Throughout my career, I witnessed close to 100 million USD being generated by webinars that I either worked on directly or supported as an affiliate partner. I’ll let that number sink in.
With the new reality of 2020 – and the demand for online learning bigger than ever before – the volume of webinars grew exponentially.
Unfortunately, that includes the poorly executed ones.
They don’t teach this stuff at school, but it’s crucial to acknowledge before you dive in:
- Webinars require a lot of work and time.
- There is a formula for making webinars successful. You can obviously play with it, but you need to understand the rules first. If you stray too much, a wrong “little change” will end up making a HUGE difference and setting you up for failure.
This article sums up not only my own experience but also the expertise of other specialists from Tribe47, who worked on dozens of successful webinar campaigns.
It’s your shortcut – we’re sharing our proven formula so that you and your team can avoid the costly mistakes, and instead enjoy mindblowing business results.
Make sure you have this one “THING”
You need someone knowledgeable, skillful, and charismatic enough to keep the audience engaged over the 60-90-120 minutes of the training, whether solo or with guests.
As mentioned above, these sessions should feel personal and interactive – ideally not only during the Q&A, but throughout the call. If your audience wanted a one-way experience, they’d just stick to YouTube.
Depending on the nature of the topic, a webinar host can:
- present certain techniques right in front of the camera (for example physical exercises or cooking methods),
- by sharing their screen (for example when using specific software, teaching coding or photo editing),
- by presenting their insights and tips on a slideshow (with illustrations, layouts, pie charts, calculators etc.)
Once you have a host who can stand up to the challenge – start answering the next question.
Could your brand or business actually benefit from webinars?
Theoretically, yes. Anyone in any niche could.
A little insight though: this tool works wonders for businesses in online education, coaching, and consulting. As a matter of fact, to this day, it’s the best way to sell a digital course or program, no matter the field of expertise.
Another insight: the webinars also seem like a lifesaver for businesses that pre-COVID used to give value, generate leads and sales at LIVE events – like big seminars, workshops, and conferences.
If that’s you, start taking notes.
Whatever your niche...
There are 4 main types of online webinars
A webinar, sometimes also known as a masterclass, can be scheduled for a particular date – whether LIVE or pre-recorded – or be on-demand. Meaning, it’s been pre-recorded and your audience will get access to it right away after signing up.
Whether scheduled or on-demand:
- Some webinars are purely informative or educational (like a tutorial with no sales pitch or customer onboarding).
- Some are about showcasing know-how, skills, results, and leadership (like expert interviews packed with case studies).
- Others are purely about promoting and selling (like a new product demo).
- From our experience though, you create the irresistible webinar formula... when you combine all of them.
And that’s what we’ll focus on in this article – the online webinars that boost your revenue and branding, scale your business and deepen your followers’ loyalty.
The Secret Sauce to a successful webinar
Okay, so something that might not be obvious: it’s not enough to just shoot an invitation email, show up on the day and paste them a link to your sales page.
To make your online webinar profitable, you need an entire campaign – aka a webinar funnel.
It must consist of these 3 stages:
Stage 1 – Pre-Webinar Campaign
The campaign starts even before you sent the first invite, by creating a relationship with your audience through the (ungated) content that’s supposed to warm them up. Your webinar will act as a lead magnet – meaning, your leads have to sign up for it and give you their email address.
Stage 2 – Actual Webinar Campaign
In this stage your leads go through various email reminders, retargeting through social media posts, push notifications etc. This campaign doesn’t end up with a webinar, but with a replay promotion. A must: make it available for a short time only and match it with an OTO (One Time Offer) to inspire quick action.
Stage 3 – Post-Webinar Sales Campaign
This stage overlaps the previous one, as it starts DURING the webinar when you pitch your product and reveal your sales page (again, ideally with an OTO). You wrap up this campaign with a sequence of emails and ads, linking the warmed-up audience to your sales page.
Evergreen Webinar Funnel versus LIVE Webinar Funnel
Evergreen Webinar Funnel – Because you’re targeting cold traffic, this webinar funnel starts with a longer warm-up sequence, usually preceded with another type of lead-generation campaign – like an ebook, quiz or checklist download. Yes, that means technically this funnel has two lead magnets (including the webinar sign up).
LIVE Webinar Funnel – Done periodically, this campaign is a great tool when you launch a new product, start a special promotion, reopen applications for your course, etc. The webinar should be LIVE (although some marketers have it pre-recorded, pretending to be LIVE) and finish with a real Q&A or discussion. It also should be unique, with very timely and relevant content. This funnel works best if you’re connecting to the warm audience – meaning you work with strong affiliates, have an active email list, or engaged followers on social media channels.
Tribe47 Webinar Funnel – one of our signature funnels:
I know this diagram might make your eyes jerk, but if executed skillfully, you can expect rather pleasing results – like one of our clients did. And it was way before everyone went online during the lockdown:
But before you’ll pop champagne to celebrate your bright future in digital marketing, let’s dig into the details of a successful webinar funnel.
