John Jantsch: Webinars. Everybody’s doing them, right? Well yeah, right, everybody’s doing them, but are they doing them well and are you using them in your business? I think that webinars are a great tool to use for every stage of the customer journey, not just as a sell tool, as a hard sell tool, like so many people use it. In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I speak with Omar Zenhom. Not only has he been running webinars and teaching people how to do webinars, he’s actually created an amazing software for doing webinars called Webinar Ninja, so check out this episode.
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Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Omar Zenhom, the author of The $100 MBA and a podcast by the same name, and he’s also the creator of a webinar platform called Webinar Ninja that has a new, shiny release that we’re going to talk about a little bit today. Omar, thanks for joining me.
Omar Zenhom: Thank you, John. It’s great to be here.
John Jantsch: So you have a whole course on webinars. You see a lot of webinars. I’m sure you consume a lot of webinars just in your kind of daily business. In your opinion what makes a good webinar? And I know there’s probably a lot of answers to that, but generally speaking.
Omar Zenhom: That’s a great question, because there’s so many people that are doing webinars today and I’ve seen a lot of them, just some of the taste-makers in our marketplace, and I find that the best thing that somebody can do when it comes to running a webinar is making sure that they’ve been able to convey some sort of value in a way that people can use. So a lot of people, they like to just do a value dump where they’re just like, “I’m going to tell them everything they need to know about golf,” and just if [inaudible 00:02:24] golf expert, let’s say, for example, and it’s just like an information dump.
And then there’s some people that on the other end of the spectrum they’ll maybe banter a lot and they’ll just go on and on and they just really don’t give a lot of information. Both camps are really not useful because when you just have some sort of information dump, it’s just so hard to retain all that information. And when you’re just bantering and you’re not really giving a lot of information, people feel like it’s kind of a waste of time. So what you’re really trying to do here is you’re trying to give specific information, give specific value in a way that they can retain it.
In my previous life, I was an educator for 13 years as a high school and university educator, and that’s one of the first things you learn, that when you’re teaching a classroom of students is that it’s not about how much information you give it’s just how well they can retain it. So you got to keep in mind that whatever I teach, let me see how I can make sure that they can retain it and implement it. That’s how they’re going to feel like they got a win. That’s how they’re going to feel like, “Wow, this wasn’t a waste of time. Wow, this was great. This person gave me a whole bunch of value that I can use, and it’s very applicable,” and they go away remembering your webinar and having that trust built with you so they can go ahead and purchase a product of yours or check out your next piece of content.
John Jantsch: I suppose it’s like any good presentation. There has to be that narrative arc that brings it all together, that keeps people interested, but then also, like you said, delivers a lot of value.
Omar Zenhom: Definitely, yeah.
John Jantsch: So you kind of alluded to this. I’ve probably been doing webinars for 15 years or so, and it used to be a really unique thing. I probably get 10 webinars pitched at me a day now. So what about that kind of glut? What is that doing even to the consuming, educating market? Is it too much, or is there still a purpose for it?
Omar Zenhom: Well, what I love about that dynamic is that when there’s so much going on, when there’s so many webinars or there’s so many videos on YouTube or whatever it is, it’s so easy to rise to the top. It’s so easy to stand out because people are just used to a mediocre presentation. So if you just do a few small things that differentiate yourself, that makes you a little bit better than the rest, you stand out and people remember you. Person that comes to mind is Tim Page. Tim Page is one of the best I’ve seen on webinars, so much so that we’ve hired him at Webinar Ninja to do our webinars because he’s so good.
John Jantsch: So a lot of people view, and I want to talk about various uses of webinars, but certainly the one that a lot of people see is the webinar that is selling something.
Omar Zenhom: Right.
John Jantsch: Are there some effective ways to, and again, you see people that are just like boom boom boom, they sell a lot but everybody comes away feeling kind of sleazy at the end, right?
Omar Zenhom: Yeah.
John Jantsch: So is there an effective way to both get people what they need but also not kind of come off as the hard sell?
