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An Introduction to Creating a Webinar

Video is the undisputed King of content - period. We've been creating them for mortgage brokers, financial advisers, accountants, and real-estate agents, in addition to a multitude of other industries and our own business since Internet speeds supported playback. Before that, we'd send compact disks out to those that wanted to review our material, and it's always worked. In the last decade, though, we've obviously seen trends in video consumption that mandate its use in your business. Webinars will engage your audience in a meaningful way, and they will deliver more organic and paid traffic into your pipeline.

This article is one of three that introduces you broad webinar considerations. We're taking a better-practice approach in this article, but it doesn't really matter how video is manufactured, as long as it is actually produced. You will invariably become more committed to your methods once you see the results... and you will see results.

A Webinar is obviously very different to video advertising, and we'll introduce YouTube (and other) video advertising platform to you here. Video advertising demands a certain style of presentation (short, to-the-point, and brand-focused) yet we've seen nothing but boring and worst-practice carbon-copy mediocrity from the market (please, we implore you, never use a generic advert).

If you're not entirely convinced that video marketing works, we suggest you get yourself motivated by reading "Video is the Undisputed King of Content Marketing". Part of the reason video is so incredibly powerful (apart from the obvious) is because so few brokers are engaging with the medium, and fewer are crafting it correctly. Video marketing is still one of the biggest pipeline opportunities available to brokers in Australia.

Note: At the end of this article we briefly introduce a module we're trialing for inclusion in the Yabber Tag: yabber suite. Not unlike our white-label and one-click eBook branding and creation tool, the video tool will brand a video with your company logo and web address, and then send it to relevant social and hosting platforms. This game-changing one-click video creation feature (named Visus internally) is one currently being tested by a small group of our Mastermind brokers.

Want further evidence that video works? Read our article titled "Using Video as a Tool to Support Your Partner and Introducer Relationships" and conduct the short exercise presented in the first few paragraphs. Video will change your business.

What is a Webinar

The term "webinar" is a portmanteau of 'web' and 'seminar', meaning a presentation, lecture, or workshop that is transmitted over the web. Our use of webinars is generally presented as an educational tool designed to escalate the commitment of our audience deeper into a marketing funnel, ultimately resulting in a conversion.

The two types of webinars we most often use are pre-recorded (or served on demand), or live, with the former a most likely option. The latter method is usually reserved for occasions where we might stream a presentation at a live event. There are benefits to recording a live webinar with a real audience, such as garnishing feedback and questions that add additional value to the presentation, but live webinars should always be repurposed into one that is available on demand.

Why do webinars work? More than other types of content, webinars give any organisation the power to connect with audiences in a personal and immersive way. As we'll come to discuss, video satisfies the attributes of our Magic Lantern Model: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust, and the more basic escalation of Know, Like, and Trust (the former three attributes dictate the commitment to the latter three, and video serves as the perfect medium in which to satisfy and escalate the Lantern attributes with a cold audience).

Webinar Differences and Considerations

The primary difference between your standard and more formal videos and a webinar are as follows:

  • A webinar is designed as a seriously high-value education tool. It’s a non-salesy presentation that seeks to address the specific questions our audience may have, will add to our EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust), and terminates with a very clear call to action – usually for a no-obligation discussion.
  • Consider avoiding a ‘live’ webinar if you’re new to the trade - it’ll be more polished if you record and edit in your own time (it’s claimed that 84% of people and businesses prefer a replay they can watch in their own time). A live webinar works if you require the audience engagement to add value by way of viewer questions.
  • The webinar has a focus on the ‘presentation’. Depending on our method, this will either be a PowerPoint presentation or a video constructed to synchronise with a voiceover. In all cases we recommend a human element, and highly recommend the occasional interview or on-site or location shots to retain attention.
  • While a formal video might be rather general in nature, a webinar will go into great detail by including specific examples, the ‘numbers’, and provide supporting discussions around each point that we introduce.
  • A webinar designed to provide the depth of information necessary to adequately articulate the specifics of a loan type might be quite long. A typical webinar might last anywhere between 20 minutes and well over an hour (60-minute webinars attract 2.1 times more registrations than 30-minute webinars, and 90-minute webinars attract 4.6 times as many).

