How to Use Webinars to Create Great Relationships with Prospects and Customers

image of modern meeting room

You may have noticed that a lot of businesses are using webinars to generate leads.

Do webinars work for that? Absolutely — they’re fantastic at it, as a matter of fact.

But you might not know that you can also use webinars to build great relationships with customers and prospects.

The fact is, webinars can be used in all kinds of different ways, depending on your business goals. The more creatively you approach them, the better business results you’re going to see.

Today I want to take a look at two different webinar models that can help you form a deeper connection with your prospects, or with your existing customers.

First, in case you’re not completely familiar, let’s get the 30-second definition.

A webinar is a web-based event, usually live, that incorporates audio and visual elements as well as attendee interaction. GoToWebinar is one of the most popular providers, and it’s the one that Copyblogger uses, as well as what I use in my own business.

Webinars are a great customer communication tool because they bring together three powerful elements — customer or prospect interaction, audio, and visual elements including video.

Two of my favorite uses of webinars for customer engagement are Q&A sessions and group coaching. Let’s see how both of those work.

How to build your business with ultra-useful Q&A sessions

My recommendation is to host publicly available Q&A webinars throughout the year, which allows you to “give back” to your market while also gaining valuable intelligence.

Pay close attention to recurring questions or themes in your webinars, since these are the signs your market may be ready for a new product.

They’re simple to do — just pick a topic and host an hour-long webinar where attendees can ask anything they’d like to learn more about or are struggling with.

Your job is to look for those repeating themes, because that’s what your market is hungry for.

If you’d like to go the extra mile, you can also record the Q&A session and post it on your blog or mail it to your list. (These recordings make great bonuses for your email newsletter subscribers.)

You can usually bet that the questions you get in your Q&A sessions are ones that lots of other customers have as well. When you solve real customer problems, you put yourself at the head of the pack in your niche.

How to deliver insane value with webinar-based group coaching

This is my favorite webinar model, because it gives me the opportunity to take a large topic and break it down into smaller pieces, usually in weekly sessions, and form a deeper connection with my clients.

The crew over at Teaching Sells does this as well, offering live group coaching sessions as a bonus that helps their customers put all of the valuable advice in the course into practice.

Their coaching webinars make their primary product considerably more valuable — and that’s the model you should adopt for your own programs.

Here’s what you should focus on when you’re putting together a group coaching program:

  • An outline for you to follow, which will highlight what you’ll be teaching in each module and in what order. Don’t just wing it — be prepared.
  • A step-by-step process of what your coaching students must do in order to accomplish the results you’ve promised.
  • A way to benchmark progress. There should be a way for you and your students to continue measuring their progress once the coaching series ends. This will also encourage them to keep working, since there’s a result to look forward to.
  • Support. Do you plan on offering support or some sort of follow up once the coaching series is complete? This is something you’ll need to decide beforehand.

The great thing about group coaching for customers is that people are motivated to show up and do the work, since they’ve got skin in the game (namely, the money they’ve paid you). You can use your coaching sessions as a standalone product, or as a bonus to any other product you sell.

You can also further that motivation by publicly calling on people to share their progress at the beginning of each coaching session. This kind of public accountability can be even more motivating than money at times … since no one wants to look foolish for not following through.

Always remember that no matter how big your list may grow, each number still represents a unique human being with their own fears, desires, and dreams.

It’s your job to stay connected to what those are and how you can best serve them. Once you get a handle on that, everything else will begin to fall into place.

How about you? What are some great ways you’ve seen webinars used? What do you not like when you see or hear it in a webinar?

Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author: Lewis Howes is the author of The Ultimate Webinar Marketing Guide and an avid salsa dancer. Connect with Lewis on his website here.

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Comments

  1. Hi Lewis,
    This is great information. I do also feel hosting webinar is already the trend nowadays. Another that I see people using is gotomeeting. I like your idea of hosting a FAQ webinar. This is the easiest thing to start with for us newbies I suppose. :)
    Dan

    • You’re right Dan, they’re not brand new. I’ve been on a few webinars myself and eventhough I’ve been reading about them, I have yet to take action on the information. Sorta like what most people do.. :/

      I’ve gotten into video, audio podcasting and even created products but never webinars.. I guess starting with the FAQs would be the best way to go at this point.

