John Corcoran, founder of Smart Business Revolution, had almost 6,000 email subscribers before he learned how to create a webinar presentation.
Before he started doing webinars, John was doing well. In fact, before he started doing webinars, John grew his email list from 1,000 to 5,800 throughout 2014 by guest posting on big sites – that’s a 580% increase in 7 month, which is pretty amazing for a business owner.
But check out what happened after he started doing webinars in January 2015: He doubled his email list within 3 months. Then he very quickly tripled it.
It took him 2 years to get his first 4,000 subscribers, 7 more months to double it to 8,000, and 5 months to double it again to 16,000 subscribers – all thanks to dozens of webinars he conducted.
But can webinars work for you too? And how do you even get started?
Why Create a Free Webinar
It takes a lot of work to learn how to create a webinar presentation, and then to move through the long process of webinar production. On top of everything, you do all of this for free, because most people won’t pay for webinar participation.
It could all be worth it, but it depends on your goals.
Before you read any further, answer these questions:
Do You Want More Leads?
When most people think what is a webinar for, they think of leads – specifically, email signups. Even though it could take you the same amount of time to produce a 30-60 minute YouTube video as it would to produce a 30-60 minute webinar, people view a webinar as a special event.
That’s why people understand that, in order to attend a webinar, they need to provide their email addresses. It’s a very common practice, and as long as you’re offering valuable content, people will give you their email addresses.
Do You Want More Sales?
We all know that video sells better than “just” text. Ariat, a sports supplier, gets 160% more conversions thanks to video. Almost 60% of buyers are less likely to cancel after watching product videos, because watching these videos makes them feel more confident about their purchase decision.
Webinars take it a step further. Since they’re viewed as the closest thing to in-person events, attendees feel more emotionally connected to the presenter and the content, which means they’re more open to making a purchase if you make a sales pitch at the end. That, of course, depends on how much non-salesy value you provided throughout the webinar.
Do You Want to Build Industry Relationships?
Sometimes you create a free webinar not for the leads or sales, but for the opportunity to interview or co-host with someone in your industry, or for the opportunity to give value to an industry leader’s audience.
Webinars give you an “in” to start or grow relationships. These relationships might pay off right away – say, if your connection shares your webinar with her audience, and her audience buys what you sell in the webinar – but they might only come into fruition years down the line, when they need your type of product, hear of someone who does, or ask you to be an affiliate in one of their programs.
If you answered “yes” to even one of these questions, keep reading. This tutorial is all about showing you how to create a webinar that converts.
Table of Contents: What You’ll Learn in “How To Create A Webinar Presentation”
Since this article is over 3,600 words long, we’ve prepared a table of contents for you. Feel free to click on one of these links to immediately jump to the section that interests you most:
- Step #1: Study Your Role as a Webinar Host
- Step #2: Understand Why You Want to Create a Webinar
- Step #3: Identify Your Audience and Choose a Topic
- Step #4: Choose a Webinar Type & Format
- Step #5: Figure Out Your Marketing Plan
- Step #6: Write Your Webinar Script
- Step #7: Create a Webinar Presentation
- Step #8: Choose a Webinar Platform
- Step #9: Mine Your Data and Think Long Term
Step #1: Study Your Role as a Webinar Host
Going on video can be incredibly scary, which is why too many business owners are still not taking advantage of YouTube’s power, even though it’s the second largest search engine in the world (after parent company Google).
But when it comes to webinars, there’s added pressure. A lot of times, the event is live and interactive. You might not have experience presenting anything to anyone, and have no idea how to create a webinar presentation or how to engage an audience.
But all of it can be learned. Sign up to every webinar you can, or search them up on YouTube, to see what others are doing. If webinars aren’t common in your industry, sign up to email lists of companies that target marketers or small business owners. These companies do webinars all the time, and they do it for audiences that are over-saturated with pitches, so they have to be really good to stand out of the crowd.
For example, check out this webinar GetResponse created with MarketingProfs’ chief content officer, Ann Handley:
When you’re kinda half ready to go for it, practice. Create a short trial webinar and practice on your friends. On your mastermind group members. On your tiny email list. It’ll get easier with time.
