Webinars don’t work anymore – true or false?

If you hear any marketing gurus saying that’s true, run!

Webinars DO work and can be highly successful, as long as they’re done right.

My team and I have worked with tons of clients on their webinar strategies this year, and I’ve done several of my own. I have a very full behind-the-scenes pictures of what it takes to find success with webinars.

So yes, it may be true that these days it’s nearly impossible to get a good show up rate on your webinar – but that doesn’t mean the strategy as a whole is broken – it’s simply evolved.

In today’s episode of The Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast, I’m diving in to all of my 2020 best webinar practices.

If you want to know what you must do to absolutely crush the next webinar you do so that it converts like crazy, you’ll have to grab your headphones, tune in, and listen to me share my biggest webinar strategy secrets for about 20 minutes or so!

Did this episode inspire you to switch up your webinar strategy? Tell me everything in my DM’s over on the ‘gram (@emilyhirsh).

If you’re considering working with Team Hirsh, whether that’s with our done-with-you Ignite course, or with our done-for-you Premier package, you’ve got to act fast! We only have two spots for clients left on our roster and only room for 6 more Ignite students before we hit capacity. Head to helpmystrategy.com to submit your application ASAP!

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Emily Hirsh: 

Hello my friends. How are you all doing? What a busy week this one will be for most with the holidays. I hope you guys are taking some time to slow down and enjoy your families if you celebrate, but also if you don’t, the world slows down or a lot of the world does. So make sure you take time to. I’m looking forward to that. I’m taking almost a week off. My whole family is coming from California to see us in Texas, so we are going to have a very full house. And it’s the first year I actually haven’t been at my mom’s house for Christmas. And she’s coming here the day after Christmas, my dad’s coming before Christmas and leaving the day after. And then I have three brothers who are coming and it’s the first year that we’re doing something different. Partly because of COVID, but also partly just, I have three kids now, and it’s not easy to drag all of them to somewhere for Christmas, cause then you have to bring all the presents and all the things and it’s just a lot of work. So I’m excited this year to stay here and have everybody come to us. 

So I thought it would be fun to do throughout now and the rest of the year, a couple of podcast episodes that all theme like a specific webinar, or not webinars, specific funnel or strategy and talk about the best practices for that specific strategy. Especially tie it into like 2020 and what we saw work and not work. So today I’m going to do webinar best practices and then between now, and I guess through like next week, because it’s going to be the end of the year, I’ll maybe do a few more of these and maybe if I feel like it going into January, it depends on how much, different strategies I want to cover, but I thought it would be fun to kind of recap that. So I’m starting with webinars, cause I know a lot of people who listen to this podcast that is the funnel strategy that you use and you to execute. So I wanted to start with that, kind of go over the best practices right now in this year for having a converting webinar funnel. 

So the first one is that your messaging and offer, which you’re going to be surprised that I’m going to say this, not really, because if you’ve listened to my podcasts, you know this is a massive theme, but your messaging and your offer has to stand out. And when I say offer, I don’t even actually mean your paid offer yet. I’m just talking about getting people on that webinar, the hook to getting somebody on that webinar, and what that promise is if I sign up and if I show up to this training, what will I accomplish from that? That messaging has to be better than anybody else out there. 

And oftentimes this is this place where people are missing and it’s why they’re not seeing results because at the end of the day, you could target the perfect group. You could even have good ad creative and maybe good copy, but if what you have, your promise, and your hook, and your webinar title, and the promise of what somebody is going to get by signing up for that webinar, if it’s not there, it doesn’t matter about all those other things. It will not convert. So the first thing, and this is not even relevant to just 2020, but I would argue that this year this has become even more important because as the online space gets more saturated with more webinars, and masterclasses, and trainings, and sign up for my content call to actions. 

You need to stand out. So it’s not enough anymore to just have a basic webinar title or even like the three secrets to duh, duh duh. You know, Russell’s template. It’s not enough anymore. It needs to take it to the next level. I’ll tell you every single time we do a webinar in my company, I have a meeting with our creative director, my marketing team, and myself. And we talk for at least 30 minutes about the messaging of that webinar on the outside, that’s not even the presentation yet, but I’m just talking about getting people signed up. We do that every single time that we need to create a new title that we need to create new messaging because it’s so, so critical.

If you listened to my last episode, I talked about doing a hybrid strategy that includes automated and live webinars. So if you want to go back and listen to that, I’ll explain that in more depth, but regardless, I would say that your messaging, meaning your title and the promise of your webinar, and if you have like three things you’re teaching or bullets or promises, needs to probably be refreshed about once per quarter. That’s what we’re seeing. And so when I do webinars, I will frequently change the title because it just gets stale and people see it, and if they haven’t signed up for it, they’re like “ah,  it’s the same training.” And a lot of times too, you’re going to have people sign up for things and not come. So if you just put out the same title training, they may not come, but if you are able to update the messaging, you might get people to sign up for that. 

