In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten discuss the various nuances of creating an effective webinar. An effective webinar successfully engages prospects and converts them into customers. Alternatively, webinars can also be used to generate revenue for your business. Tune-in to discover the importance of having engaging and relevant content for the success of your webinar and how you can monetize your webinars.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
- 00:27 –The purpose of a webinars is to convert prospects into customers; once webinars start contributing revenue, they can also be turned into a product
- 0:57 – Poorly designed webinars are unsuccessful in pushing clients down the sales funnel
- 2:13 – According to Hiten, a webinar serves three primary purposes:
- 02:16 – Lead Generation
- 02:20 – For retaining and helping customers
- 02:28 – Paid webinars which lead to growth in revenue
- 02:52 – Steli’s organization is involved in three different types of webinars:
- 03:01 – The first one is focused on converting users to customers
- 03:05 – The second type is focused on growing small, early customers to bigger ones
- 03:18 – Partner webinar with the intent of generating leads and driving people down the marketing funnel
- 04:03 – Tips and tricks for doing lead-generating webinars
- 04:14 – Think of the webinar like a blog post and give it a strong description and title which will result in higher sign-ups
- 05:01 – Concentrate on create engaging content, win over the audience in the first 10 minutes
- 07:17 – Include a conversion point like an e-book or presentation at the end of the webinar which will let you engage with the prospect
- 08:36 – “Less you sell something, better the webinar goes”
- 09:42 – Empathize with the audience to engage them better, instead of hard selling your product straight away
- 10:32 – Recommended webinar structure: Problem, Education and finally, your offering
- 11:16 – Some tips and tricks to sustain client interest
- 11:16 – Intersperse images within the webinar to increase the entertainment value and to sustain client interest
- 13:13 – Conducting a poll is a another way to engage prospects
- 13:58 – Highlight the critical points of a webinar
- 14:48 – How can you make money from a webinar?
- 15:29 – Webinars made with the intention of making money are structured as “Workshops” or “Sessions”
- 16:42 – Select a relevant topic that succeeds in solving the various challenges faced by people
- 16:58 – Structure it like a class with assigned homework and provide a framework
- 19:31 – Marketing webinars are effective in making money
- 19:40 – Get in touch with Hiten or Steli to further discuss this topic
3 Key Points:
- The purpose of webinars are threefold: lead generation, customer retention and revenue generation.
- Create a compelling title and ensure you have high quality content to drive customers to your webinar. The first 10 minutes should succeed in holding the interest of your prospect.
- Structure your webinar like a workshop or a class if you intend to make money off of it.
Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti
And this is Hiten Shah
And in today’s episode of The Startup Chat, we want to talk about how to give effective webinars. Webinars that will convert prospects into customers or even how to start a business giving webinars that generate revenue for you, so you can start growing that revenue and eventually might take that revenue, that customer base and turn it into a product, which is something we see a lot today. Webinars is, I think, the big topic, and the reason I wanted to talk to you about this is because a lot of companies do webinars. A lot of start-ups give webinars, and many, many, many of them suck, and they suck for a variety of reasons. Many of them, I don’t think, are as intentionally designed. A lot of startups just do webinars or people do webinars because other people and other people and other startups do them, but they don’t have really a good place in their overall funnel. They have not really thought well about who to get into their webinar and how to design that webinar in a way that’s super engaging and will convert to the next step. I know that with Product Habits, you’ve been offering and have done some webinars series recently, so I thought that you also will have some kind of recent incites to share. Sound good?
Yeah, I’ve got lots to say on the topic. We went from doing one webinar a month at Kissmetrics years ago to doing one a week. These are webinars for marketing. We also are doing webinars for customers and teaching them things. We’re doing that and now I’m doing workshops and basically they’re four weeks to eight weeks long. The first one was four, the next one has been eight. I’m actually at week six this week, and week seven and eight are coming up and we’re done. Yeah so super excited to talk about this. I think there’s three different purposes just to break it out. One would be webinars for getting leads. Two would be webinars for retaining, engaging, helping customers or users that you already have. Three would be webinars that are for pay, which means people pay you and your delivery mechanism as a webinar. Does that sound about right in terms of categories?
I think so yeah, absolutely. So let’s go through them one by one maybe and just highlight some things to avoid and best practices or tips on how to make them work really well.
Yeah, first of all do you guys do any webinars right now?
