Monthly Archives: May 2011

How to Hold a Webinar That Works

holding a webinarLet’s start with a simple premise: holding a webinar is one of the best ways to make sales. It is estimated that webinars have around a 25% sell through rate as opposed to around a 4% or less conversion rates for most other kinds of advertising. However, the fact is that I find that most people simply don’t do webinars correctly.

That’s Not to Say…

Now that’s not to say you can’t hold a webinar the wrong way and still make plenty of money. The issue isn’t so much whether or not you’ll manage to sell lots of stuff but whether or not you’ll get people to keep coming back for additional webinars.

While I have yet to hear of webinars that didn’t do well (well, there are ways to do it badly, but that’s another story which I’ll cover in a moment), I have heard of lots of people who refuse to go to additional webinars. I’ve also attended my own share of webinars and have found that there are precious few people that I myself would be willing to attend a webinar with a second time.

The Problem

The problem is basically a huge build up together with a tremendous amount of disappointment. I find that most webinars are built up as having tremendous amounts of useful content.

I’m repeatedly told, be sure to have a notebook handy and take lots of notes because there’s just so much to learn. Then, when it comes right down to it, I find that the actually content part of the webinar consists of around two minutes of fairly obvious material.

For example, I went to a webinar a while back on how to sell books on the Kindle. The guy spent the vast majority of his time building up how wonderful the Kindle actually is and how you can make a fortune selling books on the Kindle platform. Then, he showed us, -gasp- how to sign up for an account at Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. I mean really, if you need a webinar to learn how to fill out a web form, then you have very serious problems and don’t belong in Internet marketing.

He then proceeded to give us a huge spiel about how his course includes the useful information, like formatting, what price points work best and all the other good stuff like that and how you can attend for “discounted” price of just $997. Oh, and one of the requirements of taking the course was that you may not ask for a refund. Ever. Yeah, like I was rushing to sign up for that course.

The Right Way to Do It

The right way to do it in my opinion is to offer real content that’s actually useful. You see, my opinion is that if you truly are an expert and are planning to sell a product with more information at the end, you should be able to offer enough useful material  for free to whet someone’s appetite while still holding plenty back for the course.

I believe (and yes, I’m on a soap box now, but so be it) that if webinars were held that way, we’d see less of them but more people would want to attend because they’d actually offer something of genuine value.

What You Must Do No Matter What

Okay, getting off my soap box, you do need certain elements to have a successful webinar, even when you aren’t going to follow my advice:

The buildup is important in the lead in. You also must have a call to action toward the end of the webinar. Ideally, you should have something you give away as a freebie toward the end so that you keep people there to actually hear your call to action (it can be a raffle or a freebie for all).

You also need to make sure to include information for those who may not know everything there is to know about your webinar’s topic (i.e. a five minute spiel on why Kindle is a great platform for making money, but not half an hour). Finally, it’s important to open the floor for questions, though not right away, otherwise you risk having dead silence.

Bottom Line

This is a bit of a rant, I admit it, but I can tell you that these days, the only webinars I attend are from John Chow. The reason is because he follows the formula I outlined above, offering genuinely useful information even when he has something to sell as opposed to simply offering useless information and then trying to sell you everything in an overpriced course at the end of the webinar.

How to Check Your Website Compatibility in Other Browsers

Do a checkup on your websiteHave you checked out your own website lately? If you’re like me, you tend to check analytics religiously. You also will check on spam if you have a blog and you’ll do lots of updating, but few of us actually just go to the front end of the site and look to see what people are seeing unless we’ve made changes to the site and we want to see how they look.

No Need

The truth is, once you have your site set up, unless you make changes, you probably don’t need to check it out anyway. After all, once you know that your site is working, you don’t really need to check it again unless you make changes. However, if you recently did make changes or you never bothered to properly check to begin with, then you need to read on.

