The Most Effective Webinar Follow-up Email

“Was it helpful?”

That’s what your webinar should have been. Helpful in an actionable way. If it wasn’t? Sales representatives should gather intelligence and report their findings to the marketing department.

Thus, “Was it helpful?” is a very effective subject line when sending your webinar follow-up email message — I use it with my own business and clients successfully. Try it.

Will Slack Replace Email?“Was it helpful?”

That’s what your webinar should have been. Helpful in an actionable way. If it wasn’t? Sales representatives should gather intelligence and report their findings to the marketing department.

Thus, “Was it helpful?” is a very effective subject line when sending your webinar follow-up email message — I use it with my own business and clients successfully. Try it for yourself.

“I used this technique on a webinar follow-up yesterday and WOW, that really worked,” says Linda Simonsen of DigitalEd.

“I have never got such quick feedback (less than one hour).”

Following up With Attendees

“Did the   [insert title]    class last week help you   [insert goal of your customer]  ?”

Boom. Done. That’s your message. Nothing else.

No long-winded yackity-yack reminding the attendee about content of the webinar. You know they attended, now get to the point. They’re on a mobile device, pressed for time. Your buyers are deleting, deleting, deleting.

Stop them. Provoke them.

Give your customer a reason to hit reply and tell you — yes or no. It was helpful or it was not. In most cases they’ll even tell you why.

And they’ll tell you that crucial why because you asked in a way that provoked a response. Your approach style was brief, blunt and right to the point. In fact, your email really stood out because it was so darned short!

Why it works

Because it’s atypical. It’s not an awful template!

The best inbound lead follow up messages avoid standard templates found on Google.

This tactic helps you get in the discussion with prospects about their world, objectives, pains, fears and pressures. This approach helps them develop and act on the urge to hit reply and start the conversation.

Additionally, avoid calling your webinar a webinar. Make it a class, make it actionable. Classes have homework, did your webinar? Or was it typical — overloading attendees with information, overwhelming them to the point of preventing them from taking action on any of it?

What About Non-Attendees?

Since most webinars offer video replays, the same question applies. “Was it helpful?” Within the copy of your message simply adjust to include proper context. Segment your list and mail non-attendees a slightly different, equally provocative, message.

“Did the video replay of last week’s   [insert title]   class help you   [insert goal of your customer]  ?”

Ask the Question, Bluntly

Even if the goal of your webinar class is to shift a mindset, ask the question.

“Did the content marketing class help you see the challenge of empowering sellers with content differently … in a way you can act on?”

Yes or no.

The bluntness of this approach is why it works. Being direct (and brief!) gives customers freedom to share candid thoughts.

Rather than responding how customers typically do — hitting the delete button — they hit reply and let you know, quickly. That is what unsolicited email demands.

Being effective requires you to use short bursts of communications.

Comparison Tables: Smart or Dangerous?

Recently, the following question was posted anonymously on a site called FounderDating: “Should I name our competitor in our features comparison table, or does that just amount to free publicity?”

Mobile megaphoneRecently, the following question was posted anonymously on a site called FounderDating: “Should I name our competitor in our features comparison table, or does that just amount to free publicity?”

Started in 2009, FounderDating was started as a place where entrepreneurs could find co-founders. FounderDating invited industry experts (advisors) to join in 2014. Founders could then either seek them out directly, or pose a question, tag it with keywords for specific category expertise and then sit back and wait for response.

In total, more than three dozen individuals responded to the question posed above — the first 16 within five hours of the post. But the discussion that ensued was fascinating and because this is a topic that I’ll be covering in webinar I’m participating in on May 3, I thought it was a valuable topic to review here.

Before I get to the various ideas that were provided, here’s some background on the company that posed the question:

“We are a new entry into a very niche market… we also have a vastly superior product offering to that of our competitors. Our features blow them away, but we are slightly higher in price. My thought was to provide a features-comparison table to justify our pricing relative to theirs. My concern is whether to name them or just say “Us” vs “Them” or “Others”, etc.. Thoughts?”

To me, the idea of a comparison chart and the use of named competitors is a strategic marketing question, but the advice poured in from CTOs, CFOs, CEOs, attorneys, a pricing specialist, engineers, other founders — but only one or two marketers. And, as expected, the collective responses were all over the map.

After reading all of them, I’m not sure any one answer provided the most valuable perspective. Some were dismissive of even including a chart at all, while others suggested only naming well-known competitors and information about them that was available publicly (ie. proved the point).

However, I wanted to take a step back and talk about when and where to use a chart like this — and how, in my opinion, to get the most value out of creating one.

Smart Idea When Used in the Right Stage of the Buy Cycle

In my experience, a comparison chart is a great marketing tool that can be used with great success if it’s used when a buyer is in the middle of the buying process. For most business buyers, the discovery process does not start with comparing brands; instead their focus is on category solutions. They are either experiencing some sort of “pain” in their business, or are trying to research an idea. In this early phase of research, most are trying to get a handle on what their peers are doing, or are seeking some timely or unique information that can help provide insight.

