According to statistics from the Optimal Lead Generation Methods report by InsideSales, 73% of B2B marketers believe that webinars are one of the most effective methods of generating high-quality leads.


By implementing an automated webinar funnel, your webinars can keep working in the background and don’t have to carve time out of their schedule, generating quality leads and leaving your team to focus on other tasks.

Percentage-of-marketers-who-believe-in-automated-webinars

What is an Automated Webinar?

First things first, we should clarify just what an automated webinar funnel is. Automated webinars are otherwise known as evergreen webinars, and most people know what evergreen means in terms of content marketing.

  • Achieve a high number of signups from participants interested in watching your webinar

  • Maximise the percentage of participants who actually attend your webinar

  • Maximise the percentage of participants who convert, either during or after your webinar

  • Follow up with those signups who do not attend your webinar

So, your automated or evergreen webinar content should be as useful for attendees who take part next year as it is right now. That means you should be able to record your webinar and keep using it, allowing it to keep generating leads.

Increased-ROI-With-Automated-Webinars

Even better, you can automate the entire lead generation process, meaning your webinar can continue gaining attendees, engaging and converting them, all without you having to do any additional work.

In other words, an automated webinar funnel is a one-time investment that will keep generating leads and increasing its ROI over time.

What are the Benefits of Automated Webinars?

While it’s true that webinars are an amazing effective lead generation tool, creating and hosting new webinars on a regular basis just isn’t practical for many brands. For some, hosting even a single live webinar could be both tricky and expensive - unless they already have access to all the right resources.

The strategy then becomes more expensive and more challenging the more webinars you hold. Unless you can record a single webinar and schedule the replays, automate the signup process, and allow people to watch any time they want.

As with any lead generation method, there are pros and cons to building an automated webinar funnel:

pros-and-cons-of-an-automated-webinar-funnel

Pros:

  • You only need to produce and pay for each webinar once

  • One single webinar can be used indefinitely

  • There is no need to host a live event

  • A fully automated webinar funnel can keep generating leads while you concentrate on closing them

  • You gain all the benefits of webinar marketing, all at a fraction of the cost

Cons:

  • Creating truly evergreen content can be difficult

  • You cannot include any time-sensitive references

  • Creating opportunities for interactivity is more challenging

The unfortunate reality is that no content is truly evergreen. Things are always changing, and what’s relevant in your industry today may not be in a few years time. More importantly, the needs of your target audience will also change. You may even be targeting an entirely different audience in a few years.

For the purposes of an automated webinar funnel, though, you need to create a webinar that’s going to keep providing value for your target audience for as long as possible. That could be a year, or ten years, depending on your industry, your audience and your content.

You’ll also need to avoid any time-sensitive references, as they could harm the relevance and longevity of your webinar. For example, referencing the “last year’s digital marketing stats” will cause problems for someone who watches your webinar in 3 years’ time.

Mentioning historical events wouldn’t cause the same issue, but be aware that certain references could become less relevant as time goes on.

For instance, do you remember ‘Left Shark’?

Lastly, there’s the challenge of creating opportunities for interactivity in recorded webinars. That’s something that we’ll also discuss a bit later.

How does an Automated Webinar work?

If you want to see an automated webinar funnel in action, you can take a look at Equantiis. When a user visited the website, they were greeted by the following call to action:

CTA-on-a-website

After clicking on the CTA button, they’re taken to the signup page, which looks like this:

Signup-page

There, they see a headline featuring a compelling proposition and a clear CTA button. The logos of the world’s leading brands who attended the webinar are also featured.

There is also a countdown at the top, which creates a sense of urgency, compelling users to sign up quickly so that they don’t miss out. The thing is, the webinar is recorded, playing on a loop every hour.

So there’s nothing to miss. People can watch the webinar whenever they want. Even if they miss their scheduled screening, Equantiis reaches out to them, asking them to watch another screening.

Because the entire process is automated, highly-qualified leads keep coming in, and Equantiis’s sales and marketing teams don’t need to do anything.

Building Your Automated Webinar Funnel

Now that we’ve discussed some of the pros and cons, and just why an automated webinar funnel is a good thing to add to your lead-gen strategy, just how to go about building one.

1) Capture Leads With an Irresistible Landing Page

Anatomy-of-a-webinar-landing-page

The first step in your automated webinar funnel will be a way to collect the email addresses and other information from your new leads.

Even if you’ve never utilised a landing page before, creating them can be painless if you follow some basic principles. Any landing page should contain the following key elements:

  • A catchy and effective headline and sub-headline which correspond to your CTA

  • A brief description of your offer, which accurately and clearly describes its benefits

  • Relevant supporting images and logos

  • A well-optimised form to capture your visitor’s contact information

  • Other supporting elements are optional, such as security badges or testimonials

Follow Up Using Automated Emails

In our previous blog on webinar funnels, we discussed email marketing automation as a method for moving leads through the funnel. With an automated webinar funnel, email automation is even more vital. After all, there’s no point in automating most of the process if you still have to email the leads manually.

And there’s no point collecting webinar leads if you don’t follow up with them at all.

A good email sequence could look something like this:

Automated-Email-Sequence

  • Email one: Thank them for registering, and reiterate the benefits of attending the webinar

  • Email two: Remind them of the upcoming webinar, and explain the problems you’ll be helping them solve with your webinar.

  • Email three: Remind them again, and include testimonials or other social proof

  • Email four: Final reminder before their scheduled viewing. Reiterate the benefits of attending the webinar.

For many leads, companies become ‘out of sight, out of mind’ after just a few days. Make sure you’re sending at least one or two reminders to ensure people are actually attending the webinar at the scheduled time.

