In our previous 2 blog posts on how to create a winning webinar, we covered how to get more people to register for your webinars, and how to get more of your registrants to show up to your live event.
In this 3rd step to webinar success we're going to deal with the important subject of how to get more engagement and interaction with your audience.
Unless you get your audience on your side, get them participating and involved in your webinar presentation, you're likely to lose your audience's attention, interest and mostly probably you'll lose them as potential new customers too.
The 6 Step Webinar Presentation Process To Maximize Engagement And Get More Sales
There are 6 core stages to creating a successful webinar that sells and maximises webinar engagement:
1. Re-Affirmation - That The Attendee Has Made The Right Decision
From the very outset, it's important that you clear the air and reassure attendees that they have made the right choice in attending the webinar. It is important to realise the mindset of many attendees.
Often the mindset will be one of reservation about being on the webinar. They will be questioning themselves if this is a good use of their time and whether they will get anything worthwhile out of the time they spend on the webinar.
So the task at the Re-Affirmation stage is to:
i. Reassure the audience that they've made the right choice in joining you live,
ii. Briefly introduce yourself for those that may not know you. But don't get too self absorbed as your audience won't really care who you are except whether you can help them and how,
iii. Sell them on why they need to stay on the webinar by briefly outlining what they will learn and how it can help them overcome their big challenge, which is simply re-iterating the main reason(s) why they signed up for the webinar i.e. your big promise on what they will get from attending your webinar.
2. Acknowledge Objections & Challenges
By acknowledging any objections and challenges that attendees face in dealing with their big problem - the subject matter that you will discuss in your webinar - you set yourself apart from perhaps other webinars or training that the audience may have been on.
These objections or challenges may have nothing to do with belief in what you say is true but about their own beliefs and scepticism that they can do it themselves. So for example you may need to acknowledge that as an expert it would be reasonable for the audience to think that you have an advantage over them in implementing what you teach. But you can then explain why this may not be as big an advantageous as they might think. One method that you can use to overcome this objection is covered in step 3 below.
It is also beneficial to qualify who the webinar is for and who it is not for. For example, if your webinar is about how to grow a six and seven figure ecommerce business, you might won't to qualify your prospect and say that it is not for get rich quick opportunity seekers, anyone who is not prepared to put in some work or who is lazy and tend to give up at the first hurdle.
This does two things. It helps you to isolate those that are not serious action takers who you wouldn't want as customers in any case. It also makes you more appealing to those that you do want to attract as customers because you will come across as being more forthright and honest
The first two stages of the webinar process are quite short, not much more than 5 minutes and take maybe 4 slides at most. However, the purpose is important. It helps to reassure your audience's decision to attend as being the right decision. And by acknowledging their objections, fears and scepticism you set yourself apart from other webinar presenters who don't do this, making you appear more knowledgeable and understanding of the challenges faced by your audience.
3. Bond & Trust Building
The bonding and trust phase has 2 main purposes:
- i. Make you more relatable
ii. Make your audience more open-minded and receptive to your core content
There are 2 ways that you can bond and build trust with your audience:
- i. Tell your audience a story,
ii. Provide your audience with evidence
i. The Story - Get Your Audience To Relate To You
The best framework for a story is to tell them how you came to discover the solution to the problem that you will be teaching your audience in your core training. One of the best approaches is to use the loss and redemption strategy that tells of how your failed many times, even tried different approaches without success. Then you tried something different which led to a transformation in results.
ii. Provide Evidence
If you don't have a story to share that helps you to overcome your audience's objections then use evidence, results or case studies instead. The evidence would show your audience the results that you or former students achieved when they implemented what you will be teaching on the webinar. Again keep it short.
The story doesn't have to be long. In fact it should really only be a couple of slides and take up not much more than 5-10 minutes. And the transition from stage 2 in acknowledging the fears, concerns or challenges to stage 3 should be simple and straightforward. For example you could say:
"Naturally you would think that it was easy for me to achieve these kinds of results, that I have an unfair advantage over you because of my previous experience and understanding of online marketing, however let me tell you a little story…."
This is when you tell your story or provide evidence of your results.
4. Deliver On Promise - Core Content & Training
Step 4 of your webinar is where the rubber hits the road; where you deliver your easy to implement, actionable content that your audience can take away and get immediate results.
This is the most important stage of the webinar process from your audience's perspective. It is the main reason they decided to register and attend your webinar. This is where you deliver on your promise by showing them how they can solve their big problem.
Delivering on your content or free training is when you can influence your audience the most. If the object of your webinar is to sell to them, or to build trust and rapport, perhaps in order to develop a long term relationship with your audience so you can sell to them later, then this is when you can make your mark.
Whatever the purpose of your webinar, building authority and influence in the eyes of your audience can be done in one of three ways:
- Talk about how good your are, your credentials and your results
- Get others to say how good you are i.e. use social proof to demonstrate that you can deliver on your promise, or
- Demonstrate to your audience how good you are
The third strategy is the most powerful as you demonstrate to your audience through the content you deliver how they can solve their big problem and thereby build your influence as an expert who can help them.
How you deliver on your content is important too. Don't give your audience one hundred things that they need to do in order to solve there big problem. You will lose them in the detail. Instead keep it simple, use a bigger picture approach and concentrate on just 2 or 3 core things that your audience can action on immediate in order see results fast.
