Hands out for money

An honest discussion about webinar ad spend, and 4 strategies to ensure you recoup your budget.

If you read one of our previous posts, If You Broadcast It, They Will Come. 3 No fail tips and tricks to AVOID the dreaded no-show webinar, you may be thinking,

“What’s the big woop? Who cares if no one showed to this one? Consider it a  practice run and make the next one better, right?”

Welllllll, this is actually both a soft yes and a hard no all wrapped up into one giant, overstuffed chimichanga. OF COURSE.

Let’s first poke at the “soft yes”.

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If you were hosting a free webinar with the intention of getting your feet wet and testing the uncharted waters surrounding the World of Webinars, then yes… Actually, maybe it shouldn’t be a soft yet, but a HELL YES, instead. If this describes you, then please, please, please, do as many attendee-free webinars as you possible can and become one with the webinar, be the webinar. This will only make you better, stronger, more effective later.

HOWEVER!

If that is NOT you, (you’ve already tested and this was your big coming out party… A party that you SPENT AD MONEY on) then we’ve hit the hard NO at 60 mph and lay wounded and scared at the base of the wall.

It’s a nasty place to be, so let’s fix it, because we can.

This brings us to the #2 most expressed fear about doing webinars…. Not recouping ad spend.

Now, I truly wish there was a quick and easy, wiggle your nose way to ensure you never hit the bricks with your face again, but there is not. Nothing worth your while is ever without labor. Anyone who says there is lies. If you haven’t put in quality time and been thoughtful of the process, you’re doing it wrong.

The leaf turns over now….

Ask yourself: To spend, or NOT to spend?

Start-ups and small businesses can have a complicated relationship with ad money. If a company just does not possess a budget for an ad campaign, they can’t pick it from the tree out back or pull it from their nethers. If they don’t know better, they might  borrow the capital or use credit, neither of which is necessary or advisable. If you don’t have it, don’t spend it.

Money growing out of the ground

For those of us with a little to spend, but who aren’t exactly sure what is appropriate versus exorbitant, did you know that you can start out using Facebook Ads for $1 per day? Yup. ONE DOLLAR. This is couch change for some and can put your company or product in front of literal thousands of new sets of eyes. THOUSANDS (yes, shouting, because, Holy Moly!) If you’re doing something new or different from your competitors, that number of newly-made-aware-of-your-goodies people could mean huge things for your bottom line. And your top. And everything in between. Having said that, I need to stop myself from letting loose on Facebook Ad information. There’s a ton of it to talk about. Hell, we even created an entire information product around them. Instead, when you’re just starting out, there are a few pieces of choice advice I must bestow upon you….

  1. Do NOT go batsh*t crazy and over-spend on ads until you have some experience under your belt. I put this as #1 because it is SO easy to bleed out cash and spend a fortune on search ads, press releases, banner ads, newsletter sponsorships, and email or postal invites to name just a few.
  2. Keep your ads ultra focused. By this, I mean that an ad created for brand awareness should look different from one for a blow-out end of year sale. Don’t make the mistake of over generalizing.
  3. As far as budget, start low and increase as you see positive results. Now, I’m pretty sure I can actually hear your eyes rolling and know some of you may be thinking, “Well, duh,” but you’d be shocked at how easy it is to drop $30,000 as a newbie without blinking an eye and regret it later.

To further advise, your ads should:

  1. Target specific demographics.
  2. Be geared toward specific achievements/objectives.
  3. Contain creative copy and images.
  4. Contain a grabbing or provocative headline.
  5. Be tested! Testing saves you money long term.

A good rule of thumb for your ad budget is $1000 to begin testing and optimizing:

  1. Once you have it.
  2. Once you have built a list and earned trust (not to worry, we’ll cover how to do both in future blog posts. We got you, my friend).

Now that we’ve talked about spending it, let’s move on to getting it back, and then some.

Whether it’s a small pouch or giant bundle, money spent on ad spend is good money unless you have disappointing conversion from registrants to attendees. How to avoid this particular headache? Keep reading and don’t forget to check out (this article).

Recouping ad spend is about a cycle/circle of processes that all converge to create the perfect ROI storm. There is no ROI without…..

MONETIZATION

Here’s where it gets a little chicken-or-the-egg-y….