      • I love FAQs and that’s what I teach most of our students — as Lewis said, they’re both great “give-back” content *and* they’re fantastic market intelligence, they’ll show you just what your market needs help with.

    • thanks my friend :)

  2. Hey Lewis,

    I’ve been reading a lot about webinars lately and I think it’s about time I get started with mine. This was an awesome post. I like how you broke down the different ways of using them and the group coaching model sounds like something I’d enjoy doing.

    Thanks
    Hector

  3. Personally I cannot see another Mail or post about Free Webinars. Having been bombarded with them myself I wonder if they are still seen as something positive by a potential audience. Furthermore the couple I participated in was more or less Sales Pitches stretched out over half an hour.

    I am not saying it can’t be good or that there aren’t good ones out there, but how do you convince people to participate in the first place when all they know is bad? To try to answer my question myself I guess establishing a platform first is the only way to go.

    When I check out those offering Webinars they usually either have no basis or simply offer exactly the same as in the Webinar in another form. The worst being those making money online by telling people how to make money online or those rehashing old stuff in a new format.

    • Jan, if you’ve created trust and given out high-quality content on a blog (and then perhaps followed that up with strong content on an email autoresponder), your audience will trust you to follow suit in a webinar. Obviously, don’t betray that trust or you’ll wreck your reputation.

      Don’t let people who are using a tool badly keep you from using it well. You might want to pick up Lewis’s book, it’s very inexpensive and it will give you some good information on doing webinars well.

    • Jan, you don’t have to “convince” people if you’ve always given them great content, and you’ve built a relationship with your audience.

      It’s those that just “sell” the entire time that ruin it for others… so make sure to always over deliver when you host a webinar.

  4. I like using the questions I hear during my webinars as topics for blog posts or articles. Chances are they aren’t the only person with that question, and I want to provide readers with the content they are looking for. Hearing it directly from the horse’s mouth is a huge benefit!

  5. Hi Lewis,
    Webinars might be the #1 way to rile the troops.

    I note the difference between online training and an actual, live webinar. Something about the personalized interactions, hearing someone’s voice, receiving instruction, and the 1 on 1, real time nature of a top shelf webinar.

    Forwarding our gifting club’s weekly webinar to prospects makes conversions rise significantly. People get psyched for a webinar. Easy to get amped up when you plug in to live, helpful training.

    Love your mention of an outline. Keep it orderly! Informal, off the cuff webinars do more harm then good. Like a virtual BS session. Stick to the plan to provide immense value for all involved. Write an outline, hold to it, and work off the clock. When you reach your time limit for a specific part of the outline, move on.

    Make webinars frequent. Keep the “rah rah” momentum going, and you will note strong engagement and a growing fan base off of webinars alone. Weekly is great. Anything less, people tend to forget a bit, unless you promote the heck out of it or have a raving fan base to begin with.

    As for some of the negative energy surrounding webinars, never allow someone’s opinion to dampen your energy. Some are annoyed by the frequency of webinar message but it has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. If you have real value to offer, and trust in your offering, get out there and start conducting webinars! People who vibe with your ideas, and value, will find you, you will power up your brand, and make a ton more money by establishing authority. Leave the nay-sayers behind and provide value through this creative medium.

    Thanks for sharing Lewis!

    Ryan

  6. How do you go about assessing the topics for the webinar?

    For example, I have several ideas, and one I’d feel would have the most impact is “How to scale customer support”. How do you “test” these ideas (ie. which topic to go for, with the webinar) ?

    • I know Lewis will have some ideas on this, but IMO, webinars are a great, low-risk way to *develop and test* which topics will be important in your business. If you feel that topic would be a strong one, launch a Q&A webinar on it and see what happens.

