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Webinar Best Practices Throughout the Customer Journey

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is sponsored by ahrefs – one of my go-to SEO tools – enter to win a full year of ahrefs service ($2,000 value) by subscribing to the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast

Marketing Podcast with Omar Zenhom
Podcast Transcript

Omar Zenhom

I’ve been doing webinars for about a decade now and while lots of people have jumped into this tactic, few are using webinars as effectively as they could.

Webinars aren’t just for closing deals – they are content – and as such, can and should be used at every stage of the customer journey. I wrote about using webinars for the customer journey at length here.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Omar Zenhom. He is the co-founder of WebinarNinja, an all-inclusive, easy-to-use webinar platform that allows you to create a webinar in 10 seconds flat. He and I discuss a new release on WebinarNinja as well as how to do webinars well and in a way that will get you results.

Zenhom is also the co-founder of The $100 MBA, the largest alternative business education online. He’s also the host of the podcast, The $100 MBA Show which has delivered 650 lessons and counting to over 50,000 daily listeners.

Questions I ask Omar Zenhom:

  • What makes a good webinar?
  • What was missing from platforms out there that made you want to build your own?
  • What are some effective ways to get businesses what they need out of webinars without the hard sell?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How webinars apply to different stages of the customer journey
  • How to serve your customers with webinars
  • How to use webinars for internal purposes

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Omar Zenhom:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is sponsored by Ahrefs and I’m giving away a full year subscription to this awesome tool that helps you with search traffic, research your competitors, and monitor your niche. I use this tool every single day. One of my favorite ways to use it is to learn why competitors are ranking so high and what I need to do to outrank them. Click here to see how you can enter to win a full year of this tool ($2000 value). We’ll pick the winner on October 25th!

customer journey

How to Use Webinars for Every Stage of the Customer Journey

Simply put, webinars (online meetings) are a convenient form of content that gives you the ability to create “one to many” engagements. One of the things I love most about them is that you can use webinars for every stage of the customer journey by altering the intent of the content as the buyer’s questions, goals and needs change. In fact, you must consider this approach to get the most from this medium.

Think of webinars as a form of content, because that’s what they are.

To see what I mean, take a look at the sections below to see what webinars can do for your prospects and customers throughout each phase of the journey. I’ve also sprinkled in ways that we at Duct Tape Marketing use them to give you some food for thought on how you might be able to apply these ideas to your business.

Create awareness

When it comes to spreading awareness around a business, many marketers resort to blogging, social media, emails, PPC, and so on. While I am all for these methods of building awareness and use them myself, I’m always perplexed as to why more business don’t add webinars to that list. They are an excellent way to promote useful content and teach timely topics.

Duct Tape Marketing Example: Every month we host what we call a System Webinar that covers topics that I believe are relevant to marketers at that time. Anybody is invited to these calls, and it’s a great way for me to share my knowledge on a topic while at the same time give a good impression and introduction of my business. Past topics have included:

  • Pay Per Click Advertising Basics
  • Create a Referal Machine That Works Everyday
  • Tips and Tools for Greater Productivity

Build trust

I’m all for testing out various formats on webinars to see what works best for you and your audience, but if there is one thing I’m against on this type of platform, it’s selling. Don’t sell, give. Repeat that sentence over and over again so that it sticks with you.

Use your webinars to help your audience solve a problem they’re having. This helps to establish trust and credibility, which are two attributes that are key if you want somebody to eventually buy from you.

Convert

A percentage of people who attend your awareness-based webinars will want to know how they can act on that useful content, so you need to be prepared for this question and create a webinar that outlines how you might be able to help them.

A conversion-based webinar can even be used to deliver a proposal to a prospect.

Duct Tape Marketing Example – Whenever a person expresses interest in the network, we recommend the next step is to attend our Benefit Discovery Session that takes place twice per month. In this webinar, I showcase the many benefits of partnering with the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network and explain why many consultants believe it is the best business decision they’ve ever made.

