7th April, 2021 - Webinar replay
Our top tips for running the perfect webinar project
Phil Bray 0:00
Good morning, and welcome to April’s webinar. As usual, 10 o’clock Council House bells in Nottingham tolling. So that’s the queue for us to start. And today we’ve got a webinar, about webinars. The first thing we should always be doing, I guess, because we are setting ourselves up a little bit today – running a webinar about webinars – is a bit of a soundcheck. So can we just make sure everyone can hear me, by just dropping a note in the chat, would you? To say hi, and make sure that you can hear me. That will be fantastic. And while you’re doing that, I want to introduce my co-host today. Dan Campbell, our very own head of branding. Dan, how’re you doing?
Dan Campbell 0:41
I’m good. Yeah, I’m really good. Yeah. Although, if something does go wrong today, we can just, you know, pretend that it’s intentional. You know, as an example of something that might go wrong for other people, I guess. So we can always hide behind that.
Phil Bray 0:54
I will style it out mate.
Dan Campbell 0:58
But no, I’m really good, thanks. So my job, as usual – if anybody has been to these webinars before – is ultimately keeping us to time, and asking all of the questions that come in. So, if you do have any questions during the webinar, I tend to keep them sort of, you know, sectioned out so that they fit naturally into it. But don’t worry, I’ll sweep them all up at the end. And, there are two ways to ask questions. You can either fill in the little Q&A tab at the bottom, and it pops up as a little box that I just read my way through. Or, as people have been saying that they can hear you Phil, pop it in the chat, and I’ll pick those up as well. So either way, don’t worry, your question will get answered.
Phil Bray 1:39
Thank you, Dan. And we’ll take questions as we go. And some at the end, as well. And Dan will keep us on track for time. And the other thing; most people I think, have already voted. But we’ve put a couple of little questions up in a poll. So it’d be great if you could answer that. It was 48 / 52 a few minutes ago, rather disappointing that it’s changed, now. But anyway, if you could answer those two, a couple of questions, we’d really appreciate it. So, without further ado, the top tips for running the perfect webinar project. Well, the first thing is not to do that. That was a bit strange, wasn’t it?
Dan Campbell 2:11
While you’re while you’re getting back to the start, Phil, I’ll answer a question that we get asked a lot, just so nobody has to ask it. And that’s, whether we’ll be releasing a recording of this session? So absolutely, we do. So, one thing that we always make sure, is that at the start of any of these webinars, is that the little red recording button is flashing at us. And we can see that. So, at the end of this session, we’ll trim the start and the end, and we’ll just make it available to anybody that wants it.
Phil Bray 2:38
Thanks, Dan. So what are we gonna talk about today? Well, we’re gonna talk about why webinars? Why do we run webinars? Why should advisers and planners think about running webinars? We’re going to give you our top 10 tips, for running the perfect webinar. And six ways to get people to sign up. Because clearly, you could be running a great webinar. But if nobody signs up and actually shows up, then you’ve got a problem. Some mistakes to avoid, that we’ve seen firms make over the past year, and some of which we’ve made ourselves. And, we’re gonna talk about building an audience as well, because as we said, the audience is key. The audience is key to building any business, really. But it’s certainly key to getting people to show up to a webinar. And as usual, please ask questions. Stick them in the chat, stick them in the Q&A. Dan will ask those as we go through. Please comment, please provide feedback. Please tell us if you think we’re talking complete rubbish, because we don’t have all the answers. And, as I’m fond of saying, the only way we get better, is by being challenged and trying to improve as well. So please do question, comment and give us feedback. And there’s about half of the people, out of the poll who have run webinars this year. So, really keen to hear about your experience as well. So, why webinars? Well, clearly if we think back to this time last year, that was the end of face-to-face events. So face-to-face seminars and workshops, haven’t really been possible for a year or so. And who knows when we can do it legally? But also who knows when we can… we will actually want to go back to doing it. I don’t know how easy it will be, to get people into a room. I don’t know how confident they’ll be, coming into a room in the months – and maybe even years – to come. So obviously webinars, became more popular out of necessity, more than anything else. But, for me they’re also really cost effective way, of talking to a large group of people. It is relatively easy to organise. And as I say, the cost is relatively modest, compared to the cost of booking an event, putting on food; teas, coffees, biscuits, etc, etc. And they’re not quite so much at the whim of outside factors. If it’s a nice day, people will still turn up to a webinar. Whereas, for a face-to-face event, they might have decided to go somewhere else. So, they’re easier to organise, they’re more cost effective. And they’re – as I said – a very efficient way of communicating with larger audiences. And because of those things, they’re lower risk, than putting on a workshop, in a venue. I’m sure those things will still have a place. But for me, they are quite significantly lower risk. So, webinars are here to stay, as far as I’m concerned. And, we’re gonna… the meat of today is, we’re going to run through these top 10 tips for running the perfect webinar. And this is based on our own experiences. I think Dan and I have been running webinars for Yardstick for about three years now? So it’s based on our own experiences, and the experiences of clients, and the experience of clients we help deliver webinars for. So whilst we don’t speak on clients webinars, we absolutely help organise them, help build audiences, build landing pages, send out invites, we run the whole project for them. Obviously, we don’t speak though, because – for reasons we’ll explain later – clients, prospects and professional connections want to hear from the adviser in question. So top tip number one – agree your target audience, and the subject. And this is all about relevancy. With any content marketing – and I would say that webinars are content marketing – you’ve got to make the subject matter and what you’re delivering, relevant to your audience. That way, you’re going to add far more value to them, demonstrate knowledge, position yourself as a go-to expert as well. But it’s got to be… the content absolutely has to be relevant. And for me that starts, with deciding what you want to achieve. So, who do you want to communicate with? Is it existing clients? Is it new clients or prospects? Is it professional connections? There is some overlap between them. But in my case, sorry, I would suggest the case is that you need to have different webinars, for different audiences. So, you’ll communicate differently and have different messages for professional connections, than you will do prospects. Prospects, certainly to existing clients, again, are very different. Existing clients, you might be talking about investment proposition, you might be doing more lifestyle stuff. But I do think they are different. And therefore, if you have for each aim, for each objective, you need to run a separate webinar, in my view. So first thing, sit down, work out your objective, work out who you want to be talking to, and then, think about the subject that you’re going to be talking about. And that involves understanding their pain points. What wakes them up at three o’clock in the morning? What are they worried about? What are they concerned about? But also think about what motivates them as well, what gets them out of bed in the morning. And those are the things you should be talking about, on webinars. Number two – building your database. We’re going to talk a lot about this, later on. But for me, you need to give as much focus to building your database, building your audience; two words we’ll use interchangeably. If you want to get as many people on your webinars as possible? Very simply, the more people that you can invite, the bigger your audience, the more people you can talk to, and the more engagement that you will get. And, we see the firm’s that are getting really decent numbers – kind of above 100 people on a webinar – are the ones with bigger, more engaged databases. And those who have struggled and resorted to advertising on social media, which we might talk about in a bit – we will talk about in a bit – are those that haven’t built their audience, haven’t built their database. So tip number two – spend as much time focusing on building your database, building your audience, as you do the actual webinar itself. Dan, we got any questions yet?