Omar Zenhom: Definitely. There are two strategies that I’ve found that are really effective when it comes to this. The first strategy is just to be very honest about it from the start. A lot of people they talk about the problem they want to solve, they say that this is what this lesson’s all about, they’ll spend about 20 minutes on their back story or something like that, talking about their war stories. And then they spend about a good 30 minutes pitching at the end. And the whole time they’re watching the webinar they kind of feel like this is coming. “Oh my gosh, when are they gonna sell, when is the other shoe’s gonna drop?”
So one strategy is just to be upfront about it in the beginning, like the first five minutes. “Hey guys, this is what we’re gonna be covering today, this is what today’s webinar’s all about.” Or, “The first thing that I’m gonna just do right now is get it out of the way. We have an offer today, this is what the offer is. I’ll be going into detail what it’s all about. I’ll even give you a quick warning before I start this offer at the end so if you want to leave, no problem, no hard feelings.” I like to joke around about that. They feel like, “Oh, this person’s a real person,” and it also just lowers the anxiety. Like, “Okay, I know what this product’s all about, I know that this person’s just being honest with me, they’re an entrepreneur and they want to offer me something that can help me.” But then we can just move [inaudible 00:07:01]. “Okay guys, that’s a quick glimpse of what today’s offer is and the bonuses. And let’s move on to the lesson and let’s move on to the workshop.” And at the end I can go into detail and refer back to what I was talking about. A lot of people like that because you just feel like, “Okay, this is different and it just makes me feel comfortable.”
The second strategy that I saw that has been really effective, and I picked this up actually from our mutual friend Michael [Port 00:07:27]. So what he does is he actually has no pitch on the webinar. So what he says at the start, he says, “Hey guys, we’re gonna be doing a workshop and I do have a product that can really help you take your public speaking to the next level.” That’s his area of expertise, for those of you who are listening. “But I’m not gonna be talking about this today. You’re all automatically registered to another webinar tomorrow at the same time, and that’s when I’ll be talking about the product and you can ask all the questions about the product at that time.” And that’s all he talks about. That’s it, that’s the last time he talks about the product.
And then throughout the webinar people will ask questions like, “Hey, so do you have a payment plan for this product you mentioned?” “Well, really sorry but we’re not going to be talking about it today. Today’s the workshop, tomorrow you can ask all the questions you want.” And it makes people feel comfortable and it also makes people understand that this is not a sales webinar. What’s great about this is that the next day when he runs that second webinar for everybody who’s invited, everybody who was registered to that first webinar, it’s just fair game. Everybody expects him to sell, everybody expects him to talk about the product, everybody knows what they’re going to get. And they can ask buying questions and it’s just so much easier for Michael because he can just be himself and sell the product, and at the same product no one’s kind of guessing what this webinar’s all about.
John Jantsch: Yeah, and I wrote a blog post recently about using webinars in every stage of the customer journey. And I think that that’s kind of the key point there is that the first one was maybe awareness and trust building. And so then once you earn that trust then it’s like, “Come back tomorrow,” and you’re going to be ready to buy maybe even because you’ve kind of moved to the next stage. And clearly some of the people don’t come because they are in that stage. And so I think that’s a real key too. So many people just want to sell sell sell, and you’ve got to earn, I think, the opportunity. I have done webinars where we were down to 10 people left that wanted to get on the call, but all 10 of those people wanted to buy and they just needed a couple questions answered because they had gone through several gates, if you will, or stages. And I think people need to realize that this medium is no different than running an ad or something that would tell somebody to buy.
Omar Zenhom: Definitely. And I love what you said there because I firmly believe you can’t make anybody buy anything. Some people that use pressure sales, that sale’s not going to stick. They’re going to return it, they’re going to cancel, or they’re just going to have a bad taste in their mouth. So you really can’t make anybody buy. Plus you’ve worked so hard, you’ve spent so much time and effort and money to earn that trust to get them on the webinar. No, it takes a lot to try to promote that webinar. Don’t lose that trust, allow them to feel comfortable and buy when they’re ready.
John Jantsch: I tell you another side of using webinars that I don’t hear enough people talking about is we use them to serve our customers. So in other words we do a ton of training with webinars, we do a ton of added value or kind of helping them along with something that maybe they’re struggling with. And we also use it for a lot of internal things too. So I think companies should probably look at internal training and training of customers and serving customers as a way to think about webinars as well.
