Leveraging Webinars to Improve Your Sales Funnel

15 minute read

The 2020 pandemic was – and is – a costly experience. With people staying home and clutching their wallets tight, selling any product or service is a challenge now more than ever. 

Enter the webinar.

Webinars are an easy, affordable way to improve your sales funnel almost overnight. 

As brick-and-mortar stores move operations online, the SaaS (Software as a Service) niche has grown. That includes the use of webinars. 

 

Infobox: Did you know? From January to April of 2020, B2B (business to business) marketers doubled webinar usage. Furthermore, webinar usage across all industries increased by 36% between February and March! (See graph below). 
Graph of B2B businesses over the years

Image credit: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1119096/increase-in-b2b-webinars-due-to-covid-19-usa/

 

Imagine that you are in sales. You generate leads, call potential customers, and pitch them your product. Now, imagine that somebody told you – you can talk to 5,10,100 potential clients at once. Close to zero organization costs. You can do it as many times as you want.

The potential opportunities are endless. Cold pitches, cross-sells, inviting overseas speakers, and many attendees. While everything is happening from the comfort of each home or an office. 

Webinars make it possible for anyone with a script and a little charisma to turn leads into sales in no time flat. But how do you build it into a sales funnel?

 

Before we cover how to leverage a webinar in your sales funnel, let’s discuss the difference between a plain webinar and a webinar sales funnel. A webinar in itself is just a tool, and in this post, we will talk about various options on how you can use it in your sales process to make sure you are getting all the clients you can. 

 

What is a Webinar? 

A webinar is a recording or live event wherein you inform viewers and sell your product. These are an excellent way to connect with your audience – without pitching your sale to each customer. 

Webinars have several benefits in marketing and can be applied to many profitable niches. For instance, you can use them to:

  • Gather high-quality leads 
  • Nurture close relationships with your customers 
  • Sell to more customers 

 

Infobox: Did you know? According to Marketingcharts, 48% of marketers believe that webinars improve the quality of leads. This is likely because of the personal relationship between the host and the viewer.

 

All these benefits make webinars an ideal addition to any sales funnel. But, you have to know how to leverage them. Otherwise, you spend a lot of time and effort for little to nothing in return. 

 

What is a Webinar Sales Funnel – and Why Should You Use One?

A webinar sales funnel is a way to leverage webinars to get people to buy your product or service. The purpose of a sales funnel is to lead your viewers down a set path. Hopefully, the funnel ends with them becoming customers. 

GetResponse, which amongst other services also launched a webinar platform, has designed a visual that users can view when creating a paid webinar funnel: 

Graph: Webinar Sales Funnel
Image credit: Screenshot from https://www.getresponse.com/blog/how-do-webinars-work

 

Infobox: Did you know? 36% of marketers polled cited webinars as an effective method in generating new leads. In fact, one-third of marketers named webinars as their most effective sales tactic! 

Webinar sales funnels have a few benefits over a standalone webinar or sales funnel. For instance:

  • Automated webinars cut down the amount of time you spend selling
  • By the time your viewers reach your webinar through the funnel, they’re interested in the product
  • Webinars allow viewers to see your face, which makes it easier to convert clicks to sales

 

Infobox: Did you know? 77% of marketers use webinars in their marketing funnel. Also, 33% of marketers who add webinars to their sales funnels see higher conversion rates!

 

But, the most compelling reason you should use sales webinars in your funnels is that they work. There’s a reason that so many people use them!

In this guide, we’re going to cover the essential steps to leveraging your webinars in your sales funnels. We’ll discuss the important components of:

 

At this point, we believe we have caught your attention and got your acquainted a little bit more with how a “big conference call” (which webinar essentially is) can increase your sales. Now let’s have a look at some actionable tips and go step by on how to get your webinar running, how to market it, and where you can implement it.

 

1. Build Your Webinar

The first step in building an effective sales funnel is to prepare a fantastic webinar. The rest of the steps mean little if your viewers bounce within the first two minutes of your event. 

First, you should decide the tone of your webinar. Do you want to show excitement? Impart information? Do you want to sound like a college professor or an expert? The webinar world is your oyster – choose wisely. 

Next, you’ll want to create a few slides to follow so you don’t lose track. This is especially important if you’re hosting a live event. 

For example, GetResponse includes a planner for your webinars that looks like this:

Webinar Planner

Image credit: Screenshot from https://www.getresponse.com/blog/how-do-webinars-work

 

Furthermore, be sure to add in the right amount of “urgency” in your webinar. You can do this by including words such as “limited time offer” or “this deal won’t last long!” in your script. You can also add countdown timers or limit the number of products available per webinar.