But once they have completed that phase of their buying journey, they become more open to thinking about a brand solution — and here’s where a comparison chart can be helpful.

Include Features and Benefits to Strategically Differentiate

A comparison chart can help to level the playing field by providing a head-to-head contrast in features but, when done well, it can also include commentary about benefits of any particular feature. It’s not necessary to include price as part of the comparison as the buyer is not ready to even think about price without a deeper dive into your particular product/solution.

The best charts are not chest-pounding “look at me!” comparisons, but rather straightforward, authentic and easy-to-understand tools that build credibility for your brand. They do not overly emphasize your brand over another (which detracts from the credibility factor) so there are no logos. Just remember, buyers are neither dumb nor “tricked” by an obviously self-promotional piece, so don’t waste your energy creating one in that vein.

Consider Leveraging an Independent, 3rd Party

Another strategy is to hire an outside, third party industry pundit to create or review your comparison chart to ensure it feels balanced and transparent. Plus, having an outsider prepare or review it and provide a stamp of approval means it’s less likely that a competitor could challenge the findings.

One Note of Caution

As an attorney noted in the comments section of the FounderDating post, make sure there is no misrepresentation of a competitor’s products, and properly identify any trademarks to their rightful owners.

So here’s the question: Does your brand have the strategic smarts to design and implement a competitor chart that helps position your product/solution in the best possible light? Would you publish it if you could? Do you think it might help propel your brand to the front of the consideration set? I’d love to hear from fellow marketers.

The 1 Simple Way to Sell via Your Webinar

Want to sell with your webinar? Actually go for the close at the end or generate an appointment for your reps to follow-up immediately? Stop wasting the audience’s time with blather about your speaker.

Want to sell with your webinar? Actually go for the close at the end or generate an appointment for your reps to follow-up immediately? Stop wasting the audience’s time with blather about your speaker.

Ok, it will take more I admit. The rest can be done by getting to the point fast and helping your buyer become attracted to the idea of talking more about the itch your speaker just scratched. Here’s a three-step process to getting that done.

You Have the Email but not a Lead
The word webinar itself has a negative connotation. At best it is something your prospects attend while they check email and put out any number of fires. You might argue, “Sure, Molander, but I have the prospects’ email.”

True. But you don’t have them on the way to becoming a lead. You blew it. How? By wasting every single moment from “go.”

It’s time for tough love about your Webinar and the lousy leads it’s sending to sales. Of course, I’ll also offer three simple steps to help produce Webinars that spark customers’ curiosity in what your solution can do for them.

No. 1: Avoid all Introductions Like the Plague
“I find the need to hear the presenters personal story for 10-20 minutes a huge turn off,” says sales coach, Iain Swanson of UK-based Kolzers. “In most cases I have literally switched off and missed the content of the call.”

Enough said. And let’s face it. You’ve probably done the same. Or perhaps you make it habit to join the webinar late in an effort to avoid the irrelevant blather.

This time-wasting tradition needs to stop. Right now. How? NO introductions.

Your potential buyer isn’t attending the webinar to hear about the backgrounds or experiences of the presenter. Nor what the sponsor does, for whom or how well.

They’re there for one reason: To take from you. They want as much as they can get, for free, as possible. Why? They’re human.

Let them take. Let them gorge.

Just structure the way you release the information. Copywrite it. Yes, copywrite it. Scripted? Yes but only for the pros. If you come off as canned you can kiss the leads goodbye.

Start by canning your introduction. Shock your audience by immediately getting to the point. They’ve already qualified the speaker. They’re there, after all.

Brighten their day. Surprise them. Make them think, “WOW, he/she just skipped the boring introduction stuff!”

This is how to sell using Webinars. Trust me, it works.

No. 2: Promise Viewers Something They Don’t Already Know—Then Deliver It Fast, Clearly
Start your webinar by telling prospects, “You’re about to hear information that you probably don’t already know.” Then, follow the Golden Rule of communication. What if prospects already know most of what you’re about to tell them?

You’ve designed the webinar to fail. Just like a whitepaper that looks sharp but is worthless, your Webinar must contain useful information and new know-how, tips or knowledge. If it does not contain enough new information you will not hold the audience.

Build in useful, actionable and fresh information and present it according to the Golden Rule:

  • Tell them what you’re about to tell them (the main insight, short-cut, better way or remedy)
  • Tell them the “better way” (at a high level, yet specific)
  • Tell them what you just told them (come back and remind of the main point)

This approach serves the most essential goal: Getting customers clear on your message. Without clarity your webinar will fail.

Remember the last time you were clear—really clear—on something? Remember how you felt?