Some tools including Email capability and you can easily configure them with your Email Service Provider (ESP). However, with some, you will have to use third-party apps like Zapier to sync up everything. With an Email Service Provider, you can follow up subscribers who have registered but didn’t show up automatically.

Follow-up with retargeting

Running-ads-on-social-media

Social media ads are powerful when coupled with relevancy. As part of your marketing strategy, you can show leads relevant ads and nurture them to the next stage in the funnel.

If you are aiming to sell a product from your automated webinars and if leads don’t buy the product because of the price point. Try running ads which show offers and discounts.

Related: The Ultimate Guide On How To Promote a Webinar

Deliver Value With an Automated Webinar

One of the most important aspects of an automated webinar funnel is the webinar itself. Webinars are an effective tool for lead generation, and building lasting relationships, but only if they are well put together. You need to offer good value to your audience.

If your webinar is full of CTAs and sales pitches, your audience will probably never attend another one of your webinars, and probably won’t want to do business with you. Remember that webinars are about building a relationship with your leads. Once you have a relationship, you can try to turn them into customers.

Best-Automated-Webinar-Platforms

One of the easiest ways to set up an automated webinar is to make use of one of the many dedicated automated webinar platforms available:

  • EverWebinar

  • Stealth Seminar

  • Webinar Ninja

  • Easy Webinar

It’s good practice to run your webinar live first. That way, you’ll know that it converts and that it’s worthwhile automating.

Create Ethical Urgency

The difference between an automated webinar and any other recording on Youtube is the built-in urgency.

Live webinars work, because they have a deadline. People need to make a decision to attend by a certain time and have to react to webinar CTAs before the webinar ends. You can create the same sense of urgency with automated webinars.

One way to create some urgency is to have a special offer for those who attend the webinar and have a deadline.

Tools like Deadline Funnel make this easy, creating personalised deadlines for each person in your funnel. When the deal for each lead expires, Deadline Funnel will automatically direct them to an expiry page. The Deadline funnel also takes care of user’s local Time Zone and shows the local time.

Create Your Follow-Up Email Sequence

Follow-Up-Email-Sequence

Getting people to attend your webinar isn’t the final goal of an automated webinar funnel. Ideally, those attendees will eventually become customers. The majority of sales won’t occur during the webinar though. Make sure you have a set of well-timed follow-up emails for people who attend your automated webinar.

In our previous post, we discussed the follow-up sequence of Personal Gain, Logic, Social Proof and Urgency. Encourage people to watch the webinar replay, and offer a link to a free trial or VIP demo of your product or service to encourage them to take the next step.

Realistically, most people need a lot of touchpoints and follow-up before they finally convert.

Webinar Automation Tips

According to the ON24 2017 Webinar Benchmarks Report, the average conversion rate for webinars is 46%. Luckily, there are a few tips that could help you increase your webinar attendance rate.

Conversion-rate-for-webinars

Choose the Right Automated Webinar Platform

Choosing the right platform is vital for creating an effective automated webinar funnel. As previously mentioned, there are many automated webinar platforms to choose from, each with their own pros and cons.

When deciding on the right automated webinar platform, look for a platform that offers:

  • Enough bandwidth to handle multiple presenters and at least 100 attendees

  • Sales features and tools which can help you convert viewers into buyers

  • Features which can help an automated webinar perform better. These could include:

  • Automated live chat, which allows you pre-schedule questions and answers to appear automatically in the chat.

  • Allowing you to adjust the number of attendees in the room, so that it appears to have 400+ people, even if there is only one

  • Block dates, which allow you to stop your automated webinar from playing on specific dates or at specific times.

  • A price that you’re comfortable with

Make Use of All the Webinar Automation Tools and Features

Platforms like EverWebinar offer many features and tools designed specifically for automated webinars. One of these tools is Just-In-Time Webinars. This allows users to watch your webinar on-demand when it suits them. They can click through and attend your webinar instantly, rather than having to wait for days or weeks. Features like this in an automated webinar platform are ideal for when you want your audience to know the webinar is pre-recorded.

For simulating a live webinar, there are other features which could be useful. Some of these we mentioned above, such as date blocking and automated chat. If you’re paying for a platform to use with your automated webinar funnel, make sure you’re making use of all the tools and features.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Creating-a-Sense-of-Urgency

As seen in the Leadformly example above, creating a sense of urgency can be extremely effective in increasing conversions. One way to achieve this is by adding a countdown timer to your signup page. This way, users are encouraged to reserve their seats quickly, rather than miss out.

Chase Up Lost Leads

Other than following up with leads who attended your webinar, but didn’t end up making a purchase, you should also follow up with leads who signed up for your webinar but never attended.

By reaching out to these leads, you can remind them why they signed up to attend your webinar in the first place, and even ask if anything has changed for them since then. This opens a door for further relationship building. You can also invite them to watch another screening of the webinar, or send them a transcript or replay.

Final Thoughts

Webinars are great tools for generating leads and building relationships. By creating an automated webinar funnel, you can reap all the benefits of having multiple webinars, with only a fraction of the work.

To find out more about creating webinars which convert, check out our 5-day Webinar Email Course, which offers content ideas, checklists, comparison sheets, guides and more, showing you how to set up and plan your webinar to generate leads.

how-to-run-an-automated-webinar-funnel-properly.png

About The Author

Waseem Bashir

Founder & CEO of Apexure, Waseem worked in London’s Financial Industry. He has worked on trading floors in BNP Paribas and Trafigura, developing complex business systems. Waseem loves working with Startups and combines data and design to create improved User Experiences.

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