But don’t wait for it to be perfect.
Pat Flynn, founder of Smart Passive Income, has hosted over 230 podcast episodes of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. He’s hosted 2 other podcasts with plenty of episodes, too. He’s won awards for podcasting. He speaks at conferences about podcasting. And… he still doesn’t like the sound of his own recorded voice.
But he’s not letting that stop him, and as a result, his audience has grown exponentially.
Step #2: Understand Why You Want to Create a Webinar
We covered the top reasons for creating a webinar a little while ago, but it’s important to emphasize: As with any marketing strategy, you must know what’s your #1 goal.
What would be your dream result?
What would be a great realistic result?
How you approach creating and marketing your webinar could be very different if you’re just practicing, if you want to build a name for yourself, or if you want actual sales.
Here’s the 3 hour (!) webinar Bryan Harris, founder of VideoFruit, conducted when he was in the midst of a campaign to sell his course, Get 10K Subs:
Step #3: Identify Your Audience and Choose a Topic
You can learn all the technical aspects about how to create a webinar presentation, but just like with step #2, if you skip the audience identification step, you might as well do nothing at all. That’s because if you try to target everyone in your market, most people won’t be able to relate emotionally to what you have to offer (link to targeted content marketing article).
Let’s say you’re a parenthood coach, and you want to create a webinar about encouraging kids to read. Your advice will be vastly different for parents of toddlers, who still view their parents as the most important people in the world, and parents of teenagers, who think their parents don’t understand anything.
You want to make sure your webinar is about a topic that a niched-down audience can’t afford to miss.
If you want to reach two target audiences, create two different webinars.
But how do you find out what’s the most burning question for your audience right now?
Check Your Own Data
- See which keywords lead visitors to your site more than others, analyze which posts got most comments or social shares, review your social channels and see which tweets or images were the most popular this month, or if there’s consistency in popular topics across the past year.
Follow Your Audience Around the Web
- Check popular blog posts and social media posts of competitor companies, too. Plus, join as many industry and peer groups as you can, and analyze which questions pop up again and again.
Interview Your Target Audience
- Don’t just stay silent in social groups. Interact (without selling) and build relationships, then ask to interview these people and see if there’s a repetitive theme of pain points that keeps coming up.
Step #4: Choose a Webinar Type & Format
Now that you know your goals, your target audience, and your topic, it’s time to decide what your webinar format will be.
Live or Pre-Recorded?
Most companies go for a live webinar. The idea, as we said before, is to make it as similar as possible to an in-person presentation. A live webinar lets participants ask questions and answer your questions during the presentation, which makes it feel like a two-way conversation.
Creating a live webinar with a set time also creates urgency. People can’t leave it for a “later” that never comes, because they’ll miss the content. If you have a great topic and a great headline, they won’t want to miss the content.
That’s especially true if you don’t provide a recording of the webinar.
But according to a Salesforce survey, you might want to provide a recording after all. You see, Salesforce discovered that only 16% of people want to watch webinars live. Just like with TV, they want the content available to them on demand, whenever that’s most comfortable for them.
That’s why some companies offer webinars that are readily available without restrictions to anyone who signs up to their email list. Others, like WebAttract, have an entire section of webinars available on their website, and they don’t even require email signup in exchange.
Of course, you could create urgency by providing a recording, yet only providing access to it for a short period of time.
But that’s not the only decision you need to make regarding formatting.
Choose a Webinar Type
Just like with blog posts, podcasts, and YouTube video, there’s a rich pool of options you can choose from when it comes to creating webinars.
Teach participants how to overcome a major challenge. The best way to do that? Show them how one or more of their peers overcame the same challenge (preferably, with your help). Don’t have customer success stories yet? Show them how you overcame the challenge they’re now facing.
Here’s a webinar Kevin Waldron, CEO of Waldron Consulting Group, created for John Corcoran’s audience. It tells the story of how Kevin built a $24 million a year business:
Show participants how to use a product – your own product or one where you’re the affiliate partner. You get extra points for showing your audience how to overcome common mistakes to experience better results with the product.