A basic webinar breakdown looks like this:

  • A 5-minute welcome and introduction
  • 5-10 minutes of sharing the story of you, your company, or your product
  • 10-20 minutes of imparting the content of your webinar 
  • 10-20 minutes of sales pitch

After you’ve gotten your notes down and practiced a few times, it’s time to record your webinar (if it is automated). If you’re going for a live event, be sure to practice until showtime! 

Due to the increased popularity of webinars, there are now many options to choose from. There are webinar platforms catering to every possible client group. Everybody is coming to the market with a product that is both competitive and with prices better than others. So make sure to check around before making a final decision.

Whether you choose an evergreen or live webinar, you’re not finished here. There’s still more work to do to prepare yourself – and your customers – for your event. 

 

2. Creating Landing Pages

After your webinar is ready to go, the next place to start your online campaign is your landing page. This is the page that customers “land” on when they click a link, such as an email or registration link. 

It’s important to note that your landing page may be the first interaction a viewer has with your marketing campaign. Thus, it’s important to make it attractive, simple, and easy to navigate. 

For instance, this landing page for a webinar on On24 is plain, informative, and simple. While not very flashy, it includes some color and serves its purpose well. 

Webinar Landing Page

Image credit: Screenshot from https://www.on24.com/resources/asset/wbps-driving-webinar-digital-event-registration-2020/?utm_source=upcomingpage

 

You can also tie your webinar with a particularly important day, for example, Yahoo did a business webinar on a women’s day.

Woman's Day Webinar Landing Page

As you can see the landing pages structure for webinars is quite similar. The registration form, the main talking points, and the speakers. 

To make a landing page, you can use a template or create one from scratch. You can also choose a landing page builder from a wide offer of services, and it will do all the heavy lifting for you. You will just have to put a bit of creativity into it and drag and drop the boxes that you need. Simple as that. 

 

Whatever the method, keep in mind the following:

  • Your headline should be clear and persuasive. You want people to click – and click now!
  • The benefits of your webinar should be at the top of the page. This is where you convince potential viewers that handing over their emails is worth it. 
  • Your Call to Action (CTA) should be bright, visible, and compel readers to sign up for your webinar. 
  • Registration forms should be short and sweet. Start with a name and email address – the rest of the details come later. 

Do not stop there, create slide-in bars or exit intent popups to make sure that you convert as many visitors as possible. It is hard to get them to your landing page so make sure you use every tool available to optimize your rates. 

 

3. Advertise. Re-advertise. Then Advertise More.  

If you’re inclined on making webinars the backbone of your sales funnel, it’s important to get your name in people’s heads. And, once it’s there, you want to keep it there. This is where advertising comes into play. 

 

Social Media

Social media is the obvious place to advertise – because it works. Take advantage of all the free platforms you can. 

Look on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram. 

 

Influencer Shoutouts

When you hear a promotion on social media, you probably think about paid advertisements or creating a profile and building it. You are right to a big extent. For webinars, we would like to also add shoutouts into consideration. 

In this approach, you contact directly the influencers and account owners negotiating an ad on their profile. If you have more than a couple of such influencers on your radar, use an outreach  automation tool. You will be usually paying for a time-limited ad on their account, so make sure that the engagement and reach are in the range of what you are looking for. 

A similar approach may be used with Youtube. You can directly approach channels that seem to be relevant to what you want to promote. If you do not know where to start researching such challenges give a shot to ThinkWithGoogle where you can identify Youtube channels based on your preferences.

 

Online Advertising 

If you do not have a loyal community of readers or followers to market to. Paid ads are here to help. The great thing about them is that they deliver instant results. There are many platforms to consider and the description of those goes beyond the scope of this post, so let’s discuss some tips. 

 

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads is an excellent advertisement system because of how you can target your ads. For instance, you can market to specific niches, such as language groups. Also, you can market to those who interact with set pages or even “Like” your competitors’ pages. 

 

Infobox: Did you know? The most effective Facebook ads are single-image formats. Furthermore, 5% of marketers reported that promoting their products and posts on Facebook generated returns. 

 

Pinterest Ads

Pinterest has a financially strong purchase oriented audience. On many topics the competition is not that high, so you can get clicks starting on $0.10 PPC. Make sure to check out more about Pinterest and how to operate on this platform.

 

If your niche is amongst the popular ones on Pinterest (fashion, food, lifestyle, travel, DIY, and similar topics) you might even get instant organic traffic. In comparison to SEO and ranking on Google, which may take 6 months and more to see any results at all, Pinterest can deliver instant traffic and keep delivering it every day. 

 

LinkedIn Ads

If you are in the B2B space, pay attention, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn. So in case your sales funnel is predominantly targeted at this type of client, LI should be in your marketing mix. While on other platforms you must meet the interest of the user, LI is geared towards business. Users are acquainted with ads on various events, webinars, or trial testings. Most importantly, you will be getting qualified leads.