What Not To Do

The nature of marketing is often fueled by hype and sales - refrain from both. Sadly, we’re seeing some brokers engage in conduct that is damaging the effectiveness of their webinars, and their hyped sales pitch is relegating the financial webinar into the same category as infomercials. In many ways, hype and exaggerated promises are contrary to ASIC advertising guidelines and your broad Best Interest Duty obligations. While it shouldn't have to be said, promotion of any kind - regardless of whether it is part of paid promotion - must be structured in a compliant manner.

Following is a short list of techniques we’re seeing that have no place in the finance field.

  • Never ever have an individual subscribe to a replay of a webinar with a fabricated 'scheduled' play time. If it’s a pre-recorded webinar make it available immediately. Services such as WebinarJam have created a market that uses deception as a sales technique (by registering a user to a scheduled replay of a webinar with the promise of a live presentation). We don’t permit any broker engaging in our programs to deceive their audience in this manner. If you're saying it's a live webinar, make sure it's a live webinar. If it's a replay you'll earn the trust of your audience by stating it as a fact - they won't care.
  • Never use a countdown timer for a video webinar when in fact no expiration actually exists. Because of the deceptive manner in which countdown timers have been used in the past it’s often worth refraining from their use in all cases.
  • Avoid hype and sales. Honesty and integrity should underpin all your webinar programs, as it does your entire operation.
  • Always conduct your webinar in full compliance with ‘The Act’ (and other supporting legislation). All marketing material manufactured by brokers must comply with a very specific set of rules. ASIC’s RG234 is a good start but isn’t extensive enough to be relied upon in isolation. Don’t create a webinar without checking for compliance.
  • To add trust, always embed webinar presentations on your website. Never send a user to a third-party website. Hosting on your website allows us to record the interaction and serve additional conditional content now and in the future. Hosting a video under your own website adds trust and transparency to the transaction.
  • Don’t spend too much time introducing your speaker or your business. A viewer will attend because they’re interested in the subject matter you’ve promised to provide.
  • If using slides in your presentation, use a clean white screen. A small logo (and possibly a web address) is acceptable… but avoid any background images or anything that might distract from your content.
  • Don’t claim that a consultation has a 'normal' fee attached to it when it is in fact a normal 'free' service (if your consultation is normally free and you attach an arbitrary consultation fee, your relationship from that point on is predicated upon a lie). Remember, be honest; the Internet isn't an excuse to use unethical sales tactics.
  • Include your relevant key patter in point form in slides (or video). Try not to print your entire transcript on the screen (this is what subtitles are for).

Our Webinar Format

As detailed in our article titled “How To Structure a Mortgage Broker Webinar”, we’ll use what we refer to as a 'Sonata model' for our webinar with the development stage guided by way of our 'modified' FORDEC model (FORDEC is actually a decision making model that we've adopted for a discussion structure). The "What is LMI?" example in our article structure framework may be appropriate for your own LMI webinar.

Note: The Sonata model is introduced in our 'framework' article here. In essence the video adopts a specific shape: Introduction, Exposition, Development, Recapitulation, and Conclusion (also the format we apply to an early email sequence). In simple terms it's very much an introduction, development, and conclusion (with the development taking on a multiple points).

The difference between a general-purpose video and a formalised webinar is that the webinar will introduce very specific examples by showing actual numbers (something that isn’t always included or even required in medium-form video).

As mentioned earlier, we’ll always encourage you to splice in real-world video to accompany the otherwise bland PowerPoint or video presentation. Occasionally cutting to a broker on location (again, a location that best serves to support our narrative) where we’ll break up the presentation and focus attention on us is a very powerful technique. It’s hard to establish EAT if you’re hiding behind your voice... so showing the out-and-about snippets adds weight to the Lantern model (‘know, like, and trust'). This level of care adds to the production value and gives you far more credibility - and it's easy to do. It's a little unconventional in webinar circles but after creating hundreds of presentations we’ve determined those with real production value work far better than those without.

