- Check out www.bestwebinarschedule.com for Geoff Ronning’s tips on when to schedule your webinars to achieve an 80% show up rate.
- Take a look at my favourite webinar tool at www.stealthseminar.com (created by Geoff Ronning)
- To take a look at Frank Kern’s work, see www.frankkern.com
Transcript: Webinar Tools & Strategies That Sell – With Geoff Ronning
Hi everyone, this is Derek Gehl and welcome to the Project Ignite podcast. I’m really excited about our guest today, a gentleman by the name of Geoff Ronning, and not only is Geoff a very successful entrepreneur online, he’s also an expert and authority on webinar tools and strategies to grow your business. That tool that I’m referring to is webinars.
First, Geoff, let me say welcome, and thank you for taking the time to be here today.
My pleasure, Derek.
So for the next 45 minutes or so, I’m going to try to suck as much information about webinar tools and selling strategies out of you as humanly possible, ‘cause i know you have an immense amount of expertise in the webinar space. As you know, a lot of our listeners are in the process of starting to grow their online businesses.
Before I get into mining your expertise on as much webinar gold as possible, could you just take a few minutes to share your story with us? How did you get to be where you are today, building one of my favourite webinar tools and running what has become one of the leading webinar software marketing companies on the Internet.
“One of the …?”
Hah! THE leading webinar software marketing company. Good catch!
I’m just kidding. There’s a lot of great software out there, but StealthSeminar is a pretty good webinar tool. So how did I get started running that? I always had a great love of business and entrepreneurship, and also the power of the mind. Even as a young kid, in sixth grade, I’d get in trouble for hypnotising kids at camp. All of that lead to a very successful entertainment career, in stage hypnosis. I had and still have the top membership of stage hypnosis on the Internet. It’s been years since I’ve been in that business, though.
Originally, I just assumed that there were automated webinars out there, because I’ve always been a huge fan of automation. So for the membership of this website, I went in search of a system that would allow me to automate my webinars. I was doing a lot of webinars that were incredibly profitable, but after awhile, you kind of want to slam your head into the wall because you’re doing the same webinar again and again.
So when I went out to do a webinar tool comparison, I was shocked to see that there were no automated webinar tools. So I figured, “that’ll be simple to make,” but boy was I wrong about that. It took over two years, and a lot of really terrific programmers that couldn’t even do the job until I stumbled on to one person that could.
So originally, the StealthSeminar wasn’t made for sale, it was a webinar tool made for me… I didn’t plan on selling webinar services. I was lucky enough in that business to have a lot of what would be called Internet gurus that were clients of mine and they started to see what I was doing. They asked to use my webinar tools, and my wife finally said “you know, you should take their money and then let them use it!” So that’s how StealthSeminar came to be!
Okay, let’s take a step back here, because we’re throwing around words like StealthSeminar and automated webinar tools, and we know exactly what it is because we’ve been using them for years. But when I use that terminology, when I’m speaking at events, people say, “well, what’s an automated webinar? What’s a stealth seminar?” So, give us a run down. What are we talking about?
A webinar itself is a presentation given online, from one or multiple people to many, just like a seminar held at a hotel, but it’s all done electronically. The webinar is used to distribute any kind of content that you would have distributed elsewhere. So that could be used to teach, to sell, to offer content, and anything else you want to. Traditionally, webinars have always been done via manual labour, just like if you were speaking in that hotel room. A person has to plan it out on the calendar, make sure the Internet is working, get on, deliver the presentation, and deal with any technical hiccups that happen.
An automated webinar has unbelievable advantages because it’s not manual labour. You get the opportunity to create the exact presentation you want, and then you automate it. So you record it once, and then could play it 24 times a day, if you want–or, you can make the webinar look live, you can choose to make it obvious that it isn’t live, or you could choose to not say anything and allow the attendees to come to their own conclusions.
A webinar itself is a presentation given online, from one or multiple people to many, just like a seminar held at a hotel, but it’s all done electronically.
It really is all about taking the manual labour and technical issues out of there, and creating the most powerful presentation we can for the attendees, and then automating it.
