Even before most of the world’s population started staying at home due to the current global crisis, online meetings and events were well on their way to becoming mainstream.

There’s hardly any reason not to adopt the virtual path when it comes to professional assemblies. Religious organizations and the entertainment industry have been successfully holding large online events for years through live streaming.

Likewise, your business has much to gain by moving parts or all of it into the digital realm. It’s less costly, more efficient, and more convenient for everyone involved.

One of the major types of online events for businesses is the webinar. It’s been around for ages—long enough to experience dips and peaks in popularity throughout its lifetime. However, experts still see it as an effective way of growing a business.

A sales webinar is a webinar subcategory, which caters to both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) purposes. And it’s the focus of this post. We’ll guide you through how to effectively host a sales webinar without unnecessary spending.

But first, let’s answer a very important question.

Sales Webinar - What is It?

Plainly speaking, a sales webinar is a sales presentation by way of the internet.

Before lockdowns and physical distancing, you’d get invites from friends, family, workmates, acquaintances, or total strangers to events geared toward selling something to attendees.

Pretty soon, you’d find yourself in an auditorium or conference hall listening to personable individuals as they detail the finer points of a product and how you may need it in your life. There’d be demos, games, a Q&A segment, and, possibly, free refreshments.

A sales webinar is that, minus the commute and room temperature pasta. Bottoms and dress shoes might be optional.

You hold a conference—typically with video—with a group of participants that have shown interest in what you’re selling. Then you do a sales pitch to convince them further. And you do all of it over the internet through various means.

Sociable people may object that sales webinars lack the interactive appeal that in-person meetings bring to the table. But the internet provides. A plethora of online tools slated for engagement and interrelation are available to you as an event headliner.

How to Host a Webinar for Free

One of the best qualities of webinars is you can hold them without spending a dime. With a positive attitude, a good product, and the willingness to learn, you’ll be on your way to a productive event without breaking out the checkbook. Here are the main stepping stones to a successful webinar.

The preparation phase

Take a proactive approach in whipping your sales webinar together. The following tips will help you set up your event for possible misfires and improve your chances of closing deals.

1. Webinar marketing

An event is nothing without attendees. Attracting registrants through webinar marketing requires timing and tenacity. About 34 of participants confirm through email marketing. Start your email drive around a month before your webinar and send out a weekly reminder.

Promotion on your social channels should also coincide with your email blasts. Monday through Thursday are the best days of the week for your promos. Tuesday holds the top spot in getting the highest number of registrations. Get in people’s radars (and inboxes) early in the day by sending out notifications and publishing posts between 8 to 10 in the morning.

What material you put out there depends on you and your product. Oh, and hold off on paid ads and influencers. We’re committed to “free” here all the way.

2. Use a registration form or page

A registration form is miles ahead of a simple “yes” or “no” from attendees. Divide your form into sections with the vital fields positioned first.

The great thing about using a form is it also works as a survey. After the basic info fields, you can add a questionnaire. Ask how they found out about your event, if they’re willing to refer other people to your webinar, and other relevant information.

It’ll also help you narrow down which of your marketing avenues are working, which ones need tweaking, as well as other invaluable first-hand data from future customers. We stress that you indicate that the survey is completely optional. Do not lock people out of registering because they didn’t fill in non-essential fields.

3. Do not charge your registrants anything

You invited them to potentially pay you if they’re satisfied with your pitch and not the other way around. Charging your attendees so you can convince them to spend more is in bad taste. You’re already taking up their time. Make the best of it by putting out a good presentation.

Host a free webinar, and consider the time and effort you put into it as investment capital. Don’t feel cheated and think that you should have asked for a registration fee if you’re not satisfied with the returns. See this as a challenge and improve your strategy in your succeeding events.

4. Do a practice run-through

The ideal length for a webinar is one hour divided into three sections: introductions, the main presentation, and questions and answers. This can go up to an hour and a half if you have a lot of ground to cover. Any longer and you may see a drop in audience interest, or worst, audience count.

A practice run, preferably with a mock audience, will help you determine whether or not all your materials fit within the recommended time frame.

During your mock presentation, scrutinize everything about you, your product, your delivery, and the technical aspects of your presentation. Audiences are usually less bothered by video issues and more by bad audio. But if your pitch involves tons of visuals, such as demonstrations and slideshows, you should address and correct both audio and visual concerns that you may detect from your practice run.

Be harsh and extremely critical of your webinar. Anticipate hard-hitting questions and have satisfying answers ready. These will prepare you for the worst.

5. Choose the right video conferencing channel

Setting up a webinar also involves picking the right video conferencing platform that will fulfill your requirements. There are several free apps available right now. Here are a few of them.

  • Google Meet. 100 participants capped at one hour
  • Facebook Messenger Rooms. 50 participants, no time limit
  • Discord. 25 participants, no time limit
  • Skype. 50 participants capped at 100 hours per month, 10-hour daily limit / 4-hour limit per call

Consider your attendees when choosing a video conferencing port. For example, contemplate if it’s more convenient to use a browser-based app, like Google Meet, since everyone has access to a web browser. If all your audience members are on Windows, perhaps Skype is a viable option, considering it comes preinstalled on the OS’s latest build.