16-step formula to a profitable webinar campaign:
1. Choose the webinar topic that’s aligned with your Persona, product, and market
Think about your Persona aka your Ideal Client:
- What problems (pain points) are you trying to solve for them?
- Would your final product – and your webinar as a form of communication – be a match for them?
Ask yourself these questions about your product and the market:
- How to position it to emphasize the unique way it’s solving the problem for your persona?
- Where does it fit in the market / How does it compare to your competition / How is it unique or better / Is it following the market trends?
- How much should it cost?
Make sure the topic of your webinar is relevant to your Persona and shows them how your product is their shortcut to the solution they’ve been looking for.
Real-life examples of webinar topics:
- 12 Crucial Cybersecurity Skills For 2021
- 4-Step Formula To Scale Your Business Without Drama
- Leadership 4.0 – How to Lead in the Times of Adversity
2. Choose the format of the webinar
Decide whether it should it be more like a lecture, where the host is presenting a topic (better for a big opening of a campaign) or like a hands-on training session, where the host shows how to work with a certain tool or method (better for reengaging the audience in the middle or at the end of a campaign).
The host can be presenting their know-how right in front of the camera (for example cooking methods), by sharing their screen (when working with software), or by presenting their insights and tips on a slideshow (with illustrations, layouts, pie charts, calculators, etc.)
3. Decide whether you want any guests
The guest can be:
- Another expert that the host is interviewing that supports your method or product.
- A satisfied current or ex-client that shows up to give a testimonial and whose story can serve as a case study.
Either way, the guest is there as social proof – to confirm that what the host says is true.
Remember not to bring in the guests too early – it should be after the host presented the product as a solution and before they start the final pitch.
4. Choose the date and time of the webinar
- Watch out for the holidays! Better not to set up a webinar during big holidays or just before them (people usually buy less online during their days off).
- Days. For business webinars: only Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Treat Monday as your last resort. Friday is not a good day, because people are either already offline, or busy trying to close all their tasks before the weekend, or to finish earlier to start a party 🎉
- Time: according to the stats, the best time for the webinar is between 10 AM and 2 PM. And best don’t interrupt anyone’s lunchtime. However, we’d say that the best time could be found only by experimentation and testing.
- Time zones: always set up a time for different time zones with this tool: Worldtimebuddy. You have to make sure you get this right. Don’t calculate it manually to avoid mistakes.
5. Prepare the agenda
We’re sharing more insights in our webinar script, but the general, simplified outline for a 90-minute webinar usually looks like this:
- 5-minute introduction
- 40-50-minute of content (guest included)
- 10-15-minute sales pitch
- 20-minute LIVE Q&A
6. Webinar Campaign Timeline
You need about 21 days for a standard webinar campaign. Take minimum 7, best 10 days for the Pre-Webinar campaign. In some cases we started promoting the webinar even 2 weeks before it and it still generated hot leads that showed up.
Take at least 7 days for the Post–Webinar Sales Campaign so you give yourself time to close sales and educate them about your product. In some cases we extended the Post-Webinar to as long at 21 days (!) and applied the "discount ladder". If you mix sales content with educational content in the Post-Webinar campaign you can make it really long.
7. Webinar setup
- Choose the webinar system.
Paid one (Zoom, GoToWebinar, WebinarJam etc.) help to understand the behavior of the attendees better and in general have the information who showed up to the webinar. Among free solutions, YouTube might be the best one.
- Set up the event inside the platform.
Make sure that:
- Automated recording settings are on;
- Hosts are added to the platform;
- Moderators are added to the platform;
- Reminder emails are set;
- Webinar time is right.TIP: When choosing the main time zone, pick a big, international city as your reference point. For example, London or New York will be a better choice than Vienna or Nashville 😉
- Connect webinar system (like Zoom) to the Marketing Automation software (like Hubspot). Check the integration: whether the number of registered contacts in growing in your webinar system (Zoom). Double-check this every day.
8. Additional software to use
Add to Event: Add to calendar tool for websites and newsletters. Use it to set up the reminder button for the thank you page and emails.
Make sure the time is right. Test the buttons with your own calendar, to see if it’s adding the event to the right time.
ManyChat: to send the reminders via Facebook messenger (if people sign up for this option on the thank you page).
Typeform: for a pre-webinar survey.
Make sure to connect Typeform with Hubspot (TIP: note that fields for each question in Typeform should match the set up in Hubspot).
Pre-survey is a perfect way to collect more information about attendees, their pain points, and their desires. Plus, the psychology behind it is: when you ask people for additional effort (additional info to share) 👉🏼 they invest more effort 👉🏼 there’s a much higher probability they will show up at the webinar. You could also use the survey results as a case study during the webinar OR use them as the first questions to answer during the Q&A.
9. Must-have Pages
- Landing page: with a persuasive headline + information that the webinar is free + time and date + the sign-up form (on the top and on the bottom of the page).
- Thank you page: with a thank-you copy or video + a button to a pre-webinar survey + Add To Calendar button (Add to Event) + Get a Reminder button (Manychat).
- Replay page: with a webinar video + webinar audio + CTA for your product + your product testimonials. You can either link to your sales page here or showcase it right below the replay video.
