Webinars are one of the best ways to generate leads for your business.
While live webinars are unrivaled in generating engagement and leads, they also require real-time, hands-on involvement – meaning you’re trading time for money.
With an automated webinar (also called an evergreen webinar), you create it once. Then your webinar software runs it automatically on a pre-determined schedule (or you can allow instant access for an on-demand experience.) This means your automated evergreen webinars act as a lead-generating machine, driving leads and sales while you focus on other areas of your business.
The best lead-generating webinars are educational, where you teach your audience something they see value in. However, you can use automated webinars for product demos as well.
In this post, I’ll walk you through how to plan, prepare, and promote an automated webinar that will generate leads on autopilot.
1. Plan Your Automated Webinars
Don’t jump in and start recording your webinar! Taking the time to plan out your webinar carefully will save you a ton of time and money. Measure twice and cut once. You want to make sure you plan your webinar carefully to deliver value to your leads while allowing them to engage further.
The three main steps to planning your automated webinar are:
Step 1: Choose your webinar software
There are many great options, but not all are well-suited to small or medium-sized businesses.
I use and recommend WebinarNinja. Besides the fact that it’s easy to use (not all webinar software is!), WebinarNinja is affordable and offers a free trial to help you test it. Unlike Zoom, WebinarNinja doesn’t require software downloads. Everything happens in your browser. Your leads don’t have to install unnecessary software on their computers. Plus, it offers several different types of webinars your can host: live, automated, hybrid, and series.
Whatever platform you choose, you want to ensure it can handle automated webinars, provides analytics to assess your success, and gives your audience an easy experience to enjoy the automated webinar.
It also integrates beautifully with ActiveCampaign, which will prove important when promoting your webinar (more on this later in the post) and doing a follow-up to convert the lead into an opportunity. ActiveCampaign is also my CRM.
Step 2: Determine your automated webinars format
There are many options when it comes to formatting and producing your webinar. For instance:
- Will you facilitate the webinar independently, or will you have multiple speakers?
- Will you do a slideshow with voiceover or a “talking head” video (i.e., your face on camera the entire time)
- Will you incorporate video clips into your presentation?
- Will you present your topic or use a Q&A or interview format?
- Will your webinar present content on a specific topic, or will you demo a product?
One popular format is using Loom to record your slide presentation with a small circle video of you in the bottom corner. If you can, including your face in the video is helpful as people connect with a face much better than a faceless presentation.
“We are such a sophisticated social species, and face recognition is very important… You need to recognize who it is, is it family, is it a friend or foe? Faces are detected incredibly fast.”
– Professor David Alais.
People recognize faces quickly and engage better. Studies have shown including faces in your ads increases attention and brand recognition. Don’t be afraid to go on camera!
Once you’ve nailed down these elements, you can move to step 3.
Step 3: Determine your objective
Before you create your webinar, know exactly what you want it to accomplish. You’ll generally choose from one of two objectives:
- Get new leads/email subscribers. When people sign up for your webinar, you’ll capture their email addresses so you can continue to connect with them again and again. This is why connecting marketing automation platform is important. It’s a good idea to have another offer, such as an ebook, a video, a course, a freemium product, a free trial, etc., available for your leads to engage with. Webinar builds momentum, you need to keep it going with another free offer.
- Get sales. This is good if you can sell your product/service directly on the webinar. You must be careful, as people will have questions, and you might lose sales if no one responds. If you want sales, consider a hybrid webinar. The webinar is automated, but you can still participate in the chat to answer questions.
2. Create your webinar
This is where most of your time will be spent.
- Create an outline. Structure your webinar like a blog post: with an intro, main points, subpoints, and conclusion. Include time estimates for each section, which will help with the next step.
- Write your webinar script. Flesh out each of the sections above. Avoid “industry-speak,” write in full sentences, and write like you talk – in a conversational tone. For more on this, Hubspot has created a helpful guide on how to write a webinar script.