      You don’t know which topics, approaches, etc. are going to resonate with your audience until you actually put something out there. The Q&A webinars Lewis describes are a great way to do that — all you risk is about an hour of time, and the intelligence you gather is invaluable.

    • Book the webinar and see if anyone shows up. If the interest is 0 or way under what you’d like, just cancel it.

      I’ve done this myself, and I can tell you – no kittens will be harmed, and you’ll know if the idea was a clunker or not.

  7. Great post, Lewis, but I have a question and I curious to see if anyone else has gotten this impression before as well.

    With all of the free webinar emails that everyone seems to be sending out lately, it strikes me that webinars are becoming a more and more useless tool for reaching prospects who might not know and trust you yet. I can see where webinars for current customers and readers that you have built up a lot of trust with (as Sonia said in a previous comment) could be really useful for everyone involved.

    Maybe it’s just me, but lead generating webinars seem like they were a brilliant, short-lived flash in the pan. Once the thinnly veiled infomercial webinars started popping up every other day, I feel like they became just one more spammy thing I and many other ignore emails about.

    • There are many players in my niche, and as far as I can tell, none of them do webinars (teleseminars, yes, video webinars no).

      Novelty is one way to get results. But it’s not the only way.

    • It all depends on how YOU produce your webinars.

      If you sell and act spammy from the start… then no one will sign up after that, promote you, or stay on your webinar… and they’ll have a horrible taste in their mouth about your and your brand.

      Thanks why you must over deliver on value, content, and getting your audience results fast.

      When you focus on that, you are able to generate a ton of new leads… at least we still do it every week :)

      • If used well it’s a perfect lead generation and conversion machine. Amen Lewis, BRING the value 1st and they will ask for how you can help them. I have ALL of my client charge for the webinars…brand new prospect pays to attend a webinar that adds great value. If you know you bring the goods – charge for it! You could go as far as put your money where your mouth is…have them click the pay button after the webinar or the do not pay button. Then you will know if you brought value. When they pay – they pay attention…learned that one 9 years ago with Jay Conrad Levinsons webinar. 2nd time I’v ran across your posts Lewis…LOVE your style…we’ll meet eventually.

  8. To truly deliver value, webinars have to be done very, very carefully, and very, very well.

    I’ve seen way too many that committed the usual sin of PowerPoint presentations: slides filled with bullets that the presenter read.

    This is bad enough when you’re there in person and can at least look around the room, notice other people’s reactions, and whisper to your neighbors. When you’re sitting alone in your office staring at the screen, it becomes unbearable.

    The best webinars I’ve seen are those that actually gain value from the VISUAL as well as the VERBAL aspects of the presentation. When something is being demonstrated, for instance, a webinar can be great. Or if the visuals reinforce, rather than just reiterating, what’s being said.

    If you don’t have a strong visual component, you really might as well just do a conference call, instead of jumping on the webinar bandwagon.

    Which leads me to my question: If you’re doing a Q&A call, as is suggested here, where people come with their questions … what in the world are you doing on-screen to make it interesting to watch and make the web portion relevant?

  9. Like most of the comments, I too like well-done webinars. However, they are sometimes difficult to sit through as they usually go too long.

    That’s why I love it when a webinar presenter also offers an after-the-webinar audio download. I can listen to these in my car. When a presenter does this, I’m much more likely to sign up. It tells me that the presenter cares about how I learn best. (Also offering pdf’s is a great idea as well.)

    Most of the time I don’t need the visuals – unless I am learning about a new product where hands-on visuals are essential to the learning process.

    Thanks for the insightful advice on creating webinars, Lewis.