Dan Campbell 9:21
No, nothing through yet.
Phil Bray 9:22
So if you’ve got questions, stick them in the chat, stick them in the Q&A, happy to answer them as we as we go along. And number three, as I said – absolutely don’t pay to advertise your webinar on social media. We’ve seen some firms make some rather expensive mistakes. Not with us, I hasten to add. But, it seems as though the leap, from someone not knowing you at all – seeing an advert on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and booking on a webinar, to actually turning up is just too big to take? And we’ve seen people spend a lot of money advertising webinars on social media. Whether it be as I say, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. And either get a lot of clicks, but people aren’t registering. Or they’ll get a few people registered, but then actually not turning up. And it’s because they’re not warm enough. They aren’t engaged enough in the business. And we need to – in my view – collect their data, warm them up. And we’ll talk in a bit about lead magnets, and how they can be used to collect data. But collect their data, warm them up. And then when you’ve warmed them up over time, potentially through other content, so: newsletters, blog articles, social posts, guides, etc, then hit them with the webinar, and the invite. It’s too early to take them from advert, to webinar. It needs to be advert, warm them up, walk them up the value ladder, and then hit them with the webinar invite. Be really interested to hear from other people’s experiences on this call. If you’ve advertised your webinar on social, and have had a different outcome? And we need to separate of course, advertising on social, with promoting organically on social. So I’d be really interested to know, people who have put money behind an advert, and actually, it’s worked for them? But in our view, in our experience, there are no shortcuts. Build data, walking up that value ladder, then offer the webinar. Don’t try and hit them with a webinar, direct from an advert off social media. Number four – make people register. So, I was looking at my daughter’s school’s PTA Twitter feed, not too long ago. And they put out a link to the next event, the next meeting, they were going to have. And in the same social media post, they put the password for the event as well! Which is not ideal. For a security conscious profession, it is… that is absolutely not ideal. And our view is, that you should make everybody register for the event. Whether they’re a client, or a prospect, or professional connection – make them register for the event. And it’s sometimes a bit counterintuitive, asking clients – many of whom you will have known for years – to put their details into a registration form. At the end of the day, you only asking for name and email address. But it is still sometimes counterintuitive. But there are huge benefits. First of all, you can see who is attending. So this morning about half past nine, Dan and I had a quick look through who was attending. And it improves security. It means you can stop somebody coming in, who you don’t recognise, or you think might not be, potentially who they say they are. And it improves security as well. Because you can do that. And as we’ll probably talk about in a bit, you – when we get to the mistakes – you should also run these as proper webinars, as opposed to meetings. I’ve seen a few firms run these as, what I would call webinars, run it as a meeting, which means that the people attending have been able to share their microphone, their camera, their screen. And on some unfortunate occasions, that has not ended particularly well. So, running it as a webinar, getting people to register, means that people can’t share the screen. They can’t share their mic, they can’t share their camera. They can communicate via chat and Q&A. But it improves security massively. It also means that you can send automated reminders. So we set up automated reminders via Zoom, you’ll have had one 24 hours before the event, and you will have received one, one hour before the event. So automatic reminders can go out. And it also allows you to build your audience and database. So, whenever we have people who register for our events, because we’ve promoted it on social – not through advertising, but just through our organic social channels. There will be people who sign up and register, who aren’t already on our database. And it’s a nice way of us topping up our database, with people that we don’t already have a relationship with. We don’t already have their email address. And they can continue to receive their newsletters, until such time as they unsubscribe – if they choose to do so. So it might be counterintuitive, even for clients, but make everybody register. Dan, did I see a question come in? While I have my slurp of tea?
Dan Campbell 14:42
Yeah, sure thing. So a question in from Philip, who asks, “Can we still post a link to our webinar, on LinkedIn? Can we use the invite to the webinar, to send to new connections on LinkedIn?”
Phil Bray 14:54
Yeah, absolutely. And we’re going to talk, now actually, on tip five – about getting the invite right. So Philip, I would… the registration page – as this slide says – your invite text by email, and the registration page, should be identical. So if you receive an email invite from us for this webinar, you will have seen that the text for the email invite and the registration page are, pretty much the same. And what we should be doing from social, is pushing people to – not the email – but to the registration page. So for example, I put a message on Twitter about eight o’clock this morning and one on LinkedIn, telling people we were going live in a couple of hours time, there’s still time to register, etc. And on both of those, I put a link through to the registration page. People then needed to give their name and email address, to get the unique link to join us today. A couple of advantages of doing that. The first one, as I said on the previous slide, was that it builds our audience, it builds our database, for people where we don’t already have their email addresses. And the other thing that we can do, is we can create tracking links in Zoom. And we can then, that allows us then to have specific links that we’ve posted on LinkedIn and Twitter – they both go to the same page, they both go through to the same registration page. But Zoom does something nifty in the background, and tells me how many people have clicked my email link, compared to how many people have clicked Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.. It starts to give me a pattern of where the registrations are coming from, and helps me understand where I’m going to spend more time promoting it in the future. So Philip, I hope that answers your question. If it doesn’t, then feel free to ask a follow up. Dan, are we good – have we got anything else?