Yes, we do webinars. We do two types of webinars. One is we do two webinars a week. Those are focused on our customers, so we do one series of webinars that are kind of like chrome trial users to help them convert to customers, and then we do a webinar every week for our customers to … You know … Small, early customers to help them grow and really master the product. So these are two webinars we do weekly, and then we do a number of partner webinars where usually what happens is that some other sales company or other company will promote and announce and set up the webinar and I’ll come in as a guest speaker. But then we’ll share … I’ll do a big part of the content and then we use that more as a lead-gen to get people to do trials or give us their email address and become part of a marketing funnel. So these are the two types of webinars that we do.
Awesome … Cool. You want to jump into some best practices at least the marketing ones, the lead-gen ones?
Yeah, let’s do that.
Cool. Yeah, go ahead what do you got?
(Laugh) I was just going to say you go first. (Laugh)
I’m happy to go first.
No, no I’m joking, no I’m going to go first. So how to do lead-gen webinars. Well, I think that someone … My biggest tip I think is to think of a webinar very similar to the way you would think about a blog post, and just understand that you have to give it a really strong title, right? You can have the best content in the world that you’re going to present in the webinar. If you don’t capture people’s attention, and if the title and the description of the webinar is not super strong, people will not sign up and RSVP for it. They won’t show up, so it doesn’t really matter what you do in the actual live webinars. You have to spend a lot more time again on the promotion of the webinar on the way that you pitch it, which is the element of pitch is just the title of the webinar. So that’s one big tip. Don’t have a boring title and then amazing content in the webinar. Make sure that the title’s really really strong and engaging, capturing people’s imagination. That’s one. The other thing that I’ll give is that within the webinar, one of the biggest problems that I peek into that other companies and other people do, is that they’re boring, right? They are like sixty minutes of somebody going through slides. Especially painful is the first ten minutes of the webinar is the worst content usually. First ten minutes of a lot of webinars are just like “Welcome everybody, and thank-you” and “Let me tell you my background” in the worst and most boring way possible. “I worked at this company and I worked at that company, then I got a Bachelors Degree in this university” and whatever else. Then “Let me tell you about our company. We’ve been founded in 1997”. Its just like oh my God, I’m dying here, right?. I came into the webinar to learn something. I came into the webinar to ask questions, to direct. I have to listen to ten minutes of super irrelevant information. It’s like watching advertisement before being able to watch the show. The biggest pet peeve I have with webinars is if you want to convert an audience, you’re going to either win them or lose them in the first few minutes. Just like with a normal video, make the beginning engaging. Ask the audience a question, easy questions like “Hey, everybody who’s joining us live, just put in the chat where in the world you’re joining us from.” Right? That alone is such a simple thing but it can be super fun and engaging. Then interact with people, welcome them, “Hey Bob, hey Joe. I see, wow, we’ve got two … Three hundred people already and growing, joining the webinar. This is super exciting. We’ve got people from all around the world. I see Dublin, I see LA, I see New York. This is exciting, so here’s what you’re going to learn from this webinar. These top three things, at the end you’re going to know how to do them, and I’m going to share these secrets, and we’re going to give you plenty of time to ask questions”, which is another tip I’ll give. Make sure you have a good portion of Q&A because that’s what makes the webinar really attractive and fun. Make sure the first five minutes are engaging, you’ve attracted the audience, it’s fun, high energy, and make sure you tell them what they’re going to get out of it, and make sure that you do a webinar that has a good amount of interaction with the audience. My last tip on this is that, make sure you have a strong call to action or conversion point, right? Don’t just give them all of this content and then say good-bye. Offer something that will in turn give you their email or give them some kind of a promo that if they sign up now for a trial they get some kind of a benefit, they get a special deal or discount. They get an ebook or whitepaper for free. Have some kind of call to action at the end of the webinar where you offer them a good deal, or something compelling. A lot of times if you have an ebook or whitepaper, or something else that goes even deeper into the topic that you just discussed in the webinar that’s super compelling, then people will want to have that. Your templates, even just your presentation, “Hey, send me your email I’ll give you the slides that I just used in the webinar”. Even if it’s as simple as that, give people a reason to give you their email or further engage with you. Have a real conversion point at the end of the webinar. I think that those are all the things that are so simple to do I think, but I still see 90% of all the webinar’s that I join and peek into, they don’t do this stuff. Therefore, they don’t have webinars that I don’t think are really working that well in order to generate leads for them, and prospects.
