote, include it in your notes. Don’t be afraid of talking too much. You can always cut it down later.
A convenient way to expand your notes is to record everything you say with a dictation tool. This kind of device will turn your words into text that you can just copy into your notes.
Google Docs has a built-in text-to-speech feature that works surprisingly well. To use it, open a Google Doc and select “Voice typing” in the “Tools” menu. A little window will appear. Click the button to start and stop recording.
As you expand your notes, take a few things into consideration.
1. Write segues – Transitioning seamlessly between topics and speakers is harder than you think, so it’s helpful to set up some segues between your subjects and individual slides. This will smooth out your presentation, so your guests don’t feel like you’re jumping around.
2. Mark essential points – Sometimes webinars can run over because the host decides to elaborate or re-explain a topic. In some cases, a guest’s question can consume some time. You’ll find it helpful to highlight the essential points in your presentation that you absolutely must cover. This way if you’re running out of time, you can focus on the important stuff and drop the less important points.
3. Write your pitch carefully – The only part of your webinar you should write word-for-word is your pitch. Even if you have extensive notes, your tone isn’t something you want to mess up. Make sure to use benefits-based language. That is, spend less time talking about your product/service’s features and more time talking about how it benefits your customers.
4. Mark time for questions – It’s best not to take items as they come in from your guests because that could fill up the time you’ve allotted. Plus, they might ask questions about the things you plan to cover. Instead, create breaks in your script to ask questions immediately following difficult concepts or in other logical spots (like at the end of a section). Then ask for any additional questions at the end.
Don’t forget the dress rehearsal
Once you’ve finished your script, it’s critical that you sit down and practice your presentation. Use your slides, too, just like you will during the webinar. If possible, have a friend sit in to give you feedback.
A practice run will help you identify the most glaring errors. Is your 60-minute webinar 40-minutes? Does something need to be expanded, reduced, or cut entirely? Is something missing?
Rehearsal is also an excellent time to make sure your slides function well and complement your script logically.
One final piece of advice:
It’s okay if you like using a detailed script, just try not to sound too robotic when you give your presentation. Remember to be natural, conversational, and engaging. If you give your guests a pleasant experience, they’ll reward you with their attention and their business.
[Lesson 4] Engaging your webinar audience
Every time you run a webinar, you’ll notice a percentage of people will leave during the presentation. Why do they do this?
Sometimes they bail because something else comes up. Sometimes it’s because they don’t find the information as useful as they thought it would be.
However, most of the time they leave because they’re bored. They decide they’d rather not sit through a boring presentation when they could do something more productive and entertaining.
The ability to interact directly with the expert is one of the biggest reasons people attend webinars. Unlike reading a blog post or listening to a podcast, guests can request clarity or more information.
The first way to combat boredom is to create a new and exciting webinar using the advice I gave in my previous emails. If they enjoy what you say and how you present it, they’ll stick around through your presentation (and listen to your pitch).
You can also keep your guests entertained by engaging them and making them part of the experience.
I want to offer a few ways to keep their attention:
It’s essential to give your guests time to ask their questions. Most hosts have the guests wait until the end, but that’s not optimal. If you make everyone wait, there’s a chance they’ll forget their question or merely lose the ambition to ask.
Instead of a big Q&A session at the end, break it up throughout your presentation if you plan to present for an hour, schedule two or three five-minute blocks for questions. Do this at logical points throughout your webinar, like right after multiple points or before moving on to a new section.
This method lets you answer questions when the topics are still fresh in your guests’ minds. It also makes it feel like you’re responding to their problems, which is suitable for relationship building.
Before closing the webinar, scan through your live chat box quickly to make sure you answered everything. If something were missed, you’d delight the guest by returning to it.
2. Polls and Surveys
Polls and surveys are easy ways to get your audience to interact with you because they don’t require much effort from your guests. They can respond with a push of a button and feel like they’re part of the webinar. Please don’t do this too often during your presentation; however, or it will start to feel gimmicky.
For best results, excite the poll shortly before you conduct it. Say something like, “Pay attention to this part because in about three minutes I’ll have you guys answer a poll with your thoughts.”