Here’s a webinar Pat Flynn conducted with Clay Collins, co-founder of LeadPages, about rapid list building. At the end of the webinar, there was an offer for the audience to purchase through Pat’s affiliate link.
·Interview or co-host:
Just like with authority building, you can feature a success story, which is one of the most effective ways to build trust and lead to a sale, according to basically every marketing industry study. But you could also interview or co-host with an industry expert – or multiple industry experts – to get authority by association, and hopefully to get some leads if they share the webinar with their audience.
Check out this webinar Melonie Dodaro, founder of Top Dog Social Media, hosted with two other social media experts:
Step #5: Figure Out Your Marketing Plan
Yes, you’ve noticed correctly: We’re about halfway through our steps, and still haven’t told you to write your webinar script. That’s because we want your webinar to succeed.
How many bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers have you seen producing content for practically no one? Your webinar can be the absolute best in your industry, but if no one knows about it, you might as well go penguin watching.
While you want to outline your webinar and have a general idea what you want to present, it’s important to design your marketing plan before you write the full script, as the details of your presentations might not be the same after you’re done strategizing.
If You Have an Audience
If you already have an audience, planning your marketing plan might be easy. It might simply be about reaching out to your own audience.
In this case, develop an editorial calendar whose purpose is to get your audience excited about your webinar. Develop blog posts, podcast episodes and social media posts about the topic, but leave the answers to the most burning questions for your webinar.
If you choose an evergreen topic, you can offer your webinar for future readers as a content upgrade – where readers sign up to your email address at the end of the post to get additional content.
Of course, just because you have an audience doesn’t mean you can’t look beyond it for further growth. But if you have an audience, getting partnerships – like landing interviews or affiliates – will be much easier for you.
If You Don’t Have an Audience
Just because you don’t have an audience doesn’t mean you need to create a free webinar just for your dog. It just means you’ll work harder to bring in viewers than people who already built an audience.
There are many ways you can do it, and you can combine two or more for a bigger impact:
–Guest post: Develop multiple guest posts on the same topic. Pitch them to relevant big blogs. Ask them all to publish the posts around the same few days or a week. Leave the answers to the most burning questions to your webinar. To do this, plan in advance, as some big blogs plan their editorial calendars months in advance.
- Be a podcast guest: This strategy is the same as guest posting. You’ve gotta pitch in advance to accommodate podcasts’ editorial calendars. If you pitch a few months in advance, you can probably make sure several of your interviews will go live around the same time, and create a buzz.
- Do a Q&A for other people’s audiences: If you’ve already gained experience in your industry, reach out to companies who have big audiences on social media, and offer to do a live Q&A webinar for them. Make it clear that, at the end of the Q&A, you’d like to encourage the audience to sign up to the next webinar in the series – the one you’re hosting on your site.
- Advertise: The ultimate shortcut. Online advertising lets you reach highly targeted audiences. If you go with native advertising, your ad will appear as just another content piece on the hosting site, so visitors will trust it more and will be more willing to give it a chance.
- Find partnerships: Interview an industry expert, co-host with a complimentary business owner (say, you’re a web designer and she’s a copywriter), or offer to create a free webinar for another company’s website. Take under consideration that big companies might see the latter as advertising and ask you to pay for the exposure, but smaller businesses might be too inundated to produce enough content, and could be more open to this suggestion.
Step #6: Write Your Webinar Script
Now that you’ve got your goals, topic, and marketing plan, it’s time to set a deadline and start writing. It’s recommended to set a deadline for yourself before your start writing, especially if you tend to procrastinate, and create some sort of an accountability – like guest posts that have already been scheduled to go live at a certain time.
Now you have to start writing (hey, it’s fun!).
To Script or Not to Script?
Some experts advise against writing a webinar script. They recommend you create bullet points, and then speak freely during the webinar – or at the very least, memorize your script.
Otherwise, the concern is that attendees will feel like you’re reading from a page instead of being present with them in the experience.
