We were banging our heads against the wall.
We’d been doing everything we knew to try to speed up audience growth, but couldn’t seem to break through the plateau.
- Putting out regular blog posts
- Promoting content on social media
- Using tools to capture contacts on our site.
But not seeing hockey stick growth we were expecting for our efforts.
Feeling slightly defeated, we realized we needed to switch things up and find something more engaging and more compelling …
i.e. we needed to Increase website traffic and create a BETTER method of turning visitors into real prospects.
While blog posts and downloadable docs can be core pieces of your content strategy they deliver marginal benefits in terms of building a relationship and trust with your visitors and prospects.
The big question was how could we adjust our strategy to be more personable and have a higher value proposition?
We decided to pursue a webinar strategy built around collaboration with influencers to create great content we knew our audience was hungry for. After all, we had been doing something similar with our blog posts for months.
Webinars have a multitude of benefits but there are several worth noting one of the key benefits that I think is becoming more important this day in age.
Webinars get you out from behind your emails and allow you to get face time with your potential customers!
It Works … but it doesn’t come easy
Fast forward …
After several months of constant tinkering we’ve become huge advocates of using webinars to grow your audience, and it has become the core focal point of our marketing efforts.
Why? Because we’ve seen the upside!
We are collecting roughly 3X the number of email addresses each month and generally selling at least a handful of annual subscriptions directly from each webinar.
Let me go a little deeper to how we approach webinars.
Before we go any further, we need to make sure we are all on the same page in terms of webinar priorities. The MOST important aspect should be to ...
Create GREAT Content that YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE will enjoy and find valuable.
[Hint: if no one likes your webinar or thinks you have any value to provide then they will certainly never purchase your product.]
If you keep this in mind throughout your journey you will end up with great content that provides value, is reusable, and most importantly, that helps you grow your audience.
The Process We Used
If you have hosted a webinar before you know how time-intensive preparation can be, so to try and save you some time and effort I’ve gone ahead and mapped out a strategy to use to host an effective webinar.
Buckle Up :)
1. Identify the Topic that Fits Your Brand
We love working with coaches and others in the health and wellness industry, and through all the demos and web conferences with independent professionals we started hearing some common questions ...
"Can you help me put my website together?"
"I'm having a hard time getting prospects, can you help me optimize my site?"
"No one is filling out my contact form, is there something else I should be doing?"
Here's the thing. We had gone through ALL of this during our own journey and we felt it was important to assist our network of coaches however we could.
We realized that digital strategy and content marketing were items most professionals were really trying to learn more about and we know that between our team and some of the contacts we had met in the space that we'd be able to provide value here.
Topic for webinars? CHECK!
2. Find Strategic Guests to Help You Get The Ball Rolling
When we first started our webinar strategy our email list was growing steadily but not anything to write home about. We realized that by working with the right influencers in the space we'd be able to significantly expand our reach for but also begin positioning ourselves as influencers on the topic as well.
A couple items to consider...
- By collaborating with more and more influencers you start looking like a credible source of information to your audience.
- Collaboration allows you to gain access to a new audience - that of the influencer you're collaborating with - through cross promotion, helping to expand your reach into new groups. Because we work with influencers who have audiences with similar goals to ours, we're able to expand our reach in raw numbers, but also with high quality leads. I've found that most of our guests promote initiatives almost as much as we do.
We ALWAYS try to host webinars with those smarter and more experienced than us to ensure that the content we produce is fantastic, so I constantly reach out to folks using Twitter and Email to try and start a conversation.
3. Promote, Promote, Promote! (Important to Get Your Money's Worth)
We have a few core strategies that I am more than willing to share with you when it comes to promoting webinars that allow us to reach our current audience, site visitors, and new targets.
I mentioned this in a recent post, but statistics suggest that while 90% of website visitors will NOT be ready to purchase you product upon first introduction, 60% of those people will be ready at some point.
It's for this reason that it's important to use your webinar as a way to stay in front of your current email list to forge the relationship ahead.
First off, you should already be using a tool like Sumome or HelloBar to capture email addresses on your site - if not, no worries, they are super simple to set up and way more effective than simply using basic forms.
While whitepapers and downloadable docs are great for consistently capturing email addresses on your site, we've found that people are generally far more willing to provide their email address to register for a webinar so we use this concept to maximize signups.
When we have a webinar scheduled, we re-purpose the Sumome Welcome Mat to focus specifically on driving registration.
Here's an example from our webinar this summer with Joanna from TheHealthyVa. When a person hit our landing page they were greeted with simple prompt pushing them to signup.
There is no denying that we want to use webinars to grow our audience so we've also found notable success promoting our webinars on Facebook through their promoted post feature.
If you've never used Facebook to promote before it's worth exploring due to the excellent targeting capabilities they provide as well as the ability to measure success of your efforts - i.e. signups, clicks, etc.