Additionally, we conduct Total Online Presence Audits where we provide a detailed report that shows a business the highest priority issues for optimizing their online presence. This report is presented in a webinar format.

Train

Once you have clients, you can continue ongoing engagements through webinars, covering anything from onboarding to new feature rollouts and demonstrations.

Duct Tape Marketing Example – Within the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network, there is a plethora of tools, templates, and processes to get consultants up and running to make more money fast. Along with the benefits mentioned above, we also have Breakthrough Training Series calls bi-weekly for consultants, that address hot topics and best practices to further their marketing knowledge and expertise.

We also use webinars to train new consultants on our systems and processes which have proven to work very well thus far.

Report results

If you’re in marketing, you know how important it is to follow metrics and report the results from your efforts. Webinars are a great way to deliver this information, whether it be to a client or an internal team.

Duct Tape Marketing Example – We present mid-month reports to our clients, and it’s almost always through a webinar. The people we present to appreciate this efficient and interactive method.

Referrals

Once you have educational content, you can start to offer it to strategic partners, which can eventually lead to guest appearances on their webinars or webinar collaborations between the two of you. This helps to increase your referrals and eventually lead to more business.

Duct Tape Marketing Example – I’ve developed relationships with numerous people within the industry that have helped me build up my client base and expand my referrals. For example, through relationships I’ve established, I’m doing webinars for BuzzSumo, SCORE, American Marketing Association, and Copyblogger this quarter alone. This helps to expand my exposure, reach new audiences, and increase my referral network.

Helpful tips

Best practices for conducting a webinar

There are numerous ways you can run a webinar, but below are a few best practices I would follow regardless of the format:

  • Narrow in on a topic that the webinar will focus on and stick to it.
  • Don’t read off the slides – you can reference the points on the screen, but be sure to elaborate and expand on them to add value.
  • Practice, practice, practice – Until you’re a master webinar host, and even after you become one, it’s important that you practice so that you have a good handle on your talking points as well as your timeline (this is especially important for webinars that have a strict cut off time).
  • Promote the webinar – no matter how great the content you’re presenting is, none of it will matter if nobody sees it.
  • Make an engaging slide deck – you need to keep people focused on your presentation, and this starts with the visuals.
  • Test your technology – I always log on a few minutes before the webinar start time to ensure everything is running smoothly from a technical perspective (this includes checking to make sure your computer is fully charged).

Tools

To implement these webinars effectively, you need to make sure you’re using the right tools. We use the following for various types of webinars, and I highly recommend you check each of them out to see what will work best for you.

Those are the most effective use cases for how I use webinars throughout each phase of the customer journey. If you’re using them for additional purposes, I’d love to hear what they are!

4 The 10-Step Road Map To Promoting Webinars

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Samuel Faith – Enjoy!

7552515652_5fb8fa48ba_zWhen it comes to content marketing, nothing is better than a good webinar. You can educate, inform, engage and convert your target market – all at once. Independent reports from inbound marketing experts indicate that webinars can significantly boost your expert status, build meaningful and engaging relationships with your customers, and turn your audience into high converting prospects.

But creating webinars is just one part of the equation. Promoting them is equally important too to maximize so here is a comprehensive 10-step roadmap for you to effectively promote your webinars.

1. Define Proper and Measurable Objectives

Having specific objectives help you to measure your success and ROI. Most of us don’t plan properly, and having specific objectives happen to be an afterthought for most of them. Without any objectives to help you measure, you won’t know how well your webinar performs and thus you can’t improve anything.

Your objectives will vary depending on your business needs, but most of them will fall into the following categories:

  1. To educate and inform
  2. To generate qualified leads
  3. To gather market response and feedback

Clearly defining your objects will also help you when you promote your webinar, as well as planning the presentation delivery. What you do for each objective categories will be different.