But if it’s your first time, do what it takes to support yourself through this. One option is to speak the script instead of writing it, and record yourself with a tool likeRev that does the transcription for you. Then all you have to do is revise the text here and there (just like humans, robots aren’t perfect, just awesome).
As we recommended at the top of this tutorial, practice on small and safe audiences until you sound confident in your delivery. It will get easier with time.
Figure Out the Word Count
Webinars often take place over 45-60 minutes. Want to know how many words you can speak for that amount of time?
Read a blog post out loud for 5 minutes, and count the words you read at the end. Then multiply them, to reach 30-45 minutes.
Always leave time for questions and unexpected technical glitches.
Create a Benefit-Driven Script
Many webinar hosts start their presentations with a great story. The story is usually about how they or one of their customers struggled profoundly, then found a solution, maybe stumbled a bit along the day, but eventually made it work. The story ends with the amazing life the heroine has today – the kind of life your viewer is willing to work hard to get.
Starting your webinar with a story is always a good idea. Stories are how we learn best. They draw us in and create emotional connections that keep us engaged.
But unless you dive into detailed, practical ways for your viewers to duplicate the success you’re featuring, you’d want to keep storytelling to the minimum. Maybe dedicate a few minutes to draw them in – and then move on to practical information.
Remember, your audience members gave you their email addresses and decided to make time for you. They got a babysitter, said no to a social get together, squeezed you in despite their impending deadlines, or skipped their favorite TV show – and they did that because they want answers to their most burning questions, and they want results.
So focus the majority of your webinar on showing them how they can get results.
If you’re doing a live webinar, you can break up the flow of monologue by asking your audience questions every 10 minutes or so. They can respond in the chat, or you can bring them in to participate on video or audio.
Then, spend the last 10-15 minutes answering questions and, if you’re selling something, pitching your product. Even if you’re not selling anything, add a call to action at the end, like to take 1 action in the next 24 hours, plus tell you about it via email or social media.
Step #7: Create a Webinar Presentation
What is a webinar without a great presentation?
Expert opinions conflict on the amount of presentation slides to include. Some create a slide for every bullet point to keep the visual aspect of the webinar interesting, while others only create a few slides for the entire presentation, so attendees can focus on the presenter and her content.
Heck, you might want to skip the slides altogether and speak directly to the camera, or combine the two – say, show yourself talking to the camera at the beginning and end of the webinar, or when you open the floor for discussion.
John Lee Dumas, founder of Entrepreneur on Fire, for example, talked directly to the camera at the beginning and end of this webinar, and presented slides in between.
If you want to include slides and you’re wondering how to create a webinar presentation, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve gathered a few great tools, and curated videos about each, to make it easier for you to decide which one to choose.
Keynote (the Mac Alternative for PowerPoint):
GoAnimate is known for its animated video software, but it also lets you create whiteboard and infographic videos you can use to help your webinar stand out.
Here’s a video infographic example:
Step #8: Choose a Webinar Platform
Learning how to create a webinar presentation requires us to learn about the best webinar platforms out there.
But with so many great platforms around, it’s hard to choose. Here are some of the best webinar platforms:
Step #9: Mine Your Data and Think Long Term
Mike Agron, co-founder of WebAttract, is one of the world’s top webinar experts. One of the key lessons he learned after producing over 400 webinars is that you have to think long term.
On his blog, he recommends setting measurable KPIs (key performing indicators) – like email subscribers, click through rates on your CTA, or sales – to every webinar you produce.
According to Mike, a 25% or higher click through rate to your offer means your message is on point, from your emails through your landing page to your webinar script. If your click through rate is lower, you’ll want to tweak different aspects, and test them the next time you showcase this webinar.
Mike also recommends analyzing demographics and best-referring sources (social media, native ads, partner emails, your own email list), so you can do better targeting next time.
Remember, a webinar doesn’t have to be a one-time thing. Webinars have a bigger impact when they’re an integral part of your marketing strategy. For webinars to make a big impact on your business, commit to doing them consistently, testing different options, and optimizing as you go.
What’s stopping you from creating a webinar? What one action you can take in the next 24 hours to help you overcome it? Share it with us in the comments!