Online webinars are a fantastic way to create a sense of community within your existing network while maintaining physical distance. When executed properly, they are a sure-fire way to increase the size of your audience and bring new prospects into your world.
In fact, 73% of sales and marketing leaders say online webinars remain one of the best ways to attract high-quality leads. This makes them a powerful vehicle for building relationships in your industry.
Amidst all of the uncertainty in today’s market, it’s easy for business owners to go into “damage control” mode. This causes many owners to forget about their top priority — serving their clients.
The fact of the matter is that your clients are just as scared, overwhelmed, and uncertain about their future as you.
In times of crisis, they need you.
This isn’t the time for making decisions based on impulse reactions. It’s a time to be proactive about delivering value and building relationships with clients.
As you make your way through this uncharted territory, these relationships will prove to be your company’s most valuable assets.
So, how exactly can you deliver value to your clients in today’s landscape?
One answer: Value-Add Online Webinars.
What do you mean by “Value-Add Online Webinars?”
While the conference rooms may be empty for the foreseeable future, that doesn’t mean you can’t have networking events — you just need to move the setting online.
Essentially, the idea with a Value-Add Webinar is to reach out to your network and host a virtual event to share knowledge and help them through this trying time.
By getting all of your clients, prospects, partners, and colleagues in the same (virtual) room, you can identify your industry’s top pain points and co-create solutions that are beneficial to everyone.
The goal with your online webinar is not to get prospects in a room so you can deliver a sales pitch. Instead, the goal is to gain a better understanding of their pain points and work towards solutions that will help relieve these pains.
From a sales perspective, this online webinar is an opportunity to build your list and follow-up with qualified prospects who are in need of your help (and hopefully, who are ready to buy).
Once you have established the relationship, you can follow-up with each individual prospect and address their specific needs in greater detail.
So, how can YOU host an online webinar for your network? Here’s our 5-Step Process for making the most of this virtual event:
1. Ask for Feedback
Before you host an event like this, it’s important to have a solid understanding of your network’s key concerns, priorities, and goals. Their needs may have changed since you last spoke with them.
The best way to get accurate information is to ask them directly.
By reaching out to your network and asking them for feedback — possibly when you invite them to the event — you can structure your presentation in a way that is relevant to their needs.
If you can demonstrate that your online webinar will contain relevant information for their situation, they are much more likely to attend and participate.
The easiest way to get direct feedback: just ask them “How can I help?”
By getting feedback from a variety of connections, you can tailor your presentation to meet the needs of your audience.
2. Source Experts in your Network
When it comes to online webinars — from a Value-Add perspective — it doesn’t pay to be selfish.
Rather than putting the spotlight on yourself as the host, you should focus on your attendees. It never hurts to add a panel of industry experts to your event to offer them greater value.
By getting multiple industry experts to participate, share their insights, and address the industry’s top pain points, you can effectively co-create solutions alongside the best minds in the space.
THAT is valuable.
Although this takes some of the focus away from you and your business, it amplifies the value of the event for your attendees. That’s the main goal of the webinar.
This is a prime opportunity for community and collaboration — reach out to other experts and successful business leaders in your space to see if they would like to participate.
Rather than speaking solely with people in your network — people who likely already know you — this gives you the chance to communicate with a larger audience.
By combining your collective networks, each speaker has the opportunity to grow their audience, which can lead to cross-selling to each others’ networks in the future.
3. Share Knowledge with No Expectations
Recently, I worked with a real estate investor to host a virtual event for his network. He brought in 18 guest speakers — each who delivered a short presentation and answered questions from online attendees during the Q&A session.
By marketing the webinar to his network — as well as the networks of each of his guest speakers — he saw over 4000 people register to attend the event, with over 2000 people attending live.
That’s 2000 people he was able to speak to directly — all at once.
And that’s 4000 people in his industry who he helped navigate through this difficult time — all in just a few hours.
In the minds of these 4000 individuals, he established himself as an authority — a Thought Leader in the space.
While the idea wasn’t to sell to these people on the webinar, it was a critical list-building opportunity, and gave him the chance to follow-up with each individual attendee to address their needs directly.
In times when sourcing leads can be painstakingly difficult, sharing your knowledge without a sales pitch or any expectations of reward will portray you as a helpful, confident leader in the space.
The long-term benefits of this perception of your company, your brand, and yourself can have a huge impact on your sales.
The key is building and nurturing these relationships before you even think about the sales pitch.
Once you have solidified yourself as a Thought Leader and have gained a greater understanding of each prospect’s specific needs, you can tailor your services to their situation…
…THEN you can introduce them into your nurturing process and make your sales pitch.
4. Direct Attendees to Resources
As a Thought Leader, part of being recognized as an authority is pointing prospects in the right direction and guiding them through tough times.
Beyond the presentation and panel of guest speakers, it’s important to direct your attendees to additional resources.
While the presentation itself is a massive resource, it’s best to over-deliver. Before the online webinar takes place, be sure to gather a list of resources relevant to your network’s needs.
These resources can vary significantly from space to space. However there are a few standards that can help regardless of industry.
These include: government press releases, financial aid programs, industry-specific expert opinions, and articles outlining “best practices” for people in your space.
Put together a brief package of resources — along with any presentation notes, slides, and graphics — and share it with your attendees after the online webinar concludes.
By giving your attendees something tangible to take away from your event, their perceived value of your event will increase dramatically.
5. Follow-Up with Attendees
Alongside your package of resources for all attendees, it’s crucial that you follow-up with potential prospects after the event.
When they register, each attendee will likely share their email address with you.
To take advantage of this, be sure to create an email sequence to:
- Encourage them to actually attend the online webinar,
- Share resources and a recap with them post-event,
- And encourage them to join your email list or connect with you on LinkedIn.
During the online webinar itself, you can also remind attendees to connect with you on LinkedIn. This gives them the chance to reach out to you directly and makes it much easier for you to follow-up with them.
This also lets you gauge the interest of leads based on who reaches out to you, helping you prioritize your follow-ups.
The most motivated prospects will reach out to you early, so address them first while you simultaneously reach out to and connect with other attendees.
This helps you manage your lead flow without being overwhelmed by leads or, conversely, suffering lengthy downtime.
You can also send a single follow-up email to all attendees after the online webinar concludes. Use this as an opportunity to share resources and presentation notes while also inviting them to join your email list, Facebook page, or LinkedIn profile.
By following up with attendees, you can continue the conversation that your online webinar sparked. This lets you build and nurture the relationship.
Once you have a better understanding of their needs and are sure they are ready to buy, you can pitch your service in a way that is tailored to their situation, which is much more likely to result in a deal.
Have you hosted your own online webinar?
What was your experience? What results came from the event?
At eRational, our team delivers growth on-demand. If you’re looking for more ways to add value for your target audience, feel free to reach out and book a Growth Call with our team.