In early April, 2020 we got an ‘SOS’ message.
“We need your help to create history – we want to create the largest virtual summit ever in this country!”
In 9 days, we made that happen with over 14,000 people signing up for this event. All this happened amidst a Covid-19 lockdown and a stock market crash. And we did it in 7 days.
Here’s a thank you note from the client.
Here’s the highlights for this Webinar.
- Over 14,000 people signed up
- Over 13,000 people showed up for the webinar (with social sharing)
- 4,000 buyers paid $25 on the upsell (a 3-day summit)
- 300 upsells on the backend at $750 each
- Total ad spend of just over $10,000
- Total sales around $413,000
- 41X ROAS for the client
While we weren’t the only agency working on this project… we were one of the main contributors to the numbers and the strategy behind it. The client repeated the Webinar again a month later and we managed to get 11,000+ sign ups. So in total, there were 25,000+ registrations over 2 rounds.
Here are some of the lessons we can share from this amazing experience.
#1 Think Big & Go Big on Your Virtual Events
The client is a big thinker and doesn’t do stuff half-heartedly. Most importantly, he was not afraid to spend big.
In fact… I kept getting messages pushing us to spend MORE.
Why was he so confident?
The truth is, he knows his numbers. Even though he had never done a live Webinar of this magnitude, he was confident that he would have a high closing rate.
In fact, he told me he was confident he could convert around 40% of the attendees into buyers. He backed himself even though he had never done this same webinar. Amazingly, the conversion numbers at the event was almost 40%.
On the same lines of ‘going big’ – we marketed to the whole country of Malaysia. It was fascinating to see someone signing up every few seconds.
Ultimately it was the client’s clarity about his numbers that made this webinar successful. Without that, we would have been tied behind our backs while trying to do an MMA fight. It was exciting for the whole team to be unleashed from the shackles of having a limited budget to work with.
So there are two lessons from this point:
- Having clarity on your numbers is critical for success.
- Think big so you can win big
#2 Have a Winning Offer Structure for Maximum Webinar Attendance
From the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel…
… the client structured his offers very well.
There were ‘irresistible offers’ throughout the funnel. Even just for signing up for the Webinar, there were gifts.
Image: Present them with an irresistible offer
For people showing up for the Webinar, there were incentives not just to show up, but to stay at the Webinar as well.
Incentives such as:
- Free downloads
- Prizes for being the first to comment
- Lucky draw for attendees and sharing
These made show up rates exceptionally high for an online event, and it also made people stay. It was a good investment because if people don’t stay… you can’t make your offer to them. And if you can’t make your offer, then you can’t make a sale.
At the end of the webinar, there was a pitch for a virtual summit, where participants got to learn from 18 different experts in a 3-day event.
The price was a mere $25… Which made it an irresistible offer for the right market. This explains the high conversion rate of 40%.
The screenshot below shows the speaker line up.
Image: Speaker line up for the virtual summit
The smart thing about this is that it is always the hardest to get the first sale. Which gave him a great opportunity to upsell them to a high-ticket offer at the end of the 3-day virtual summit.
Many others who offer Webinars only focus their energies on making a good offer at the webinar. But they forget about making sure the offer is irresistible when people sign up… And they forget to make a great offer to make people show up.
When you have these elements in place it will take your Webinars to brand new heights.
#3 Messaging is the Key For Great Webinar Sign Up Numbers
One of the biggest issues with spending a ton of money on a relatively small population like Malaysia… is that we knew we were going to get ad fatigue pretty quickly.
This means that people will see our ad over and over again in a short period of time… and stop responding.
We dealt with this problem by preparing multiple ‘hooks’ or angles. We had to brainstorm and come up with multiple hooks pretty quickly. Coming up with different angles based on the pains, fears and desires of the audience we were speaking to.
Given that it was a huge time of uncertainty… we played on various angles including:
- Fighting back the virus
- Creating income from home
- Become ‘in demand’
- Your country and economy needs you
Image: Find relevant and interesting angles for your ads
We predominantly used videos to communicate the message. And one of the great things about working with this client was that he was quick to make videos for us.
We stopped to:
- Understand what the prospect was feeling
- What would their emotions be
- What conversations were they having at the dinner table
- What conversations were they having with themselves
That’s how we made our advertisements relevant and kept the ad costs low.