- Write out your offer. Your pitch will usually fall at the end of your webinar, though there are no hard and fast rules. For instance, if you’re using WebinarNinja, you can embed your offer anywhere within your presentation. This is the next step your leads should take. Don’t leave them hanging without anything.
- Create your slides. Both PowerPoint and Keynote offer free built-in templates you can use. Keep your text short and sweet, including only your key points. Use bullet points liberally and images to add interest to your presentation.
- Record your presentation. This will involve recording your audio and any talking-head video you want to use. It’s worth investing in a good-quality mic as well as a webcam. Consider using Loom to record it.
- Upload your video. Once the video is ready, go to your webinar platform and create an automated webinar.
3. Create your webinar funnel
An automated webinar is part of a bigger system or funnel that includes web pages and email automations.
A typical lead generation funnel will consist of the landing/signup page, thank you page, and sometimes an additional landing page for an offer. Even though I can create landing pages in WordPress using a page builder plugin, such as Beaver Builder, I prefer to keep things simple for lead generation and use the landing page builder included with WebinarNinja. It’s robust yet simple and gets the job done!
- For your signup page, the software lets you upload your images (if you like) and customize your webinar headline, host, date, and more.
- The thank you page is the page registrants will be directed to immediately after signing up. You can create this page from within WebinarNinja, or redirect visitors to a custom URL on your site.
- Your offer landing page will need to be hosted elsewhere, such as your WordPress website. However, you don’t need a landing page if you’re offering a downloadable resource. Use your webinar platform. For example, WebinarNinja allows you to share handouts with your audience. These can be anything you want. You can also create an offer CTA and link to a resource hosted elsewhere, such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
Finally, you’ll want to create email automations to remind participants to attend your webinar and to nurture your leads to a sale. Remember, leads must be fed value in your nurturing automation, or they will starve to death.
4. Promote your webinar
What good is all this hard work if no one watches your webinar?
Have a solid plan to drive people to your webinar registration page and entice them to sign up. Some of the ways I do this include the following:
- Promoting your webinar on your website. You can do this in your sidebar and/or hello bar, as a popup when people exit your site (use this strategy sparingly, or you could alienate your site visitors), or in a call to action in your blog posts.
- Promoting your webinar in another lead magnet. This is one of my favorite strategies. Create a lead magnet related to the topic of your webinar and include a call to action to sign up for your webinar. For help creating your lead magnet, check out my post Reframing Content: 10X Your Lead Magnet’s Effectiveness.
- Emailing your list. Your subscribers are on your list because they know you can help them solve their problems. Let them know how your webinar will help them solve a specific problem. If you have segmented your list, even better: email subscribers who have expressed an interest in your webinar topic in the past.
- Letting your social media fans and followers know about your webinar. Facebook and Instagram stories are particularly effective for getting timely signups.
- Using ads. If you got a budget, use it to drive traffic to your webinar registration page. Free webinars work great with Facebook and LinkedIn ads. Most importantly, understand where your ideal customers hang out and advertise to reach them.
- Write a blog post on the topic of your webinar. This can be a HIGHLY effective strategy, especially if your blog post ranks high in Search. Make sure your blog post offers enough information to be helpful and show that you know what you’re talking about – and then promise even more usefulness if readers watch your webinar. I like to use my blog post to explain the “whats” and “why’s” of the topic and leave the “hows” for the webinar (i.e., the precise steps for how to solve the problem). If your webinar consists of steps or a number of items (such as strategies or tactics), write a blog post about one of them.
5. Engage post-webinar
If you want good quality leads that turn into opportunities, engage with your audience post-webinar. People will ask questions, but nobody will be there to reply in real time. That’s why it’s important to answer those questions post-webinar.
It’s a good idea to mention this in your webinar. Tell your audience to leave questions any time during the webinar, and you will reply after the webinar by email. This allows you to engage with leads one-on-one without it being a cold email.
Do you have questions about creating or promoting a webinar? Comment below.