How Many People Do I Need for a Webinar?

Setting up your first Webinar can be nerve racking. Maybe you are nervous about the presentation, or the using the Webinar software. But really, you are nervous about one thing – will anyone even show up!?

Maybe they will and maybe they won’t. If you have a something to say about anything people are interested in, you can get them there. It is simply a matter of getting the opportunity in front of the eyes of the right people, in order to get them there.

From there, you have to be scheduled for the right time. You need to make your Webinar sound like an event that people are going to enjoy and, more importantly, benefit greatly from.

If you already have a successful blog, a robust Twitter following, and an active Facebook page, then finding those eyes is easy. And they already know you are an expert.

Then again, if you had that, you probably would not be worried about people showing up though. I’m here with good news.

You need 1 person to make a Webinar go.

I know, I know. “Seriously!? ONE person? How AWKWARD!”

The great thing, though, is that with GoToWebinar.com, they will never know they were the only person there – or two people, or in my case, 10 people.

webinarattendance

What good is it to do a Webinar with 1 person, or even 5 or 10 people? There’s a good chance you won’t make enough money to cover your costs, after all.

Here are 4 reasons you should host that Webinar, even if only 1 person shows up:

  1. Your attendee will never know that attendee is singular. That means you are getting the same presentation experience (with less interaction). If only 1 person shows up, and they stay on for the entire duration, it’s a good sign that your presentation skills are adequate.
  2. You can contact that person. Again, as far as they can tell, they were one of hundreds, or even thousands. And you emailed, or even called (if you collected that information) to get their feedback? What great personal service! More importantly, you are talking to your first… only… potential customer.
  3. Test out all of your technology. Glitches and stumbles can’t hurt you. Face it, with an audience under 10 people, chances of converting any of them to a sale are slim. If things go horribly wrong, there’s no harm done.
  4. You will record the presentation, and you will use it! This is a great way to get the word about your presentation out there. People love free stuff. While they may not be able to attend your free Webinar, they will certainly want to watch your presentation for free on their own time. Turn your poorly attended Webinar into a “Special Report” after a little editing, and use it to entice sign-ups to your mailing list. Or add it to content for a special members only section (this is what I do).

Nervous about putting on that first Web Event because you don’t know if enough people are going to show up? Stop worrying! Have the Webinar. Put your all into the presentation no matter how many people show up, and get started making sales with your Webinars!

 

Delivering the Pitch: Your Webinar’s Moment of Truth

You are an expert in your field. Otherwise, you would not be hosting a Web Event on the topic. The presentation is spot on, filled with top notch information that has your attendees fired up.

And the attendees? You packed this thing. A hot email list. Just the right mix of advertising. You did it all.

And now… the Moment of Truth. The Pitch.

Every pitch does not make or break your business. Having a bad pitch will put a damper on your otherwise great presentation, though. So when you are preparing your Web Event, the Pitch is paramount to the event’s success.

The Pitch is when you will be asking for the sale. It is the climax of the entire Webinar. Your potential customers have been watching and listening intently for the better part of an hour as you delivered huge value to them. Now it’s time for the value exchange.

Let’s break the Pitch down into parts to make sure that you have a successful Web Event, start to finish.

The Pre-Pitch

Throughout the Web Clinic, make subtle references to the product you will be pitching. Your presentation is an introductory version of the product. 3 or 4 times during the presentation, you can throw out a more intermediate or advanced tip for your attendees.

When you do that, be sure to let them know that you go more in depth on the issue in XYZ Product. Mention that you will tell them more about it later on the Webinar.

If your product is new, and not available yet on your web site, be sure to mention that. Sometimes people will go poking around looking for the product during the Webinar. They want to know the price before they hear the pitch. Let them know it isn’t there, to keep their attention. The price may not look good 20 minutes in, but it will after the full presentation.

road mapThe Transition

This is the most crucial part of the Pitch. The transition from presentation to pitch must be seamless. Your potential customers should not notice the change.

The Transition is the toughest part of the Web Event. Everything is against you here. You are approaching the 1 hour time limit, when some people will be signing off no matter what you do. If they realize that the presentation is ending and the pitch is beginning, they may be likely to sign off… even if they would have otherwise made a purchase!

Remember what most people’s attitude toward being sold to is. It scares the heck out of people. No matter how much they want to the product. So avoid a few key mistakes in the transition:

Do not take an “Intermission.” I have made the mistake of taking a little break just before the Pitch because I’m exhausted from the presentation. Power through here! Shorten the presentation so you have something left to deliver the Pitch. Even the briefest break is going to result in attendees dropping off.

Don’t announce the Pitch! “Now I want to tell you about…” and “Here’s what I’ve got for you…” are announcing that someone is about to get sold to. They are immediately turned off.

