How To Use Webinars To Grow Your Email List
More and more people are starting to discover the countless benefits of participating in a webinar instead of browsing the web for how-to guides and best practices.
Are you not getting as many emails through your content upgrades as you hoped for? Is your ebook just not converting? Let’s all agree: It’s a pain!
I’ve sat in front of my computer for hours – probably days – trying to figure out, what I have been doing wrong and why my email marketing ideas aren’t resulting in a bulked up email list.
It’s time to stop losing sleep (or hair) over it.
The solution? Webinars!
More and more people are starting to discover the countless benefits of participating in a webinar instead of browsing the web for how-to guides and best practices.
Chances are you have probably heard or maybe even attended to a few webinars before. If you haven’t, I’m quickly going to explain the concept:
You have a product, let’s say kitchen hardware that you are selling through your online shop. That means you have a lot of knowledge on using that hardware and probably a lot of related topics such as cleaning them, fixing them, cooking, decorating the kitchen and so forth.
A webinar is you, letting your audience in on all of your little expert tips and tricks, through videos. You can either do it live or you can record it, edit it, and then release it at a certain time.
And here’s the beauty of it all: Your audience has to sign up with their email to attend to your webinar.
Not convinced? Here are (some of) the perks of doing webinars:
- Incredibly relevant emails because of their high interest in you and your brand
- Teach your audience
- Connect and engage with your audience creating a stronger personal relation
- Expose your listeners and viewers to new products
- Build up your reputation as an expert
Time to iron your nicest shirt, do a mic test and take your audience back to school – the countless opportunities of webinars are waiting. Let’s do it!
How a good concept will generate more emails
Imagine this: You have signed up for a webinar you thought was going to give you loads of interesting points, tools or information. However, the host is really only telling you about all of these amazing products that will basically save your life. How do you feel?
Before you do anything, you need to be absolutely clear on your goal with the webinar from the get-go – and then communicate that clearly to all potential attendees.
It is so important that you make it clear what they sign up for, otherwise, you are just going to end up with loads of disappointed people and just about zero useful emails.
I will highly recommend you skip the sales pitch and focus solely on value. That way you will build up a relationship with your audience, they will trust you, and seek your advice next time they bump into trouble.
What’s even better?
You tap into that loyalty feeling. If you serve them valuable useful content, they will be thankful and remember your name, your webinar and your service or product.
That means, when your newsletter lands in their inbox, it will stand out from the crowd because you actually helped them. That is all you want – your name to be connected with positive feelings such as trust and loyalty. Webinars are definitely the way to do that.
Do remember: Tell them they’ll receive emails from you after the webinar. That way they won’t get annoyed.
What is informative content?
So what should you address in your webinar? And how do find inspiration for topics?
Whatever you are going to talk about at the webinar should be related to your product or service. That way the attendees are more likely to convert into actual customers afterward, as you are going to cover topics your product or service ties in with.
I have listed some of the best places you can seek inspiration for your webinar.
Do you have a FAQ section on your website? Have a look at the most frequently asked questions and identify any common denominators. Are you selling gardening equipment and are people asking for advice on fertilization? Do a webinar on that. Are you selling a service such as content production or a certain tool, maybe people are asking for best practice examples – could you do a webinar on that?
I have spoken to Daniel Burstein who addressed the best way to come up with ideas for content, and this can easily be applied to ideas for webinars.
According to Daniel, people buy products for two reasons – because you help them overcome something, or because you assist them to achieve a goal or a dream. You should create content with that in mind – helping them overcome a hardship or fulfill a dream.
Bottom line: Find out what their pain is and solve it.
This one is in close relation to the FAQ’s, but your company holds so much information about your existing customers and you ought to use it. Visit your customer service department and find out what they are struggling with, what they often hear customers saying, and what would make their life easier.
Maybe a lot of people have issues with your editor? Do a webinar where you walk through every function of the editor and explain all the possible difficulties people might bump into.