3. Live Chat
The live chat feature in your webinar is one of the most powerful tools to keep your audience engaged. If you use it correctly, you can turn a boring presentation into an exciting, interactive experience.
Please encourage your guests to use the chat to talk amongst themselves during the presentation. Tell them to ask questions and make comments.
Most importantly, respond to their chat comments, even if they don’t ask a direct question. Make it clear very early that you care about what they say.
To get the most out of your live chat, it often helps to have someone else monitor the conversation for you and bring insightful comments and questions to your attention. If you have a second presenter with you, take turns watching the chat while the other person speaks.
Gamification (the practice of adding game-like elements to something that’s traditionally not a game) has become popular in the webinar scene. Essentially, you just set up some game element during or throughout your presentation to keep their attention. Here are some simple ideas, but feel free to come up with your own.
Scavenger hunt – Number your slides and hide things throughout. Whoever identifies the right slide numbers for each item wins a prize.
Quizzes – Show a pop quiz or two at some point — reward winners with a small prize.
Points/levels/badges – Award points to people for participating in various activities. Reward the person with the highest points at the end.
The most important piece of advice I can give about keeping your audience engaged is this: Learn from your customer.
Over time, you’ll learn what your audience likes and doesn’t like, what they enjoy and what bores them, and what keeps them in your webinar room until the end. Learn from your mistakes, and you’ll eventually create a webinar experience people love.
[Lesson 5] Turning webinar attendees into customers
If you’ve been building your webinar as you followed along with this course, you’re nearly finished. It would help if you had your strategy, notes, slides, and script ready to go.
However, there’s one more topic we want to cover. This is the most important lesson of all:
Converting your guests into customers.
This topic is essential because, after all, this is why you’re running webinars in the first place – to grow your customer base.
To convert customers, you have to give them a pitch. Here’s how…
Step 1: Acknowledge the main pain point
Start your pitch by reminding your guests that you understand their main problem. Reiterate that the lessons you taught during the webinar will help them achieve their goals.
Step 2: Transition to your product
Please explain how your guests can achieve their goals better or faster by investing in a solution. Position your product/service as the logical next step; a way to go further.
However, don’t pitch your product like it’s the only next step. If you make it seem like they have to buy from you to solve their problem, they’ll feel duped about your webinar.
During your pitch, prompt your guests to comment in the chat box if they’d like to have a private conversation or see a demonstration of your product/service.
Step 3: Prove with examples
Case studies, testimonials, or other evidence that people had purchased from you before and were happy about it make potential customers more comfortable.
Even something as simple as “We helped ABC Company with their problem and saved them $2,000” can go a long way.
Step 4: Create an offer with scarcity
To help your guests make the decision to buy, create a proposal to give them. It can be something as simple as 10% off their purchase, or something more complex that better suits your audience.
Most importantly, put an expiration date on offer to encourage them to take advantage of it soon.
Step 5: Send them to checkout
Rather than giving your attendees the URL of a sales page, send interested people right to a checkout page where they can buy your product/service. Just make sure your pitch covers everything you would typically put on a sales page.
Step 6: Post-webinar tasks
Your first step post-webinar is to send thank-you emails to your guests and no-shows. Do this within 24 hours while the webinar is fresh in their minds. In your emails, include a link to the webinar’s recording for anyone who missed it or wants to watch again.
Next, design a post-webinar email nurturing campaign. Use five to seven emails to keep registrants engaged and move them closer to becoming a customer. In these emails, continue to acknowledge their problems and provide valuable information. In the last email, serve them another pitch for your product.
One more thing…
Sometimes you have to be more aggressive with sales. Some people won’t reach a buying decision without a little prompting.
Take note of anyone who seems primarily engaged with your webinar. For instance, someone who arrives especially early, asks questions, and interacts in chat would be more invested in your webinar than others.
Reach out to these people directly with a personal email after the webinar. Ask them about their specific problems and how you can help.
Remember: No webinar host converts 100% of their guests. Turning 10-15% is considered a great result.
Mike and the team at WebinarPress (Formerly WP WebinarSystem)
Hope you like these lessons as I do. They help in understanding the process and to implement the webinar systems step-by-step rapidly. Wish You All Success – Josef