Remember the sense of confidence that came with your “ah-ha moment?” You might also recall a feeling of wanting to know more—wanting to have more clarity, more confidence. That’s what we’re after.

That’s your webinar’s job: get buyers crystal clear, confident in themselves and trusting you.

No. 3: Help Them to Want to Know More
When is the last time you attended a Webinar and learned something new? Think about a time when the presenter gave you everything they promised they would at the beginning of the presentation—and more. Did you want more from them? Were you ready to act on that impulse?

Give your best insights, tips or warnings away. Give away all of your best knowledge. All of it.

“But, Jeff, giving prospects my best advice for FREE will help them to do it without me!”

Doubtful. Be careful to not confuse customers qualifying you with what you perceive as their purchase intent.

The act of looking for answers does not always translate to customers’ wanting to do what you charge money for themselves. Even when it does “signal” a customer’s desire to do it themselves, what customers want can change.

You want to be there when it changes.

Most importantly you need to create a craving, deep inside your prospects. A desire to know more details about your big claim, better way, short-cut or system.

The only way to get prospects hungry for more of you is to attract them to the idea of talking to you. Attraction takes a reliable, effective system.

The idea is to structure (copywrite) the content you release in a way that makes asking more questions irresistible to your attendees. Yes, questions can be answered in Q&A. That’s fine. This builds trust and creates more intense curiosity in you—a hunger for more of what you can offer.

But only if you are careful about how you answer those questions.

To get started, present the answers or solutions clearly but in ways that provokes prospects’ curiosity. Answer questions always creates more questions about the details (relating to what you sell).

To create this hunger:

  • Make your words specific, filled with integrity, true and useful
  • Be action-oriented (make your answer clear and easily acted on)
  • But be incomplete (make a credible answer yet leave out most of the details)

Tee-Up Your Call to Action
The idea is to create hunger for a short-cut at the end of your webinar. In other words, the goal of this three-step process is to get prospects hungry for a faster, easier way to get all the details you just spent 40 minutes talking about.

This faster, easier way can be:

  • a lead generation offer
  • your product/service.

The idea is to present content that helps customers begin to desire your lead generation offer. Or at least be primed for the idea of taking action on it.

Making the pitch for viewers to buy at the end of your webinar? Help viewers see buying your product/service as a logical next step in the journey you just started with them.

Using this three-step process transforms what you sell from “something I need to think about buying some day” into “the obvious next step I should take right now.”

Your fee or price tag becomes a logical investment that “feels right, right now.”

Good luck!

How to Use Webinars to Increase Sales in 5 Steps

Let’s face it. Our baby is ugly. The word “webinar” has become synonymous with “boring.” But for a minority of B-to-B marketers, webinars are money in the bank. Are you wondering how to use webinars to increase sales and generate leads? I’ve discovered the answer: Helping viewers get so confident, so trusting, that they jump at the chance to engage more seriously.

Let’s face it. Our baby is ugly. The word “webinar” has become synonymous with “boring.” But for a minority of B-to-B marketers, webinars are money in the bank. Are you wondering how to use webinars to increase sales and generate leads? I’ve discovered the answer: Helping viewers get so confident, so trusting, that they jump at the chance to engage more seriously.

Living Proof
On average, most webinars keep 40 percent of their listeners attention from start-to-finish. My webinars keep 94 percent of attendees to the end. My best webinar had a 29 percent close rate.

I’m not bragging; I’m following the success tips of others and sharing what I learned with you. Here’s how to use webinars to increase sales in five steps.

The 5 Steps to Success

  1. Go beyond relevant: Make the title irresistible. Your topic must be goal-oriented-specific to a pain, fear, goal or ambition of your customer. More importantly, your title must promise complete satisfaction in a way that customers cannot resist acting on (signing-up AND showing-up).
  2. Skip the introduction. Other than a passionate 30-60 seconds on why you are bothering to invest your time, skip it! After all, you’re talking into the air at them, alone in a room. You must be on a mission. This is where you connect with the audience. It’s do or die.
  3. Promise viewers something NEW. Literally say to them, “I know you don’t have time to waste, so I’m not going to waste it. Most likely, what I’m about to tell you about ______ (insert audience’s goal or pain) will be new to you … you’ve probably not heard this before.”
  4. Meet that expectation & create hunger for more. Give insights and next steps they’ve never heard before. Be crystal clear. Use stories to illustrate, punctuate. Guide prospects in ways that encourage them to ask more questions and creates intense curiosity in what else you can offer (e.g., what you sell).
  5. Help customers, and yourself, with a call-to-action. At the end of your webinar, if you’ve structured it correctly, viewers will crave more from you. They’ll want more clarity, more insights … more specific details about you or your business. Your call to action gives them a way to satisfy that hunger—and it gives you a lead (or sale).