Promoted Posts are the easiest ad to use on Facebook, and when done right can also be among the most effective. Just post something on your business page, and then click "Boost Post" on the bottom of the post. Pick your audience if you've already created one. Set your budget, and EUREKA! Your ad is out the door.
I've included a promoted post we recently used for the "Fireside Chat With Carmen Hunter," which we hosted with one of our partners in Europe, HealthCoachesCommunity. HCC provides ongoing support and business training to coaches by connecting you a group of your peers, plus mentors and teachers - pretty cool.
We were really excited about it, and we thought this was something professionals on Facebook would also find interesting as well.
Now I want to save you some time and heartache, so here are a couple of important features of this particular post I want to highlight that we have learned virtually always increase our clicks on a Facebook ad (plus a quick note to save you some frustration).
1. Use an inviting image with a real person.
It's tempting for us to drop in fancy images of our software (we do think it's pretty slick after all), but trust me ... your target audience wants to connect with a real person who can help them.
After all, why else would they be interested in a webinar?
We almost always use an image from the influencer who is joining us on the webinar, just like this photo of Carmen above. And it ALWAYS performs better when we do.
2. Add a button to the image.
One potential drawback of using a "Boosted Post" as we are here is that there isn't really a strong call-to-action built into the ad.
But that's okay because we can fix this by simply adding a button onto the image you use for your post.
Not a designer you say? Don't have Photoshop? I admit, I'm a little spoiled and use photoshop for our ads, but there are great free design software tools that make it easy to do simple things like dropping a big red button onto a photo!
I would recommend Canva, as there is less of a learning curve but it can do anything you need for something like this.
3. Don't build an ad that will just get rejected.
It sounds obvious, but it happens more than you might think.
The most likely reason your ad will not be approved by Facebook is if it has too much text on the image itself. Notice in our ad above, I did include text in the image, but only in the button, and to highlight our partner, HealthCoachesCommunity at the bottom.
That's about as much as you will be able to get away with. So when in doubt, only include text on the call-to-action (button) that you drop on top of the pretty image of yourself or someone you're working with for your webinar, and you'll be golden!
4. Using An Automated Email Campaign Is Critical
One of the hardest aspects of hosting a webinar is structuring all the necessary emails to accompany a person's experience from registration to through purchase decision or action. For instance, a person signs up for your webinar... then what?
You need to thank them, send them instructions on how to join, reminders to actually attend, etc. It can be a MASSIVE headache if you try to do the entire thing on the fly, so there are some great tools to help out.
We use Mailchimp to run all of our email campaigns and their recent additions make it much easier to structure automated campaigns built around multiple, scheduled emails.
Here on some of the emails you should prepare ahead of time, and the best part is that most of these can be reused for future webinars.
Email 1: Automated Email Confirmation
When to send: Create automated email to send immediately when someone registers for your webinar.
Why?: They are interested RIGHT NOW. By sending this immediately, you give them a chance to go ahead and save this event to their calendar while they're thinking about it.
What to include: A statement like "your seat has been saved" or "registration confirmed". Plus, I always include links to make it SUPER easy for these people to save this webinar to their calendar.
(Here's a SIMPLE tool that lets you make clickable links that will automatically add your webinar to their calendar - AddThisEvent)
Email 2: Day of Webinar Reminder
When to send: Schedule this email to go out a MINIMUM of 3 hours before the webinar is scheduled to begin.
Why?: People are busy and they forget about things. You want to make sure they have enough heads up to structure part of their day around joining you live for the webinar.
What to include: Bring back those links to let people save it to their calendar, plus you probably want to go ahead and include the link they will use to join the webinar live.
Email 3: Link To Join
When to send: Schedule this email to go out 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.
Why?: To give my attendees time to find it in their email and see that they do, indeed, have everything they need to join me, right on time.
What to include: Keep this one very simple. Just make sure the link to join the webinar is OBVIOUS.
Email 4: Follow-up + Offer
When to send: I like to schedule this one to be landing in inboxes right around the time we're wrapping up the webinar.
Why?: Honestly ... it makes you look like kind of a badass to your attendees when they already have a personal looking thank you email waiting for them in their inbox when they sign off your webinar. The real "purpose", however, is to share an offer in this email that keeps moving these people further down your marketing funnel. Might they be ready to pay for something? Sign up for a free consultation? There's only one way to find out.
What to include: A personal thank you for attending, plus an offer that pulls your attendees who are interested one more step further down the funnel.
Email 5: Link to Recorded Video of Webinar
When to send: I always get this out the day after our webinar, but because it can take some time to convert your webinar to video, the answer is just as soon as you can turn it around.
Why?: If more than a quarter of the people who register actually attend your webinar live, then count yourself lucky. This is your chance to make sure everyone who registered can view this valuable content on their own time.
What to include: Link to the video, plus a reminder to check out the additional offer you included in Email 4.
There's a lot of information in here, so if you have any questions or comments, or maybe even want to share how you're able to do it better than us, share it below!
Oh, and by the way ... check out what you can learn if you join us for our next webinar ;-)