If you’re interested in sharing knowledge with others, webinars are a great way to effectively add value, while accelerating your sales process!
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” said to Benjamin Franklin.
He was right about many things, but definitely about the value of investing in knowledge.
Your prospective customers also appreciate the pursuit of education, which is why Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day, self-help audiobooks now represent a $769 million market, and why webinars, conferences, lectures, and educational courses play a critical role in how we learn new information and make purchasing decisions.
For personal brand entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, helping prospects expand their knowledge is an impactful way to showcase your expertise and value as a subject matter expert, and demonstrate the value you bring as a strategic partner.
More specifically, hosting free webinars for your attendees represents a minimum financial investment on your part that brings significant value to prospects.
It can turn into considerable revenue for your business because webinars can be an extremely powerful sales conversion tool.
To help you showcase your knowledge, build your marketing pipeline, and boost revenue, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about the benefits of webinars and how to effectively leverage them to promote your brand.
What is a Webinar?
A webinar is a seminar that takes place on the web. A more contemporary definition, webinars are just an online presentation.
By taking travel and transportation costs out of an in-person conference or presentation, webinars make learning accessible to more people anytime, and anywhere, all thanks to the power and convenience of the Internet.
People are busy, and many people can’t spare an entire day traveling to attend a seminar, or fighting rush-hour traffic to get to that local evening presentation. Anyone can fit a 30 or 60-minute education session into their day, especially when they don’t need to leave their desk to participate.
Webinar Format Options
Webinars come in a variety of formats. You could structure your webinar so that your attendees:
- See only you, live, discussing your content
- Hear you but see presentation slides
- Hear you and see a combination of slides and you as their presenter
Webinars can also be structured so that your audience can speak aloud to you and the group to ask questions and provide feedback, or you can choose to keep attendees muted, and address questions only submitted via chat.
Such flexibilities will help you build a format that best aligns with your content, presentation style, allotted time, and customers’ needs.
Free Means Free.
You likely noticed that we’ve now referenced several times the benefits specifically of free webinars, and you may be thinking that you don’t want to give away your knowledge and advice to prospective customers for free.
We’ll talk more about the critical line between paid and free content later in this article, but know this:
You should use free webinars as a marketing prospecting tool to help you grow your audience, fill your marketing pipeline, and ultimately, drive revenue.
Let’s talk about why the free webinar model works.
How Webinars Can Boost Your Personal Brand
Here are four reasons why hosting educational webinars can help you take your personal brand from six to seven figures. Educational webinars:
Help Build Authority and Credibility
In this recent blog post, we dig in deep on the importance of building online credibility to help amplify your personal brand. The key takeaway is that when prospective customers see you as a subject matter expert, they will be more likely to purchase your services or solutions. Educational webinars are an impactful tactic to help you showcase your knowledge, get prospective customers engaged with your personal brand, and help you to build your credibility as an expert.
It is essential, however, to host educational webinars that provide attendees helpful tips, best practices, and insights that pertain to your area of expertise.
This is not only about educating them on who you are and what services and solutions prospects can purchase from you.
While there is a place for direct selling, and while webinars can be part of that process, it will be those online events that provide attendees with actionable advice that will position you as an industry insider, expert, and all-around ninja.
Help You to Build Your Email Marketing List
You may have thousands of social media followers, but nothing compares to the impact that is possible when you have direct access to sharing news, information and offers, directly to your prospects’ inbox. Seventy-three percent of marketing and sales leaders agree, citing webinars are one of the best ways to generate quality leads. The question, then, becomes, how to build an email distribution list large enough to make an impact on your sales strategy and revenue generation?
Hosting regular informational webinars should be a foundational aspect of your email list building strategy. To attend your webinar, interested prospects must register, which means they must provide a viable email address at which they will receive the live webinar link. That means you have an opportunity to collect new email addresses from prospective customers who are interested in information you have to share, making them viable prospects whom you should add to your marketing sales funnel for future marketing outreach.
For more tips on accelerating your email subscriber list, read this.
Enable Sales Conversions
The best webinars can generate conversion rate averages of 19 percent. Think about it. You have someone, actively looking for information. Maybe it’s how to be a more effective business leader, how to reduce stress, or how to lose weight. In their search for expert advice, they find your webinar, attend, and are overwhelmed with the knowledge that you’ve shared, so much so that it leaves them wanting more. From the expert (that’s you).
When paired with an offer available only to attendees as a thank you gift, you make it easy for your webinar attendees and prospective customers to purchase your services, converting them from a prospect into a customer, and all you had to do was share some knowledge.
Produce Strong ROI
Hosting an impactful webinar does not cost nearly as much as other traditional forms of advertising; however, the ROI can be incredibly powerful. Most of the cost of a webinar comes in the form of time—your time. You will need to determine your content theme, create presentation slides or graphics, and write your talking points. You’ll also need to promote your webinar, which may require some advertising spend (more on that later). Otherwise, your highest cost will come in the form of webinar hosting software. Depending on the scope and functionality you need, you may need to invest in a subscription that costs up to a few hundred dollars per month. That may seem like a significant financial investment, but Let’s break down the estimated costs:
Cost for an Annual Webinar Subscription Service: $1200
Number of Webinar Registrants Throughout the Year: 300
Average Conversion Rate: 19%
Total Sales: 57
Based on these estimated figures, you’d only have to charge $21 per customer to break even on your webinar software investment, and we’re guessing that your personal brand pricing model has a higher selling point than $21. As you can see, with a relatively minor software investment, and the potential for a high sales conversion rate, you stand to see a strong return on investment by hosting free webinars.