So every time you do a webinar, I’d highly suggest you pay very close attention to the comments in the webinar where people are confused, what attracted them, what they’re saying, because that’s gold for then going to create your messaging. Same thing with your Facebook ad comments. If you’re seeing people respond to what you’re putting out there and your engagement, pay attention to that and then use that in what else you do. I have created many webinars and content where I have copied and pasted words out of somebody’s mouth that they said, or that they put in a chat because it’s exact. That’s how I’m going to connect with them the most. So really focusing on that messaging cause you have to stand out.

The other point for best practices that I think is worth testing for a lot of audiences is playing with a shorter length webinar. It’s very hard to get somebody to give you an hour of their time these days and especially give you an hour of their time without other distractions so they’re actually paying attention to you. So my webinars are typically about 60 minutes. However, I do have, and also recommend to some clients, especially if you’re selling high ticket, it wouldn’t be for everybody, but if you think this would be for your audience, it’s worth testing. And that is a micro webinar. I did a whole podcast on the strategy earlier this year, but it’s basically a 30 minute webinar. So it’s exactly what it sounds like, micro webinar. It’s shorter, less content, shorter pitch. It’s good for high ticket because then they go to like an application or a call and that’s another form of nurturing.

It probably wouldn’t work as well if you’re trying to sell something for $1,500, $2,000, even $997. Like, 30 minutes might not be enough time to really convince somebody that they can buy from you in that amount of time, but if you’re going to something lower priced, or a membership, or an application, that might be enough time for you to get across the content and make your pitch. So if you’re feeling like you’re trying to make your webinar and hour because you think it should be that long, I would rethink that. I would think about your audience. How long do you think you’ll realistically have their time, their attention and commitment to you? And then what do you need to change? And so playing with a shorter webinar might be a good option for some of you guys and playing with that micro webinar, but definitely keeping your webinars to about 60 minutes. I wouldn’t go over that. It used to be the fine to do a 90 minute webinar with Q and A. And I just really wouldn’t. I would I try to keep my content to about 30 to 40 minutes, 10 to 15 minute pitch, and then some Q and A, which sometimes lands me over an hour with Q and A, but I definitely don’t go over with content or even close to an hour with content cause it’s just too much.

All right, the next best practice that I have for you guys is creating engagement throughout your webinars. So this is something that actually Aandra on my team helped me with when she worked on our webinars this year and I want you guys to look at just like how I talk about customer journeys and funnels should be looked at as an experience for your customer. How are you taking somebody who does not know who you are and turning them into a paying customer and creating that experience for them? How are you doing that? So you also want to create an experience in your webinar itself. So creating that engagement means maybe you have a workbook that you’re referencing so that they have to pay attention to that workbook and your content, and you’re creating that experience for them. That creates more engagement. 

I also love, love and highly recommend asking questions throughout the webinar, “put this in the chat, tell me yes or no, rate yourself a red, green, yellow.” We’ve done that on webinars. Whatever you can do to get them to engage is going to impact massively your success in conversion on that webinar. You want people in the chat engaging, listening to what you’re saying. And if they’re just listening, sitting there listening to you talk and talk and talk, they’re going to zone out just like you do. Imagine if you’re watching something that’s boring. You’re going to zone out. And so you’ve got to have engagement. 

Now you can do this both automated and live. There’s a lot of automated webinar platforms that allow you to have a poll that pops up, or different things around the chat. So even if you have an automated webinar, there’s a way for you to create it so it’s still engaging. And then live, you can definitely create the engagement, and sometimes that actually creates live webinars converting better because they have that higher level of engagement. But throughout the webinar, you want to constantly be asking questions, getting people to focus on how this is relevant and your content is relevant to them, their lives and their business, and then ideally get them responding in the chat. So there’s many times throughout my live webinars, especially that I pause. And I’m like, all right, let me see what I’m seeing in the chat. Okay? And I call out names, people love it. So create an experience with your webinar because that is so critical.

Another best practice is if you’re doing a live webinar, this one might sound like a no-brainer, but a lot of people forget this piece, make sure you invite your entire warm audience, all of your web traffic, the email list that you’ve maybe been building up, or that you have your video engagers, people who have engaged on your social media, get them to see your ads, invite them via your email, and really leverage that warm audience that hopefully you’re consistently working on building to get the most results. Those people are also highly more likely to purchase on the webinar than a cold traffic person. So we want as much warm traffic as we can onto your webinar. All right. 

