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3 Webinars to Grow Your Business Most webinars offered today aren't even really webinars. But there are three approaches you can take to make yours successful.

By Jill Schiefelbein

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Death to the Stock Photo

Let's face it. Most webinars aren't good.

Frankly, most webinars aren't even webinars!

A webinar is an online seminar. A seminar is a synchronous event that involves both training and discussion, or some sort of interaction and engagement. Most "webinars" are a person talking along with a slide deck (or, even worse, a pre-recorded audio narration that is marketed as a webinar).

Those aren't webinars! Yet there are businesses offering them all of the time.

So what is a webinar? A webinar is a LIVE, interactive seminar done online. It's a way for you to captivate and engage an audience. It's a venue for interaction where you can gain valuable insights from your audience or help them come to valuable insights of their own.

Webinars are a great way to capture leads, increase sales and, my favorite, provide an additional revenue stream.

Related: Don't Overlook the Sales Power of Knowing Your Audience

Here are three types of webinars that you can use to grow your business.

The Lead-Generation or Sales Webinar

This is the most common type of "webinar" that is offered today. (Although, again, most of these aren't webinars by definition.) This is where you get someone to register for your webinar in exchange for them providing you with their email address and other relevant information. You get a new contact on your list and a chance to sell a product or service, the prospective consumer gets free content. It's quid pro quo.

If you're using this type of webinar and want to develop a good reputation, make sure that you provide content and value that can stand independent of your product or service. Focus on providing value and building a relationship so that you become the first point of contact for anyone seeking a solution in your arena.

For example, I have a client who sells life insurance. When I asked her if she had thought about using a webinar as a way to generate leads she all-but-laughed at me. Her response was, "You can't use a webinar to sell life insurance." I said, "No, but you can use a webinar to educate a specific population about different life insurance policies and how they affect succession plans and become the go-to resource on this topic."

Sure enough, she targeted solopreneurs and entrepreneurs with one to 10 employees, ran an educational lead-generation webinar, and got a higher rate of conversation from lead to client than from other networking avenues.

There's a big gap between information and knowledge. Find a way to educate your potential consumer, position yourself as the expert resource, and watch your business grow.

Related: Little Things Equal Big Experiences

The One-Off For-Profit Webinar

Let's talk immediate revenue. This is a webinar that you charge for. It's on a single topic, with a specific learning objective, a unique benefit, and a promise of value. This is not the webinar where you want to market or sell additional services. Focus on providing so much bang-for-the-buck that the customer comes to you for more.

How do you price a one-off webinar? It depends on your audience and your topic. Even with a market saturated with "free" content, people pay for value. Focus on providing it. Think about depth in one area instead of breadth over many.

If you're going to do a one-off webinar, I suggest having accompanying materials, such as handouts or worksheets, that participants can use to follow-along, take notes, or supplement their learning. It's also a wise practice to leave some room for Q&A at the end. People paid for access to you, so spend a little extra time catering to your audience.

The Multi-Module Webinar or Webinar Series

This is the crème de la crème of profit-yielding webinars, as is also the most versatile if structured and designed well.

If you're a trainer, you can use these webinars to convert your face-to-face content to a virtual format that you can sell at the same price point. If you're an author, you can expand your book into a training program that goes beyond the page. If your company offers a product that is used to help consumers generate income, specialized training webinars can be a great solution—whether your not you choose to sell them for profit. Think about a certification or continuing education units. Can your business provide content to help someone achieve a credential?

The possibilities here are endless, and the repackaging opportunities abundant. Keep in mind the importance of well-defined learning objectives, the continuity of material, and making sure each module or part of the series provides value that can stand on its own, but also builds to something greater throughout the course.

No matter which type of webinar you chose, remember the two key ingredients: training and interaction. A well-executed webinar takes work, but it's worth it.

Related: How to Retain Millennial Employees Through Workplace Equity

Jill Schiefelbein

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Professional Speaker and Business Communication Expert

Jill Schiefelbein is a former professor, professional speaker, and business communication expert. From analyzing documents obtained from military raids of terrorist camps to dissect jihadi communication strategies, building an online education office serving more than 60,000 students, to her own award-winning entrepreneurial ventures, Schiefelbein loves a strategic challenge. Her business, The Dynamic Communicator, creates and executes communication strategies that help companies solve problems, retain talent and produce revenue. Pre-order her new book Dynamic Communication (Entrepreneur Press, March 2017) today.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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