Nor should you announce the end of the presentation. Phrases like “That’s about it…” or “That’s all I’ve got for you…” tell people there’s no new information. At least, not for free.

Since my presentation is usually an introduction to the product I’m selling, I like to use a recap that flows into an outline of the new product. People like to listen to a summary of the presentation, so just keep on going and summarize the entire product.

iStock_000000943768XSmallThe Sale

You made it this far. They are enjoying your presentation and they obviously believe you know what you are talking about. You have not scared them off.

Here comes the Sale. If you have done the first two parts correctly, you are not springing this on your potential customers. Don’t smack them in the face with the Sale. You are simply offering a chance to continue learning.

With any sale, tell potential customers the features of your product, but focus on the benefits. You should know what the 3 most important features and benefits are for your customers.

You will only have a few minutes to make the Sale. No one is going to sit through a lengthy pitch when they can so easily flip over to their browser, or simply get up and walk away.

The Close

In the end, just make sure you don’t forget to Close. Tell your customers how they can get your product. Tell them the special deal they’ll be getting if they sign up right now (if you offer that).

Give them a website that links to a sales page. The expertise you displayed in the presentation, and the well made sales page you are sending them to, should be enough to close the sale for you. Throw in a special discount for Webinar attendees, and you’ve done all you need.

You cannot use a high pressure close on a Webinar. It is too easy for people to just close the window! Your close is to tell them the deal, and send them to a sales page.

Many people will now stay on to answer some questions at the end. You should do this. Just make sure that the sales page URL is displayed for the duration of the Q&A Session. Many potential customers will have one or two questions to ask before they are ready to buy. Answer their questions, but don’t make them search for the page when they are ready to buy!

When Do I Start Advertising My Webinar?

So you’ve decided to have a webinar. You want to fill it up, of course. So what is the optimal time from the opening announcement to the actual event?

Pay close attention here. Many people will blow it on their first (and several more) webinar because they start advertising way too soon.

If you have a good mailing list going, or you are planning to use advertising to fill up your webinar, the worst thing you can do is schedule too far in advance.

People who sign up for your webinar are excited about attending it right now. Not 3 days from now. Not 7 days from now. Not 2 weeks from now. They want to see it NOW!

You can’t give it to them NOW of course – not a live webinar, anyway. But you can give them what they want SOON. And you should.

There is going to be some testing involved. Each industry is going to have different types of people who require different amounts of planning and flexibility. But these are general guidelines I have found to work.

More than a Weekend is More than Enough

It does not have to be a weekend, of course. If you are in B2B sales, you obviously don’t want to make your big push over the weekend.

3 days is a solid amount of time to start with. That means you send out your first email 3 days before the event. You start your Facebook ad campaign 3 days before the event. You start tweeting 3 days before the event.

3 days does not maximize the number of sign-ups your webinar will have. Clearly, the longer you push the event, the more people you have sign up. 3 days maximizes your conversion from registration to attendance. That is the most important number.

When I start with 3 days to go, I see 50%-60% conversion from registration to attendance. Stretching that number to 7 days sees the number drop below 50%. I have not extensively tested times over 10 days, but in the small sample size I have, conversion was at about 40% (sometimes under).

calendarWhy More is not Better

Now, those webinars where we had people signing up 10 days in advance had huge registration numbers! It means that many more days of tweets, emails, and ad campaigning.

More days means more eyes, and more people seeing your event. More people registering because they are interested in what you have.

It also means more time to forget. More time to have other events “come up.” More time to push your product or service to the back burner.

What you get after 10 days are not the same fired up, ready-for-action buyers that you would have had if you launched the webinar in just 3 days.

The Sweet Spot

There is a sweet spot for every industry, though. And testing is the only way you will find it.

Think back to Economics. The Supply & Demand relationship is the way you should think of your webinars.

When testing, you need to compare registration versus attendees, as well as registration versus sales.

There are a million variables to test for in your webinar, so if you are just starting out, test for registration vs. attendees. Try not to make any changes to your system and test 3 days, 5 days and 7 days before webinars.

If 7 days wins, I would test even higher lengths.

Just keep in mind what matters! We want buyers in our webinar, not window shoppers! Do not get caught up in the analytics! Only one number matters: SALES.

Planning Your Web Event to Be Perfect

Having a road map for success going into your webinar is crucial to success. No one loves to wing it more than me, but web events are not the place for it!

Consider your attendees. They are at a webinar, not a live conference. At a live conference, they have set aside the entire day or days to hear information. On a web event, people are setting aside a small piece of their busy day to hear you speak.

Be mindful of the difference. They are sitting at their computer. If your event is being held in the evening, they may have kids, pets, or a spouse providing distractions. The TV is usually on in the background. And there are a million other things they could be doing. They are giving you a portion of their free time.