Comments on your blog, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn
Do you often get questions on your blog? Do people frequently turn to you for expert advice on your social media profiles? Have a look at what questions – or maybe just a single question – and give a thorough answer at your webinar.
Maybe they want to hear how you build your email list? How would you recommend they plan their next skiing trip? Tell them through an informative webinar where you share your knowledge and learnings.
Use your products
This one is pretty straight forward. Talk about your latest products, your bestsellers, or what exciting things you have coming up. The only thing to remember here, is that you have to be absolutely clear when you inform people about this webinar that you’ll talk about your products (but obviously in an informative and useful manner).
Guides and how-tos
It’s a great idea to do how-to webinars. If you are selling fitness equipment, do a webinar on good fitness routines, how to get the most out of lifting weights, healthy dieting or so forth. Anything that can help your customers become better gym-goers.
Have a look at Anna Hackman from Green Talk, a sustainable garden and lifestyle universe, who hosted a webinar on growing a veggie garden.
The great thing about this webinar is that it really addresses her target audience: everyone interested in growing vegetable gardens – and everyone who aren’t quite sure how to go about it.
Do notice her intro as well. It addresses the pain of uncertainty and offers a solution: join the webinar!
This works because people who are likely to attend to this webinar are also likely to be interested in her products, as the webinar and the company are all linked together.
That is basically everything you need to remember: When you decide what your webinar should be about, consider how you are going to offer the attendees value, how you are going to ease their pains, and what your target audience would want to learn more about.
There you have it: A relevant and informative topic for your webinar.
The right length of the webinar: Why 10 minutes isn’t long enough
Think about this: How likely are you to book two hours in your busy calendar to attend a webinar that you aren’t sure is going to make you any cleverer? Not very likely is my guess.
Finding out how long your webinar should last is not an easy task.
The short answer: Roger Courville from EventBuilder puts it this way;
Make your webinar as short as possible, but no shorter than necessary to make a focused point or deliver what you promised.
Most webinars last about an hour, but it depends on what you are planning to cover.
10 minutes aren’t long enough to go into depth with anything or interact with the attendees. There is also a fair chance that someone is going to tune in late. If your webinar is set to last no more than 10 minutes, they have probably missed the point if they are 5 minutes late.
Then again: Two hours is too long to keep everyone’s attention. If you like listening to your own voice, you will probably think two hours is appropriate to really go into depth, or maybe the topic you are covering is very complex.
I got a tip for you: Divide your webinar into chapters. Tell them it will be 45 minutes today, 45 minutes next week and then a 30-minute round-up session in three weeks to make sure everyone understands.
Sit down and plan your webinar well. How long are you going to talk for? How much time do you need to introduce the topic? How much time are you going to reserve for questions?
I’ve have sketched up how you could organize a one-hour webinar:
- 15-minutes introduction
- 30-minutes of ‘lecturing’ – with plenty of time for questions and further explanation
- 15-minutes of questions and a quick wrap up
The length of the webinar also depends on the amount of attendees. If you plan to have 150 people, it might be a good idea to set off more time for questions and introductions. If it’s a small exclusive webinar, 15 minutes is probably more than enough.
So the answer to my headline:
- A 10-minute webinar isn’t long enough because you won’t be able to go into detail with anything or include the listeners. That way they are going to leave disappointed and no wiser.
- The right length is hard to define, but it shouldn’t be too short – or too long. 45-minutes to an hour is appropriate if you have planned the webinar well and stick to that plan.
You aren’t necessarily the star
“What?! Yes, I am!”
Don’t take this too personal. All I’m saying is, your webinar shouldn’t necessarily revolve around you as a person. It can be incredibly effective to invite a guest to host the webinar and share their invaluable knowledge.
Not only does it save you of the tough planning, but it will also be an exclusive chance for your audience to listen to an expert talk about topics related to your service or product.
Check out healthygirlskitchen.com.
