Running webinars is a great way to boost engagement with your audience as well as create a new revenue stream for your business.
Just ask Rick Mulready, who made $30,000 in four weeks after selling seats to his FB ADvantage webinar series (a course he hadn’t even fully developed before registration opened), or Jason Caruso, who generated $14,000 in product referrals from his first webinar.
While webinars can be powerful, they can also be difficult to scale. Actively running a webinar takes time away from other aspects of your business and puts a strain on your voice and your energy levels. At the same time, the administrative effort required to set up each individual session and manage registration cuts into event profits, which can diminish the return on investment of this marketing channel.
So if you appreciate the power of webinars as a business growth tool but hate the level of commitment required, automated webinars may be a better solution for you.
Automated webinars aren’t merely monoliths. Today’s technology makes it possible to incorporate automation practices into traditional webinars in a number of different ways:
Fully automated events. In this instance, you record your webinar ahead of time -- using either a slide deck presentation or a video of you speaking into the camera -- and upload it to the webinar service of your choice (I use EasyWebinar). Once it’s uploaded, you can set your service to stream your webinar at certain times and to manage the registration process associated with the different start times you’ve specified.
Live streaming events. Alternatively, if you feel that pre-recording your webinars takes the energy out of them, you can elect to partially automate your live streaming events. While you’ll still be the one giving the presentation in real time, a webinar service can automate the sales funnel creation process for you by building landing pages, registration models, email notifications and more.
Depending on the service that you use, you may also be able to create hybrid events that combine live streaming and fully automated components. Decide on the approach you want to take before selecting your webinar service to ensure that you have access to the features and modules you need.
Once you’ve got your technology solutions chosen, it’s time to start planning the content to include in your webinar. The following best practices will help you get the most out of the effort you put into this unique strategy:
1. Make it evergreen.
If you’re planning to run the same automated webinar over and over again (as in the case of a fully automated event), select your topic with care to make sure that it remains relevant to future viewers. Say, for instance, that you’re planning an automated webinar on a digital marketing topic titled “Top 25 SEO Tactics for 2015.” That’s all well and good for now, but come 2016, you’ll have to re-record the event, costing you time that could have been saved by choosing a more universal topic such as “Top 25 SEO Tactics To Get More Traffic.”
2. Run live events before transitioning to automated webinars.
Even if you plan to run fully automated events later on, you should think about starting with live events first because of the benefits you’ll gain. First, if you allow audience questions, you’ll get plenty of feedback on how to improve your presentation. Then you can incorporate these answers into your content before you record the version you’ll ultimately use in automated events.
At the same time, you can also take advantage of the relatively full-featured analytics programs most live webinar providers offer. One metric in particular you’ll want to pay attention to is when people start dropping out of your event. Once you spot major trends, you can adjust your content to make it more engaging during these times, especially if these drop offs occur before you have a chance to present your calls to action.
3. Watch for lapses in engagement.
Speaking of engagement, a good automated webinar service will give you plenty of data on the way your viewers are responding to your content. Don’t just look for trends in when they drop out of viewing though. If, for example, you’re seeing a high number of RSVPs but a low turnout, this could indicate that your entry funnel needs more work. Adding more quality content or time/date reminders in advance could improve the number of viewers that are ultimately exposed to your sales message.
Automated webinars remove the grunt work and allow you to be more productive by focusing on the things you’re best at, such as growing your business. As with any other marketing technique, automated webinars come with a learning curve. But if you’re willing to put in the time to master this great tool, you’ll find it easier than ever before to scale your webinar marketing efforts -- and profit while you do.
Are you using automated webinars as part of your marketing mix? If so, share your favorite tips and tricks for running these events by leaving a comment below.