Dan Campbell 16:44
We’ve got two more questions, actually. So one, we may cover in a little bit, but I’ll ask it anyway. But the first one is from Guy, who asks if we’ve got any anecdotal feedback on people being put-off attending, because they don’t want to register with their personal details?
Phil Bray 17:03
I haven’t Guy, because I probably wouldn’t know. Because Dave bounced off that registration page? So we probably wouldn’t ever get to know. I’ve never heard of any… I’ve never heard anything from a financial planner that said, clients have approached them and come back to me said they didn’t want to register, and didn’t want to give their details. One of the things we have done though, for some planning firms, where their clients have not been used to webinars – especially in the early days. We put quite a prominent notice on the registration page, that gave some reassuring messages. Explained what was going to be done with their data and email address. Explained the cameras would be off, so nobody will be able to see into their home. Explaining that mics were off. So just trying to provide some reassuring messages, around that. We’ve also done that, we had one firm run a webinar, to people who were divorcing or separating. And that’s clearly quite a sensitive subject. So we made it really clear there, that cameras were off, etc, etc. But I’ve got no evidence, Guy, from the people we work with, that clients have been put off signing up for webinars because they’ve got to leave their email address.
Dan Campbell 18:20
On that same track then Phil, Alistair asks whether we ask for just name and email, or we ask for a telephone number as well?
Phil Bray 18:32
We only ask for name and email address. Partly because, I wouldn’t do anything with the telephone number. And it’s sensible to only ask for data that you’re going to do something with. I suspect, if you start asking for a telephone number, that would start having an effect on the number of people who would sign up for your webinar. It might be a bit too much, too soon. One thing… just a slight tangent. When we’ve been running lead magnet campaigns, which we’ll talk about in a bit, we do ask for telephone numbers. So we ask for name, email address and telephone number. And that actually didn’t decrease the number of people, who were prepared to fill in a form. Gut feel? I probably shouldn’t go with a gut feel. Gut feel, I think it might make a difference on webinars. And, you’re probably not going to do anything with it. So I probably wouldn’t be inclined to do that. But I would be inclined to put calls to action in the follow up email, which we’ll talk about in a bit.
Dan Campbell 19:30
Okay, one more question then before we move on. So Ravi asks, “Could we share stats on how many people you need on a database, what a typical registration rates are, and also the conversion rates of that?”
Phil Bray 19:43
Wow, it’s an interesting one. We can absolutely share stats. And having said that, I’m not sure what use they are. Because there were so many other factors. And, we’ve had… just to illustrate that point, we’ve got a database of about 10,000 people, that our invites go out to. And we’ve got 80 people registered for today. And we’ve then had other webinars where we’ve had 500 people register. So it really depends on… the stats might take us down the wrong road there. Because there is clearly fewer people interested or the stats, which seem to indicate that fewer people are interested in today’s webinar, than say, the webinar we did in February about fees and putting fees up. And there’s a certain logic to that. But there are other variables, when you think about as well. How much social promotion did we do? How many emails went out? How good was the quality of the email the invite? So, it’s really difficult to produce any data which is going to provide us with meaningful conclusions. What I would say though, I’m trying to think of some examples, I can think of one firm where they’ve got 4,000 on their database, and they’ve had about 400 turn up to some webinars. So really, that’s 10%, that was a really, really decent number. There is certainly correlation between the size of the database, and the number of people who will turn up, but there are so many other variables. It is really difficult to provide a formula that’s going to work. Shall I carry on, Dan? Or is there any more questions?
Dan Campbell 21:28
We do have two more, but I think we’ll cover them a little bit later on? Yeah, let’s carry on.
Phil Bray 21:32
We’ll crack on. So we talked about getting the invite right. And, the better your invite, the better your registration page, the more people you’ll get onto your webinar. The more relevant the subject for the audience, the better the invite, the better the registration page, the more people who will sign up. And for me, there’s a pretty simple formula for your registration page, and you’re invite. And as I say, they should be the same. And opening sentence or opening section; the reason for the webinar. So what’s the problem you’re addressing? What’s the pain point you’re helping people to solve? Then I would have a subject heading, “Who should attend?” just bullet points there. And you can look at the webinar invitations that we send out. And they’re all pretty similar in terms of format. So, who should attend? In this case, financial advisers, planners, marketing people, etc. What will they learn? What are the key benefits for me? What am I going to learn by being on this webinar, and giving up my time? And then the basic information; the date, the time, the cost? Most webinars are a zero cost. I think people expect webinars to be zero cost. That doesn’t mean they expect to be sold to though, so just be a bit careful. But I would have those basic introduction sections, then a subheading, “Who should attend?” with bullet points, “What will they learn?” bullet points. Basic information, bullet points. Subheadings and bullet points are easy to use, in your email invite, dead straightforward. Zoom, it’s a bit harder. It will bring across… if you cut and paste from Word it brings across the bullet points. But you’ve got no formatting whatsoever on headings. So you can’t put it in bold or italics or anything like that. It’s going back to kind of 1995 Word Processor skills. So, I tend to put sub headings in upper caps. It is a bit unfortunate that, and it is one of the limitations of of Zoom. And I’d be interested to know, if people who have run webinars on this call, whether you’ve used Zoom, or whether you’ve used a different platform? That will be really interesting to know. And I think 300 words is probably ideal, for the invite. You don’t want to be too long. Short, punchy. It takes longer to write something that’s short and punchy, rather than long and rambling, but it is absolutely worth it. But those should be the subheadings that you use. So number six – use split tests. Split tests are really important. And they help us understand what subject lines work, what subject lines don’t work. And a split test is very straightforward. We use a mail system called DotDigital. MailChimp will have similar functionality. But a split test allows us to try two different subject