The power of live video is all around us. As we’ve seen nearly all of the most popular social media platforms (like Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, and YouTube) adopt live video, it’s clear that live streaming is here to stay.
While your Facebook feed may be filled with live videos from friends who recorded concerts, gender reveal announcements, or opened gifts during the holidays, live streaming can benefit your business, too.
Webinars are one of the best ways to take advantage of creating live video content. It’s like a one-time class given by a knowledgeable instructor (ahem, you!) that’s free to attend.
Webinars perform best when you provide new, innovative insights into a niche topic and properly highlight your expertise. Rather than being a talking head, webinars give you the opportunity to create a strong bond with participants by starting an educational conversation.
As you build trust with your audience through a webinar, you’ll also build your email list with quality subscribers who want to hear from you. But before you put time into creating slides and marketing your webinar, let’s talk about the most common webinar formats in online business.
Six webinar formats to grow your online business
Not all webinars are created equal. When choosing the best type of webinar for your business, it’s important to start by understanding your primary goals. As you discover what you want the webinar to do for your business, you’ll be able to choose the best fit.
As an email service provider, you probably knew we’d talk about list building webinars. One of the best ways to grow your list is through a webinar. Webinars attract more quality subscribers because they see the value in hanging out with you in order to learn about a new subject.
In a world full of spammy links and infinite scrolling, webinars offer the unique chance to gain tips and tricks from other business owners in real-time. This live conversation cuts through the noise by offering an inside look into what others have learned and accomplished, which inspires and motivates others to do the same.
All of these benefits make signing up for webinars an enticing call-to-action. Think of your webinar as another quality opt-in for your email list, even if it’s a one-time offer.
To take it a step further, list building webinars can also be used as lead generators. When someone hears you expertly answer questions on the fly during the Q&A portion or present your expertise in a easily digestible way, you’ll create a stronger connection with the audience member.
Webinars quickly build trust when done in the right way. Before a person decides to work with you or buy your product, they need to trust you as the creator. Webinars are your opportunity to nurture relationships with attendees by giving a lot of upfront value, something that’s desirable for incoming leads.
Do you have a big heart for collaboration? If so, joint webinars could be a great fit for you. Joint webinars are usually hosted by two co-hosts who equally contribute to the webinar presentation.
The unique benefit of joint webinars is that you’ll be introduced to a whole new audience. This is because during a joint webinar, your partner will promote the webinar to their audience like you will with yours.
You’ll want to partner with an influencer in a similar field so you’re able to share quality subscribers that fit both of your ideal client or buyer descriptions. As an example, it would be smart for a millennial fitness influencer to partner with a chef who just wrote a cookbook for college students on a budget. Similar industry leaders with the same audience creates a win-win scenario for both parties.
The more influence a business owner has, the greater marketing power you’ll have.
Remember, influence has more to do with the engagement of their audience than how many people are following them.
You’ll also want to be clear about what the expectations are going into a joint webinar and who is responsible for which tasks. We cover this and a lot more in another article in this Tradecraft issue on helping you create a mutually beneficial joint webinar.
We love that teaching webinars are becoming more popular. The primary goal of teaching webinars are to provide new information and insights within a niche-specific topic.
With teaching webinars, you don’t have to start from scratch when creating your webinar slides. You can repurpose high-performing content from your blog or podcast as you create your webinar outline. Why reinvent the wheel when you’ve already created great content?
If you’re not sure what to cover in your teaching webinar, here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- Choose a problem worth solving. Your business exists to solve your audience member’s problems. Ask your audience what they’re currently struggling with and use your webinar to offer a solution.
- Do market research. This can include social listening on platforms where your audience hangs out, researching competitors, or scrolling through groups or forums.
- Send a survey. Rather than guess what your audience is struggling with, send a short survey or a poll to help you determine which topic is most relevant.
- Relate the webinar topic to your products or services. Naturally, you’ll want to align your webinar topic with what you offer. Look at the new products you want to launch or the services you want to revamp. Do they inspire any additional topics for webinars?
Once you have your teaching webinar topic, you can create an outline of the information you’ll share and what you want your call-to-action to be at the end.
Training webinars are some of our very favorites. During a training webinar, you take attendees step by step through a specific process, topic, or tool. It’s almost as if you’re giving them a roadmap to fully utilize a strategy for their online business.
With these training videos, it’s smart to include case study examples from past clients or users along with quality testimonials for social proof. When webinar attendees connect with the real examples, it creates tangible value which increases action.
We’ve seen firsthand how powerful these product demo webinars can be at ConvertKit. Our product demo webinar strategy has always been to partner with customers who are trailblazers in their field and authentically introduce our tool to their loyal audience.
While we include a short demo of our product, we spend most of the webinar giving free, educational value about why email marketing is so important and how to start thinking about automating your sales funnel. Even if a webinar attendee doesn’t sign up for a free trial, they walk away with new, helpful information that made their time investment worth it.
When you focus too much of your business on short-term sales, you may be missing the opportunity to build trust in the long-term. Not every webinar needs to have a sales pitch in order to be successful. In fact, our team at ConvertKit recommends not using webinars to sell.
The next time you meet with friends in the industry or meet someone at a networking event, examine their response when you say the word “webinar”. You may see crinkled noses and widened eyes. Many of them have a bad taste in their mouth after seeing some webinar hosts use icky tactics to sell their limited time offer.
Does every selling webinar use scare tactics? Not at all, but knowing it’s an all too common practice gives us insight into how our customers react to this webinar type.
Instead, we like to use webinars to help our consumer better understand the power of email marketing as a whole and allow them to test out our tool for free. We’re not interested in making a few dollars today. We’d rather build a long-term relationship with our customers who want to invest in what we offer because they see the value after fully experiencing our tool.
Do you find that your inbox is full of questions from audience members? Maybe you’ve been answering similar questions on social media and at networking events. All of these questions can be repurposed into what we call an FAQ webinar.
Chances are if a few of your audience members have the same question, many more of them are asking themselves the same thing. Be proactive and create a valuable FAQ webinar for your subscribers to learn from.
Hosting regular FAQ webinars, sometimes referred to as “office hours”, nurture current email subscribers in a big way. Because the lifetime value of your customers and clients is ultra important, hosting consistent FAQ webinars will help you prioritize your forever customers.
What webinar format is the right fit for your business?
After reading through the descriptions above, you may have an idea of which webinar type will be best for your audience. Maybe there’s just one that would work, or maybe you could use four of them.
Go back through the article and start making a list of all the webinar topics you could create within each type. Then decide which is the most relevant for your audience right now and start creating your content!