2. Set Realistic Expectations

Expectations are not quite same as goals. Usually, we might have unrealistic expectations or too vague ones that we don’t even know what we should measure using the objectives. Knowing and having realistic expectations also help us in follow-up plans. Whatever your expectations are, keep in mind that webinars are not for massive immediate boost in sales, but rather to build relationships and generate new leads.

3. Estimate Audience Response

There is no easy way to estimate audience response, for there are many influencing factors. However, here are a few factors that you can consider to estimate your audience response.

  1. Your current blog and email subscribers. Look at the numbers such as usual response rates. Check out how many percentage of subscribers are active in engaging with you. These are the same people that are likely to have an interest in your webinar.
  2. Targeting metrics. If you have specific targeting metrics, then you will have a lot closer chance to estimate your response from that target group.
  3. Your content and offer. If your webinar content sucks, then nobody will come. You can’t lie to audience with just promotional materials. t will also depends on the offer you are going to give as an incentive.
  4. Your web traffic. This is seasonal as it depends on other marketing efforts too. The traffic can spike. So if your webinar is promoted on your site during the time of traffic spike, then your webinar will receive a lot of responses.

4. Determine and Set Your Cost Per Lead

Cost per lead is basically your cost for hosting and promoting a webinar for each participant. Sum up everything and divided by the number of participants you get. Knowing your cost per lead can help you out in determining your cost per acquisition for each customers. It is always good to keep this cost low, and if you have your own email list or partnering with someone with a good list, then this cost will go down too. If your promotional efforts pay off and you gain a lot of participants and interests, then your cost per lead will be low as well.

5. Maximize Your Attendance Rate

Statistics show that actual turn-out rate from all webinar registrants is between 40% to 60%. The rest will flake or just forget about your webinar, unless it is paid. Maximizing attendance rate is not really hard. You can use a good reminder sequence via email, and SMS reminder just a couple hours before webinar starts. Offering good incentives can compel them to attend your event too.

6. Conversion Matters

Conversion is all about maths and you can easily figure it out once you know the industry’s standard conversion rates, click-through rates and open rates, as well as your own data. If you already have an email list, then you definitely have all those data.

A well-articulated offer on a well-managed email list, with good email subject can get you around 10% to 15% click-through rate. Average will be 5% to 10%. If your webinar topic is highly relevant and timely, then you can expect even better.

Your landing page is important too. A well-optimized page with good copy, minimal form fields (ideal is just name and email) and good incentives for visitors to sign up can convert convert as low as 25% of visitors. Hopeful rate will be 40%. However, it is not unheard of to convert 70% to 80% with well-optimized landing pages.

7. Ask For An Expert To Be Guest Speaker

Even if you are an established expert, your webinar event will reap more benefits if you partner up with another expert. He will have his own list and blog readers. Besides, it will also deliver more value to your audience as well as his. In fact, it is known that you can get as many as 200% to 300% boost in webinar sign-up rate. This is especially helpful if you and your business are not well-known players yet. Your visibility will also shoot up when you have a high-profile guest speaker.

8. Build An Optimized Registration Page

Landing pages are important, but so are registration pages. They should not be an afterthought at all. For some, they may separate landing page from emails and registration page as two entities, or they may use only one page for both purpose. Here are a few critical things you should not have on a registration page.

  1. Too many form fields. Did you know that every extra form fields required to fill out will lose 5% of your prospects? If you have 3 fields, then that is already 15%. Name and email are enough. Follow up the rest later.
  2. Having links leading to other pages. If your registration page or landing page is hosted on your main website, make sure that the page is standalone and none of your navigation links are there. In fact, don’t put ANY links that will lead people away to any other pages.
  3. Not having social proof. People will trust you more if you show social proof. Things like testimonials from previous webinars, information about your high-profile guest speaker, and mainstream media coverage on you – all of them can give you massive boost in social proof.