lines, significantly different. I don’t like the term A-B split test, because it makes it sound as though the subject line should be really close together. But I would have A-Z split test, so they’re completely different. And split test allows you to run two or three or four multiple subject lines, to a proportion of your database. So you might have two subject lines that you’re trying. Each goes to 10% of the database. And it pushes it out to 10%, each to 10% in the database, so that’s 20% in total, and pushes out over a period of X number of hours, say six hours. And the winning subject is used for the other 80% of the database. And every time send an email, split test the subject lines. See if it makes a difference. And try and just keep getting a little bit better, every time. And as I said, as well, when it comes to split tests, use to create different tracking links in Zoom, or whatever system you’re using, to build registration pages. So you’ve got a dedicated registration page for Twitter, one for LinkedIn, one for emails, one for Facebook, etc, etc. If you’re getting professional connections, as we’ll talk about in a bit, to invite their audience to your webinar, then give them a separate tracking link as well. Worked with one firm recently, and they’ve done that, and it’s been really interesting to see which professional connections are promoting and providing more people to the webinars. So split testing subject lines on teh emails, and use tracking links on registration pages, to work out and understand what’s working for you, and what isn’t. Carrying on. Security. We’ve already talked about it a little bit, but if you get it wrong webinars can be disrupted. As I said earlier, use a bespoke webinar package. I think the standard cost of Zoom is about £11 a month. And I think the webinar bolt on for people having up to 100 delegates is about £30 a month. So for £40, about £10 a week, it’s worth doing. Because, if you don’t use that bespoke webinar package, you don’t make people register. And you’re starting to share links and passwords, you open yourself up to, some quite serious security risks, and also some quite serious reputational risks as well. So take security, seriously make people register, and use a bespoke package. Dan, have I seen anything else come in?
Dan Campbell 26:48
Yeah, we’re getting some good questions. So funnily enough, David has just asked the question that I had myself just now. So David asks, “I assume you recommend Zoom webinar, as opposed to others?” And I was thinking myself, why do we use Zoom? Other than we paid for it anyway, as a business and we’re quite integrated, why we’re using it?
Phil Bray 27:09
Yeah, it’s a really good point. And, we probably should review. But, I like Zoom because of its simplicity. And that does mean that you lack a bit of functionality. For example, the formatting on registration pages, is really quite poor. And bits in the back end are quite clunky. But it works. It’s not let us down yet. Dan, we’re still recording, aren’t we? It’s not let it down yet. And, it’s got the functionality that we needed, at a low cost. And I’ve never used anything else, to build webinars. And we probably should do a bit of research, as to whether Zoom or something else is better. I have appeared and presented on other people’s webinars, where they’ve used other systems. For example, one where I had to ring in and dial in on my phone, but present slides on the screen. That was a bit strange. And, didn’t particularly care for that system. So I think there’s probably a bit of inertia. We’ve used Zoom. We’ve always used it. It does the job. But it is a fair challenge. And we probably should look at other stuff as well.
Dan Campbell 28:29
Brilliant. We’ve got a comment from Alistair who says, “I use Zoom for the webinars. But…” if I’m pronouncing this wrong, Alister, you tell me, “… AWeber, for the invites, and they talk to each other and populate each other’s data. So that could be a good way to get around the formatting restrictions, or perhaps any hurdles you get in with your actual invites themselves.”
Phil Bray 28:56
AWeber, it’s one for everyone to have a look at, and one certainly one for us to have a look at. In terms of our tech, we use DotDigital, for sending emails. And that’s a really robust system. It’s designed for agencies, and we’ve used it. We send four and a half million emails a year. So it’s a robust system that works very well. We use Zoom, and then we put recordings on our YouTube channel. But there are alternatives for all of those systems.
Dan Campbell 29:27
Brilliant. We’ll have one more question before we move on then. This is from Andrew, who asks, “Have you noticed the optimum day of the week and time of the day for sending invites?”
Phil Bray 29:37
I think that’s a really interesting question. I think there is. There’s probably two things to think about though, in terms of optimum time. Optimum time to send the invites, and optimum time to actually run the webinars? So in terms of sending the invites, I think the first thing you got to do is just understand and take a minute. Think about is your audience a B2C audience, or B2B audience? And for me, I will send my webinar invites. We have a B2B audience. I’ll send my webinar invites, generally in an evening. 1900-1930 in the evening. The rationale behind that is there’s still people working. We all know our work-life balance has kind of merged into one recently, with working from home. So you still got a lot of people working. So you’ll get a few people sign up there. And then, next morning, for those people who haven’t been working and sensibly clocked off, it’s reasonably high in their inbox that morning. So there’s a certain logic there to sending B2B kind of early evening. B2C; I would tend to send it… try and send it when inboxes are a bit quieter. So again, potentially evenings, or weekends. Saturday mornings, quite a decent time; 8, 9, 10 o’clock, I think that works quite nicely. So those are the times I’ve been doing that. In terms of presenting? We’ve always defaulted to middle of the week, that seems to be pretty popular, for our B2B webinars. Kind of 10 o’clock in the morning, 11 o’clock in the morning, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, they’ve always seemed to work well. But because there are so many different variables about webinars; who’s presenting, the subject matter, time of the year. If we’d have done this last week, we’ve got fewer people on, because it’s end of the tax year, and planners are busy. So, there’s so many variables, you do have to be a bit careful. But for B2B stuff, I tend to go morning at 10 or 11, on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. For B2C, typically, we’ve seen firms present in the evening, anywhere between about 18:00 – 19:30. We’ve done a couple of B2B’s in the evening, and they’ve worked quite nicely as well. But B2C evening, 18:00 through to about 19:30. I’m not sure I’d go any later than that. Be interesting to see if someone ran one on a Saturday morning, and see what difference that would make. But again, with us coming out of lockdown and opening up, I think probably evenings are going to be better. Hopefully that answers the question.