Not Just Firefox and Internet Explorer

Most of us, if we check our websites at all, do so only using the browser that we use along with perhaps Firefox and or Internet Explorer (if you use a third browser such as Chrome, Opera or Safari). However, that list alone shows exactly why you need to do testing of your website in many more browsers than just the one that we use.

More than Those

Now just to throw a curve at you, there are actually dozens of browsers still in common use for visiting websites, including such browsers as Konquerer, Avant and Lynx to name just a handful of them. Some of these are specially designed browsers, for example to let you see a site without graphics, while others are just alternatives used in alternate operating systems such as Linux and BeOS.

Not Just Browsers

Another thing to check on is the different possible resolutions that you may be able to view a site in. Most sites are optimized for 1024×768 because that’s the most popular format, however there are lots of other possible resolutions that people could potentially use to look at your site and as such, it’s always a good idea to check that as well.

No One Service Does It All

I did find a site which will let you test your site in dozens of browsers, including additional versions of Firefox, IE and others. You just enter the URL of your site and it will render your site in dozens of different browsers, all for free.

It’s called Browsershot, but it does have limitations. First, it doesn’t let you see any Mac browsers and second, it doesn’t check on resolutions. The site also occasionally times out while checking your site for compatibility meaning that you won’t see every single browser version.

Checking Resolution

To check your site’s resolution however, you need a separate website. I found one called Viewlike.us which is a relatively new site. It offers to check your site in about a half dozen resolutions. Combined with Browsershot to check to check your site in different browsers, this seems like the best deal.

How Much Influence Does Facebook and Twitter Have On Your Rankings?

Google -- do they care about facebook and twitter?This is a question I’ve often wondered about – just how much does Facebook and Twitter affect your rankings in Google and other search engines? Unfortunately, as with most things involving SEO, the best I or anyone else can offer you is an educated guess. After all, unless your name is Matt Cutts, you probably don’t know the exact formula that Google uses.

It’s Not a Numbers Game – Mostly

The first thing to realize is that getting better rankings on Google from your Twitter and Facebook rankings isn’t a numbers game (necessarily).

I say this because Google’s engineers are smart enough to realize that just because someone has lots of followers doesn’t mean those people are real followers. Most of us are well aware of the various services which will allow us to buy likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter. Because such services exist, it’s impossible to say that having a large following means that your following is worth anything.

On the Other Hand

Now, that said, there are good reasons to have plenty of followers and Facebook likes even if they are purchased (to a point that is). You don’t need to purchase thousands of followers and likes, but having a critical mass will make it easier to get real people to follow you or like you. Therefore, it’s worthwhile purchasing a small number of such followers or likes.

The reason by the way is something known as herd mentality. A Facebook page with over 1,000 likes is much more likely to get liked than a Facebook page with around 30-40 likes. A similar situation exists for Twitter, though those who don’t follow back tens of thousands of people are more likely to get quality followers rather than spammers.

Getting Back to Google

Okay, so much for the reasons to artificially inflate your likes and followers. Let’s get back to the primary point here, which is how much influence these things have on your rankings.

Influence Matters

Google’s algorithm is advanced enough to figure out which accounts on Twitter and Facebook are what might be called influencers. For example, a Twitter account with 30,000 followers and a few hundred people you follow will be considered to be an influencer. That’s because it’s assumed that you wouldn’t amass such a following without following back most people.

With Facebook, it matters who your likes are from – if they’re from people who have lots of other likes and few friends then they’re probably not real likes. It also pays however to keep in mind that many Facebook links are no follow and some are no index as well. This effectively means that in some cases, you won’t see Google benefits from Facebook.

Still Worth It

Of course, just because you may not get a tremendous amount of benefit from such services in SEO doesn’t mean you get no benefit; you definitely do. In addition to that, there is also the fact that real people who follow you on Twitter or like you on Facebook will see your links show up in their feeds meaning more traffic for you.

Bottom Line

Do try to get as many quality followers and likes as you can. However, it’s probably not worth bothering to buy a whole lot of them except to get yourself started so that you’ll get some real people interested in you.

by EricHammer, on       2 comments