You know, I love this concept. I’ve done a lot of webinars, and a lot of speaking, and the fact is sometimes you hit it out of the park and have an amazing presentation. But sometimes the next time, you’re just off. So it’s exactly what you said: you take the absolute best, and then use that going forward. In my perspective, you produce a lot more consistency, and a lot more reliable results than if you have to be on every single time.
One thing that I think people have trouble wrapping their heads around, though, is this whole “it appears to be live”. And I get a ton of these questions, “what do you mean, it appears to be live? Is it live? Is there a hybrid of that? Or is it ethically okay for this to seem live, but actually not be?” What’s your take on that?
Sure, sure. Those are all great considerations. Some of those questions can only be answered by the individuals themselves.
In business today, entrepreneurs rely on a lot of automation. So automated webinar tools and webinar services are kind of the newest kind of automation in business, but I don’t see them as any different than any other automation that entrepreneurs rely on every day; whether that’s automatic mail, drip marketing, auto responders. Like if someone is using an auto-responder, they probably aren’t starting out those e-mails by saying “this is not a live email, this was not written today, it was actually written in December of 2011”.
Personally, my comfort level with the webinars is to not say “this is a live event”, but rather to say, okay, we’re having a webinar on this date, and then allow the attendees to draw their own conclusions. In all likelihood, most of them are going to come to the conclusion that it is live, and that’s incredibly valuable. Because something magical happens when they’re having the live experience, even if that live experience is automated. You wind up with a deeper connection with people.
So, tonight, someone could get up online and go on YouTube and watch Tony Robbins videos, or Brittany Spears videos, but there’s going to be thousands of people actually going out to venues. They’re going to get babysitters, and drive downtown, and fight traffic, and pay for parking, they’re going to be subjected to security and be seated in some tiny, crummy, little seats where they can hardly see the presentation. But they’re going to do that, because of that magic, and that connection.
The webinar has the exact same effect. When people are on the webinar, and the presenter is there, and they perceive that presenter as giving up their time, energy, and expertise, well then you develop a rapport, and relationships, and trust, in ways you cannot duplicate. It’s incredible what you can accomplish when you’re able to do that.
One of the side effects many people come to realize after doing webinars, and I think it’s the most surprising to them, is how much their attendees appreciate webinars. It really turns them into that authority, that celebrity, but it does that all automated.
Absolutely. To back up what you’re saying there, I run a lot of webinars and I think it’s one of the most powerful webinar tools I’ve implemented in my business.Two things: creating a connection and that authority through a webinar is very powerful. When I started doing webinars, actual live webinars, for my students, it created a level of connection with those people where they felt like they knew me. You can’t recreate that be e-mail.
One thing I want to go back to something you just mentioned is that when there’s a live event, the response rate is massively higher. Even if it’s perceived as live. I’ve tested this, where I say, okay, here’s a live webinar and you need to schedule to attend it, versus, here’s a recording of a presentation. All else being equal, positioning one event as a live webinar saw it massively outperform the recorded version.
Webinars just make sense, and I don’t feel that enough people use them. I think a lot of people getting started are scared to; they’re scared to get on a webinar and be perceived as live. What do you say to the beginner that’s nervous about doing this live?
Well the beautiful thing about automated webinars is that you don’t have to do it live. So, from the standpoint of my opinion, you’d be far better off to do all automated webinars, and when you create and record the automated webinar, you have no stress or concerns, because there’s no pressure. If you flub up, you just re-record it. That’s one of the beautiful things about automated webinars. People that are uncomfortable giving presentations: there’s nothing that can go wrong, or that anyone will notice, because you can record it until you’re happy with it.
Okay, now I want to shift gears. I had a bit of an ulterior motive to get you on this call today, because I know you’re sitting on an absolute wealth of knowledge. You have a unique advantage. You’ve run over 7 million webinars through your webinar service – which have served as a selling tool, correct?
That’s just an unfathomable amount of webinars. That kind of visibility and that data is invaluable. You have a front row seat to see what’s working over different industries and different companies. So now what I’d like to do is, ask you for the good stuff. But today, August 2015, webinars have been around for quite sometime, and so have automated webinars. What are three to five things, that if you want to be successful on your webinars, you need to be doing.