Dan Campbell 32:12
Perfect. And we’ve got a great question in from David. But I think I’m gonna save that for a little bit later on, because I feel parts of it may be answered as we go.
Phil Bray 32:19
Okay, look forward to that. So next top tip – agree who will present. And, one of the things that I noticed at the start of lockdown – so, this time last year – that a lot of firms were keen to put webinars on, but they were dragging in provider… provided… provider / provided presenters – that’s not easy to say, is it! And, I always thought this was a bit of a cop out, frankly. And I still do, especially if you’re presenting to prospects, professional connections, even existing clients. There probably is a caveat here. And the caveat I would give, is if you’ve got a investment manager, who is responsible for your centralised investment proposition, who is speaking to clients, I can clearly see the link there and can see the value. But there is a bunch of very good presenters from providers, that kind of did a bit of a round? And I don’t think there’s much value there, or there’s less value for the audience. And they want to hear from you – especially professional connections and prospects, who might be considering coming and using you, for wanting to solve their financial problems, help them achieve whatever it is that they want to achieve. They want to hear from you. And you’re going to provide that connection far more, by presenting on your own webinars than getting a provider in to do it. So, I would absolutely present yourself, with that one exception, that one caveat of an investment manager – linked to your KIP – who’s talking to clients. Other than that, I would be presenting yourself, or at least co-presenting yourself. And that might mean, bringing in professional connections to present with you. They might join me in running a panel. So some of our most popular webinars, I’ve had guests on. And over the past year, we’ve had Paul Armson, we’ve had Carl Richards, and a bunch of other people present, and be interviewed by us. And that seems to work really, really well. But they’re still hearing from us as well. But whatever you do, don’t fly solo. I would never dream of coming on a webinar without Dan here. And it just means that I can concentrate on presenting. And I’m not having to deal with people who can’t get on. People who are asking questions, people who can’t hear me. Dan’s there, filtering the questions. It just works so much better, and makes me feel far more relaxed, knowing that Dan’s got everything covered. And the only thing I’ve got to do, is say something reasonably sensible about the subject matter that I’m covering. And it just works really well. So don’t fly solo, have somebody there. Whether a co-presenter, a producer, but have somebody there with you. So you can just concentrate on presenting. And the other thing I’d say, we haven’t got it up on a slide yet. But, do have a practice run. If you’ve not done webinars before, just get whoever’s together, on a practice run. Because you don’t want to be… you don’t want to make mistakes. And we’ve seen people make mistakes, particularly on recordings, haven’t we, Dan?
Dan Campbell 35:22
Yeah, it’s something that still haunts me – the idea that we may not record one after dealing with so many people that haven’t recorded one, but it’s easy to miss. And it’s not something that’s always in the radar when you’re sort of, you know, mid presentation. But whenever you are on a Zoom webinar, and you’re recording, it will be flashing in the top left corner of the screen. So just make it a habit to check on that every 10 minutes or so. And if it’s not, just press record, and just make do with what footage you can get at the end. It’s better than nothing.
Phil Bray 35:52
Yeah, absolutely. We’ve seen a few people who have paused the recording, because they didn’t want the bit at the start – which you can easily cut off with basic software – and then forget to restart the recording. So, only the people who turned up received the… only people who turn up received the presentation, there was no recording to send out to them. But as I say, I can’t emphasise enough that you need to present yourself, but don’t fly solo, have somebody else with you. And the other thing that having that co-presenter or that producer will do, is help you field questions. I always feel that answering questions means your audience gets more from the webinar, but you get something out of it as well – you get far more interaction. And, I think it becomes more enjoyable for all involved. And people get more value out of it if you answer questions. And as Dan did at the start, there’s two options: you can take questions during the webinar, or you can save them up and have them at the end. My preference is to do both actually, and take questions during the webinar, and at the end. But you do need to know that… make sure delegates know how to ask questions. We, as a profession are use to webinars. We’re used to attending them, certainly. And some of us are used to presenting on them as well, and running them. But a lot of your clients, prospects, maybe professional connections, aren’t used to webinars. And they’re becoming more and more used to Zoom, clearly, because they’re having family chats, family quizzes, or whatever it may be. But they’re not necessarily used to attending webinars. Which is one of the reasons, in some of our invites, we’ll put in just some reassuring notes about cameras and mics and that sort of stuff. But it’s really important to make sure that your delegates know how to ask questions, and get reasonably regular reminders about how to ask them. It’s okay to ask questions, put them in the chat, put them in the Q&A, etc. And, I’m also a big fan of just sticking around and answering all the questions. We’ll do it today. If we run past 11, and we need to answer some questions, then absolutely we’ll do it. And if people want to shoot off that’s cool, that’s fine, no problem at all. But I do want to make sure that people get all their questions answered. And, one of the key benefits to me and to you guys – if you’re running the webinar – of having people ask questions, is that you can use them for integration, for future content. A question is a problem that needs solving. And if you get people to use the Q&A, rather than the chat to ask questions, you can download a Q&A report from Zoom afterwards. And there are… It shows what people are interested in. It shows what people have got problems with and challenges with. And that’s massive. That’s future blog content, its future integration for social posts, inspiration for future webinars, understanding and then solving people’s problems is just, it’s where it’s at. So, the questions actually provide great inspiration for future content, and provide people with more value who are on the webinar at the same time. So as I say, always make time for questions. And then finally, in this section – and we’ll pause for a few more questions then Dan – is get the follow up right. The follow up is so important. Otherwise, people just fall off a cliff. So, we’d always recommend sending a follow up email to everybody who registered, not just those who attended. And it’s often a debate, do you send the recording out to people who registered but didn’t show up? And my view is absolutely, pragmatically, yes. Because, someone might not have been able to turn up for a very good reason, but actually would still value the recording, and would still value the information. So, I would send everybody who registered a recording of the webinar. A link to any sources and other links that you might have mentioned on the webinar. So you might have referred to blogs you’ve written, or guides you’ve seen or white papers you’ve seen, or bits on websites. Just give those links in the email. And then multiple calls to action. Offer an appointment with one with you, or one of your team. That might be click here to open an email to request an appointment. It might be a link to an online calendar, might be a link to an online form, whatever it is. But we need to keep walking people up that value ladder. Webinars are reasonably high up. But clearly further up from there, is an initial appointment with you. So calls to action are incredibly important, for advisers and planners who want to… who are running webinars to, certainly two of those three groups, prospects and professional connections. So just make sure you get the follow up right, and send it to everybody. Dan, before we move on to getting people to sign up and show up – other questions?