Healthy Girl’s Kitchen is a blog universe built up around healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle in general. This webinar is hosted by a famous chef AJ, who is going to talk about how she lost a lot of weight, her lifestyle, and so forth.
People who attend this webinar are going to feel like they are getting exclusive insights listening to an expert. That will end up in a lot of signups – meaning a lot of emails.
Not convinced yet? I’ve listed more great reasons to step out of the spotlight and invite in an expert:
- You don’t have to come up with great ideas
- They are the ones hosting the webinar, so they’ll bring the material as well
- Having an expert hosting the webinar is a strong incentive for people to sign up
- You’ll harvest the goodies (read: emails)
- You get to expand your network by reaching out to experts
- Their talking points might inspire your topic for the next webinar
There’s a catch…
Don’t think you can just go out an invite anyone to host your webinars. You must put some thought into it. John Rydell from MeetingBurner has done an excellent blog post on picking the right guest hosts for your webinar. Here are his main points:
- Determine the right subject matter: Aim for a presenter with a topical skillset that fits your subject matter, the ability to draw a good audience, and a willingness to explain the benefits of your product as it relates to the solution.
- Find presenters who fit that description: Do research on Google and social media. You can also reach out to your audience, they might have some great ideas.
- Fine tune your list: Create a short list of ideal candidates and think of ways, they’ll benefit from hosting your webinar.
- Familiarize yourself with their content: Find out what they have previously blogged about and incorporate that into the way you reach out to them.
- Contact them: Create an email that shows you understand their business and have read their previous work, tell them why you are reaching out and quickly pitch your idea. Suggest a meeting.
Get sign-ups through effective promotion
Consider this: You have invited the perfect expert, planned a wonderful webinar and the topic is your best one yet. No one attends. Disaster, right?! That’s why you must promote your webinar like you would promote any other piece of content.
But what does that include?
Mainly that you have to get out there with your megaphone and tell everyone about it. There’s a number of ways you can do this – or maybe you can combine all of the below-listed options.
A dedicated landing page
You can set up a dedicated landing page for your webinar. On this page you can include the information about time and date, topic, host, and so forth.
I recently stumbled across this amazing landing page from Get Published Course.
It works because the title is dominating. You simply can’t miss the topic of the webinar, which will eliminate the attendees, who thought the webinar was going to be about something entirely different.
Do note that the subheader “12 Easy Steps to Completing Your Book Twice as Fast with Half the Effort” also relates to what I told you earlier. If you help them solve a pain (here: not finishing the book), your webinar will be an immediate success.
Besides that, the time and date is clear and it’s easy to sign up for the most suitable time.
Scrolling down, you are presented with the host of the webinar, who is briefly presented.
Always give quick info on the host of the webinar, so people can decide whether or not they want to listen to that person – or maybe they have already attended a webinar with the host?
My core point: Give them a reason to sign up. Let’s check out the Get Published Course example.
If you are absolutely clear about what amazing insights the attendee group will gain from attending the webinar, you are certain to collect masses of emails. Who can resist such a great offer? Amazing insights for free? Heck yea.
Did you get great feedback on your previous webinar? Was it positive? Use it to promote your next one. Get Published Course did it.
Social proof can be incredibly effective when used right.
The only ‘but’ in the Get Published Course example: The landing page does contain a lot of information, so there’s a chance people will skip it, if they are too overwhelmed.
Design your landing page right with relevant information and emphasize on the time and date. Remember to make the signup process as smooth and simple as possible. You don’t want anyone changing their mind of attending because they couldn’t find the ‘sign up’ button.
Another option is to merely promote your webinar through your social media. That way you’ll be able to reach a lot of people and you add the option for people to share it with their friends and family who might also be interested in the webinar.
The example above is one of Katy Gillis’ free webinars. Katy Gillis is a personal fitness coach who has built up quite an online persona around herself – especially on LinkedIn, where she publishes plenty of articles.