 

Google Adwords

Last but of course not least. If you’ve been on the internet you know what Google Adwords is. It is an ad platform where everybody can bid for the keywords. Google provides you with many great tools to analyze the keywords that would bring you the users you are looking for. Additionally, you want to try tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush that will help you navigate a bit more through the sentiment of the viewers.  

For example here is a short snippet of a few keywords related to painting techniques:

List of keywords

So in this simple example, you would drive the visitors with the use of this keyword to your landing page, on the webinar you would show them various painting techniques and after sell the supplies or more advanced courses (or sell the painting techniques webinar itself). 

Contests and Giveaways

A recent but very notable participant in generating leads for your webinar are various referral contests and giveaways. While the investment is very low, the potential output may be great.

There is a lot of viral potential in such giveaways, and that is exactly what you need for your webinar (and sales funnel) to be filled with newcomers who are ready to get more information about your service or product. 

The base is very simple. You offer a prize (an item, an extended trial, free use of your product for a year – anything that you feel could be interesting to your target audience) and ask your audience to follow, like, or subscribe to enter the competition. 

 

Remarketing Campaigns 

Remarketing is an advanced version of online advertising. This is a powerful way to build conversions. 

 

Infobox: Did you know? The average conversion rate for a first click is a measly 2%!

 

In simple terms, remarketing puts the power of conversion in your hands after your customers leave. It works like this:

  • A potential viewer visits your landing page and bounces
  • A remarketing “cookie” follows your viewer around the internet
  • Your cookie places compelling ad copy on various pages. For instance, you may use an ad that says: “Thanks for your interest in our webinar! Don’t forget to sign up before the deadline!”
  • The cookie ad directs back to your landing page
  • The lead generates into a viewer, who hopefully becomes a sale

 

This graphic from Wordstream.com shows how remarketing works on a simple scale:

Graph on remarketing

Image credit: Screenshot from https://www.wordstream.com/google-remarketing

 

Remarketing campaigns have proven to be very effective. In some industries, they increase conversions by 147%! 

However, the real bonus with remarketing campaigns is that they increase brand awareness – even without conversion. This increases the chance the customer may come back later. 

Promotion of your webinar does not have to end there, you can go as far as using SMS marketing, or even make a QR code that will link to your webinar landing page. 

 

4. Email Marketing 

Email marketing is still one of the most effective forms of marketing. 

 

Infobox: Did you know? Email marketing has a read rate of up to 80%! (Depending on the sector). 

 

Emails are one of the best ways to ensure your viewers return to your webinars after they sign up. While a free webinar is a good way to entice viewers in, not paying for the webinar means that they’re less likely to show. 

Email marketing changes the stakes – which is why it’s an essential part of the webinar sales funnel. 

There are two basic types of webinar email marketing campaigns: pre-webinar and post-webinar. Using both ensures the highest attendance and conversion rates. 

At our day and age, email marketing campaigns can be set easily with many email marketing services that are available to you. Going a step forward, a lot of them can also help you with integration or automatization of your pre or post-webinar email content. 

 

Pre-Webinar Email Marketing

Pre-webinar campaigns help to ensure that your viewers attend your event. 

Your campaign should look something like this:

The first email sends within 60 seconds of signup. Thank the viewer for signing up and cover the benefits of your webinar. You may also include a link to your blog, relevant content, or other landing pages. 

For instance, this registration confirmation email from Reforge is simple, catchy, and actionable:

Image credit: Screenshot from https://sendpulse.com/blog/webinar-email

Registration confirmation email

The second email goes out a few days before the webinar. Remind your viewer to add the event to their calendar and mention a waitlist if you have one. You may also ask your viewer to let you know if they’re not coming and build “exclusivity” in your event. 

The third email sends the day of the webinar, typically 1-2 hours before the start. Include relevant information such as needed software and any necessary login information. 

This reminder email from Digiday is another example of email marketing well done. It’s concise, looks nice, and gives the viewer all the information they need for the webinar:

Webinar email

Image credit: https://sendpulse.com/blog/webinar-email

 

These emails work together to introduce you to your viewer and enforce your brand in their minds. This helps cultivate a more personal relationship with your audience. In turn, this increases the chance of a sales conversion afterward. 

 

Post-Webinar Email Marketing

After your webinar ends, don’t stop building your relationship with your customers! 

You want your audience to come back again and again. Increasing engagement is one of the best ways to do that. 

Start by sending a thank-you email as soon as the webinar ends. This reinforces your brand while the information is fresh in your viewers’ minds and pushes them deeper into your sales funnel. 

Depending on your product, you can even send your audience a link to a demo, trial page, or other post-webinar page. 

