Webinars are an amazing way of creating large scale leads and sales as they require commitment from people to spend 30–90 mins attending your webinar and watching. The longer you can keep somebody on your webinar, the more interested they will be in your business and your offering. And most importantly, this makes them more likely to buy your offer at the end of the webinar, or be keen to purchase in the days that follow.
Engagement is key to keeping people on your webinar for as long as possible and there are four main ways of engaging with your audience:
Let’s take a deep dive into each of these...
Q & As can come in many forms — some can prompt direct answers from your audiences, others may simply be there to make your audience think. The main use which you’ll use the most is merely giving the audience the opportunity to ask any question they like.
How to allow this is up to you but your main options are:
Now it’s one thing asking for questions and receiving them, it’s another thing entirely when it comes to answering. It’s almost unavoidable to get at least one negative question which berates your webinar and/or product offering at the end. Somebody will always think they know better than you and questions your information.
With these situations, they’re normally best avoiding and not answering. However some questions which may seem negative may actually help you realise there is a certain barrier to your audience with buying. This can be very useful and if you answer these it will help many other viewers who have similar concerns but didn’t want to speak up.
Anyway, back to the main point of Q & As, to engage and make your audience stay on your webinar.
By allowing the opportunity for questions you’re actively acknowledge the importance of your audience, and giving them the opportunity to speak to you directly. By not allowing this functionality, you’re much more likely to turn people off from your webinar.
Back to responding to questions, the majority you’ll get will be of a positive nature — and you’ll likely find you get many questions, too many to answer. Remember you don’t want to run a 5 hour long webinar (or do you? Try it, might work!!) so you need to choose carefully which you answer.
Doing this whilst hosting live can be difficult, but it’s a technique you’ll soon learn. You’ll quickly realise after hosting a few webinars that questions your audience ask tend to be able to be grouped under the same half a dozen questions — it’s just each has been asked slightly differently.
Once you notice that, you can answer several people in a single answer and make each of them feel significant and more likely to see with you on the webinar. The main variables you’ll need to test for these are:
Next up, we have polls. Polls are similar to Q & As in that they help to make your audience feel significant, important and engaged — thus more likely to stick around on your webinar!
What makes polls different to Q & As however is they are more in your control. Any webinar software these days allow some form of poll functionality. You’re able to, pre-webinar, create your own set polls which you can then trigger at any point you deem fit during your webinar — whether it’s live or pre-recorded.
So what are your options with polls?
You have the choice to only allow set answers you program, or to allow custom answers.
You can run polls which allow only a single answer per question, or multiple — note this suits certain questions only.
You can run as many as you want, but you don’t want to spam your audience, nor make your webinar last too long — remember you want your audience to stick around!
Depending on the poll you want to ask them at certain points to relate to the webinar — for example, if asking how many of the audience has been to a webinar of yours before, is best asking early on
Your options are limitless here, but remember choose questions which relate to your audience and do not intrude too much — you want to attract them not put them off your webinar.
You can decide whether to make the poll results public to the audience or not. Alternatively, you could always frame the results as there are certain situations which may warrant that. For example, if you want to encourage more people to answer and interact later in the webinar, you might say how 75% of the audience responded to your poll.
How many questions you ask and what exactly to ask is very much up to you — but remember to use analytics from your webinar to measure how they work — if you see a drop off of viewers on or just after you ask a certain question, consider not reusing it or at least tweaking it.
Note: Don’t expect 100% of your audience to respond to your polls — even the best webinars ran by the leaders in any and all niches struggle to get more than a 25% response rate. Sometime’s people don’t want to interact and answer, or maybe they don’t like the question. Maybe they’re simply worried that their answers will be made public or used in future marketing.
Important: Polls are great for creating engagement, but if used wisely they can also give you invaluable information on your audience — don’t forget to retain it and use it in your webinar follow up!
Next up we have two other important engagement factors which we’ve covered briefly with Q & As and Polls, but are worth mentioning in more detail:
As we’ve covered, Q & As and Polls help make attendees and answerers feel significant and important — thus become more engaged. To reinforce this, you can directly refer to certain attendees during your webinar.
Has somebody asked a great question? Point them out and thank them!
Is somebody very engaged — call them out for it and again, thank them
Are you seeing people joining your webinar from different locations across your country or even the world? Point them out!
By doing this you’ll make others more likely to participate and become engaged — bingo!
Again we’ve already briefly covered this, but I wanted to again in greater detail. We’ve covered just how important engagement is, and the main ways of getting it.
But sometimes, you’ll get a tough crowd — maybe the comments/answers you’re getting aren't positive or frequent? Maybe you were hoping to be asked a specific question to encourage you to go into further detail without seeming too pushy?
That is where staging questions or comments can come in. You can simply pretend that somebody has commented something or asked a certain question.
Is this ethical? Absolutely! Tactics like this are used often by companies small & large — why? Because they tend to work.
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