She has promoted this webinar mainly through LinkedIn. That is a great idea if you have a fair amount of followers – otherwise, you might risk not really reaching out to enough people.
You can also just redirect people from your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter page to your dedicated landing page.
TIP: Use a certain hashtag when you promote the webinar and let the magic of sharing do the job for you.
Spread the news via your newsletter
Your newsletter is an excellent way to promote your webinar. I do realize that you want to collect new emails, but don’t forget the power of word of mouth.
If you promote the webinar well in your newsletter, they might forward it to a friend
TIP: Remember to include a ‘forward to a friend’ option in your newsletter. I talk a lot more about ways to use your newsletter to collect emails in the post How to Grow Your Email List without Spending a Penny
Include your webinar in your email signature with a link to your dedicated landing page. Keep it short and precise:
- 15 proven ways to boost your email list for free! Attend to my webinar. Info here.
- Don’t miss my free webinar on effective work-out routines. Get the info here.
- Interested in kitchen equipment? You should check out my webinar here.
- Get exclusive insights from the expert xxx at my next webinar. Save the date here.
The list goes on. Simply add a one-liner about how awesome your webinar is and direct them to a page with more information and sign-up.
Just remember one thing: Let them know exactly what they are signing up for and what’s more important: Emphasize why they should sign up and how your webinar is going to help them become better marketers, better at fitness, or just more informed people in general. “Sign up because it is going to be awesome” just doesn’t cut it.
The 5 elements of a successful webinar
Have you ever attended a meeting or a conference where a guy was just presenting boring PowerPoint slides? Don’t be that guy!
Your webinar should be – yes, I’m going to say it again – informative, interesting, and engaging.
That’s why I have made a ‘must-do’ list of all the things (you guessed it) you must do when hosting a webinar in order to make it a success.
1. Build a personal relation
Whether you are doing a webinar on a certain product, a guide or a specific method to do something, everything will be much more interesting if the listeners and viewers feel like it’s an actual person talking to them.
What do I mean by that?
I mean that you should always start out by introducing yourself. And not just your name, age, and occupation. Give them a fun fact about yourself like what your favorite dish is, or that you are afraid of birds, or that you always sleep on the right side of the bed.
It makes you seem more human and makes the webinar feel more casual rather than a lecture.
Let’s face it, no one is going to be there from the exact beginning, so start out by telling a fun fact about yourself and ask everyone else to type in their names and a fun fact about themselves too. It’s nice to get acquainted with the other attendees and it will ease the stressful mindset of the others who are late.
2. Scrap the slides
Back to the boring guy with the PowerPoint. As I said: forget everything about boring slides. Instead, you can get creative with the setting:
- Stand in front of a board and draw, talk, and explain all at the same time – much like a teacher would do it. If the attendees are able to see you while you are talking it will seem much more personal as well. Check out Daniel Burstein for MarketingSherpa.
- Share your screen. This way you can decide exactly what they should focus on at a certain time and expose them to images, charts, and text. Be careful on the text though, too much text can seem overwhelming and will frankly not be read.
- Cosy environment. If you have invited a guest host or if the topic is more casual and less business related, you can place yourself (and your guest) in a more relaxed environment like comfy chairs, a sofa, or at a desk with personal items on it.
- Mix it up! If you have the right technology, you will be able to skip between shots of you talking and then slides.
3. Check for comprehension
Regardless of how well-spoken you are and how great your explanations are, someone is going to miss the point.
There is a way to make up for that.
Throughout your webinar, you should just pause and ask everyone if they understand everything you have just covered or if they have any questions. You will most likely get a few, which is only great. It means they haven’t fallen asleep and that they are keen to learn more.
Another way you can engage the attendees is to get them guessing. Before you reveal what findings you did on a certain study, right before you let them know what effect it will have, or anything significant, ask them what they think.
- “So how much do you think it increased my conversion rate?”
- “Guess what surprising finding I did?”