10. Must-have Emails
This applies if you have your own email database that you want to invite for the Webinar or you are preparing emails for affiliate partner that will email their list.
- Webinar Promo emails:
- 3-4 emails depending on the campaign length.
Each email should include the basic information about the webinar, emphasizing its value – and that it’s free. They can be signed off as your brand or as the host.
- Last email (the day before the webinar or on the same day) could be written in a more personal style, signed by the host. Even the subject line could be more personal to attract attention, like “Are we meeting tomorrow’s at the event?”
- Registration Confirmation:
Give them the link to the webinar platform. Use it to set up expectations and hype them up for the webinar. Tell them why they should show up live – what extra benefits will they get from it. Remember to include an Add to Calendar link (via Add to Event software).
TIP: You can also include a short piece of content here – like an article about/from the host – to strengthen the trust and authority.
- Two reminder emails with content: with articles/videos connected to the webinar topic. You can also encourage them to fill out the pre-webinar survey or remind them to add the event to their calendar.
-15-min before reminder email: with the link to the webinar and links to the extra downloads or handouts.
- (Optional) 1 day, 4-hour, and 1-hour before reminders: we recommend sending them from the webinar system – this way your leads won’t be able to unsubscribe from the list.
- Post-webinar email:
- During the webinar. Send it during the sales pitch or Q&A, with a short summary of the webinar and an invitation to check out your product – preferably with a special Early Bird discount for webinar attendees.
- Replay email. Send it the following day with a replay video and slides. You could include webinar testimonials to encourage those who missed it, to actually watch it. Again, remember to pitch your product and add the link to your sales page.
- Webinar Summary email. With a link to the webinar summary article, and to the sales page.
11. Sets of ads:
- Ads copy: They should always emphasize the information about the date, time, and that the webinar is free of charge.
We recommend testing 2 types of narrative:
1) Written by your brand (no face).
2) Written by the host in the 1st person.
Remember – communication should be consistent across the platforms. So if on your landing page you have a certain marketing angle, keep it in the ads as well.
- Promo banners with and without the pictures of the host. It’s good to have a couple of different visuals to show to your audiences. Remember about the 20% overlay limit on Facebook (the text on the banner should not cover more than 20% of the banner surface).
- Video invitation from the host. Play with a high-quality recording and a phone recording (causal, selfie-style). Make sure the video is in the right format and resolution for each social media platform. Prepare subtitles for the video. Choose the thumbnail (aka the cover). Remember to add clear CTA, like sign up /register for the webinar.
Types of banners you can test:
- with a picture of the host and/ or the guest.
- an abstract banner - showing concept that will be discussed at the webinar (for example: if the topic is teamwork, you can show a team as an illustration or a stock photo).
- a minimalistic one - text and colors/patterns only.
- Last chance banners and copy: shown 3 days before the webinar – use time scarcity to motivate them to sign up. You can also include a timer or a countdown.
- Reminder copy + banners. The purpose of this banner is to boost the show-up rate. You show it during the last 24 hours only to those who registered for the webinar. Copy example: “Check your inbox for a link.” You can use a timer or a countdown.
12. Social media posts
Prepare copy and banner:
- For the host’s social media profiles.
- For a brand’s / company’s social media pages.
- For a Facebook and Linkedin event.
You can send a reminder 20, 15, or 10 minutes before the event.
Copy example: “We’re kicking off the webinar in 10 minutes. Check your inbox for the link and prepare your questions for [the host’s name]. See you soon!”
14. Webinar Script
You can download our tested webinar script template below. We used it in dozens of successful launches, mainly in the online education niche (online courses) on the American market.
No, there’s no webinar later down the road. 😉
15. Webinar slides
This might sound obvious, but the slides should be prepared before the webinar (we recommend Google Slides) and match the script. If you’re using any animations, videos, or gifs, make sure to test them before the webinar. It’s also better for the host to download the slides to their computer, to avoid glitches and delays.
16. Internal reporting and metrics
Track the results of your webinar campaign on a daily basis and fill out a report every day. This way you’ll be able to spot a potential problem early on and fix it before it gets out of hand.
The main metrics to pay attention to:
- Visits to Webinar Landing Page,
- Webinar Signups,
- Webinar Landing Page Conversion Rate,
- Cost Per Webinar Sign-up (on different Paid Media channels),
- Conversion Rates for different sources of traffic (pages, email),
- Source of Sign-ups (emails vs. paid vs. other),
- Webinar Show-up Rate,
- Webinar Conversion Rate (Sales / Webinar Leads) – in general, and from each paid media,
- Visits To The Sales Page (the one you promote during the Webinar),
- Sales Page Visitors,
- Sales Page Conversion Rate,
- Total Revenue from all channels,
- Revenue Per Webinar Lead (good MASTER METRIC to know in order to compare effectiveness of different Webinars you organise),
- Webinar Leads,
- Total Revenue Generated From Webinar Leads;
Do you need help with your webinar sales funnel?
If you covered all the steps mentioned in our free checklist, but your webinar campaigns are still not performing as well as you wish they did – and you’re not sure why – we’re happy to look into it with you.