Dan Campbell 40:53
Yeah, sure thing. So we’ve got a comment from Jenny that says, “I think you can set the webinar to record when you set it up?” Which is, it’s absolutely right. The issue lies in that, it’s frighteningly easy to manually override. And it can be done just by clicking the wrong thing for a second, accidentally. So yeah, even so, you’re absolutely right, Jenny, but just be vigilant, please, for the sake of everyone, be vigilant. And then, an interesting question from Harry actually. So Harry asks, “Is it worth using pre-recorded webinars? That way, attendees aren’t tied to a specific time or day?”
Phil Bray 41:29
Okay, so I’ve got this as one of my mistakes, later on. And it’s a great question Harry, and I am – maybe illogically – but really anti recorded webinars. I just feel that there is less value to the participant. And you are tying the participant to a specific day and time, for something that they could get on YouTube at anytime that is convenient to them. There’s no interaction, clearly, because it’s recorded. Even if you pitch up at the end, and answer questions, you don’t get the interaction that we’ve got right now. So for me – maybe rationally – I think it’s a little bit selfish. I’m making somebody pitch up at a time, to watch a recording that I could have just given them to watch whenever they wanted to. And I know there’s a certain logic about, live could go wrong. Yeah, it could. Nothing needs to be perfect anyway. But, live could go wrong, it generally doesn’t. And I’ve heard one or two planners say to me, that compliance are more concerned about live than recorded. But, I think it’s perfectly possible to stay on the right side of any compliance lines. Through good quality slides, making you stick to slides. And taking the fifth on some questions, if you need to and moving that into a one-to-one environment. I’m just dead set against recorded webinars. Harry, I think you probably know how I feel about that now.
Dan Campbell 43:08
That’s brilliant. Okay, let’s let’s answer….
Phil Bray 43:10
But challenge me. If there’s reasons why recorded webinars work, and you’ve done them, then please come back to me.
Dan Campbell 43:17
Yeah, I think it’s an interesting one, isn’t it? Because often the value lies for many, in that Q&A section at the end, where you’ve actually got the person that’s presenting, and you can ask them something. But again, you know, we may be wrong. Okay, let’s answer David’s question now. So David says, “On a recent and first Zoom webinar, we had everybody attending “not visible” for privacy. So like here today. Yet, in a face to face environment, they’d all see each other, and therefore get social proof from clients seeing other clients, and feeling together. Should clients see each other?” It’s an interesting one.
Phil Bray 43:54
Yeah, it’s a really good point. And, something to take on board. I think, it partly depends on the people you’re inviting. So clients, I can see… I still get them to register, so you know that it’s only clients coming. I still think you’ve got to make it clear to them that their camera will be on, their mics will be on if they want to. But I can see the logic for clients, not professional connections, or necessarily all prospects who you might not know as well, but I can see the logic if it’s a client event, let’s say it’s a wine tasting that you’ve organised. A… some other, sort of, relatively small event, I can see the logic there. Absolutely, and I agree with you, David. Just be still really careful, about the security. Make sure you’ve got people registering, make sure you check who’s coming on, make sure you know how to move them out very quickly, if something goes wrong. Make sure screensharing is off. Take the security seriously. But I can see the logic for client only, client events, as opposed to maybe webinars. Can I crack on, Dan?
Dan Campbell 45:04
Yeah. And that’s a really good point actually. Practice booting somebody out before you start a webinar. because it’s not always obvious. Nothing’s really obvious, on on a lot of these systems that aren’t Zoom. So yeah, yeah, practice being the bad cop.
Phil Bray 45:17
Yeah, absolutely. Right, so let’s get people to sign up for the webinar. Sign up and show up, how do we do it? So, first thing to do, is build your audience. The firm’s that I’m seeing just be more successful at marketing generally, those who have got a larger audience that they can add value to, and whittle down into them becoming a suspect, to prospect, to client, and then ultimately an advocate. And it’s something that we have been pushing hard for two or three years now. But building your audience is absolutely essential. And obviously, you’ve then got to communicate with them. But you’ve got to build it to start with. So three things… four things. Collect data for all new enquiries. The number of firms where we start a relationship with them, writing marketing strategies, and I say to them, “Right, send me a list of the enquiries you’ve had for the past 12 months.” and they haven’t got it. Very occasionally, they’ll be proud, and dust off their spreadsheet and send it across. But they haven’t got, generally speaking, a database of auto enquiries. And that’s massively important. We know conversion rates, anywhere between 25% and 50%, at the lowest end and the highest end. And that means three out of four, two out of four, enquiries don’t immediately become clients. But you’ve worked hard to generate that enquiry. It makes absolutely no sense to me, that the data isn’t collected, and then used to continue to nurture until the time is right for them to become a client. So collect data for all new enquiries, massively important. People on your website, newsletter sign-ups – don’t overestimate the number of people who will sign up to your newsletter. But it is an option that you should be absolutely offering. Live Chat, I think is becoming increasingly important. And it’s something that we’re experimenting with, with a few firms. And with really positive early results. Relatively small numbers of chats, but clearly, it’s linked to the the amount of web traffic a firm gets. But actually, it is resulting in some good interactions, and maybe confounding a few sceptics. So Live Chat, again. Gated content can work well. So you might have guides on your websites. And to get the guide, you would request the name and email address. The bigger your audience, the less I’m inclined… the bigger the audience already is, the less I’m inclined to use that. So for example, on the Yardstick website, we don’t. But for me, the thing that will supercharge your audience building is, or are, lead magnet campaigns, they’re just massively important. And I put together this little slide. We talked about lead magnet campaigns before, we might do a separate webinar on that later on the year. But essentially, we’ve got an advert, typically on Facebook or LinkedIn, tend to go to Facebook, if we can, it’s cheaper than LinkedIn. But sometimes we’ve got to go to LinkedIn, because that’s where the audience are. We offer an asset; a guide, a quiz or something of that nature. And to download the asset – and the asset has got to be valuable. You can’t use your company brochure for this, or something that’s sales based, it’s got to be absolutely valuable. So to download the asset, the suspect has to give their name, email address and telephone number. Then we start nurturing them through emails and calls, just to pick up on anybody who’s… pick off anybody who is ripe now and ready to have a conversation. Further communication through newsletters and webinars, meeting request after that. And it is the firm’s that we’re seeing who are being really successful and building decent lead numbers, decent enquiry levels. And we had an email from a firm this morning, actually, who’s enquiry levels Q1 2021, are double their enquiry levels, in Q1 one last year. There’s a bit of Coronavirus, in there obviously, and the effect of that, but it’s because they’ve been investing