Top SaaS Marketers Answer Your Biggest Webinar Questions
You asked, we (and some of our favorite SaaS marketing experts) answered. Here are the top questions we get from SaaS founders about using live and automated webinars to grow their SaaS businesses.
We’ve collected the best words of wisdom from our podcast guests on SaaS Breatkthrough and other experts from the SaaS world who have generously contributed advice so you can put their ideas into action today -- and watch your sales skyrocket with webinar marketing tomorrow.
1) How do you come up with a great webinar topic that will attract attendees?
Talk with your customers
“Take the time at the early stages to do your research. Know your prospects. Talk to them, survey them, really dig in. Make sure and test that you have a hook that interests and attracts the RIGHT prospects.” David Abrams, Co-Founder, Demio
Make it relevant to the needs of your customers
“If your webinar isn't relevant to someone's immediate needs, the likelihood that they'll watch is insanely low. Relevance and timing are everything.” Gia Laudi, Co-Founder, Forget The Funnel
Tie it in with a product use case
“One of the biggest strategies we used was everybody's like, okay, great, I have my software and the technology and all that, but I still need to know how to actually choose my topic and all that. So, we created courses, we offer those courses. We often partnered with a really great course creator who already taught a lot of those topics and then we bundled those in.” Andrew Guttormsen, Growth, Teachable
Make it attention-grabbing
“Your entire webinar should convey one big idea that your viewers really care about: Something that’s important to them, something that’s actually going to grab their attention, something emotionally compelling, something exciting and different from anything they’ve seen or heard before, and something that addresses a pain point in their life.” John Ainsworth, CEO, Data Driven Marketing
2) What's the ultimate, cannot-live-without-it key* to a highly-attended webinar?
The right hook
“The hook is everything. The hook is what will define everything that happens in a webinar campaign. Can you attract attention, interest, desire, and solve a pain point big enough for prospects to give you their time.” David Abrams, Co-Founder, Demio
Promotion, promotion, promotion (plus FOMO)
“A proper promotional strategy. Without a "pre-webinar" campaign, everything else fails. If nobody registers, nobody will show up, nobody will engage, etc.” Wyatt Jozwowski, Co-Founder, Demio
Authenticity & strategic partnerships
“The common theme that applies is that authenticity matters and our highest performing affiliates by far are paying Podia customers who are authentic and are the ones where we can come in and do a webinar for their audience and teach them something.” Len Markidan, Podia
“You're going to go through lots of different rounds where you're like, okay, this offer gets a 10% conversion, and this offer, in which you made this change to the audience, made this change to the offer, and then you start to increment and see that conversion rate go up and up and up. And then at some point, you'll find the perfect audience match to offer.” Kevin White, Growth Marketer, Segment
3) What makes a successful webinar promotional campaign?
Time & planning
“We start like three or four months in advance and we know that all of our traffic, all the leads are going to come from just a couple of sources. So they're going to come from our own email list. They're going to come from affiliates and they're going to come from partners and they're going to come from paid acquisition and affiliates or just people promoting the software they keep a commission. Partners are like the speakers. And so we'll have four months of runway and that's how much it takes for people to get everything on their calendar and a lot of times we do custom promotions for our partners in return. So like we have to plan those out, too, and that takes time.” Andrew Guttormsen, Teachable
“Make it very clear who the webinar is for, what’s one thing people will take away, and how long it will be. And whether they have to attend live to watch it.” Patti Haus, Conversion Copywriter
“Be clear about what content will be taught during the webinar and title your emails accordingly. Introduce and highlight any guests or co-hosts you'll be sharing the stage with, and make it easy for your attendees to sign up and attend. That means clear calls-to-action buttons or links in your email invitations, reminder emails for people who've signed up at least a day before, with a follow-up reminder email at least 30 to 15 minutes before the webinar start time.” Kay DelRossio, Conversion Copywriter
“Survey customers and use their own words in your marketing.” Devin Zander, Smar7 Apps
“Be hyper-specific. Maybe even more than blog post content, people are fatigued by shallow webinar content. By hyper-specific, make a promise, be entertaining, and go in-depth.” Corey Haines, Baremetrics
Be where your customers are
“Skip the inbox and use retargeting ads, text messages, or chat bots to remind people about upcoming webinars instead.” Sid Bharath, Growth Marketer & SaaS Consultant
4) When is the best time of day/week for a webinar?