- “How many times do you think you have to run up and down the stairs to burn a Twix?”
Then read up some of the answers and include it in the rest of your webinar.
4. Switch it up
If you decide to go with the ‘you in front of a board’-setting or if you are just sharing your screen with them, your slides still have to be amazing and visually interesting.
Besides that, you have to change your slides often to keep the attendees interested. According to eLearning Industry, a virtual presentation has to have a slide movement every 20-40 seconds to keep the audience interested. This can include slide transitions, annotations or section highlights.
The worst thing that can happen to you is that the listeners find the webinar boring!
5. Practice makes perfect
Okay, this tip seems like an easy one. In reality, it’s the trickiest one. You have to practice! Stop yourself right now, if you are thinking that you have spoken about this topic plenty of times and you don’t need to practice.
The key to a successful webinar really lies with you and your performance.
It doesn’t matter if you have a perfect topic and a cool setup if you are going to stutter and ‘ehm’ your way through the entire thing.
So do some test runs, check the mic is working, that the audio is great, that you know you material, and that you know it well. You got this, champ – once you’ve tried it a few times.
The aftermath: Why your efforts are wasted if you don’t follow up
Your webinar is finished, your attendee group left happier than they came, you did well. What do you do now? Go home? Na-ah.
Once you are done with your webinar, you must follow up on all the leads you got. Get in touch with them while you are still top-of-mind. Here’s a draft for an email flow you can set up:
- Start out by sending them the recording of the webinar and whatever material you used. Thank them for attending and let them know that if something suddenly pops into their mind, they are more than welcome to get in touch again.
- If you have done a blog post, a podcast or anything in relation to the topic of the webinar, send that to the webinar attendees. Let them know you don’t want them to miss out on this post on xxx and you figured they might like it since they attended to xxx webinar on xxx date.
- Send an email where you forward social media handles for connecting or sharing with other attendees.
- Doing a webinar again? Let them know.
- Do you have an offer on a product or service that tied in with the webinar? Promote that offer to them.
Also, you want to follow up on everyone who signed up but never attended.
Let them know you are sorry they didn’t attend and include the recording and additional material they might find useful. You can also inform them of eventual hashtags or communities they can join to catch up with everyone else who attended. Ping them when you are hosting a new webinar.
Just remember: Your work isn’t done once the webinar is finished. If you don’t follow up, your efforts are wasted.
Suggestions for tools to use
If you are entirely new to webinars, I have included four suggestions for easy-to-use software you can use to do webinars.
GoToWebinar includes attendee registration and offers HD video recordings which are great assets, as webinars evolve around high-quality audio as well as video quality. With this service, you can also do polls and surveys to keep up attendee attention.
With MegaMeeting you can share PowerPoints (don’t be that guy!!), documents and your screen with attendees. This tool also enables you to text chat with attendees and polls and surveys are also an option to include.
This service is absolutely free. It’s the breakout video calling/chat feature of the Google+ social platform.That means that if you are already using Gmail, Google Calendar or Google Drive, you are well on your way.
Google+ Hangouts include the ability to share your screen. You can have up to 10 people in a single video or audio call or you can stream straight to your attached YouTube Channel or website – meaning unlimited attendees. It works on all devices and the chat functions work perfectly on this one as well.
Skype is probably the most popular video chat service in the world and it works beautifully for webinars too. The perks of using Skype is that most of your attendees probably already use Skype or know how it works, so they are familiar with the technology.
With Skype, you can share your screen, documents, websites and so forth all while communicating with the attendees. The group can also share their screen so everyone can see each other.
The end of the webinar guide book
That was all from me on webinars. Just to quickly sum up (which you should do at the end of your webinar too) webinars are a great way to engage with your audience and to educate them as well.
Through webinars you can build up brand awareness and your expertise. If you do webinars well enough and often enough you are going to end up like an absolute expert on your field, meaning you can expect to watch your sales fly through the roof!