While a little unconventional by traditional measure, it's often acceptable to splice in very short snippets of our expert interviewees to support a claim we’re making in our narrative (the interviewees are introduced here as part of relationship-building program). The cuts should be short, to-the-point, and relevant. The added production value aside, adding in this content adds to our authority and commitment to the webinar by including content our visitors might otherwise be unfamiliar.

We suggest that the video introduction by made by you in person (a video of you), and we recommend you record parts of the conclusion in the same way. The call-to-action is far more persuasive if it comes directly from us in ‘person’ (this simple step alone will increase conversions by at least 27%). After we’ve made our consultation details available we’ll fade back into a screen with the “next steps” that includes our phone number, web address, and details on how to make a booking with us.

Creating the Webinar

There are numerous pieces of software available for creating a webinar. While there are a large number of free and open-source options available online you should exercise serious caution in what you choose to use. For example, the CamStudio product – one that routinely ranks quite high via a Google search, and one that is quite popular - is reportedly full of Malware and Viruses. We recommend FastStone Capture for basic screen recordings. While it's a paid product it only costs around $19.95 for a lifetime licence and is exceptionally easy to use (it’s also excellent for taking static and scrolling screenshots). If creating a quick webinar FastStone Capture permits to you record a presentation in just a few minutes.

While you can record a webinar in real-time by recording the screen and audio at the same time, we tend to recommend brokers record the audio separately and then sync it in post-production with the slides and other video content. Our HBB Flashmic is ideal for recording broadcast quality audio (available for loan to our Platinum clients) or you might simply prefer to use the audio feature on your smartphone (never use your PC’s microphone). If you wanted to invest in your own portable podcast microphone you might want to consider something like the Zoom H1n, Zoom H2n (the latter doubles as a USB microphone) or one of the other Zoom products (all excellent). We’ll introduce a number of microphones in our article on podcasting should you choose to invest time into this marketing channel.

Sound quality is as important (if not more important) than video quality. Your audience may tolerate ordinary video, but if they can’t hear you, or your volume is low, you’ll lose them within seconds. A good quality lapel microphone might cost around $100 with suitable entry-level equipment often costing less than $30. Professional wireless equipment generally starts at the $500 mark.

For podcasting, sound recording, and radio advertising, we typically use the Heil PR40 (we have five units for loan at any one time).

Free video editing software that we recommend includes the following:

A more comprehensive list of open-source software is listed on Wikipedia .

We use Adobe Premiere Pro at Belief and it’s the only software we fully support.

If you’re looking for a dedicated audio editor we recommend the free and open-source Audacity editor. We introduce Audacity in more detail when we introduce Podcasting.

Finding Your Audience

It’s most common to find your audience via an ongoing Facebook or other advertising programs. The advertising should make a promise consistent with the actual material returned via your presentation.

An email campaign is highly effective if you’re targeting a segmented and existing database group. For example, sending to First Home Buyers 18-months after settlement always returns good 'First Investment Property' results, and introducing an SDA webinar may be extremely powerful when presented to seasoned investors (an invitation to a webinar of this kind might be scheduled as part of an EDGE post-settlement sequence).

Promoting a Live Webinar

Based on data from a 2017 paper from GoToWebinar:

  • 24% of all registrations occur on Tuesday making it the best day for promotion
  • 15% of registrations occur more than 2 weeks before a webinar while 33% occur the day of a webinar, so go the extra mile and promote early and often up to the day of broadcast
  • Thursday at 11am is the most popular time for webinars and accordingly the peak time for webinar attendance
  • If you have the luxury of having your audience in one time zone, experiment with off-peak times like 8am or 3pm
  • The average attendee viewing time is 61 minutes. Attendees stay for nearly 70% of the total length of a webinar that lasts up to 90 minutes
  • The webinars that draw the biggest crowds have list titles. These titles are clear and usually have obvious takeaways
  • Email is the most cost-effective and usually the most responsive group when marketing your webinar

Always provide email and social reminders. Provide the option during registration for an SMS reminder before the event starts, and always send the attendee an iCal file so they’re able to add the event to their preferred calendar (in addition to an ‘Add to Calendar’ option on the registration page).