Another best practice is avoid templates with your webinar, this is like such a standard, avoid templates with everything in your marketing is Emily Hirsh’s advice, boiled down. But if you listen to my launch re-cap podcast, you heard how I did two webinars. One didn’t convert, one converted amazing to our Ignite course. One of the biggest things I changed was I threw away the perfect webinar template and I tried my own thing and it converted. So I think there’s obviously a flow that you should follow where you introduce and have credibility, and then you deliver content, and then you have a pitch, but I think that people get a little too wrapped up in the actual templated way, especially around the pitch. Like if there are areas in your webinar that you are uncomfortable as a presenter, it’s going to come out on video. And when you present, you cannot be uncomfortable with what you’re saying.

So if you’re putting up a slide because you saw someone do this, or it’s in a template that you’re following, and it says something that you would never say and you’re not comfortable saying, don’t do it because that will come across inside of your actual presentation when people are watching it. A hundred percent of the time people can catch onto that. They’re trained, we’re trained, our brains are trained to know if we can trust this person or not when they’re talking. So remembering the purpose of a webinar is helpful, and if you just imagine yourself in a conversation selling your offer if you and I were talking, what would you say to me? If I asked you, why should I buy your offer, why is it the best out there, why is it different than the other things out there like it, why do you think I need it? Think about the responses that you’d say to those questions and get clear on how you would respond to them. 

And that is a big bulk of your pitch because you know that the questions people are really asking are why should I buy, why should I buy this, why do I need this, what is this going to do for me, how was it different than other offers out there? So making sure that you do that so you don’t have this template where you’re saying things that you’re uncomfortable with. Now, I will tell you that within this, you should still have a structure and a strategic flow that consists of, like I said, the intro, which really is there not to talk about yourself, but to build credibility because in the beginning people are wondering do I need to stay for this, what am I going to get out of this, and should I listen to this person? 

So you’re getting them excited about what you’re about to tell them and you’re building credibility, that’s the beginning. And you should do it in an authentic way to you. Then you have your core content, which your core content’s purpose is not to overwhelm your audience and it’s not to leave them feeling like they got everything they needed, but it’s to get them to the place they need to be in order to be ready for your offer. Ideally, it’s helping them have an epiphany realize this is why I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time, this is why I’ve been stuck, this is why this hasn’t been working for me, and this process or this strategy or this way of looking at it is the answer, but the actual how to do it is your offer. So you’re giving them like the what, but you’re how, and the nitty gritty of it has to be your offer because otherwise you’ll completely overwhelm people. 

And then your pitch really should answer those questions. There’s obviously several sales techniques that you can incorporate in a pitch, but I think that if you overthink it, you make it inauthentic and then it doesn’t convert. And so I would really think about if you were on a call with someone or talking to someone, what are the things that you would say to sell your product? Because your main goal with a pitch is to clearly articulate the value of your offer and to knock down the objections that your potential customer may have and to push urgency. Those are like the three things that you need to do with a webinar and how you do them can be authentic to you. So avoid those templates that feel inauthentic because it will come through in your presentation, okay?

Throughout the content on the webinar, this is another really important best practice, ask yourself this question f you’re doing a webinar and come back to this, make sure you’re focusing throughout the entire webinar on the audience, on the people watching versus you. This is a common mistake that it’s easier for us to talk about, let’s say, when we talk about ourselves in the beginning, it’s easier for us to just go on and tell a story and say like, “here’s why I started my business, and this is all about me, and I have a family and dah, dah, dah.” People don’t care. They want to hear about themselves. They want to hear why this is going to help them. They want to hear why they need what you have to offer. Whether that’s even your free content in the beginning, I would keep anything about you to very short and whatever you say about you is still strategically about them and why they should be listening to you, why they should value your advice. 

So a lot of people do this where whether it’s in the beginning of the webinar or the pitch, they talk about, “well, and I created this offer because I thought that people needed dah, dah, dah, and I have done this.” And it doesn’t matter. They don’t care about you. They care about what is this gonna do for me? So whether it’s the intro in your webinar, the content in your webinar, or the pitch in your webinar, go through it and make sure is this fully focused on the audience the entire time and on them and what’s going to best serve them best, get them the most results, and that will ultimately capture their attention and help them take action? So go through your content and confirm that cause that’s really important. 