“Depends on your audience's habits. When do they like to learn? During a commute, lunch break, or Sunday inspiration maybe? Also, geographic location. If you don't cater to European customers, then GMT may be less of a consideration, for instance. “ Gia Laudi, Co-Founder, Forget The Funnel
“Our audience is international, so we often will run a North American-friendly time and a European-friendly one. If it's a big project, we'll throw an Australian-friendly one in there as well.” Sonia Simone, Co-Founder, Copyblogger
“This depends entirely on who the webinar’s for. If you’re running a webinar for people who’ll be attending during working hours as part of their work, 11 or 2 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are usually the most convenient times for attendees.
On the other hand, if you’re promoting to the consumer market (selling courses about gardening or painting, for example), evenings and weekends are your best bet. Sunday, in particular, is an excellent day for running these types of webinars.” John Ainsworth, Data Driven Marketing
“Depends. We do 20-minute live tutorials every week, and we get hundreds of people on those. We do 90-minute intensive webinars whenever we launch new training, and we get hundreds of people on those. I'm always amazed at how long people stay on. Even when we're pitching a program at the end of a 90-minute webinar, the drop-off rate is nowhere near what you'd expect.” Joanna Wiebe, Founder, Copy Hackers & Airstory
“In my experience, people's attention spans start to fade fast at the hour mark.” Sonia Simone, Co-Founder, Copyblogger
6) What are some engaging ways to start a webinar?
Getting to know your attendees
“Start by chatting with attendees. Welcome them, ask them to introduce themselves, then tell them something about you. After that, as you get into the meat, start with a story, ideally a humorous one, to get them engaged.” Sid Bharath, SaaS Marketing Consultant
“Start a webinar in a relaxed and fun way by greeting people as they enter. Greet people by name and ask people to chat over where they're from. Keep it light by asking things like what the weather's like in their part of the world. During the webinar, take polls, ask a question, and ask attendees to chat out their answers. Read some of those answers out loud before revealing the answer to your question.” Kay Del Rosario, Conversion Copywriter
“Get on a bit early and tell a story. Most people don't show up for 5–10 minutes into the webinar anyways, so if you are partially through a story, they will be interested in hearing the end.” Travis Stephenson, CEO, Chatmatic
Proving value from the start
“In my first partner webinar with Unbounce, we opened with a quick 3-minute overview of the copywriting formula AIDA, with four examples of how to use it. It was a rapid-fire way to get the audience stoked, to encourage people to show up on time, and to give 'em what they need in order to stick around: proof of value.” Joanna Wiebe, Copy Hackers
“Help orient users to the value they'll get from the presentation -- and if you're going to make an offer later, just go ahead and let people know. It helps reduce the tension.” Sonia Simone, Copyblogger
Talk about why you care about the topic
“One of the most effective ways of captivating an audience is by showing your excitement about the topic. Many webinar presenters worry that if they try and show excitement, they’ll come across all cheesy and fake.
An excellent way to convey genuine excitement and enthusiasm is to picture yourself face to face with someone from your target audience. Think about the pain they’re going through, the struggles they’re having. Think about what they are suffering with right now and what a difference you can make in this person’s life if you can convey the value in this webinar.” John Ainsworth, Data Driven Marketing
7) How do you deliver value to your audience with your webinar content?
Get feedback before you go live
“While you're building a piece of content, before you even launch your content operation, you're reaching out to influencers. You're building relationships with influencers, not just asking them to share your content, but getting feedback on your content while you're building it.” Len Markidan, CEO, Podia
Be generous with knowledge
“We show the entire process we use to get new clients for our agency (yes, it still exists) from start to finish; we don’t hold anything back. And we make sure to explain it so that anyone can use this process, with or without (our product).” Tanya Brody, Chief Content Officer, FunnelDash
“Our webinars are mostly AMA (ask-me-anything) types of presentations and product walkthroughs. The ultimate goal is always to give as much information as possible to the audience and address any potential objections.” Jeff Lurie, AppSumo
“Attendees can always learn something new and get actionable takeaways, regardless of whether they are a TeamGantt user or not. The company’s goal here is, once the prospect has been shown enough, they will want to become a paid customer.” Laura LaPrad, Senior Content Strategist, TeamGantt
8) What are some ways to make a webinar more interactive?
“Use polls or questionnaires during the webinar. Encourage comments and respond to them. Pause frequently to ask people if they understand and if they have questions. And try a few jokes!” Sid Bharath
“In her Facebook compliance tutorial, my team member Wahida had huge spikes in engagement when she showed attendees two versions of a Facebook ad and asked them to chat over whether A or B was the compliant ad. Try to engage people, and they'll pay more attention. (Plus, it puts less pressure on you to do all the talking.)” Joanna Wiebe
“Running 2–5 polls, posing questions to the audience for them to answer in the chat box, leaving time at the end for Q&A, and using webinar attendees as live examples.” Corey Haines, CEO, Baremetrics
“Ask for feedback frequently, give them something they can do and participate in during the training.” Travis Stephenson, Chatmatic
“It's a bit silly, but using powerful visuals and then referencing them while you speak is a dead simple way to wake people up. Often, people will let the video play in the background behind other windows while they do other things (check their inbox or whatever). Many webinar tools will show you which attendees are doing this. Years ago, I ran this experiment where I did this, and then sat and watched while people scrambled back to the window to see what all the fuss was about. FOMO FTW.” Gia Laudi, Forget The Funnel
“In webinars, trial closes are a great way of getting your audience saying “yes” as often as possible throughout the presentation. Asking people to answer a question every now and then, in the chat box or just in their head, keeps them engaged.
