In this post, we’ll look at some of the types of webinars, ways that they can be delivered, and the platform choices that you can use to deliver them. We’ll look at how they can boost your business and we’ll see how it can be done with integrity. You can also watch this post as a presentation here.

What is a webinar?

So, let’s start by looking at what a webinar is. A webinar is essentially a training seminar delivered over the Internet. Broadly speaking, the purpose of a webinar is either for training or for sales, though it is possible to use training seminars to increase sales either directly or indirectly. A webinar could also take the form of a product demonstration or a walkthrough of a process, a product. This is particularly common with software applications. Webinars are also really handy as question and answer sessions, and can reinforce and supplement training material that’s covered either offline or in other formats, such as printed material or video on demand. Whatever the purpose of your webinar, it’s important to be clear and honest to your audience about what they will get from investing their time in your session.

Why run webinars?

Let’s have a look at why you would want to run a webinar and how they can boost your business. Webinars are a very important tool for heart-centered entrepreneurs who like to give because it’s a chance for you to give first and to develop a relationship with your audience. They’ll help you demonstrate your expertise in a subject area. And webinars are fantastic at speeding up the know, like, and trust process because it gives your audience a chance to hear and possibly see you, they get to understand what it’s like to work with you, and they get a clear demonstration that you know what you’re talking about, that you understand their problems, and that you’re able to provide solutions to help them solve those problems.

Webinars for market research

Webinars are also a great way to learn more about your customers and what their interests and concerns are. You can learn this by comparing the popularity of different webinar topics by comparing how many people register for a particular session. You can also gather more information through posting pre-session questionnaires or asking questions during the session. If your webinar platform has a chat feature, then participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of you directly. This is not just another opportunity for you to share more value with your audience, but it means that you’re understanding even more about what your audience needs.

Webinars for list-building

Webinars are a great way for you to grow your audience and build your mailing list. This can be done by offering webinar registration as a bonus when people opt in to your mailing list. You can offer people access to the live session or you can choose to use a recording of a previous webinar as that bonus for opting in to your mailing list.

Webinar sales funnel

Webinars are also a prominent feature of a particular type of sales funnel referred to as a webinar sales funnel. Now, a sales funnel is just the name for a process to build a relationship with a potential customer. Typically, a personal will respond to an ad on Facebook or Google, or even just a post on your Facebook account. Once they click through, they reach a particular type of page called a landing page.

This landing page contains minimal information about your business and focuses purely on one single offer. In a webinar sales funnel, that offer is a free, live webinar. The goal of the landing page is to encourage the visitor to signup for your webinar and join your mailing list in the process. From here, you have the opportunity to deliver great value to that person by delivering an awesome webinar and following up with a series of useful newsletters.

Selling through webinars

During your webinar, you might choose to make an offer that is of limited time and features a special bonus for fast action. So, you can see that during the sales funnel you’ve converted someone from a casual viewer to an audience member to a possible customer.

Even if you aren’t able to make the sale at the conclusion of the webinar, ideally you’ll be able to move each person closer through the process of getting to know you, like you, and trust you so that you nurture a long-term relationship with them that would lead to greater number of sales over time.

Webinars as training content

Another reason why you might like to run webinars is to directly generate revenue from the sales of tickets to the webinar. You can sell individual webinar sessions for a fee or you can include webinars as part of a membership program or use recordings as content for eCourses.

How will you present your content?

Let’s take a look at some of the options for how webinars can be delivered.

With many platforms, it’s possible to use video. Live video can be a little daunting for some new presenters, and it also can take up quite a large amount of the bandwidth of your Internet connection, which can make for a slower connection, which can diminish the experience for the viewers.

Recorded video can be a little less daunting and certainly takes the risks out for the presenter. However, if you are asking for your audience to show up live at a specific time and give you some of their time, then the decent thing to do is to show up live as well.

The most common method to delivering webinars is a combination of speaking over slides. It’s also possible to share your screen instead of using slides. This is ideally used in situations of demonstrating a software program or walking an audience through a workflow such as publishing a blog post.