9. Do Split Tests Again & Again, Then Improve

It is absolutely critical to test our message in the promotional contents to know which ones works the best. For emails, test different subjects. For landing pages, do A/B split tests. You might not get it right at the first time but after a few times, you will get enough data to know that what works, and what doesn’t. Then you can improve for future events. If you want to get good examples, subscribe to Obama’s email campaigns. He has some of the most talented copywriters and email marketers.

10. Don’t Forget To Remind And Follow-up

Not every registrants will remember that they have an awesome webinar to attend. What you should do is send out well-timed reminder emails and SMS. Always remind your registrants one week ahead, then 1 day ahead, and 1 hours before the event. Don’t keep sending SMS reminders all the time though, and it is best to send out an SMS reminder together with the final reminder email.

After your webinar event ends, send out a thank you email to all those attend. And make sure you keep your word and give them access to your giveaways, as well as follow-up your audience. You may want to send a survey, or a special offer. It all depends on what’s your end-goal is. You can also send recording of your webinar to everybody, including those who didn’t show up.

profile_picSamuel Faith is a content marketing specialist with a focus on technology, marketing and entrepreneurship. He is a big believer of the role of webinars in content marketing and currently running http://www.bestWebinar.com, a website where he reviews and talks about webinars.

25 5 Ways to Share Content to Create Referrals

Creating valuable, education based content is half the ticket to selling these days. The other half, of course, is getting that content read and in the hands of prospects.

Share contentWriting a blog, hosting content on your website and spreading the word on you social networks are all great places to start, but another great way to use and amplify content is to attract partners that you can share content with and help you turn that content into referrals.

Below is a list of five ways to start thinking about doing just that.

1) Guest post – It used to be that writing articles and publishing them to article directories was sound advice. It’s still not a bad way to get some exposure, but writing as a guest author for blogs read by your prospective market is a far stronger play these days. Blogs generally have a following developed by the publisher and therefor an audience that comes back and reads or content that search engines find highly indexable.

By approaching blogs that seem to have the kind of topics and readers relevant to your market and offering up valuable content you can potentially borrow the trust, also known as being referred, built by that blogger to gain added exposure to your message or expertise.

A couple of thoughts on finding blogs. Use search tools like Bloglines or Placeblogger to find related or local bloggers. While it would be great to get a guest post on the highest traffic blogs you might want to focus on blogs that are smaller and perhaps in the end, more relevant to your subject. Scan past posts to see if they appear to want guest posts and offer up original content either in the form of a full post or by way of an email outlining what you could write about. Make sure you add very brief contact information, but don’t sell in the post.

2) Host a group – Social networking platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Slideshare and Flickr all allow members to create groups. A group can be gathered around a single niche topic or even a location. By forming a group around content, community events or how to do something specific, you have the opportunity to create a place where prospects and partners might want to gather and refer others.

The key to this play is that the group needs to be all about something valuable, a what’s in it for the members only approach, or it won’t garner any attention. You don’t have to think strictly in terms of a group topic that is related to your business either. If you are trying to attract locals, a group that appeals to locals might be a group way to turn content into referrals. This Boston Networking Group on LinkedIn was founded by Jeff Popin, owner of BostonEventGuide.com. With over 3,000 members, there’s a pretty good bet this group serves as a conduit for Popin’s main business locally.

3) Bring a friend – People love free content events such as workshops and webinars. They are great ways to deliver content and great ways for people looking for information to learn from an expert. One way to build audience and generate referrals is to create “bring a friend” events. The idea here is that you can come for free, but you must bring a friend as the price of admission. You can automate the process of sign-up using tools like MeetUp or Eventbrite.

Bring a friend is a great way to expand your referral base and, as long as we’ve got the audience, make a referral oriented offer to all in attendance. If you sell a product or service make them a two for one deal today only. They get to buy today’s incredible program and get a second one free to give a friend.