Secondly, we knew it was important to be seen in as many places as possible. So we used multichannel marketing – and not rely on a single marketing channel. So while Facebook/Instagram was the main platform, we made sure to make full use other advertising platforms as well, such as Youtube and Google.
This multiple-channel approach not only helped us reach more audiences – it gave us multiple points of exposure to the audience we were targeting.
Image: Reach them in multiple channels
We increased our exposure to a larger audience and at the same time, increased the chances of people signing up.
Thirdly, we used retargeting. We created ads to target people who came to the landing page but didn’t sign up, and people who had watched significant portions of our video ads.
The cool thing is we could retarget across different ad platforms… So someone could have first came through Youtube, and then they were seeing our retargeting ad on Facebook.
In addition, our retargeting ads were messaged accordingly… We generally used shorter ads and tried to infuse some humour into it.
We used hooks such as:
“Hey, why haven’t you signed up yet?” (while eating a snack and looking disappointed)
“You’re probably sick of seeing my ads already”
Image: One of the ads that we ran
These tongue-in-cheek ads worked well for this audience and showed the speaker’s human side, so that more viewers could relate to the speaker.
#4 Create Relevance and First-Mover Advantage to Get Great Webinar Signups
When the speaker decided to put on this event, most Malaysians had never even heard of a virtual summit… Curiosity would have played a role in having a lot of people who were stuck at home check it out.
Secondly, the topic was relevant for where people were at.
Being stuck at home, unsure about what was going to happen with their business and job, many people thought it would be good to ‘upskill’ and learn something, that could help them with their business or career. Many people had loads of free time being stuck at home, so it was the ‘perfect storm’.
Since we did this event there have been many others who have tried emulating it. But none managed to achieve the numbers that this event achieved.
As a matter of fact, when this client did the event again a month later… The cost to get people to sign up was a lot higher compared to the first round.
While we did manage to achieve over 11,000 sign-ups the second time around… it took a longer period of time and the ad cost was about 5 times higher.
Lesson we learnt is that timing can be everything. In this regard here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Is the topic that I’m presenting timely and consistent with what’s going on?
- Can I adjust my topic and ads so that they are relevant to what’s happening now?
- Does my Webinar promise to solve a big problem that my target market has now?
#5 Follow Up System
This is important.
Forget important… it’s critical.
Image: Set up a follow-up sequence
In many of the Webinars we market we often pick up sales after the live event. In some cases… The number of sales that happen after the event have rivaled the sales at the live event.
This is due to the fact that we build a great follow-up system
A follow up system that entails:
- Facebook Messenger
- Retargeting ads
- Live sales calls
All these combine to give you the best possible chance to make sales after the event. This diagram below is a fairly ‘standard’ follow up funnel we normally build for each client.
Diagram: Our follow-up funnel that we have used for multiple clients
So here’s how it all works:
1. Plan your Second Chance
A large number of your webinar registrants simply won’t attend your webinar. In most cases, between 50% to 80% of registrants won’t show up.
… They get busy.
… They get lazy.
… They forget.
Whatever’s the case, you need to give them a second chance to consume your content.
For this particular client, he didn’t have a replay. But he had an encore live webinar 2 days after the main event. Naturally, this gave registrants a ‘second chance’ to come to his Webinar.
In addition, it also gave us an extra opportunity to get fresh leads for his encore live webinar.
Remember, it costs a lot to get someone to sign up, so it’s always good to give them a second chance to watch your webinar… Whether it is an encore event, or a replay.
2. Create a Deadline
Deadlines and scarcity works.
Normally we have a deadline whereby the registrants need to watch the replay. Once the clock hits zero, the webinar is removed and no one is able to watch it anymore.
In addition, we also make sure that the special price offer is removed as well.
Image: Use a countdown timer to show offer’s closing date
This will prompt the fence-sitters to take action.
In some cases, the fear of missing out can prompt people to take action before the deadline. Sometimes they buy without even watching the webinar.
This is especially true when we have some form of risk reversal. Like a 30-day money-back guarantee.
3. Multichannel and multi-message follow up
There’s a saying in sales you need 12 to 21 contacts to make a sale.
So make sure you don’t just send a single follow email and expect the sales to flood in. To make this successful, you need multiple messages. Ideally, they should be crafted in a nice sequence that ‘attacks’ your prospect from different angles.