in the lead magnet campaigns, building their audience. And this stuff works, if it’s done consistently. And people give it time. So that’s how a lead magnet campaign works, and it is without doubt, the best way of turbocharging the building of your audience. Happy to talk about that in more detail, if necessary. Inviting existing clients – they’re clearly the most valuable members of your existing audience. But ask them to bring friends, encourage them to get friends, work colleagues, associates to sign up. If what you’re talking about is valuable to your clients, it will be valuable to people like them, as well. So, don’t forget your existing clients. It’s not all about prospects and professional connections. But remember that their friends and work colleagues will be interested. So encourage them to invite people as well. Social media. We’ve talked a lot about social media today. Don’t pay to promote webinars on social media, you’ll be disappointed. You can either take my word for it, or spend some of your money and be disappointed that way. It’s up to you. But in our experience, it just doesn’t work. What does though, is promoting social media to your connections. So building an audience on the appropriate social media channel, which for most people on this call, will be Facebook and LinkedIn, rather than Twitter. But build your audience. Eye catching posts, remembering the basics of posting with an image, if you’re posting on LinkedIn, put the link in the comments and not in the post, just all the basic stuff that we talk about a lot. Promote it regularly; it isn’t enough just to post once and hope people will see it. Social media moves really, really quickly. And if LinkedIn especially doesn’t pick up your post, and get… and promote engagement in the first 24 hours, it’s probably going to die a bit of a death, and you need to redo it. So eye-catching posts, remember those basics posts, with images, etc. and promote it regularly. Ask connections to share it, to like it, to comment on it. And just… we’ve talked about audiences a lot, use your social media audience that you’ve built up, to promote your webinars, just don’t pay. We’ve seen quite a few firms work with professional connections. And that’s been really quite successful. And that’s because, partly because, professional connections, they’ve got their own databases, and there’s not often that much of an overlap. So, if your professional connections have got databases, as they will have, whether it’s just clients or enquiries that have come in to them, we want to try and get access to it. Now, obviously, GDPR means that they can’t just pass that information over to you. That wouldn’t work. But there’s still options. So, you could ask your professional connections to invite people to your webinar. So they could sen an invite out. Make their life easy, by writing the invite yourself, for them. Remember, set up separate tracking links. So if you’re asking a couple of professional connections to push out your invite, your webinar to them, set up one tracking link for the first firm, another tracking link for the second firm, third, fourth, fifth, etc. And just start understanding where people are coming from. Get your professional connections to promote your webinar on their social media channels as well. Again, that’s important, that’s really useful. And run joint webinars, it’s three words, it’s down the bottom of the slide. But running joint webinars is incredibly powerful. We saw quite a few firms this time last year, getting an accountant on. If you remember back 12 months ago, where Rishi Sunak was stood up every day, with another package of measures. Every business owner was trying to work out what it means to them, employees were trying to work out how furlough was going to affect them. And there’s still issues around now. And so get your professional connections, whether it be solicitors, accountants, etc. and run webinars with them. It means that they may get some business from your clients, you get access to their database, etc. So, whilst you can’t take your professional connections data, and you absolutely can do stuff with them, to try and run successful webinars together. Number five – remind people to show up. Only about 50 – 60% of people who register, actually will attend. So that’s why it’s really important that everybody who registers gets the slides, gets the recording. And you can maximise the number by the automatic reminders, I always go 24 hours beforehand, and one hour beforehand. I tend to put out a little reminder on social media, “Going live in an hour.” “Going live in a couple of hours.” And just to pick up anybody who is just scrolling through idly, and just reminding that they need to go into a webinar. But anything you can do, to help people show up is a good thing. And that’s why having “a Dan” with you, to deal with people who can’t get in. We generally get a couple of calls around 10 o’clock in the morning when we’re running webinars, with people who have lost the link can’t find the link. It’s gone into their spam or whatever. So we train up the person who answers the phone, to be able to resend those links out as well. But reminding people to show up is really important, to maximise the number of people. And lastly, just run great events. If you get a reputation for running really good events that delivers valuable, relevant content on a consistent basis, people will just turn up because it’s you. And because the events they’ve attended before, have been really, really valuable, and benefited them. So a lot of it is about reputation. And a lot of it is about consistency. But that’s true with any content marketing. And if you’ve enjoyed one person’s blog, you’re more likely to read the next blog they produce. If you’ve enjoyed and got value from one webinar, when you get the invite from the same person for the next, you’re more than likely to turn up. So make it relevant, which takes us all the way back to the first slide of understanding your audience. Add value, just no sales, I really wouldn’t be talking about sales and what we can do for you, just keep it value add all the way through. And be consistent, both in terms of quality, and the frequency with which you present. I’m just gonna finish off on this last slide. A few mistakes to avoid. And one which we said earlier, running pre-recorded webinars. I’m just not a fan. I think it’s lazy. I think it’s a bit selfish. And, yeah, it might be more efficient for me. But I think for both parties, everyone gets a little bit less out of it. We talked about holding webinars as meetings. I can see why you’d hold client events as meetings, but I wouldn’t be holding webinars as meetings. And if I was running a client event with as a meeting, I’d be really careful about security. I’d be, a bit past paranoid, when it comes to security. Delegating presenting to providers, just really not a big fan – the caveat being, explaining about investment propositions – just not a big fan. People want to people want to hear from you. Not following up. What’s the point? You’ve put in the hard effort to run the webinar, why wouldn’t you? Why wouldn’t you follow up? Really important that you do. And lastly, advertising on social media, I think I’ve made myself pretty clear on that. Just not something that I would be doing. It’s an expensive way of learning that it doesn’t work. So, a few mistakes to avoid there. So hopefully, that has been really useful today for you. A quick reminder of how to stay in touch with us. I’m going to hang around and answer any questions, but quick reminder of how to stay in touch with us. We’ve got the website, “theyardstickagency.co.uk” drop me a note to connect on LinkedIn. You’ll never get any sales messages from us. But hopefully we produce valuable content on there. And I do the same on Twitter. So feel free to connect, go and have a look at our website, and look at what we do. Hopefully that’s been useful. I’m really happy to answer any questions that we’ve got Dan.