  10. Thanks for a great post as I’ve been thinking of doing webinars & conference calls. I too would like to ask what are the main advantages of a webinar over a conference call please?
    Thanks in advance

  11. Hi Lewis
    Thanks for the great information. Lots to learn here. I have recently attended two webinars run on GoToWebinar and I was really impressed with both of them. I like the fact that you can ask questions and have them answered at the end of the webinar.
    Thanks again for sharing this info.
    Cheers
    Thea

  12. Hi Lewis,

    great post & well broken down with the 2 options. I heard you on a podcast a while back and made a note (as I was on the move) to check back. Funny because I just did that today about 10 mins before this I checked out a vid you did with Laura Roeder weird how such coincidences happen as the podcast (which was something different – either IBM, Copyblogger or SPI) was something I listened to a while back.

    My question is is there any good free option for just getting started or if not which would you recommend between gotomeeting & gotowebinar (or any other)?

    I’m not really selling anything as yet but do have a website/blog with a readership & like the point that you can use a webinar to connect better with your customers (time to start getting over those nerves & dive in),

    thanks again for the great content & to Sonia & the guys for putting this up,
    cheers,
    Alan

  13. Hi Lewis!

    As someone who works for a webinar provider I think this is great information. We advocate so many of these things on our own site – especially using a monthly / quarterly check in with customers. Since businesses are always making changes to things it’s always good to check in with some of your customers to make sure that your changes are not getting in the way of their experience on the site. Checking in with them is a great way to evaluate how the way you think you’re making your business better might be making things a little harder for your customers. Thanks again for sharing and the inspiration for my next blog! :)

  14. I think doing webinars are awesome because they are a great way to interact your readers, answer their questions, provide valuable content in a way that you could not do on your site, and provide the solution to their problem by providing a product recommendation.

  15. Creating great relationship with prospects and customers is quite difficult for me to make it happen sometimes. The way Lewis has explained here about it makes me so confident in terms of creating relationship with. You have really posted some effective ideas to do so at the time of carrying any sales. Thanks Lewis for sharing such a wonderful post. Good luck.

  16. Some people complain about the recent proliferation of free webinars and question their value.

    While the “make money online” niche might be oversatureted with webinars these say, I can’t help but thinking how webinars may help you to break into other markets. I am a psychologist, teaching people how take control of their own life using the latest finding of positive psychology. And I can tell you, almost nobody uses webinars to deliver such messages and educational content in this field. Lots of blogs, and written content yes, but very few vidoes and even fewer webinars.

    So, if you have a business outside of the “make money online” niche, webinars can be a point of differentiation, something truly unique and special. Especially if your area of expertise is heavily based on education. After all, a webinar is a web based seminar.

  17. One technical question though:

    How do you build a list of prospects using webinars?

    I mean the email addresses of people registering to your webinar will get stuck in your webinar service provider.

    Is there a way to transfer these to your own email list?

    Thanks,
    Zsolt
    (Hungary)

  18. Yes, there is a way to do this. Derek Halpin created a plugin, called Webinar Bridge which collects the emails of people who sign up for a webinar in Aweber (or whatever email responder you’re using).

    If you don’t want to end up with a seperate list for each webinar you hold, you can set up automation rules that add the emails of webinar participants to a main list as well. After each webinar the webinar email list can be deleted. In this way you can build your main list.

  19. I disagree that you have to have a strong visual component to be effective. I find on my calls that people often want the visual just to see lists of things that I’m mentioning, I’ve even been asked to put a quote that I shared on a powerpoint slide-they wanted to see it. I just think they have to look professional. Too many people try to jam too much information on a single slide which looks terrible. I suggest making a nice template or have someone do it for you, so you can use it over and over again with your logo and copyright information. As a non-techie I put off doing webinars for a long time, then I had the opportunity to do one with one of the top Internet Marketers in the world and I couldn’t say no. Getting over the fear was huge, but once I did, it was pretty easy. If you can make the powerpoint slides yourself-which is really easy, and hook up a mic for recording voice, do it! You can outsource making them pretty if you can’t do it yourself. One suggestion I do have though is using Everygreen Business System instead of Go To Webinar, it’s a lot cheaper-you buy it once and own it.

  20. Insightful article. I am curious how beneficial webinars can be for small companies. It seems that unless there is a large following (social media / subscribed readership ), a webinar will be overlooked. Cheers.