Yeah, I love those tips. I think because you shared a lot of the great tips that people really miss out on, I’m going to talk a little bit about structure.
So for a marketing webinar, what I’ve found actually for all of the webinars, what I’ve found to be a great structure and a great set of principles is remembering that the less you sell something the better the webinar goes. Speaking less about your solution until there’s a point where people are really sold on this being right for them. I think it’s really important. What I mean by that is I love to start with engagement. I think that’s a really great tip that you gave, which is like get them to engage, get them to put in some things in the chat because otherwise it is boring and people are just sitting there watching and probably doing something else. But if you start making them engage in different ways, and entertain them, say you know, I know Stella you’re great at saying really shocking things. I tend to be better at just saying funny things, usually about myself. People listening here already know us well enough around audio at least. You guys know that it’s about personality and things like that. I think the opener is really important. From there though, what I see a lot of people do is go straight to what they’re selling or what their product is, or what service they’re providing, or something like that. What I actually prefer is really pulling someone in into you empathizing with them by describing the problem they have, or reminding them of why they’re here today. That kind of stuff instead of jumping straight into, “Here’s how I’m going to make your life better”, because you have to set, in my experience, you have to keep the engagement up. They way you do that is by talking to them about their problem, talking to them about scenarios they might be in today compared to just telling them how to solve a problem they have. If they haven’t really bought into the fact that you understand their problem, giving them a solution doesn’t really help you or them. I really would emphasize that because I find that a lot of webinars and things I attend don’t really speak to the problem, and then they don’t really educate people. To me it’s like problem, education, and then actually whatever you’re offering. That tends to be a pretty good workflow. I’ve also found that if you can give them something engaging about a third of the way to half way in, you can keep their attention. For example, an entertaining gift, or a really bad joke, or a really great joke, or something that’s really valuable to them, like a really important tip. The reaosn I say that is sometimes you can even preempt the webinar cadence so that people are waiting for that, and I think that’s when these things get really good and entertaining. Remember when you’re doing these webinars, you have peoples attention for a half hour to an hour, sometimes more. You’re whole job is number one, entertain them. Make this an experience, and that’s like what even like the most boring thing, like financial software or whatever, you can make really entertaining if you just take the time and effort to do that. That’s why you’ll see a lot of presentations I have in the middle of it, or to break things up I have an image with some statement, or I have a picture of my kids doing something silly that’s really relevant to the topic, or relevant to what I’m going to say.
So what I was saying is that’s why a lot of my presentations will have a lot of imagery to break things up and a lot of text. Just because when you’re educating people it’s hard not to have a lot of text and diagrams and all that. But it’s much more compelling when you can break it out with imagery as well as like I’ll put pictures of my kids that are relevant or something really entertaining or some meme. Memes are really good, gifs are really good because otherwise it’s just a boring presentation. It’s just a boring webinar and nobody wants to be in something that boring.
Yeah. I love those tips, I love the structure. Really I think that my last point as we’re moving onto how to make money with webinars, which is a super interesting topic. I think is that when you give a webinar, you have to be more engaging and more entertaining than if you gave a talk. Because when you give a talk, yeah people can pull out their phone and look but there’s an audience, they’re all sharing the experience in the same space and time. But when you do a webinar, its on my laptop, on my computer, it’s in my browser. There’s a very high chance that a big portion of the people that attend the webinar, if you become boring, they’ll just check into the email or open their Twitter or Facebook. And they’ll be doing other things along the way. My tip there is, of course, be funny, be engaging, be entertaining, be passionate. Do the things that Heaton said of, in the middle of it bring up a meme or make a joke, do something that is capturing the imagination. Or show a picture, a funny picture of you or your children or something because it will make them want to click back if they’re not in the webinar and see it. You can ask lots of questions and ask for feedback. You know, “Hey everybody that has ever …” .You know people ask for polls sometimes in the middle of the webinar. “Okay let me quickly poll the audience. Who had any of these three problems that I just asked? Just go in and answer real quick and I’ll share the results with everybody.” Boom. “57% of everybody in this webinar had specific problem #1. Nobody had problem #2, that’s interesting. Alright so let’s double down on #1.” So people can answer, chat, poll in there’s things happening interactively in the webinar that I might want to peek back. Then my last tip on this is: If you have something that is incredibly important and crucial in the webinar, that you’re saying something that stands out, say it. Don’t just assume everybody will get it. Say the words “And this is the most important thing, I will cover. This is the most important slide or this is the most important fact that I can share with you in this webinar.” And then count to 3, and then share it. Because that will ensure that if people are not paying attention or they’re distracted, that they will go, “Oh shit, this is the most important thing, let me pay attention to it.” So you increase your chances that people will pay attention when you really need them to. You kind of highlight where you want them to give you all their undivided attention. Obviously, and hopefully you give webinars that are so awesome and kick ass that they do it from start to end but it is a good practice to do that. So enough about that, let’s quickly talk about webinars to make money. Because this is something I have … I’ve charged for webinars before but maybe I’ve done this once or twice. It was not really for reasons of making money with it, more for reasons of making sure that people show up. But with Product Habits, you have done … You’re doing currently a webinar series where you are teaching people. I’ll let you explain it in detail. But these are … The last webinar series that people were able to get into had super limited seats and for $2,500 or something like that, right for a serious amount of money. Tell me, how do you structure webinars to generate revenue? What’s your framework? What’s your thinking? What’s your experience with that?