It’s also possible to have multiple presenters rather than just a single presenter. Multiple presenters open up other possibilities for different formats, such as interviews or panel discussions, or just having a tag team teaching arrangement, where you have one person present a particular section and then hands over to another person who has expertise in a different area. This can be quite helpful for people who are a bit nervous about speaking on their own for such a length of time, and it also helps the audience to feel like they’re part of a conversation rather than just a lecture.

Which webinar platform should you choose?

Now, something that most new webinar presenters are very interested in is choosing your platform or tools for delivering your webinars. There are a ridiculous number of choices out there at the moment. I’ll share my top 5 with you so you’ve got somewhere to start your search.¬†These are the most commonly used tools and probably the ones that are better known, better supported, and give a fairly good user experience.

GoTo Webinar

GoToWebinar has a very large share of the market, and this comes from its use in corporate environments. In my own work experience, I’ve spent many hours delivering countless number of webinars for IT training to staff distributed all across Australia, using Goto Webinar. Webinars became a very attractive prospect for training departments with distributed staff across large geographical areas because it took away the need to travel or to have separate training facilities in different locations.

The interesting thing about GoToWebinar is that apparently it’s registration forms convert at a higher right than for other webinar platforms. This just meant that a high percentage of the people who land on the registration page will actually go through and complete the registration details when compared to other registration forms for other platforms.

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is probably the next most widely used platform. This is because it’s free. It’s fairly simple to use, although there are a number of people who find it quite frustrating. I think the frustration does stem from when you have a Google account that is not based on a Gmail address, it can lead to some technical difficulties, and those kinds of things can really ruin the experience for your presenters as well as for your audience and it is ideal to do as much as possible to make that webinar experience as smooth and as easy and as pleasant as possible.

Webinar Jam Studio

Now, Webinar Jam Studio is a re-launch of a product that’s only been around for a couple of years. It was previously called just Webinar Jam. It sits on top of Google Hangouts and adds a large number of additional interactivity features, which are fantastic for training applications. The thing with Webinar Jam is that it is actually designed more for marketing purposes, so it has lots of tools in there for providing offers on-screen with buy now buttons that are linked to PayPal. It has stock countdown features that you can use, and a range of other similar features that may or may not be of interest to you. I just find that the additional interactivity is really quite cool and they also have other things built in such as Evergreen webinars, which are a helpful tool in the webinar sales funnel.

Any Meeting and Meeting Burner

Now, the other two platforms in my top 5 are Any Meeting and Meeting Burner. I’ve had limited experience with each of these as a participant only and I have to say that the experience has been quite smooth. It is a bit easier than using GoToWebinar because we haven’t had to actually install any applications onto your computer to be able to watch the presentation, which is sadly the case with GoToWebinar. You are required to download a small application if you wanted to watch a GoToWebinar, and this can cause delays for first time webinar attendees if they arrive expecting to watch the webinar at the advertised time, but haven’t yet gone through the installation process.

Now, GoToWebinar is a paid product, but it does have a 30-day free trial. We actually use it in my program, which runs for 30 days. And this is a deliberate choice so that you’re able to actually run one webinar on a professional platform and start making some revenue before having to pay for some tools.

Webinars with integrity

Running webinars with integrity is all about making your webinar all about your audience. You need to consider their needs and solve their problems. You must be offering actual value. If you’re running a paid webinar, make sure that you deliver the content that you describe in the product description. If you’re running a free training webinar, ensure that the training information is useful to people who do not go through and buy the product that you are using to sponsor the program. Be genuine in any recommendations that you make and present in a genuine manner that is consistent with your personally and with your brand.

Ensure that the content that you deliver contains actionable ideas, things that your audience can apply in their business or in their personal life to create change and get results. You must respect your audience’s time. Be prepared. Be professional. Work with a session plan, stick to your start and finish times, and generally have a professional attitude towards the work that you are doing. Webinars with integrity are easy if you remember that you are giving your audience a taste of working with you.

Are you using webinars in your business? What have you learned? Do you have a favourite platform?