Want to see a webinar like this in-action? Check out this LinkedIn webinar and come back to the five steps above—notice how it follows these guidelines.

Without This Essential Piece You’ll Fail
Many webinar hosts unknowingly sabotage their programs—even after following the above guidelines. They forget the basics of good communication. If you don’t follow the Golden Rule it will cost you:

  • Tell them what you’re about to tell them (the main insight, short-cut, better way or remedy)
  • Tell them the “better way” (at a high level, yet specific)
  • Tell them what you just told them (come back and remind of the main point)

This approach serves your most essential goal: Getting customers CLEAR on your message. Without clarity your webinar will fail

Remember the last time you were clear—really clear—on something? Remember how you felt? Remember the sense of confidence that came with your “ah-ha moment?”

That’s your webinar’s job: get buyers crystal clear, confident in themselves and trusting you.

Structure the entire webinar to follow this flow. Similarly, structure each section of your webinar this way. Doing so will help you sell toward the end.

Make Every Second Count
Most webinars are not bad. They don’t suck. The are horrible in every way. Don’t let yours fall into this category. Use the above “format formula” to structure your webinar. Make it grab and hold your audience to the very end. Make it generate leads. Make every single second of your presentation specific to “what’s in it” for them.

Here’s what I do: When done creating your images and script go back over your presentation. Ask yourself, “so what?” on each image.

Once you’re done crafting the message, it’s time to forget about “the what.” Focus on the WHY. If you cannot answer the question, “why does this matter to the viewer?” with conviction rip out that image and/or section of your scrip.

Push yourself. Now you know how to use webinars to increase sales. Good luck!

How to Convert LinkedIn Contacts into Qualified Leads

Answering your customers’ most commonly asked questions opens the door for discovery … and for brands to make relevant suggestions. You can offer prospects a friendly tip or useful trick or, if appropriate, outline benefits of taking a trial, downloading a whitepaper or attending your webinar.

Turning LinkedIn contacts or LinkedIn Group members into leads rarely happens using what I call passive engagement. It takes something more than occupying prospects’ time. You’ve got to convince them to sign up for your webinar or download your whitepaper.

Luckily, converting LinkedIn contacts to leads is easy. Just start by solving your target market’s problems in ways they find irresistible. Then plan engagement—carefully map it out to connect your target customers’ questions to the answers your content marketing devices (webinars, whitepaper) deliver.

The Engagement Myth
If you’re like most B-to-B marketers, you’re struggling to turn LinkedIn contacts and group members into leads. But getting it done is easier than you think. After a year of interviewing B-to-B and business to consumer businesses experiencing remarkable success using social media I found the common success principle: Ditching passive engagement—and giving contacts, friends, followers and such a reason to offer more than a “like” or merely consume content.

Many LinkedIn gurus claim awareness, reach and influence leads to conversion. They say, “regular online participation in LinkedIn Groups and with followers on other social platforms can convert them from followers into leads and on to customers.”

Yes, it can but this belief isn’t much different than the “reach and frequency” promise of advertising. Namely, if we beat the drum loud enough (reach) and often enough (frequency) it will cause people to perform an action—register, attend, download. As Dr. Phil likes to say, “and how’s that working for ya?” This is what I call passive engagement.

But there is a better way: Designing engagement to produce actions by solving customers’ problems in places where questions often get asked—like LinkedIn Groups.

Solve Customers’ Problems
You’ve probably heard that posting a certain number of times, on certain subjects, on certain days inside LinkedIn Groups where your target market congregates is the key that unlocks success with LinkedIn. Or maybe you’ve heard that frequent posting of blogs you’ve written in LinkedIn Groups will generate leads. These ideas don’t work. The key to success is solving customers’ problems in provocative ways.

For instance, use LinkedIn to generate questions among customers that your webinar or whitepaper gives answers to. Creatively bait customers to communicate or complain about problems (in LinkedIn Groups) that your content marketing device provides solutions for. Next, provoke actions—exploit those complaints by enticing, “ethically bribing” prospects to register for a webinar, download or perform an action that helps you qualify them as leads. It’s a snap.

Scratch Customers’ Itches in LinkedIn Groups
For instance, grocery store Harris-Teeter pays customers to ask its dietician health-related questions on Facebook. Why would a grocer—or you—do that? Because helping customers put out a fire or scratch a bothersome itch is powerful. It can be done on any social platform where your target audience is engaging, like LinkedIn.

Answering your customers’ most commonly asked questions opens the door for discovery … and for brands to make relevant suggestions. You can offer prospects a friendly tip or useful trick or, if appropriate, outline benefits of taking a trial, downloading a whitepaper or attending your webinar.

Always beware: leads don’t “just happen” passively using LinkedIn. You need to solve problems with a plan in mind. That said, using a question-and-answer technique takes much of the work out of the process. It can even be fun. What do you think about giving this a try?