How to Host High-Conversion, Brand-Building Free Webinars in Six Steps
As with any sales strategy, webinar marketing is a nuanced approach that is worth in-depth research and testing but to help you get started, follow these six steps.
Decide on a Theme
When you host a webinar, you are asking your prospects to give up 30 to 60 minutes of their day, which means you have to make your webinar worth their time.
Decide on a theme that answers a burning question you often hear about from your prospects that gives them actionable insights, lets them in on insider knowledge, and teases what else they can get if they pay for your services. For example, promoting a webinar on leadership skill development will be more likely to earn registrations than a webinar about you, your personal brand, and the services you offer.
It is also critical to leverage marketing best practices when naming your webinar. Choose a name that promotes intrigue and promises actionable lessons. Consider, for example, these hot and not so hot webinar themes:
- Hot: Five Proven Steps to Achieving Work/Life Balance
- Not So Hot: Why You Need a Life Coach
- Hot: How to Retire with Millions by Age 59
- Not So Hot: Financial Planning 101
- Hot: Awaken Your Divine Potential Today
- Not So Hot: Lessons in Spirituality
Set a Registration Target
Depending on the size of your existing network of followers, set a goal for webinar registrations. Keep in mind that only 35 to 45 percent of the people who will register for your webinar will attend the live event (because, you know, life). If you only advertise your webinar to a list of 30 people, you may only end up with ten attendees. To maximize your time and investment, you’ll want to aim for the broadest audience possible, which leads us to number three below.
Follow Promotional Best Practices
To generate awareness about your webinar among people outside your existing network of followers, you’ll need to advertise it outside of your email distribution list and social media networks.
Consider applying some advertising dollars to purchase online advertising, boost social posts, or leverage paid search engine optimization (SEO).
Also, give yourself the best chances of earning registrants and attendees with these proven webinar best practices:
Keep Your Content Between 30 and 40 Minutes in Length. Forty-one percent of webinar attendees prefer attending 30-minute webinars, and 44 percent prefer 45-minute webinars.
Schedule Your Webinars for the Morning. The majority of webinar attendees prefer attending events that take place between 10 and 11 a.m. About 16 percent prefer attending events earlier in the day, and another 16 percent prefer to attend sessions held after noon.
Bonus Tip: Make sure when planning your webinar’s start time that you keep in mind the time zone of the majority of your prospects.
Avoid Mondays and Fridays. These days are often packed with meetings—and we’re mentally disengaged because of thoughts of the weekend. Among the remaining three business days, most people will be more willing to make time for a webinar that you schedule for a Tuesday.
Include a Q & A (and Don’t Be Scared of Open Dialogue)
One common reason entrepreneurs resist going live on air and hosting a webinar is not a fear of public speaking, nor is it a fear of not knowing what to say. Alternatively, those hosting an informational discussion about their area of expertise can fill up hours of air time sharing their knowledge and best practices. What they fear, is being put on the spot, live and in front of 300 attendees, with the one question they can’t answer, or the one piece of information, they don’t want to share.
If you’re already a public figure, it could be a personal question or an inquiry about that time your personal brand took a reputation hit.
It could be a pricing question or an observation about how your recommendations or services compare to those of your top competitors. Resist the urge to avoid these moments, and instead, embrace them.
If there are questions or concerns among your prospects about the value of your services, or your personal values, take advantage of having a captivated audience and set the record straight in a way that is genuine and authentic. If an attendee poses a question that you cannot answer, such as one that involves proprietary client information, be prepared with a polite, canned response as to why you’re not able to provide that information.
A Note About Interactive Surveys and Polls: Many webinar software companies offer the ability to engage with attendees dynamically during the live event to help make the presentation more engaging, and to help inform your personal brand strategy.
For example, by asking attendees a question and allowing them to answer via an interactive poll, you can gain critical insights about your prospects’ needs that can help inform future marketing efforts.
For example, if you are a speaking coach, ask your 250 webinar attendees what their biggest fear is when speaking to the public. You may find out that more people than you realized fear that they will lose their train of thought.
This knowledge may lead you to establish a new training option that helps people learn how to use cues and tools to maintain a logical progression during their presentation—a new service you can monetize.
Hold Back the Good Stuff
The goal of your webinar should be to showcase your expertise and tease your audience with your information and offers. Leave them wanting more—the paid kind of more.
The purpose of hosting a webinar should be to fill your marketing pipeline, generate leads, and boost conversions.
Don’t share the information that people should pay for—but do let them know how they can get it. This best practice leads us to number six.
Offer an Offer
When your webinar ends, your sales prospecting begins. Follow up your webinar by providing the slides (without your speaker notes) and a recording to those who registered—not just attended.
As part of this moment of engagement, give registrants a special offer as a way to say thank you for registering.
It could be a free month of software use, a free consultation, or 30 percent off an annual subscription membership. When you have prospects at the moment where they understand your value, and you give them access to your services at a discount, many will be motivated to buy, which is why webinars earn an average 19 percent conversion rate.
When it comes to building your personal brand, your most valuable asset is your knowledge.
Invest in your brand by sharing insights, best practices, and expert advice with your prospects. Once they realize that you can help them lead a better life or achieve their goals, they’ll take that all-important step—hiring your services.