Step 4 is where you will be spending more of your time. Over deliver, build trust and get your audience more receptive to buying from you.
5. The Sales Pitch Transition
Like the transition from stage 2 to stage 3, the transition from content delivery to selling needn't be complicated. Many webinar hosts mess this part up because they may feel awkward or scared about switching to their sales pitch.
However, if you have provided valuable content and your audience can use right away, then you should have no problem thinking that you've earned the right to present your offer, particularly if it will further help them to get the results they are after.
Here's a simple transition:
"so if you found what I taught today helpful, then I think you are really going to like what I have for you today, my new training program/product…" so on and so on.
Then go straight into talking about your offer.
6. The Sales Pitch & Close
This is the topic of our next blog post so I don't propose to delve into too much detail here. There is however a specific process to presenting your offer that stacks the value and makes your webinar offer as appealing as possible.
Boost Interaction & Engagement - Experts Reveal Best Practice Strategies
So now that we understand the core steps to conducting a winning webinar, lets take a look at some of the best practice recommendations from the webinar experts.
Alex Mandossian cautions that disengaged people will cost you money. That's a good reason to get your audience engaged and interacting with you. He recommends a 4-part process:
- What? - your introduction on what you are going to be talking about on the webinar,
- Why? - explain why it is relevant to your audience, their problems, challenges and how you will show them how to solve those issues,
- How? - this is your main content that shows the audience how they can solve the big problem,
- What if? (the future) - how your audience's lives could look in 7, 30, 90 days from today if they implement what you teach
Mike Koenigs' advice if you want to conduct successful webinars:
"keep your attendees' eyes, ears and fingers busy. As long as you do that, he says and people feel engaged, you will create a relationship with your audience. He suggests that you open up with a strong emotional story (something personal and vulnerable) which relates to the subject of the webinar and to your offer. Be passionate, smile and encourage audience engagement by asking questions, do polls, show examples or case studies, etc."
Another very effective strategy to get your audience interacting and engaged is to get to them to confirm affirmation statements.
Anik Singal explains that in NLP (neurolinguistic programming) you get a listener to affirm/ agree with what you are saying. It's a super effective way to engage with your audience.
He gives the following example "if you're excited to change your life in the next 10 days and you're going to take action today, write, 'I'm ready' in the comment section". It's quick to do and it elicits a lot of responses that you can then share some of those responses with your audience. That's immediate social proof. It also adds positive vibe and excitement. Anik explains that getting your audience in this frame of mind also trains them to be more responsive throughout the webinar.
It's an easy strategy and one that many webinar experts use to keep the audience engaged and responsive.
Another strategy that Anik uses is the open loop to let his audience know what's coming up. This has the effect of keeping more of the audience on the webinar for longer. For example, you can say "in the next 10 minutes, you're going to learn this, so make sure your stick around". Or "stick around for the next 10 minutes because you don't want to miss my next tip".
This trick gets people to stay on longer and hopefully long enough to hear what you have to offer.
Russell Brunson likes to show up 10 minutes before the start of the webinar and starts to engage with his audience immediately. Brunson says:
"You can introduce yourself, welcome them to the webinar and say something about what you will be covering. Tell your audience it's going to be amazing that you're really excited you're here and have an upbeat attitude. Your excitement will get them excited. Then just keep replaying that loop over and over again. People that arrive will immediately feel the energy and buzz in the webinar room.
Once the webinar starts, make a big promise upfront. Tell them what you'll cover, what you will deliver and what they're going to get and know by the end of the webinar. You can even make them a bribe that if they stay until the end you will give them something awesome."
John Hutchinson uses a similar approach to keeping more attendees to stay on for longer with open loops. He also recommends telling the audience upfront how long the webinar presentation will take and that there will be a Q & A session at the end. He also likes to reserve his best content towards the end of the presentation so he can transition to his pitch on a high.
Similar to the 6 steps that we outline above, Jason Fladlien breaks down the webinar process into just 4 key parts:
- The introduction - getting your attendees to answer questions, even play games e.g. Mad Libs and get the audience to fill in the blanks. He also likes to challenge his audience's beliefs and objections at this stage. The objective to get engagement and a more open minded mindset.
- Outline what you will be covering in the webinar - but do so by explaining the benefits of the answer without giving them the answer.
- Explain why you are able to deliver the results you claim you can deliver. This is when you can go into your story on how you made the discovery and or inject proof of your main claim.
- Your content / core training
In many ways, as you can see, this is very similar to what we just discussed. The point is there are no hard and fast rules so long as you address the fundamentals of each step.
Jeremiah Desmarais offers an additional strategy that hasn't been mentioned. He likes to do a quick recap at the end of each step to breakdown what he has just covered. Desmarais explains that this is a good way of reminding the audience of the value that is being providing, which helps to build trust with the audience.
So there you have it, some highly effective strategies to boost webinar interaction and engagement. You should take advantage of any webinar software applications or tools that help you to be more engaging. For example, the Webinar Jam software gives you the ability to:
(i) Inject polls and quizzes,
(ii) Ask questions,
(iii) Post some of the best comments in the webinar room for all to see,
(iv) Stream video records of testimonials or case studies
(v) Conduct attendee spotlights so you can speak live with a former or current happy customer
(vi) Do live product demonstrations, and more
The more versatility you introduce into your webinar presentations, the more engaged your audience will be.