Online trainings are a simple and low cost way to grow your audience and revenue, but only if you do them right.
My team and I are looking for ways not just to replace the income we’re going to lose when my speaking business grinds to a halt in the second quarter due to my pregnancy, but actually grow and exceed our current revenue curve. Webinars (or online training sessions or seminars) are by far the most promising.
Webinars rock because you can use the Internet to reach a large number of quality prospects. Choosing a single topic to dive into allows you to grow your list of prospects by introducing your concept to folks who might not have realized you’re a solution to their problem. And for those who understand the value of what you offer, a good webinar can be a chance to deepen their understanding and relationship with your company, leading to more and bigger sales.
Of course, anyone who’s ever gotten a GoToWebinar account knows that running a successful webinar isn’t as easy as some of the industry’s heavy hitters make it look. So to shorten my learning curve, I reached out to Amy Porterfield, a social-media strategist and online marketer who has built a multi-million-dollar empire in less than a decade using webinars.
I chose Porterfield because I’ve loved her blog and podcast for years and have actually bought several of her paid programs off her webinars, so I can personally attest to her skill at selling online. She has my credit-card number.
1. Live is better than automated (at least at first).
Everyone who’s making five figures or more off webinars agrees that live webinars (where you show up live and interact with your audience) always outperform pre-recorded or automated ones.
“When you’re first starting out, you need to do them live so you can test them and make sure your trainings are converting the way you need them to,” Porterfield says. “It gives you a chance to listen to your audience and test things."
2. The fill-up formula.
Though webinars are certainly a quick cash machine once you have a big email list, those of us who are starting smaller need to plan 30 days ahead.
Porterfield recommends creating a bunch of free content using whatever channels you already have: blog posts, podcast episodes, videos, etc., about your webinar and its promise. Then, at the end of each piece of free content, present your audience with an opportunity to register for your webinar (or be notified when you open registration).
She also believes that for those with small lists and small budgets, Facebook ads are the solution. They’re inexpensive as ads go, but require a fair bit of tweaking and testing. Drive free social-media traffic to that free content you’ve created and boost sign ups with paid ads on whatever social platform your target audience is most active (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, etc.), but if you had to choose just one, Facebook is the way to go.
3. Warm up your audience before the webinar.
Generally speaking, only 20 percent of those who register for your webinar will attend live. These folks are also the ones most likely to buy. To keep attendance high, Porterfield recommends sending out three to five emails in the week leading up to the webinar (she only starts promoting the webinar actively about seven days out).
When our team at Baby Got Booked previously dabbled in webinars, we used Ryan Deiss’s email campaign templates (included in his course The Machine) and customized the heck out of them. It worked beautifully. We had a 50 percent attendance rate and even before the webinar, folks were writing us back with questions and excited comments.
4. Keep engagement high during the webinar.
On her podcast, Porterfield interviewed Tim Paige of Leadpages (who’s currently in the running for a Guinness World Record for the most number of webinars conducted in a 12-month period). One of his hacks to big revenue from webinars is to answer questions and engage with your audience throughout your live webinars instead of only during the Q&A section at the end.
Porterfield adds that you should always aim to stay online until each attendees’ questions are answered (instead of busily jumping off right on the dot when the session is supposed to end). The folks who still have questions are the ones who might be on the fence and just need some clarification.
5. The money is in the post-webinar follow up.
If only 20 percent of those who registered for the training show up, there are plenty of potential sales still on the table. Porterfield recommends starting an email series with an invitation to watch a limited time replay.
“Always specify that the replay is going away, because if there’s no deadline, people don’t make the time to watch,” she says.
Follow up with four to five emails over the next seven days with testimonials, results and responses to common objections. Dive deep into the program and present it as an opportunity to do business with you.
6. The cart close.
Always have a “cart close” date after which people will no longer be able to purchase your program at the discounted rate or have access to the special bonuses. This is their last chance to get an amazing deal.
7. It's time to automate.
Only after you’re closing between 2 to 10 percent of sales, depending on your price point and industry, you’re ready to record that presentation and automate it. At this point, it’s time to use Infusionsoft or whatever you use for email marketing and customer-relationship management to build out a series of campaigns and automate the entire funnel.
This is a whole post unto itself, but well worth the effort, according to several Internet marketers who are making five and six figures from doing it. Porterfield recommends Easywebinar.com for your recorded webinars. There's also EverWebinar, which seems to be the other heavy hitter in this space.
Finally, lean back, sip a (virgin) mojito and watch the cash roll in.
Have you hosted webinars successfully? We'd love to hear your tips on making them work in the comments section below.