During the day, they are taking a piece of their work day. Your potential customer is banking on the information you can provide, being more valuable than the work they could get done in the same amount of time. They may even be risking getting in trouble with the boss!

studytableWhen attendees register, you need to let them know how long the event will be. And then you need to stick to it! They are looking for the one nugget of information in your 60 minute webinar that will change their life. If you withhold that nugget until 75 minutes after the start time, you have often lost them.

Divide your webinar into 5 parts. Plan each part out so that you know what you will be doing. If you feel like you have too much planned for any given part, prioritize it. Know what you can cut and what you cannot. Then set a timer during your webinar.

Don’t be a slave to your schedule, but be mindful of it. If you have a point that puts you a couple minutes over somewhere, it is no big deal. If you have audience questions that take on a slightly different path, that is good! It means you are adapting to the information your audience needs. There is a difference between adapting and abandoning, so come back to the plan as soon as possible.

A brief point on length. Know how long you need, but remember this: People drop off after an hour. There is nothing wrong with your presentation, that’s just what people do. They will also tend to disappear during transitions. In order to keep your audience engaged for the entire presentation, your best bet is to get your presentation and pitch across in under 1 hour in a seamless presentation.

Part 1: The Pre-Event

Before things even get started, you need to be prepared. Plan to be present 15 minutes before the webinar is scheduled to begin. This is a really simple part to plan.

You need to have a slide up on the screen that tells attendees they are in the right place, and tells them that you have not started yet. If they do not hear anyone speaking, they will be concerned that their sound is not working. Let them know everything is O.K. with a short message that the web event will be starting at <start time>.

From there, you need to reassure them with your voice every couple of minutes. I simply open the mic, thank them for coming, let them know how to ask questions (many people come with a specific question in mind), and tell them the event will be starting in <minutes til start>. That’s it.

The pre-event seems simple, but it is important! Don’t let potential customers drop off before you even get started.

Part 2: The Opening

You can lose people in the opening of the event just as easily as you can lose them in the pre-event. These first two phases are all about letting attendees know that they are in the right place!

In the pre-event, you assure them they have come to the webinar they signed up for. In the opening, you are letting them know that they have come to the right person.

The opening is not your time to build relationships. Attendees are here for a purpose. Let them know that you can serve that purpose. Establish your expertise in the presentation field with as little ‘fluff’ as necessary.

Pick out 3-4 points that establish you as an expert. Do not get into a long list of accomplishments that only have peripheral relation to your topic. Put them on a slide. Keep the opening to 5 minutes.

We have all seen the presentation that opens with a 20 minute discussion on why you’re here, and why the presenter is the expert. They’re boring. Attendees are there for information. They can get to know you afterwards (after the sale is made!).

Part 3: The Presentation

The presentation is what you will spend the most time on in preparing for your web event. Obviously, this is what everyone came for. If you spend more time on talking about yourself and asking for a sale, then you do on presenting valuable information, your webinar will be a flop!

How you prepare your information is up to you. But make sure that you are able to flow seamlessly from one slide to the next. Does your presentation follow a logical path? No rabbit holes! Shoot for a 40 minute presentation if you are aiming for the 1 hour time limit.

Do not allow for major breaks. I have seen presenters who used two different power points in the presentation. They had to stop, close one set of slides, find the next set… ugh!

Meanwhile, everyone is flipping their browser over to check email or worse, get into the Facebook time suck. You might lose them for good!

Do not have any breaks in your presentation. Have everything ready to go and practice switching between materials so that no one has to wait on you. Plus, you will look much more professional when the presentation is truly seamless.

Untitled-1Part 4: The Pitch

Here it comes! The moment you’ve been building up to. Hopefully you can see that most of your attendees are still with you.

Your presentation needs to lead into your pitch. I like for the beginning of the pitch to be a summary of what we have discussed in the presentation. That will lead into how ‘x’ product can help you go even further in our topic.

If your presentation has a moment that slaps potential customers in the face with, “And here’s the PITCH!” then you’re going to lose some people. Sure, you will have some attendees already sold because of your marvelous presentation. They know you’re the expert for them.

But more attendees are still on the fence about you. They think you know what you’re talking about, and they think you have good intentions… but OH! Now’s the catch! Remember that many people are very cynical and hate being ‘sold’ to.

How you make the pitch is a subject for another time, but for our planning purposes – 15 minutes will have your pitch closing up right at the 1 hour time limit.

Consider one thing in your timing. If they truly planned to spend 1 hour (maybe it’s a lunch break), then you may want to wrap up the pitch with 5 minutes to spare. That’s the time they’ll need to go put in their credit card information!