Omar Zenhom: That’s true. We love the idea of doing live training, live Q&A for your current customers. It’s a great way to [inaudible 00:10:59], it’s a great way to keep your customers happy. And these are really low maintenance kind of webinars, there’s no real performance needed because you can send an email out to all your customers or specific customers once a month and say, “Hey, it’s an AMA, ask me anything,” open Q&A, and people can ask you questions, people can get advice. And it’s just a great way for you to kind of hop on. It doesn’t have to be long webinar, it could be 30 minutes and ask a few questions, and feel like they’re being supported. Some people are really surprised when they get an email and the founder of the company shows up and answers questions for 30, 40 minutes once a month. They’re like, “Wow.” Sometimes that’s just enough for them to be like, “Okay, I’m going to hang on with this company. Even if I’m not using it right now I know I want to use them in the future so let me just sit tight, because these guys care.”
John Jantsch: And I think that you can only do so much with an email, but you get on and maybe you’re video sharing, and there’s just so much more trust that could be there, there’s so much more feeling of connection. And it’s not unlike, I should say, flying across the country and sitting in somebody’s office.
Omar Zenhom: I love that.
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So you have spent a great deal of time and effort and sweat and blood building a webinar platform of your own. Let me ask you this. What was sort of missing from the myriad of platforms out there that had you kind of say, “Why gosh darn it, I’m building my own.”
Omar Zenhom: Oh wow, that’s a good question. The funny thing is that I built Webinar Ninja by accident. I just built it out of my own necessity to scratch my own itch. I was running webinars to promote our membership program, the $100 MBA. I was using it also to support our member’s office hours. And I just couldn’t stand the solutions that are out there. They were clunky, they were not complete solutions. Often I’d have to build all these other components on the side whether like my own email notification system through my email marketing, and then I would have to do a follow-up of sequence and have my own landing pages. And then when I was doing it there was no kind of built in chat, so I had to have a separate chat. So it was almost too much trouble than it was worth.
And I was just like, “But I like doing these webinars,” because again, I’m a teacher by trade and I loved the medium and I was like, “Okay, let me see if I can just slap something together to make my life easier every time I run a webinar.” No intention to make this a commercial success. I’m a self-taught developer, if you want to even call me that. I just know simple HTML, CSS, some PHP. I couldn’t even complete it, I got a freelancer off freelancer.com to help me out to just clean it up. And then I started using it and my members that I was doing the webinar for were like, “Hey, I love what you’re using for this webinar. What is it?” And I was like, “Oh, it’s just something I slapped together.” And they’re like, “Oh, can I buy it?” And I was like, “Can you give me like a day to put up a sales page?”
But in all seriousness I think what attracted people to it and why we decided to say, “Hey, let’s open this up and see if people actually are interested in it,” is because we really just wanted to make it easier for people to create and run webinars, to let the technology kind of fade in the background and let their content kind of shine. There’s so many platforms out there that promote, that have all these features or they’re going to make your business blow up and all of this stuff. But when they actually go and create a webinar or use it’s just tedious, it takes 10 steps to create a webinar. It kind of just prevents you from doing them consistently. So that’s why we like to say is Webinar Ninja is just better webinars with no worries. You just go in, it takes 10 seconds to create a webinar. We do everything in the background, we create all the landing pages and the notifications and everything for you. If you want to geek out there’s advanced settings or you can edit all the stuff. But if you don’t you can just rub the webinar instantly. It just makes things just so much easier for people.
And when it comes to running the webinar we want to kind of just, again, let you shine. And we let you control everything on one screen so you can upload your slides and show your slides while you’re presenting so you don’t have to share your screen or use PowerPoint if you don’t want to. You can manage all the layouts, you can chat, you can answer questions, all that kind of stuff. And I built it as an educator. That’s why I built it because I wanted to make sure it’s a great tool for teaching, because I believe teaching is the new learning, and the new selling. Sorry, teaching is the new learning. Teaching is the new selling.
John Jantsch: Well I learn a lot more when I try to teach something so I’ll let you have that too.
Omar Zenhom: Yeah. So yeah, that’s really kind of the driving force or the influence I’ve had on Webinar Ninja, making it a great teaching tool that people like using. So yeah, I’m a firm believer as an entrepreneur. There’s so many great ideas out there, it’s really the person that implements it the best is who wins. And that’s what I’m trying to do.