Consider two live recordings to ensure you cover the majority of time zones. Pick the better of the two for use as an on-demand replay.

Video Hosting Services

The service you choose to host your webinar (often separate to standard videos) depends upon how they’ll be used. Static (pre-recorded) videos can be hosted anywhere (as long as they’re integrated and shared on your website), while live videos may sometimes require a third-party service. More important than the platform we use to host our videos is the ability to track video usage, and what viewers have watched what portion of content (Yabber Tag: yabber supports Wistia triggers so you can engage in a more meaningful way with webinar participants).

Yabber supports YouTube, Wistia, and Vimeo, with a focus on the first two. If using Wistia , we support their turnstile feature, automation association with in-video lead capture, watch-time triggers, and triggers on in-video annotations. As detailed in our article on Wistia, it is a premium service with a hefty price tag attached, but they do permit three videos with a free account.

Your webinars and videos should always support our 'escalation of commitment' ideology. For example, and as mentioned above, if a viewer only watches the first 10 minutes of a video we might send them a link with details on how to continue watching, or we might direct them to content which is more applicable. Once a user vacates our webinar we should utilise all available technology to keep them firmly cemented in our marketing journey. The webinar itself should be informative, support a narrative and character development in order to drive attention, it should demonstrate and showcase your outcomes to support your expertise, and should almost always carry a call-to-action. More than anything, the information has to be new, fresh, and engaging. A video that you actually want people to watch (not unlike any lead magnet) shouldn't be full of well-known and common information - it's for this reason that it should be full of specific (an often off-center) examples that demonstrate your expertise by way of your personal experience.

If you’re engaging in a live video you’ll want to use a service that permits questions from attendees (this is where Vimeo is ideal, and it's one of the services we most often use for our own live presentations). Always include a short QandA session at the end of your presentation.

Automated Video Content

Just as we produce white-label and one-click branding of eBook marketing material, we're currently trialing the same one-click creation feature with video. That is, full creation, branding, and distribution of videos and webinars at the single click of a button. We don't like 'generic' in any way whatsoever, but we've decided to trial these game-changing methods as a means of providing businesses with a 'placeholder' of content before they build their own material.

Conclusion

A webinar doesn't have to be difficult. Not unlike simply creating your first video, you site yourself down in front of a PC and talk! If you were reviewing a new vehicle, or applying the appropriate diligence in research, you would likely Google a bunch of reviews, watch a few YouTube reviews, watch some comparison video. There's really no end to the time you might invest into your research for a product that is valued far less than a home. Once you're ready to purchase you'll likely visit a few yards, compare features, and talk to a number of salespeople. Despite what the finance industry might believe, the process is the same for those looking for a broker - you're not the only broker they are talking to... and a client will make a decision based on whom they determine offers the better service or product, and who more thoroughly espouses the Lantern attributes of Expertise and Authoritativeness (it's one thing to say you're 'something' on your website, and it's another to prove it on video). If you don't support your business with media content and a rock-solid website presence, and the other guy does, you'll likely lose the race.

Of course, we've just provided a very broad introduction to webinars. Additional articles will start to introduce how to creating your first webinar or video, and how a structure will improve upon its success.

Video and webinars are a vital component of your marketing funnel. Remember, part of what sets your post-subscription funnel experience apart from your misled competition is that you're providing a real education - and video is perfect to this end. Every email you ever send a lead in an email subscription should add real value to their journey.

You'll hear brokers and marketers say that you don't need a website or video content - we hear it all the time... and these people are objectively flawed in their opinion (and professionally negligent if the statement comes from a marketing service). Remember, the primary location for anybody to watch your video content is your website. Not unlike your primary website focus, you should look at indoctrinating any interested 'visitor' into your funnel experience and the only real mechanism upon which to make that happen is by making your website the centerpiece of your funnel journey.

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