You can ask things like, “Can you see how this works?” “Does that make sense?” “Are you excited about the results Sandra’s getting?” And, of course, you need to deliver your questions with conviction, excitement, and curiosity.” John Ainsworth, Data Driven Marketing
9) How do you position your sales pitch in your webinars?
Have a clear call to action
“Have only one call to action for next steps (toward working with you/your company) and put it on the very final slide. Then leave that slide up while you answer any/all questions attendees have. Even if it was only scheduled an hour, we had hundreds of people staying 30–45 minutes beyond to get a question answered." Patrick Hogdon, ProfitWell
Demonstrate your product value to topic
“Give examples of how to put webinar content into practice with your product, make a unique offer with a discount or package, offer hand-held onboarding and training, talk about case studies and customers' success stories.” Corey Haines, Baremetrics
“Instead of telling people what they should do (like buying your product), help them get to that conclusion on their own. They need to acknowledge they have a burning problem and believe that your product is the right solution, without you forcing that down their throat.” Sid Bharath
Pitch with confidence
“Actually pitch at the end of the webinar. This is something a LOT of people are afraid of doing because they worry people will complain, drop off, say bad things about them, etc. But once we started actively pitching at the end of sales webinars — that is, the webinars intended to launch a product and get sales — we tripled our launches.” Joanna Wiebe
Make your offer time-sensitive
“Put a hard deadline on the purchase time. Offer bonuses to anyone who signs up while the webinar is live.” Travis Stephenson
Don’t pitch -- just teach
“We decided to keep webinars just value add and no product pitch. If we are [making a pitch], we clearly specify instead of trying to plug it indirectly.” Nivas Ravichandran, FreshSales
10) What’s the key to a post-webinar email campaign that drives more conversions?
“When you’re building your post-registration campaign, keep it simple and powerful. Lean into your hook without pestering or overwhelming your registrant before or after the webinar.” David Abrams
Build urgency and value
“Our email sequence starts by sending registrants to the replay page. As the time draws closer to the deadline to get the offer, we talk more about the offer and losing the opportunity to get in on it. By the time we send the last email on Tuesday night, we get another 2–5 purchasers.” Tanya Brody, FunnelDash
Keep your replay on-demand
“Forget The Funnel subscribers often tell us that while they can't always watch our workshops series week by week, they get tons of value when weeks later they can search their inbox for our name and a given topic that they're diving into then.” Gia Laudi
11) What’s the most important thing SaaS founders should know about using webinars to grow their business?
Reach the right audience
“By far, the most important thing is to have the right audience. If you have a webinar that’s perfect for entrepreneurs with a SaaS business with a revenue of $500,000 plus, but your audience is all newbies, you’re never going to get the conversions. So, make absolutely sure your audience actually matches up with the offer, and vice versa!” John Ainsworth
Focus on value of training
“[Offer] fewer webinars with better training in each. We aim to run webinars that have such good training, you'd pay for them. (We aim to; we don't always hit the mark, of course.)” Joanna Wiebe
Fit your offer to your customer need
“Obsess over offer-to-market fit. The right offer is compelling in and of itself.” Sonia Simone
Don’t manipulate your audience
“Skip the bro marketing that’s so prevalent in webinars. Simply show people what they will get out of whatever you are selling. But show you know what they are struggling with (and that your product is the solution).” Patti Haus
Refine your messaging
“When you find a marketing message that targets the right audience at the right time, you see a landslide of results. You see costs go down, ROI go up, and engagement skyrocket. This is such an exciting feeling, and when you can combine marketing success with a stellar offer, you'll see huge results. For webinars, this means a pathway to a scalable process for a variety of webinar types. You can increase leads, increase lead scoring, turn trial users to paid users, sell new users, and keep users longer.” David Abrams
Build something people actually want
“Just like anything, take time to build something that people actually want. The medium won't work unless you're really doing something of value. Take the time necessary to find a strong angle, and then build an exciting campaign around it leading up to your webinar.” Wyatt Jozwowski