Why Webinars, Now 25 Years Old, Are More Effective for Sales Than Ever

Deliver your knowledge in a live setting and watch the sales roll in.

learn more about Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS

By Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS

pixelfit | Getty Images

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Webinars have been around for quite some time now. Webinar-specific software arrived in 1995 when PictureTel launched LiveShare Plus. Microsoft got into the game in 1996 with NetMeeting, a component of Internet Explorer. And the word "webinar" was trademarked in 1998.

Nearly a quarter-century later, webinars are more powerful than ever for growing your business and making sales. Technology has vastly improved, and there are few ways to build rapport with prospective customers faster than a live-streamed webinar.

There's a right way and a wrong way to go about creating your webinar content. As an online business owner who enrolls clients using webinars and has led webinars for audiences of 50,000 or more women, I know what it takes to systematically build and scale a webinar-based business.

You don't need a giant audience, but you do need to make sure your webinar presentation touches on certain points. Here are three things to know before promoting your webinar.

Related: How to Transform a Webinar into Business Revenue

1. Focus on the why

Customers buy a product not only to solve a problem but also to feel inspired. This is an important distinction. Your product has to work and give them the desired result, but that's not the reason they end up buying from you.

I frequently see entrepreneurs turn their webinars into workshops and long-winded tutorials. A webinar is designed to educate, but it's also designed to sell. You want to encourage excitement and emotion during a webinar because emotion is what leads to the sale.

If you give your attendees everything they need to succeed, they won't buy. You need them to buy because using the product is what ensures the promised solution actually comes to life.

2. Illustrate the gap

One of the most famous sales pages of all time is the "two men" ad that ran in The Wall Street Journal from 1975 to 2003 and led to over $2 billion in sales. The opening of the ad is compelling; it describes two men who graduate from college together — 25 years later one is a middle manager while the other is the company's president. The difference? The latter subscribed to The Wall Street Journal, of course.

This ad was a moneymaker because it illustrated the gap between point A and point B clearly. Your potential customer needs to not only believe that your product works but also that it will work for them. This requires making it crystal clear what the gap is between point A and point B.

This is the magic of webinars; you're able to provide this education on point A and point B in a clear, easy-to-follow format. Here's a formula I like to use to determine the primary content for my next webinar:

  • Define point A. What are my ideal webinar attendees experiencing right now? What are their biggest problems? Name this clearly. Consider identifying this information on your webinar.

  • Identify point B. Where do your customers want to go? What do they want more of? Who do they want to become? Again, it's not taboo to explicitly define these details in the opening of your webinar session.

  • Simplify the gap between A and B. No one wants to buy a long shot. Explain how someone gets from point A to point B in the simplest terms possible.

Don't give away every little detail about how to close the gap from point A to point B. This is what your product or program is for, taking them to point Z. Instead, give enough information to help people realize the journey from point A to point B is shorter and easier than they think.

Related: 12 Steps for Creating the Perfect Webinar

3. Push, but with respect

Often, I see female entrepreneurs being too quiet during their product launches. When you are launching, it's time to be loud and proud about your offer.

For starters, pushing in a webinar launch makes your product more familiar to attendees, and studies show consumers prefer to buy something that's familiar. In the classic 1885 advertising handbook Successful Advertising, author Thomas Smith theorized that a consumer needs to see an ad 20 times before making a purchase. Twenty!

Related: 7 Practical Steps to Host Webinars that Drive Sales

Sending a couple of e-mails before or after your webinar is not enough. You need to push. And you don't have to sound like a broken record. Hit on these points to create variety in your e-mail marketing as you launch:

  • Testimonials. Have past customers gotten amazing results from your product? Document it — relentlessly. According to a recent study, 87 percent of people read online reviews for local businesses when making decisions.

  • Frequently asked questions. Consumer buying styles vary. Some customers buy on the spot, while others like to vet a product and inspect it carefully. Addressing a slew of frequently asked questions shows prospective customers that you've already thought through each and every issue.

  • Why other solutions don't work. Is there commonly believed advice in your industry that's actually holding people back? Name it. Don't be afraid to contradict the status quo; this helps lay the groundwork to assert why your product or program is the superior solution.

I was in business when webinars began. And now, 25 years later, they're my presentation format of choice. That's because they close clients! The next time you want to sell to many people at once and win back your time, look at doing a webinar. When your approach gives attendees the information they want and need, they'll say yes to the sale.

Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Founder, PelvicPainRelief.com

Isa Herrera is a serial entrepreneur in both brick and mortar and virtual telecoaching. After building a successful niche women's health practice on Madison Avenue in NYC over 12 years, she pivoted and grew a fully virtual online education portal for women's pelvic health, PelvicPainRelief.com.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

I Live on a Cruise Ship for Half of the Year. Look Inside My 336-Square-Foot Cabin with Wraparound Balcony.

I live on a cruise ship with my husband, who works on it, for six months out of the year. Life at "home" can be tight. Here's what it's really like living on a cruise ship.

Money & Finance

Revenue vs. Profit: What's the Difference?

The difference between revenue and profit is vital to understand in order to run a healthy business. Read on to learn all about these basic economic concepts.

Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Business News

A Mississippi News Anchor Is Under Fire for Quoting Snoop Dogg

WLBT's Barbara Bassett used the rapper's "fo shizzle" phrase during a live broadcast, causing the station to let her go.

Money & Finance

What Is Market Cap? Here's a Comprehensive Explanation.

Read on to learn how to calculate market cap, explore the different categories and understand how it influences investment analysis.


Thinking of a Career Change? Here Are 4 Steps You Can Take To Get There.

Author Joanne Lipman on what experience and science tell us about successful job pivots.