6. To use a streaming software or not to use a streaming software

The apps mentioned above have presentation features that will help with your sales webinar, like screen-sharing and virtual backgrounds. But if you want more functionalities, using live streaming software is the way to go.

Take ManyCam, for example. It has a free version with onboard instructional features, like a virtual whiteboard. Then there are blank slates like OBS Studio, which supports a variety of presentation-centered add-ons that you install yourself. It’s highly customizable and 100% free.

Using live streaming software also offers a lot more visual improvements to your video feed. You can add lower-thirds, borders, and filters.

Most streaming programs also work as virtual cameras. You set the software as your video source in your conferencing app. The modifications you do in the software will be broadcasted to your video call.

The presentation

With the foundations in place, it’s high time we get into the essence of your event for game night. The following pointers will help your presentation in a way that no social media influencer can.

1. Jump right in or add some flair?

Whether or not you should go straight to the point of your sales pitch or employ a more creative approach depends on several factors. Take into account your product, your talents as a speaker, and your audience demographic.

For example, if you’re selling medical equipment, the subject matter is hardly an avenue for your comedic improvisational skills. Plus, you’re probably talking to doctors and other medical professionals who are extremely busy. Little Timmy needs a new kidney, and his surgeon is sitting in their office listening to you. In these circumstances, it’s better if you go from point to point efficiently and succinctly.

On the other hand, if you’re offering a creative writing course, then you have some leeway with regard to how you sell your ware. You can use some sort of framing narrative to bring your points together in a creative and stimulating manner throughout the presentation.

But irrespective of the factors we mentioned, a few lighthearted comments and jokes here and there wouldn’t hurt.

2. Use third-party presentation tools

If customizing your streaming software proves to be too much of a task for you, you can use browser-based software that offer presentation add-ons conveniently.

There are third-party apps that practically make your presentation for you as opposed to starting from scratch in MS PowerPoint. Sites, such as Mentimeter, let you create slideshows, polls, and even quizzes easily. The end-product will always look professional.

Using interactive tools is a great way of boosting engagement and maintaining interest. Fun features, like quizzes, also add spice to your webinar. They’re an excellent intermission from your main pitch. However, we recommend incorporating a bit of your product into games and icebreakers just to keep things on brand.

3. Testimonials

Testimonials from real, satisfied customers bring a lot of weight when it comes to sales for obvious reasons. They are a clear and true indication that your product is worth buying and that people have actually benefited from using it.

Pepper your presentation with testimonials but don’t go overboard. Three testimonials spread throughout your webinar’s runtime are plenty. And keep them short and to the point as well. Ask for two to three-sentence statements from your valued customers. Video testimonials are the best kind if you can wrangle them up.

It’s also better to get them from existing clients. This should be easy for subscription-based products and services.

4. Suggest a sense of urgency

You’ll rarely convince all your attendees to sign up there and then. Some of them will say that they’ll keep you in mind. Some are on the hunt for the best deal, so they’ll have to compare your product with others before making a decision. In these cases, they seldom follow through.

It can be frustrating because you already have their eyes and ears at that very moment. To get them closer to the hook, offer them rewards for taking action as soon as possible.

A signup discount is a good example. Offer, say, 30% off their first order if they avail immediately. The promo is good for just that day. This will apply slight pressure on your potential customers.

You can offer bigger rewards that may not earn you much. But if the idea is to get them into your ecosystem—to get them to try out your product and see first-hand how good it is—then it’s a worthy tradeoff if you can afford the losses.

Your tone must indicate that the offer is simply a matter of fact. Do not oversell or sound desperate.

5. Answer questions

The questions and answers part of a webinar is usually reserved for the final stretches of the session. However, if attendees ask something during any portion of the event, accommodate them as best that you can.

People ask when they’re interested. Withholding answers might cost you their attention, which is worth its weight in gold when you’re hosting a webinar.

Sometimes the answer they’re looking for might spoil important upcoming talking points. If this happens, let them know that you’ll tackle it later. Make a mental note and bring up the attendee’s concern when you’re ready to answer. This shows that you acknowledge individuals in your audience and that they’re not just a homogenized crowd in your eyes.

6. Have a well-defined call-to-action (CTA)

Capping off your webinar is not as simple as, “I’m done talking now. Buy my product, please.” Your CTA must be based on the fact that potential customers know everything there is to know about your product’s value.

If you’ve painted a good picture of how beneficial your product is, you’ll be able to come up with a solid CTA. Less is more when it comes to CTAs. You don’t want to give your attendees “analysis paralysis” by presenting them with multiple choices at the end of your pitch. It should encourage them to make a move and not get caught in an indecision loop.

Like with answering questions, you don’t have to give a CTA at the end of your webinar. You can mention it multiple times across your presentation. The trick is to use different phrasing and wording each time with the message being the same. It’s sort of like mental conditioning. You remind them over and over again without sounding repetitive.

Conclusion

And there you have it! Creating a webinar might sound like a Herculean task at first. There are a lot of moving parts. And each element must work according to plan for a favorable outcome. But it’s doable as long as you’re thoroughly prepared.

Compared to traditional in-person presentations, we’ll go as far as to say that putting together a sales webinar is easier. There’s no venue reservation or time wasted on commuting. And let’s not get started on securing parking spaces for everyone. The best part of it is you can do it all for free!