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.