4) Offer content co-branding – You’ve worked and slaved over the perfect white paper, “how to” series of articles, or video tutorials and people seem to really like them. Why not take that content to potential strategic partners (really any non-competing business that also targets your same ideal customer) and offer to let them use it. Most businesses these days realize they should be producing content like this, but hey, who has the time. Then you show up with a great little package of information all ready to go and you even let them put there logo and contact information inside when they offer it up their prospects, customers and network.

This is a great way to get in front of very large audiences as a referral. Making it very easy for people to do something they know they should is a great way to get the attention of a potential big referral fish.

5) Create an event – This one is pretty closely related to the last two, but once you’ve created a workshop or seminar, you can always take it to potential strategic partners and offer to provide it at no cost to their customer base (you get referred as the expert) – of course, don’t forget to tell them about the bring a friend approach.

To amp this approach up even more round-up four or five of the partners that you worked with in number four above and come up with an entire day or half day of great topics that your target market will find irresistible. Then each of you promote the event to your customer and prospect bases (bring a friend) and fill up the event. You can do this for free or low cost, but the goal is to get exposure and referrals from your partners while providing content that can be re-purposed in any number of ways. You can do this online off and don’t forget to record so you can use the archives in new ways too!

Image credit: miss rogue

6 Making Sense of Social Media for Your Business

verticalrespsonseMy good friends at Vertical Response are hosting a webinar this Friday, Jan 23 at 10 am PST titled – Making Sense of Social Media for Your Business.

This is, as you know, a subject near and dear to my heart, but this one is really near and dear to my heart because it’s being conducted in part by this really sharp young lady named Jenna Jantsch (yes, that’s my daughter!)

I offered to share my wisdom with her as she prepared, but she declined, I guess some things never change.

Business owners need to tap the power of social media in ways that make sense – keep learning! You can register for the event here

10 Are You Time Zone Challenged?

With the move to Internet technology, marketers are easily reaching prospects around the country and around the world through teleseminars, online meetings and webinars.

Serving this world community or being served as a member of the world community presents some folks with time zone issues.

This seems like such a silly thing to devote a post to, but I get lots of questions every time I host an event.

Like, but what time does that make it in Arizona (no daylight savings time there), what’s the difference between PST and PDT? (one is the standard time and one is the designation for daylight savings time and you need to use the correct one throughout the year to be most correct), what’s a GMT anyway? (very American question, but Greenwich Mean Time is the 0 time and I’m in GMT-6 or Central Time in the US)

Okay, none of that really matters though if you just use this online World Clock. You don’t need to know much about time accept that if you are attending a webinar that is listed as Noon CST, just plug that into the world clock and it will determine the current offset of time.

You can even set-up meeting planners that allow you to input the four different cities of the attendees and produce a table of times for all concerned. You can create a personal world clock and always know what time it is in your most frequented time zones and cities.

If you market online with events it’s a good idea to publish a link to this kind of tool on your registration and event pages so that people can access the correct time of the event.

I have noticed that this issue seems to challenge men and women in different ways, but that’s all I’m on that.

6 Slideshare offers tools for presenters

I’ve been using a tool called Slideshare ever since a group asked if they could share one of my presentations with attendees about a year ago.

The service allows you to upload PowerPoint and PDF slide decks and then converts them to a player that can be tagged and made public.

Recently, they also added something called Slidecasts, which allow you to also upload and sync an audio file to create an entire online presentation if you like. As you see below, you can also embed the slides on a web page or blog. There are other ways to accomplish this same thing with the use of Camtasia or iMovie, but this one is really simple.

Another thing I love about the site is that it’s a wealth of inspiration for what to do and what not to do when it comes to slide presentation design and content.

If you present workshops, seminars, or just your latest ideas as a small business owner or marketer, I would like to invite you to join a group I’ve formed on Slideshare just for small business presenters. Join the group and upload, share and comment great small business presentations in an effort to get better at this key marketing skill.

Slide show with audio: Let’s Get Social