Dan Campbell 57:50
Yeah, we’ve got quite a few in. So, the first one from Alister. So, “If people don’t always show up, is it a good idea to deliberately try to overbook to allow for inevitable dropouts?”
Phil Bray 58:07
So I think one of the beauties with webinars is you can’t overbook it. It’s not like you’ve got a room in a hotel where you’ve got a maximum number of delegates, who can show? And yes, you might follow what plane companies doing overbook, because they know they’ll get a few no-shows. So I don’t think we need to follow that. We don’t have that issue. So, I would just be looking to get as many people on, as possible. There are times when I’ve said actually, no, we’re going to limit this webinar. If I said… if I had a situation where I was, I’d got a guest on – a really special guest – and I was keen to make sure, that everyone who was on there got a lot of value from being able to interact with that guest. I might limit the number, or on a couple of webinars. But generally speaking, I wouldn’t limit the number so for me, it’s not an issue.
Dan Campbell 59:02
What about when you’ve got a webinar package, for example, on Zoom with a maximum amount of attendees per session?
Phil Bray 59:10
I just upgrade. So if you go on Zoom, you’ve got up to 100. And then the next package is up to 500. It’s a big leap. So if you’ve got kind of 120 – 130 people booked on, you know, you’re pretty safe on 100 package, because a number of people won’t show up. But as soon as you get significantly past 130, 140, 150, you do need to upgrade. And it is a bit of a leap, but I would absolutely take it.
Dan Campbell 59:40
So the number is active participants, rather than registrations?
Phil Bray 59:44
Dan Campbell 59:45
Perfect. Okay, next question from Andrew. So, “With respect to putting new enquiries onto a prospects database, I’ve always been uncomfortable doing so, because it annoys me when I’m added to a newsletter without my consent. What are your thoughts on that?”
Phil Bray 1:00:01
Dan Campbell 1:01:31
Brilliant. Okay, so next question from Nicola, “When you send your follow up email, am I right in thinking it’s better to send your own personalised email, rather than using the Zoom automatic follow up email?”
Phil Bray 1:01:45
Yeah, it’s a good question, Nicola. And yeah, I would absolutely agree with you. I would. The Zoom emails aren’t particularly attractive, you’ll have all had one this morning at nine o’clock, saying there’s a webinar coming. They’re not the most attractive things in the world. And, you need a bespoke follow up, with links, calls to action, the recording, etc. So absolutely, I will be downloading my list of people who have registered, uploading it to whatever email system that I use, and then creating a bespoke communication with the recording, any additional links, and the appropriate call to action. So really good point, Nicola. Thanks for making it.
Dan Campbell 1:02:26
Brilliant. Now, this is the final question. So if anybody does have any further questions, you know, be sure to leave them here now. And this is from Philip. And this may inspire a blog post or even another webinar. It’s quite a big open ended question. But, “Can we talk about good content for presentations? Catchy titles? Any PowerPoint presentations that we can steal, or get inspired from, or copy?”
Phil Bray 1:02:50
Okay, right. So, I think there’s a lot of similarity between writing good, catchy blog titles, as there is good, catchy webinar titles. So one of the things I will do in the follow up email that I send out, is we’ve written loads – or the content team have written lots – about writing good quality headlines, and you don’t need clickbait headlines, albiet the answer is, we want to get people to click, but good quality, engaging headlines. So, I’ll include some of those links in there. So I’d read that. Numbers work well, Jeopardy works well, trying to be contemporary, trying to create deadlines, all that sort of stuff works well. In terms of the actual presentation itself, it’s all about relevancy. And that’s why I started with that first slide, of understanding what you want to achieve, and who you want to talk to. Because once you understand those two things, you can start understanding their pain points. And that might start with, just sitting down and brainstorming the pain points that your clients have. In client surveys that we run, we ask clients, what are their top three financial concerns? And we need to do some work actually, in publishing those stats – anonymising them and publishing them – because that would help Philip, with your understanding what you could talk to them about on webinars. But understand your audience, understand their pain points, and then talk to that. In terms of people sharing, put something in the chat, send us emails afterwards, happy to communicate those around. Are we good, Dan?
Dan Campbell 1:04:37
Yeah, nothing. Nothing more coming in from anybody.
Phil Bray 1:04:40
Cool. Right. Well, thanks for everybody who showed up today. Much appreciated. Hope you’ve got some value out today. Hopefully it’s been relevant those two things. We’ll send the follow up later on today. And look forward to seeing you next month for May’s webinar. Cheers everybody. Bye bye.
Dan Campbell 1:04:57
Thanks, guys. Bye.
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