By Patrick Cahill
"I wrote a book and did deliver a webinar to 900 people. Only 3 bought a book. Nobody hired me as an executive coach." ~Anonymous
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Ouch. The above statement came during the Q&A session of our most recent live public webinar, How to Hit Your Growth Goals with Webinar.
So webinars didn't work for that firm it seems, huh? Well, before we call NYC’s Major Case Squad to investigate this quick and dramatic death of the webinar, let us dissect the failing tactic to determine if there is hope.
A webinar with 900 attendees! That’s exciting. As marketers, it’s always comforting to have big numbers. How many people are on your e-mail list? Or, how many Twitter followers do you have? Or, how many webinar registrations have you received?
I associate big numbers as security blankets. We can hide behind them. The key is to ask what those numbers represent: Are they targeted or qualified prospects?
By all means, 900 potentials buyers is better than 200. But 900 unqualified, irrelevant viewers at your webinar are worth less than one real prospect. Remember that.
We want those that read our e-mails, download our thought leadership, and attend our events to be the same individuals that will buy our services.
|1 targeted prospect > 900 randoms at an event
Our marketing egos may disagree, but the ultimate success of our firms hinges on equations like these.
Question: Did those I targeted with my marketing and who subsequently registered for my event have the potential to buy of my services? Is there a possibility I’m hiding behind big numbers?
Relevance and Value Conveyed
When you have that targeted audience in attendance, make sure you deliver what you promised in your marketing copy and provide value. Teach them something!
If prospects register for your free webinar, most likely they’re looking to learn something. And, surprisingly, it’s probably not to discover all the great services you have to offer. (That is especially true early in your relationship.)
Make sure you lead with the value you will provide when you market your webinar—what will they walk away knowing that will immediately help them? And deliver that value, and more, during the event.
Do not pitch.
Question: Is your webinar truly providing valuable content to your targeted prospects? Or are you simply sharing enough to mask your sales pitch/demo? Will you prospects leave your webinar better able to do their job—without needing to purchase your services? They should be.
Professionalism During the Event
Strong firms with significant intellectual property to share often develop marketing campaigns to drive registrations to an online event. Prospects attend, ready to soak in the value to be delivered.
Too often though, the audio cuts out; the presenter forgot to practice; the technology is not easy to use for attendees; the event starts 12 minutes late; everyone has to log back in because there was a “crash.”
We’ve all experienced that webinar. You feel sorry for the company. They just launched a campaign to hurt their brand and undercut the relationships they were developing.
Live events are intimidating because of these very concerns. However, webinars are also very powerful and worth the risk when effort is made to mitigate those concerns.
Use the best technology available, practice with all the moving parts in place until everyone involved is bored with the content. Have contingency plans for when things invariably do go wrong.
Question: Given the time and resources committed to the event delivery: Is everything possible being done to ensure the firm is positively positioned during the live event? Even if it is your first webinar, your prospects don’t want an amateur performance. (Check out our white paper, The 7 Keys to Running a Glitch-Free Webinar, for some helpful tips.)
Do the Numbers Add Up?
If your major goal is to sell books—don’t do webinars. Make sure the relationships you are developing have the real potential of translating into profits. Putting on live events properly is an expensive and time-intensive exercise. And it’s a no-brainer for firms that sell significant services with long client relationships.
Make sure you do the math. Understand the path from webinars to ROI at your firm. We have a simple worksheet in our success kit that may help direct your thinking.
Question: Given the required investment in time and resources, do webinars make sense to market the service provided by my firm?
Next Steps…to the Conversion
Next steps are immensely important. Starting at the end of your live event, suggest they engage in a certain activity. Have your prospects further qualify themselves.
Immediate next steps could be anything—but make sure it is clearly presented at the end of the webinar and helps progress prospects a step closer to being your newest clients.
Make sure to personally follow up with, at a minimum, those who had questions related to your services. Ask if they would like a meeting to discuss the specifics as they relate to their companies. Continue leading with your expertise and the value you can offer. Continue to reinforce the trust you began to establish during the live event.
I have personally participated in campaigns that are ten times more successful because of proactive, phone-based, business development follow-up. What does that mean? For every one meeting request you receive from a prospect that attends your events there are ten more out there willing to engage in further conversations—if you just ask.
Question: Before the event takes place, is there a business development follow-up plan in place? Are prospects divided and time set aside to make calls and send e-mails? How are you going to capture all the potential your webinar generated?
Nurture, Nurture, Nurture!
Perhaps the biggest concern I had when seeing, “I wrote a book and did deliver a webinar to 900 people. Only 3 bought a book. Nobody hired me as an executive coach,” is that this individual thought they could do one webinar and be set.
Our prospects will not remember us. They will forget how excited they were after the event. As our business developer here at Rally Point says, “It’s not their job to remember or call us. It’s ours.”
You cannot be successful with one webinar in an abyss of non-marketing. You must constantly reinforce your expertise among those prospects you generated with more content, more shared expertise. That can mean webinars, white papers, newsletter issues, in-person seminars, etc.
A rule of thumb is to touch your prospects once a month with some form of value. It is hard work, but it's worth it. That effort allows you to fully realize the long-term potential of the leads you generate.
Question: How will we nurture all the leads the live event generated, understanding most leads will not have immediate needs for our services? Do we have enough content depth to consistently provide value?
And with That, We’re Done The above questions help determine if online events really won't work for your firm. If webinars, or any thought leadership tactics for that matter, aren’t working, review:
- Audience Fit
- Relevance and Value Conveyed
- The ROI Numbers
- Next Steps…to the Conversion
- Nurture, Nurture, Nurture!
I’m confident that if you review your underperforming webinar campaigns with the above framework you’ll be able to make them a success. See? No need for the Major Case Squad—an appearance on ER will do the trick.
Patrick R. Cahill is a principal at Rally Point Webinars who specializes in marketing, business operations, and CRMs. Click here to email Patrick.