Yeah so, I would say that if your goal is to do a webinar and make money on it, it’s not really just a webinar. We call it a workshop and there’s sessions and the sessions are basically each a webinar. So I did this a while ago, earlier this year, and it was 4 weeks and it was $500 for a seat at the webinar. And then learned a lot from doing that on how to teach people and my topic was product development. Specifically, on how to do product prioritization the right way. So I have frameworks and things that I’ve used over the years and I was sharing those. And then recently, in the last 8 weeks or so, I launched another workshop that is actually 8 weeks long and I charged $1,600 per seat and $3,200 for teams of up to 5 people. We have a limited amount of seats and again it’s 8 sessions and each of them is done through Zoom, the video conferencing software. Each of them is basically a webinar, they are about 90 minutes each. We are taking people through a whole process in the 8 weeks. Like there’s step-by-step, there’s homework, there’s all that kind of stuff. I think the biggest key there is to make sure that the topic that you’re doing the webinar on, the workshop on, is very important to people and its one that solves their biggest challenge in the category you’re going after. That’s what I’ve learned. In terms of the cadence and structure, it’s actually very similar except that it’s a lot more like a class. So we’re educating people, that’s the key. And giving them homework and giving them frameworks and having them work through them and build their processes using our framework.
Killer. So how do you price this? How do you … Obviously you don’t start with nothing, no audience, no reputation, no brand, no nothing and you just put out a webinar for $10,000 and think you’re going to be making money with it. How do you … Obviously its good if you’ve already built up an audience, I would assume it’s actually mandatory almost if or unless you don’t use somebody else’s audience to do this. But then how did you guys come up with or experiment on pricing the webinar and any kind of other tips in terms of limiting the amount of seats, and any of that? I know your webinar is super kind of intense in terms of what kind of audience you wanted and what kind of knowledge and value you wanted them to get out of it. But if I wanted to give some webinars and I’m wondering how to price them, what is your advice on that?
Yeah, you definitely need an audience. I think without an audience you can’t do any of this. And the truth is, our webinars are more about learning how to teach people this topic and making our material really good and they are less so about making money. And so the way we price them isn’t to make money, the way we price them is to get enough attendees so we can learn. And this time we tried the team option and it worked out super well actually. A lot of people signed up for the team option and so we learned a bunch about how this material works for a team, not just an individual coming in and needing to take it to their team separately. So for us everything is about learning and it wasn’t really about making money. That being said, we made money on it. But my time is worth a lot more than the money we made on this. And so the whole goal here is to keep learning and then figure out what the best medium, what the best method is to educate people about product development. And eventually it won’t be a workshop, it’ll be more like a video course or something like that if we continue doing it. That’s the general idea. It isn’t … Ours, in this case, wasn’t to make money. The ones that I think that are the best to make money, if you’re just talking about a single webinar, it’s actually when you are doing it for marketing and you’re doing it to sell something else, not the webinar. Sell a software or something like that. I’ve found those kind of webinars to be really, really effective once you get good at them. This kind of webinar is more to learn how to build something else.
Love it, cool. Alright so I think that this is going to be it for this episode. If you are out there, you’re giving webinars or you’re thinking about it and you want more tips or you have more questions, you can always get in touch with us [inaudible 00:08:20]@gmail.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, you can find us on Twitter and many, many other place online if you just look. So we’re always excited and happy to hear from you. Until then, we’ll hear you very soon.