During lockdown, webinars became a popular way for financial advisers and planners to communicate with clients. They were an efficient way of quickly reaching a large group of people and complemented individual phone calls.
The natural extension is to use webinars to engage potential new clients. But this is harder. Plus, we’ve seen many financial planning firms make some basic mistakes which have been frustrating and costly.
So, to save you falling into the same traps, here are our top 10 webinar mistakes to avoid.
1. Not using a dedicated webinar system
Bespoke webinar systems are affordable, easy to use and (surprise surprise) designed to run webinars. They enable you to register delegates, send out reminders and follow up after it’s finished.
We tend to use the webinar bolt-on to Zoom. It’s never let us down, but other systems are available too.
However, we’ve seen some firms try to save a few quid (or just not understand the benefits of a dedicated system). That’s a big mistake; you won’t get the same benefits and it can cause security issues, so it’s worth the time and expense of finding a proper system.
2. Leaning too heavily on speakers from providers
Back when they were possible, firms would often invite speakers from providers to their seminars. This trend has continued with webinars.
It makes us nervous.
If a speaker from a provider will add genuine expertise, invite them onto the webinar. But avoid the temptation to have them as the main or only speaker. Attendees, whether they are existing clients, prospects or professional connections will be more interested in hearing from you. Getting a speaker to do the hard work looks like a cop-out.
If you’re looking for a genuine expert to speak, find someone who can help you promote the webinar. For example, rather than getting an estate planning expert from a provider, find a local solicitor who can invite their clients to the webinar and promote it jointly with you.
Talking of promotion…
3. Relying on social media advertising to fill the webinar
We’ve seen some firms try to fill their webinar by advertising on social media. They are almost always disappointed by the results; both by the number who sign up and the proportion of those who actually attend.
The marketer’s answer is that you’re asking people to jump too many rungs up the value ladder at once.
In layman’s terms, you’re asking too much, too soon. They have no connection with your firm, you’ve not demonstrated knowledge yet or added any value.
The firms who’ve had more success are those who’ve built databases (often using lead magnets on social media), engaged with the audience by sending content and only then invited them to a webinar.
4. Always talking about money
Just because you’re a financial adviser or planner, doesn’t mean webinars should always be focused on money. Sure, it’ll play a significant part in many of your webinars. But there are benefits to being more creative.
For example, many people want to travel more extensively in retirement. So, invite a local travel agent/expert on to your webinar. They can share their experiences, provide valuable insights and talk about travel restrictions in the current environment. Ideally, they’ll help you to promote the webinar too and invite their clients.
5. Selling your services
Webinars should be used to add value to your audience. By doing this, you will also demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.
They shouldn’t be used to sell products or services.
Yet too often we see firms running webinars which are nothing more than a glorified sales pitch. Unsurprisingly, few people are interested in attending and those who do often leave unsatisfied.
Sure, you should talk about:
- What you do
- Who you do it for
- Why people use you
But this should only form a small part of the webinar, maybe five minutes at the end. The rest should all be about the delegate, adding value, improving knowledge and giving practical takeaways to improve their lives.
6. Not getting delegates to register
Everyone should be asked to register for your webinar, even your clients. Registering delegates:
- Makes it easier to set up automatic reminders, which will increase the proportion of people that register attend
- Reduces potential security issues as when you promote it on social media you will share a link to the registration page, not the actual webinar
- Makes following up after the webinar easier
7. Not sending reminders to attendees
Not everyone who registers for your webinar will attend. Some will forget, others were only lukewarm in the first place and, of course, life gets in the way.
However, setting automatic reminders will improve the proportion of people who register and then go on to attend. We recommend setting reminders for 24 hours and one hour beforehand.
8. Running the webinar on your own
If you’re presenting on the webinar, having someone from your team assisting you is invaluable.
Your able assistant is there to:
- Deal with people who can’t get into the webinar (usually because they’ve lost the link)
- Help solve any technical issues which occur
- Curate questions and comments, reading them out to you at appropriate points during the webinar
- Keeping an eye on social media and posting interesting snippets from the webinar
- Checking that the webinar is being recorded
That leaves you free to concentrate on presenting and answering your delegate’s questions.
Whenever we run webinars, I always have Dan Campbell alongside me. Knowing I can concentrate on presenting and answering questions, and that Dan’s got everything else covered, is hugely beneficial.
9. Running pre-recorded webinars
Some firms pre-record their webinars and then run them multiple times.
I understand that this is more efficient. However, it loses the spontaneity of a live webinar, particularly as delegates won’t have a chance to ask questions. Why make people turn up at a specific time when you could just distribute a link to a video?
For that reason, I often feel that delegates feel ‘short-changed’ by a recorded webinar, and we consequently recommend they are avoided.
Sure, running every webinar live takes more time, but it’s worth it.
10. Not following up
Too many firms fail to follow up effectively, believing that their job is done when people attend. In fact, that’s only half the battle. If you’re going to turn attendees into prospects you need to follow up.
We recommend sending the following to everyone, even those who registered but didn’t attend:
- A recording of the webinar
- Links to any additional resources you mentioned in the webinar
- A feedback form which they can complete if they want more information
We’re here to help
Webinars are a great way of efficiently and cost-effectively communicating to a large number of people.
They can be time-consuming to organise though. We also know that some firms find them daunting and worry about things not working out.
So, if you like the idea of running webinars but you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to help. Email [email protected] or call 0115 8965 300.