Okay. I have two more best practices and these are more in the funnel side of things and the actual webinar itself, and that is using ManyChat or SMS messages to help improve your show up rate. So we consistently see lower show up rates this last year is something that you have to kind of fight against. And I highly recommend, this is how we do it. So we have an optional field for SMS in the opt-in page of the webinar, and then we can send a text confirmation and reminders. And then on the thank you page, we put a ManyChat button and we deliver something via that ManyChat. So we usually do like some sort of workbook or PDF download, some bonus piece of content that they will get that we give them on the thank you page, that way we’ve gotten their name and email, potentially their text message. 

I’d say like 60 to 70% of people fill it in, because we do make it optional if they don’t want to give it. And then ManyChat, we get at least half 50% of people also click that ManyChat button. So that way we can send reminders to text and to their messenger on Facebook when we’re going live and an hour before, because open rates are so much higher. People read their text messages, obviously, way more than they do their emails. Same with Facebook messages. 

Now don’t abuse it and send like as many text messages as you would email or long. Obviously you have to create it for the platform, but it’s a great way to try and improve your webinar’s show up rate. And that’s kinda my favorite way to lay it out by putting ManyChat on the thank you page, because you still want name and email, but if you can also get people in your ManyChat in your messenger bot, you can utilize that for the show up, but then also the sales sequence after.

And the final best practice that I have is make sure you have a complete email sequence and follow up. This is really important, and a lot of times, and I mean going like way past the webinar, what is your strategy for all of these leads? A lot of times people will focus so much energy and effort on getting people to sign up for their webinar, getting people maybe to their webinar, making the offer on their webinar, and then stuff kind of just drops off. And you’ve already done so much heavy lifting by getting people to sign up for your webinar, let alone to your webinar, and you’ve likely paid for some of those leads. Make sure you squeeze as much value as you can out of those leads by having a complete follow up email sequence, and maybe, you know, retargeting ads thrown in there so that you have an offer and it has urgency so there’s a reason for them to take action, and your email and your follow up is pushing that and you are lining that up so that people go take action.

And that should look like a complete email sequence of at least like five to seven emails after a webinar, and you should have a promo period. So there should be a limited amount of time, like a max probably seven days that somebody can take the action that you said on the webinar, which could be buying it at a discount, it could be a bonus that expires. Something that forces them to take action, and it should be real urgency. I talk about this because I think people have this kind of thing that they talk about of like, “I don’t want to sound like a marketer and have urgency.” The bottom line is urgency makes humans act. Ask yourself, if you’ve got a deadline for something, would you do it versus not have the deadline? Of course, you’re going to do it if you have the deadline, if the discount is expiring, the doors are closing, the bonus that you really want is going away, you are going to take action faster.

It should be real and legitimate. Don’t lie about it, but you should absolutely have it during that window. You should have heavy follow ups that is very strategic, completes your strategy, and make sure as many people as possible are taking action. And then after that initial follow up, you need to define what are you doing with those leads? Are they going to sit on an email list and just sit there? Or are they going to get regular weekly content emails? Are you going to pitch them your offer again? Are you going to re-invite them to a future webinar? You’ve already paid for those leads, do not let them max out after one single webinar. Continue to nurture them and make offers to them in a strategic way, a strategic and complete way.

So those are my best practices for a webinar. Webinars still work. They are great, especially for specific audiences. I’ll tell you for us, I’ve shared a lot of our strategies behind the scenes for my own company. Webinars work great for my done with you program, they don’t work as well for our agency clients. So we’re constantly trying to figure out those applications, which as of now, referrals is by far number one way of getting clients, which is awesome. It just means our delivery is great, which is a good sign. But also, doing things like our secret podcast series and creating ways that that higher caliber of client often will consume what we’re putting out there. But I know that webinars work really well for my done with you program, so I continue to do them. And they are a great strategy, but you have to create, I think like the bottom line is you have to create innovation and authenticity within your webinars and within your webinar funnel strategy, because if you don’t, you’ll just get completely buried and drowned out there from all the different webinars. 

So those are my tips for you guys. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas this week. Thanks so much for listening and if you’re still considering potentially working with Hirsh Marketing in one of our ways that you can work with us – Ignite, our program, our completely done with you, with our agency, we do have a couple of spots. We actually have had to start limiting. We’ve had so many new Ignite students, it’s amazing, but we are offering one-on-one calls with our success coach so we have to put a cap on how many students we can let in per month right now, based on his capacity to take those calls. So we have like two spots for clients, and I think like four for our Ignite course. If you’re considering it, make sure you get your application in by going to helpmystrategy.com. We’d love to talk to you, we’d love to do that free strategy audit for you so we can kind of evaluate where your business is at and if it makes sense bringing us on as a partner in one way or another next year. So that’s helpmystrategy.com, and I’ll talk to you guys next time.