John Jantsch: Well so I have, because I’ve been doing this a long time, because I do a lot of webinars for people, I’ve been on every platform probably that’s ever been created. And I will say that the common threat is they all lack a sense of elegance at all, and I think that in your latest update, 5.0, is that what we’re calling it?
Omar Zenhom: Yep.
John Jantsch: I think you’ve added an element of elegance that really doesn’t exist in a lot of the other platforms. Was that intentional or is that just hard work has eventually got you there?
Omar Zenhom: No, it was incredibly intentional. When we were working on 5.0 about 18 months ago it was like on the top of my list to hire the best talent when it came to design. And we went through so many interviews and finally we found [Irina 00:18:13] who is our head UX/UI designer. And on the interview I remember her, this is just a great story, I was asking her, “Hey, can you tell me a little bit about your experience and how your experience can contribute to our company?” And she came to the interview and said, “Hey, I actually signed up for your platform, I took a look at all your UI, your current UI, and hey, can I just share my screen? This is some mock ups I created where I think it would really much, a lot better for UI for the next version.” And she just came with these designs which were great, but it was kind of like the early stages of what 5.0 are. I was just like, “Okay, this woman’s got to get hired right now because she just gets it.”
And she understands that it’s not only elegant and it’s not only supposed to kind of make you look good as a contributor, as a teacher, as an entrepreneur, but also make people’s life easier, just make people say, “Oh, this is friendly, this is easy.” It’s one of the things we try to do with our brand is to kind of not make webinars seem so intimidating. And we want to make sure it’s approachable. In fact on our about page everybody on the page is a cartoon character dressed up as a ninja. So we just make everybody kind of approachable. And that’s really what we try to do with the UI is to really make people feel like, “Hey, this looks great, this makes me look professional.” But at the same time my attendees are going to feel like, “Wow, this is easy to use and I want to attend something that looks like this.”
John Jantsch: So without getting too technical, what’s the delivery platform built on? In other words I know in original versions there was a Google Plus integration. Has that gone away or is that still a part of it?
Omar Zenhom: Yeah, so Google Hangouts was a part of what Webinar Ninja was. It was part of kind of our history I guess. And I got to thank Google for giving us that kind of technology. But it couldn’t service forever, it was kind of like a stepping stone because Google Hangouts has a delay of about 30 seconds, or sometimes it gets as good as 15 seconds. But as an educator, as a teach, you know that that’s not so great with interaction. If I say, “Hey, let me know what you think of this thing on my slide,” and the chat the answers are like 15, 30 seconds late, it’s not really interactive, it’s not really great for that kind of technology. Plus I just didn’t like the idea of being reliant on another system that I had no control over.
So over the last 12 year-, 12 months, I’m sorry, we’ve been working on building our own media servers. We work on a technology called Web RTC, which is the latest technology for live video. It’s the video technology that Facebook Live uses or some of the bigger players that do live broadcasting. And it’s something that we really wanted to kind of use, because they’re really going to take us to the next level and allow people to interact in real time with no delay in HD, which is something that we really wanted to do. So that’s the video technology behind Webinar Ninja.
John Jantsch: Awesome. So tell people where they can find it. And we’re recording this show, it’s mid-September 2017, but obviously whenever you’re listening to this it’ll still be available. And we’ll have links in the show notes, so tell us where we can find out about it.
Omar Zenhom: Sure, it’s at WebinarNinja.com. And every plan comes with a 14 day trial, so you don’t get charged anything when you get started. So you can test it out, try it out, run a few webinars, see for yourself if it’s the right fit for you. Yeah, so go check it out, WebinarNinja.com.
John Jantsch: Well Omar, thanks so much, or Oman, thanks so much for joining us. And I’d venture to say the Citrix is nervous.
Omar Zenhom: Well I know how hard it is to create a webinar platform so a lot of respect to them as well.
John Jantsch: No kidding. All right, thanks. Hopefully we’ll into you soon out there on the road.
Omar Zenhom: Take care.
John Jantsch: Hey, thanks for listening to this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Wonder if you could do me a favor? Could you leave an honest review on iTunes? Your ratings and reviews really help and I promise I read each and every one. Thanks.