Part 5: Questions & Answers

Always hold your Q&A session until the end of the web event. Your webinar attendees may be asking questions throughout the presentation. If you can work some of their answers in to your presentation without stopping, you can cut down on the questions at the end.

How you want to do this is up to you. I try to cut it off at about 15 minutes. But the time can go longer if the questions are good and you have high interaction. Many people will not want to stick around though, so never put your Q&A before the pitch. A good presentation has answered most of your potential customer’s questions. The Q&A session is just establishing your expertise to those who still have some doubts.

Remember that Q&A is a relationship building time, as well. Answer every question as if it is the key to success. Never belittle your potential customers. Trust me, I have answered a lot of questions that made me do a face-palm. And some of those who asked are now long-time customers.

Answering every question until the room is empty is OK. It makes you seem like a great person who will take time out for anyone. But it also tends to drag and you end up speaking to just a couple of people.

Instead, cut off your Q&A session before it starts to drag. Keep it to 10-15 minutes if possible. Then let all of your attendees know how to reach you if they have further questions. This is a good time to get your potential customers seeing you in other places like Facebook, Twitter, and even starting an email dialogue with you.

Take the time to plan out your webinar and you will have a great event with great results! Always do your best to put on a valuable, professional presentation for your potential customers.

 

7 Tips for Preparing a Great Webinar

The nerves are building up. It is time for your first webinar.

You’ve built an audience and registered enough people that you are not just talking to an empty room (as long as it’s not empty, you’ve got enough people for the first one!). They are highly targeted for your niche.

Your presentation is ready. A killer Power Point that emphasizes the key points, not a novel.

Your product is sweet. It solves a problem, fills a need, for your target audience. You know they are going to want it!

All that’s left to do is log in, turn on the mic, and let it fly.

Here are 10 tips on preparing for your first webinar to make sure this event is truly spectacular!

1. Prepare your audience.

How long will the presentation be? What topics are you covering? Be specific. Will you be doing Q&A at the end? Many people are coming for one specific piece of information. They need to feel confident they’ll hear it from you if they’re going to stay til the end. Attendees need to know exactly what to expect from you!

cat on a keyboard2. Test your equipment ahead of time.

GoToWebinar.com has a practice option, or you can just host a separate webinar (I found this to be easier). Call up a friend and ask them to log in for 5 minutes so that you can test your mic, webcam, presentation, and any other tools you will be using. Technical difficulties come with the territory, but you can minimize them by testing.

If you can get someone to test on an iPad too, you’ll know what works there as well. More and more people are viewing webinars with iPad apps.

3. Plan to open the webinar 15 minutes early.

Guests will be arriving and if the webinar has not been opened yet, they get nervous that they had the date or time wrong. Or that you’re a sketchy individual.

4. Have everything you need before you start.

It may seem perfectly polite to take a little intermission – but don’t! That’s when people will see the chance to jump off. Have water nearby (and coffee if you are like me). Go to the bathroom right before you start. If you have kids or animals, make sure they have something to keep them occupied for the duration. I keep a few pig’s ears around for my dog, just for webinars.

5. Separate Presentation and Pitch to provide value.

Everyone knows you’re not just giving away free information. That’s no way to make a living! But there needs to be a suspension of disbelief. That means for the bulk of your presentation, potential customers need to not feel like potential customers. They need to feel like they are sitting in front of a wise mentor, giving away his or her cornucopia of knowledge out of the kindness of your heart.

I like to make brief allusions to the product or products I have available, but never pitch them until the time is right. Your mindset, at least for the early part of your presentation, needs to be on providing value. Do that first, and the sale will be much easier.

email6. Schedule tweets, status updates and email reminders ahead of time.

You don’t want to be switching back and forth, tweeting out about open spaces or sending out your last-ditch email. Have those things ready to go.

I have used both Aweber and Mailchimp for emails. Send out an email to your list with a link to join. Schedule this about 10 minutes prior to the start of the webinar. It will have a big impact on your attendance! (this is in addition to the email to registered attendees that GoToWebinar will send out 1 hour prior)

For Twitter, I use Hootsuite to schedule tweets. I’ll schedule one for 15 minutes prior (when I plan on logging on), one for 5-10 minutes prior and one at the very start of the webinar. Include a link to log in to the presentation.

7. Relax. Have fun!

I love doing webinars. If you only present on topics that you are passionate about, you’ll have a great time too.

If you are not passionate on the topic, look for a guest to come on and present. Then you can twiddle your thumbs until it’s time to pitch.

Even though you are behind a microphone and no one can see your face, they can feel your confidence. They can also feel your enthusiasm. Those won’t come through if you’re worried about making money or losing potential customers.

Suspend your own disbelief. Relax, tell your friends about your passion. They will appreciate it, and the sell will be a breeze!