This is a weird time. COVID-19, murder hornets, designer masks…the world has really started to get creative.
I know many small businesses are struggling right now. If that includes your business, then it’s time for you to get creative, too.
Start with something you’ve heard of, but never done before: a webinar.
What even is a webinar?
A webinar is a (usually live, but sometimes recorded) video that consumers can sign up for and “attend” online. The word comes from combining “web” with “seminar.”
The point of a webinar is mainly to educate. Sometimes speakers will throw in a soft sell or a promotion of their product.
But that’s not the real reason potential customers sign up. People sign up because they want to learn something new.
How do I know if webinars are right for my business?
I believe webinars are useful for nearly every business. There are two reasons for this:
They show your current customers that you have expertise.
They show potential customers that you’re a trustworthy business that cares about consumers.
Think about it this way. Would you rather buy something from a business that kept all its knowledge locked away and only sold you products? Or would you rather buy from a business that showcased its knowledgeable employees and helped people without the explicit guarantee of a sale?
If you’re like me (and many others) you would go with the latter. That’s because consumers want to feel cared for. They want you to hear their concerns and acknowledge them as people rather than sales numbers.
Webinars allow you to show that. And people need this kind of empathy now more than ever.
5 Reasons to Start Now
Consumers want a connection
We’re in a pandemic. There’s no ignoring this.
With stay-at-home orders in place and social distancing becoming the new norm, people are feeling disconnected. Your digital marketing strategy should recognize this shift and focus on creating a personal connection.
Webinars are a more natural and personal way to interact with your target audience. Instead of just being a brand, you show the real faces and voices behind your company.
People are spending more time online
Pandemic restrictions mean more people have forced free time. And they pass much of this time on the internet.
Those who may not usually sign up for webinars may be willing to give them a try. With a webinar now, you can access people who would otherwise be hard to reach.
They’re one of the best ways to build your audience
Even though people are spending more time online, they may be less likely to make a purchase. High unemployment rates and a troublesome economy made consumers uncertain.
This doesn’t mean you won’t get a return on your investment in creating a webinar. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
People aren’t buying as much, but they still sign up for newsletters, eBook downloads, and — you guessed it — webinars.
If you structure your webinar signup correctly, you will build an impressive list of new names and emails. When people start spending again, this audience already engaged with your brand.
You can run a webinar from anywhere
In your office? Fine. At home in the spare bedroom? Sure. Outside at a public park? I don’t see why not.
As long as you have the proper equipment, you can basically run webinar from anywhere in the world. Keep your social distance — you can still connect online.
You can use it again and again
Like in-person seminars, many webinars run at a scheduled time. But that doesn’t make them a one-time deal.
Record your webinars and you can use them in email campaigns, evergreen content, social media ads, and more. They’re valuable assets not only right now, but also in the future of your content.
What to keep in mind before creating your webinar
Okay, so you’re convinced that you should host a webinar soon. Now what? Here are some webinar basics to get you started.
Structure it just like you would an in-person presentation
Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s entirely different from a seminar you would give in person. Stick to what you do best.
This could mean using an outline and speaking to the camera, creating and sharing a PowerPoint presentation, or even throwing in a little song and dance. You do you.
Not good at public speaking? No problem. Webinars can help you get used to speaking to many people at once, without actually having to stand up in front of a huge crowd.
Create a promotion plan
Treat a webinar like its own marketing campaign. Promote it on social media channels, create new graphics, and definitely give it its own landing page.
Don’t forget about the follow-up
Remember, webinars are one of the best ways to grow your audience and capture leads. Never leave a lead hanging!
After your webinar is over, enroll the email list in a specialized drip campaign. You already have them interested. The real time to shine is after the webinar curtains close.
To complement the drip campaign, you can also create new pieces of content stemming from the webinar topic. Try expanding your ideas to new blog posts and eBooks after the show is over.
Use the right software
There are plenty of choices for webinar hosting software. Growth Marketing Pro reviewed and compared many of the best webinar software, so read through the reviews to find the one with the features that fit your needs (and a price tag to match).
In general, you should look for something that’s reliable and easy for you to understand. Unless you’re a seasoned webinar pro, you don’t need all the bells and whistles to start.
Examples of webinars during coronavirus
Not everything has to relate to the pandemic right now. But if it fits with your brand and you have a great idea to share, I say go for it!
Here are some recent webinars that nailed it — and how they got it right.
Ladies Get Paid
This webinar about personal finance during the pandemic addressed a current pain point. However, it also gave attendees valuable financial info that they could use for the rest of their lives.
Additionally, it sticks with their brand. Ladies Get Paid focuses on business advice and networking for women. This webinar fits.
Had they created a webinar about the science of COVID-19 just to take advantage of possible web traffic, that would be a different story.
On a completely different note, let’s turn to fashion. Retailers took an especially big hit from COVID-19 closures, so Fashion Frameworks created a webinar to address these challenges.
To see what this webinar got right, just look in the bottom right corner…
See the “Watch It Now” button? This webinar is available on the site even after the live event ended. That means Fashion Frameworks has content they can reuse for months to come.
Search Engine Journal
This page on Search Engine Journal looks like a normal blog post. So why am I showing it to you as an example of a webinar?
Originally, this was the topic of a webinar. The webinar came and went, but for SEJ, that didn’t mean the content was over.
What was once a webinar page now redirects to this extensive blog post. In it, the webinar presenter shares insights and screenshots from his presentation.
Like the Fashion Frameworks webinar, this post-webinar strategy allows the site to keep using the content even after the event ends.
Webinars can benefit nearly every business in nearly every niche. If you don’t start now, when will you?
We are living through a unique time. People want connection and they’re spending way more time at home. Webinars are the perfect medium for connecting from anywhere.
Best of all, webinars aren’t a one-time-use form of content. Any webinars you create now you can repurpose later.
You can record them, expand on them, create whole campaigns around them…as cliché as it sounds, the possibilities are endless.
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