As we mentioned earlier, we don’t just rely on email. We use every available channel that is accessible to us including SMS, messenger, retargeting ads and even sales reps.
Image: Multi-channel and multi-message follow up sequence is important
The key is to plan the sequence and automate it as much as possible. Having a proper follow-up sequence ensures you don’t leave money on the table.
In this particular case, the client managed to close a significant amount of sales at the encore event.
#6 Have A Plan B (and C) for Your Virtual Summit Marketing
Anyone who has experience advertising on Facebook can tell you, one of the key frustrations of Facebook ads is that they can ban you (often with no warning and no apparent reason).
In this campaign, 2 of our ad accounts got banned.
Thankfully the client had a backup plan… He had other agencies and individuals running ads as well.
In hindsight, it was a rushed job, which meant we had no time to carefully evaluate the landing page given to us. There were elements in the landing page that in round 2, we fixed and we had no issues with ad accounts getting banned.
In addition, the fact that these were my personal ad accounts… Which were relatively inactive before this campaign.
So when we were suddenly spending a ton of money on ads, it triggered extra scrutiny on these relatively inactive ad accounts. That’s why it is so important to understand the policies of the ad platform you work with.
Many of us, even with years of experience running Facebook ads, got our ad accounts banned in the first campaign. It’s even more frustrating since most of these bans are triggered by bots, and not by humans.
In this case, we had backup plans with:
- Additional ad accounts from other consultants and agencies
- Advertising in other channels such as Youtube and Google
- An ability to quickly modify elements in our campaign such as ads and pages that were not compliant.
Without the ad account bans, I believe we could have increased the number of registrations by another 10,000… without too much trouble.
3 takeaways from this are:
- Plan early
- Be compliant with your ad platform
- Have backup ad accounts and marketing channels
#7 Build Speaker Trust and Credibility to Market Your Webinar Effectively
To get someone going from social media to see your ad, and sign up for your Webinar is not an easy task… Even if it is a free event.
They need to be willing to invest time into your event. And they need to believe that you can deliver them what you promise, to make their lives better in some way.
In other words, you need people to TRUST you.
Here’s a few ways that this client managed to build trust with a completely cold audience.
i) Use the credibility of other speakers.
Instead of going it alone, he used the credibility of 18 speakers to attract people.
Image: Virtual summit speaker line-up has experts in various fields
This achieved 2 things:
1) Credibility and trust-building.
While most prospects had no idea who the main speaker was, they may have come across some of the other speakers before. This gave credibility to the main speaker who was ‘leading’ the summit with the other speakers in attendance.
While it is not always feasible and practical to have other speakers at your webinar. The same can be applied by using testimonials from recognizable people in your marketing.
2) Topical interest
Having a multitude of speakers allowed this campaign to have a wider appeal. Those who weren’t interested in Facebook Marketing could have been interested in building a funnel, Youtube marketing, SEO, personal branding or running a webinar.
The fact that there were 18 experts meant the varying interests of the audience was catered to… This created a wider appeal to a mass audience.
The power of video cannot be underestimated. It was powerful for the speaker to appear on video and make a heartfelt attempt to persuade audiences.
Appearing on video also helped to build trust and confidence in the speaker… An image ad just would not be able to build trust in the same way.
Getting on video and talking from the heart helped the speaker win over many people to sign up.
On the landing page, the speaker had a lot of third-party credentials.
Having newspaper articles, awards and details of the speakers’ achievements helps to boost confidence and trust in the speaker… much more than testimonials from unknown people.
If you are not able to list any credentials, you can show results or tell your personal story. All these will help the audience trust you, and increase the chances of them clicking on the ‘sign up’ button.
Summing Up This Webinar Marketing Project
So there you have it, 7 practical lessons from our involvement in a record-breaking Webinar.
Just a quick recap:
- Think big and go big
- Make your offers irresistible… at every step of the way.
- Pay special attention to your messaging
- Be relevant to what’s going on… and move fast
- Make sure you have a comprehensive follow-up system
- Have backup plans for your marketing
- Don’t forget to build trust
Thanks for reading to the end of this long post. I hope you’ve gotten lots of value from this article on how to promote Webinars successfully.
And finally, here’s our shameless plug…
If you would like us to help you with your Webinar marketing, simply organise a time by clicking on the link below.
We’d be happy to chat about whether we can bring your Webinars to new levels of success and profit.