Golden egg

First, you have to have a product to sell. But, you won’t be able to sell anything unless people attend your webinar. Specifically, this is Converting Registrants to Attendees who buy your goods or services. But, how do you get those butts in the seats? Even before that, how do you get them to register at all? What’s the point of having a beautiful Landing page, if you have no list to send it to? If you advertise in order to create or build your list, so you can invite people to your webinar, have them register, attend and buy… Where do you get the money for those ads? You need to monetize, right?

It’s a vicious cycle, but it doesn’t have to be.

If we have to boil it down to one concept, one bullet in the chamber, one arrow in the quiver, it is this:

High ROI requires you create a buying frenzy.

Now, bottom lines and boiling downs aside, there is no way to cover all the points on how to do that in one post. So, we’re going to cover it in serial posts and make sure you have the necessary tools to start the process.

There are four strategies you want to use between time of registration and when the webinar begins to ensure your attendees come to your webinar in “buying mode”. Those strategies are:

  1. Indoctrination
  2. Reasons Why
  3. Surprises
  4. Starting Now

Moving right into it INDOCTRINATION… Yep. It’s just what it sounds like. Brainwashing. But, only the nice kind, not the Jim Jones kind 🙂 Here is your chance to remove even the thought of missing your webinar from being an option.

To start, you codify (pronounced cod-ify, note code-ify) the benefits of the webinar topic. By codify, we mean to articulate in a unique and particular manner each point you want to make. Break things down into consumable chunks, believe it or not called chunking. Doing this makes it both easier to consume and easier to teach! Here are three examples of how to codify a benefit:

  1. How to be ____. “How to be smoke free in 5 easy steps!
  2. How to stop ____. “How to stop sugar binging as emotional medication using these 3 strategies.”
  3. How to use Technique X. “My proven technique for immediately relieving back pain when nothing else has worked.

To do this, email is good, but (you know what I’m gonna say) video is better. Sending out emails/video “opens the loop”. Attending the webinar is the only way to “close the loop”. ?THESE STEPS MATTER?

Let me get all psychological on you for a second…. People feel the need to complete things. If they aren’t allowed to complete them, the result is negative feelings. Negative feelings are BAD. Have you ever, with total ease and no weirdness at all, left one word of a crossword blank? Sure, you may have done it, but it didn’t feel good, did it? No one EVER takes away your birthday cake after you’ve blown out all but one candle. I mean, that’s just insane. Trust me, it’s science!

So, circling back to the examples above….

How to be ___.

If you’re stuck for a way to fill in this blank, think of it this way… How to be (in a better situation than they are now), as it pertains to your product or service.

How to stop ___.

They are no longer going to have to suffer from the “something” that NOT having your solution causes.  **Give them a tip!** It’s okay to give something away for nothing here! Giving them a helpful hint for free will have them thinking, “If they’re willing to give me this awesome advice in an email, imagine what heaven awaits me in the webinar!”

Technique X.

This is all about the user and how you are going to help them by showing them Technique X. It is Technique X that allows them to stop the pain they are in.

Now, to be clear, it’s got to make sense that it would work. The purpose of the communication is to create excitement about the benefits of attending the webinar. If it leaves the registrant feeling doubtful, it didn’t work. Instead, you want everyone to feel a little smarter for having read your email or watched your video. This is a step toward boosting attendance, which will boost sales, so you recoup your ad spend and make profit.

For this next statement, it’s time to bold, capitalize, and do just about any font magic possible because it is SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT:

Give them some of your best stuff up front. YES! This has the MOST PROFOUND EFFECT on your webinar attendance.

So, for example, say your webinar concept is about: Ten Steps to X…. Before the webinar, why not give them Step #1 for free as part of your INDOCTRINATION, and leave them hungry for more!? See that? That’s why no one can eat just one chip! Give them the first chip and they’ll be dancing a jig to get at the rest of your bag.

This is a good place to take a break and give you a moment to absorb. Soak it all in! When we meet again, we’re diving into the next strategy that turns attendees into paying customers, the “Reasons Why” communication and much more!
For immediate access to everything you’ve ever needed to know about running successful webinars, but didn’t know to ask, check out Genesis Labs, Episode 16: The 5 Laws of a No fail Webinar.

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Jeni Jenkins
News Anchor turned Editor turned Registered Nurse, Jeni has now come full circle and returned to her passion, writing, full time. As the Editor-in-Chief, she brings a unique voice to the marketing arena with her broad experience from years in the Customer Success department, melding her firsthand knowledge of our community needs with the powerful tools that Genesis Digital offers.