After some time has passed – but less than a week – send another email. This time, reinforce your brand name and offer new resources. For instance, you could include links to:

  • Your recorded webinar and/or transcript
  • Related blog pages
  • Relevant eBooks 

These post-webinar emails work to keep your brand in your viewers’ minds. They also further their progression down the sales funnel. If they haven’t purchased your product yet, never fear – there’s still one more step you can take. 

 

5. Post-Webinar Landing Pages 

Depending on your product, you may want to add a second landing page or two after the webinar. One of the best ways to advertise these is to link them in your post-webinar marketing emails. Thus, it’s important that they’re ready to go before your event airs. 

For instance, you may want to offer a landing page for:

  • Additional blog resources
  • A relevant eBook on the topic
  • Exclusive trial or demo offers
  • Exclusive webinar events

 

There are many more opportunities of course. Webinars are also frequently used as a pre-sell for paid lessons on one of the online course platforms. You can use them as a showcase for your product or service – meaning that the post-webinar page would be a trial offer landing page. 

The main idea is that you engage your audience during a webinar to the extent that they are ready to give a shot to what you have to offer.  The situation is of course slightly different when the webinar itself is the product (which is also a viable strategy). 

Take a look at this sample landing page from Unbounce.com. With three colors and a single image, you feel compelled to know what else this book has to say. (Even without knowing a single thing about it!)

Sample landing page

Image credit: Screenshot from https://unbounce.com/landing-page-template/horizons/

 

As always, be sure to highlight the benefits of each to your reader. Use plenty of sales copy in your text and encourage viewers to click, read, and buy. 

These landing pages are one last effort to push viewers to complete the webinar sales funnel. While not every viewer will make it this far, this final step can change the minds of the reluctant few who haven’t decided if your product is worth the price. 

 

6. Types Of Webinars

While we are sure that you know well how you would use the webinar to sell more, we would still like to suggest a couple of tips that may spark new ideas. 

Lead Magnet Webinar

Want users to register, leave their email, or fill out the lead conversion form? Offer access to a free pre-recorded webinar. It is increasingly difficult to convert people with freebies like a  free report, or email guides – webinars can help you with that. It is an easy content to digest, not requiring the viewer to do anything.

Pre-sell Webinar

Do you have a list of leads that you can not convert? Try taking them on a webinar. Giving your business a personal touch will make sure that you convert even the leads that were doubtful. Through a webinar presentation and a recording of voice or yourself, you can tell much more than just on the landing page.

High-Ticket Webinar

If you already have a group of customers who purchased your product, this is a great way how you can offer them a premium one. For customers, it is often very difficult to pay big sums over the internet without being sure of what they will be getting. Create a webinar for a private group of potential buyers, and make a detailed presentation about your product or service. You will have the opportunity to answer questions, get feedback, and build more rapport with your premium audience. 

Brand Awareness Webinar

The more you sell, the less you sell. Customers can easily see through all the tricks sellers use to sell them some more. Nothing bad about it, everybody is aware of their role on the market. But webinars allow you to create a soft-sell situation. 

 

You can invite any speaker you want. No need to travel and the expense will be very low. Make it a live webinar for your customers and a recorded webinar for your leads. That way you are establishing your authority in the field and providing value, while your expenses to achieve that are very low. 

Case Study Webinar

Another angle at a soft-sell or authority webinar. Take a project that you did, make a presentation, and showcase your potential customers how you took something from point A to point B. This is also a great way to get first paying customers. You can do the first project for free as a case study, and show this study on webinars to new potential customers. 

 

On-boarding Webinar

Customer satisfaction is one of the key elements of a profitable business and first impression matters. That means that you can not let your new customers get lost or not know what to do next. After they registered or made a purchase from you, offer them a short pre-recorded webinar. You will have a chance to establish more trust, lower the customer service requests, and even cross-sell additional services or products that you may offer. 

 

Product Launch Webinar

Are you launching a new service, releasing a new version of your product, or just taking the next step in the development of your company? Invite your audience to take part in this event. After all, even brands like Betley, Mercedes, Porsche are revealing their new cars online.

 

Paid Webinar

Last but not least – a webinar in itself can be your product or a part of your sales funnel in terms of profit. You can establish trust with your visitors by selling them a cheap webinar with great quality and later funneling them to more high margin products. Or, if you have a special skill or knowledge that you would like to share, 

 

Conclusion

Online webinar sales funnels are an excellent way to boost conversions and your business. By building a solid webinar and pushing customers through your funnel, you increase the chances of a sale while at the same time you can use webinars to empower your brand or build authority amongst your audience. 

While this may seem overwhelming, it is important to not become a victim of analysis paralysis. Just pick a type of webinar that would fit your existing sales funnel, check which traffic options can your leverage to get the interest of the audience, and start there. 

 

About the Author

Vlad Falin

Vlad is the founder and author at CostofIncome.com, a blog about online marketing, digital business tools, and money management.