Let me clarify, when I say successful, I’m looking at it from a marketing standpoint. Whenever I do a webinar, I’m usually trying to create some kind of action, some kind of outcome, to move someone further through a funnel, or take them across the line in a sale. So what are three to five things that you see people needing to do today to get the desired outcome they want?
That’s a great question.
I would say–we’ll talk about the presentation. I think first off, a lot of people get their education from attending other webinars. A lot of time what ends up happening, is they follow the format of other webinars that they’ve attended, but they don’t know if those webinars have been successful or not. So they end up basically following formulas for failure.
If I were to take three to five things, and talk about what it is that’s important, you just talked about one. You come up with a goal, whether that’s to change a belief, or whatever, it’s imperative that you have that goal. I also have a concept called a kill shot. That is, what is the number one thing that has to be in their head that they believe 100%. This typically comes down to a one sentence, concise statement.
Our goal, of course, is to convert everyone that watches the webinar, but that isn’t realistic. So if we’ve done a good job, if I know that when I get off Derek’s webinar, that I can 100% build my own business and start having income within 30 days, if I believe that with all my heart and soul, I’ve got to convert within a matter of a day or two.
I think it’s important to have that kill shot: something concise and simple, so that when a person gets off that webinar, they will believe it entirely and even those late converters will take action in the following days.
Most people start their webinars terribly. They do a roll call, and wait for more people, and it’s so important that you hit it hard and create a really great opening. It has to be professional, in that you’re not wasting anyone’s time, you know why you’re there, and you make it clear to the attendees why they’re there.
In those first few minutes, the attendees are making a lot of decisions. There’s a lot you can do that will carry throughout your entire webinar. When you get that wrong, people aren’t hooked, they don’t wind up staying. They start to drop off, they have a lesser opinion of you, they might get irritated with you. They might rush to get home to get to your webinar, and if you start out by their wasting time, it’s disrespectful. It’s going to paint a very negative image of you.
The fourth thing I’d say is you need to be sure you’re providing really valuable content so that your webinar attendees stay. I was working with someone a few weeks back, they have over a 90% stick rate, and they didn’t have that a few months ago. They had a 20% stick rate. So when you start them right, obviously your webinar is going to be incredibly successful. I would say the fifth thing is that sometimes the presenters don’t have a good sense of how to create and offer. They don’t have a good understanding, or get the psychology of the offer, or how to really transition, most people are still trying to do a sneak-up kind of offer. They’re meek and uncomfortable, everyone gets kind of squeamish, and it kills the sales.
Fantastic. I was taking notes. I have a few more questions, because you get to see so many webinars out there. First of all, what is your preference, or what do you see work the most. Would you use the camera, where people can see you, or would you use a slide presentation with your voice overlaid, as though you’re giving a powerpoint presentation?
Highest converting, to start off, with your face on a camera. Start off live, your briefly introduce yourself, or something that’s staggeringly powerful: admit a fault. You admit a fault that’s verifiable by your attendees. I’d say “jeeze, I’m just starting out this webinar and looking at myself on the camera and I need to lose some weight.” That’s something they can verify, that they can see. Just drop it in there, and then move onto the slides. There’s no live action shots of you on the slides, but there can be a picture of you. That’s the highest converting.
So that’s a bit of a hybrid model for you. So here’s the next question: what is the average or recommended length for a webinar, where you’re trying to get an outcome.
It’s going to differ a little bit based on who the attendees are. If it’s someone that knows you, they’ll stay longer and you’ll be fine. Longer means two hours max for most people, probably closer to 75 or 90 minutes. For cold traffic, it would be much better to be closer to 60 or 75 minutes, but no more than that. There’s lots of people doing longer webinars, which I should talk about.
The person that comes to mind, that does really incredible webinars, is Frank Kern.Frank Kern is awesome. I love the guy. But sometimes they watch what he’s doing, and say, “I’ll do a webinar like him.” But Frank’s given a 3 hour webinar, with a 75 minute presentation, and then a 75 minute question period. But they’re not Frank Kern. Frank is great at this, so I’m not in any way suggesting that he shouldn’t do what he does. But Frank Kern is a huge celebrity. So if someone has that same sort of celebrity, that gives them the ability to do something like that.
But unfortunately people will duplicate that and are disappointed, because people are going to get tired of listening to you, and bail. If they’re tired of you for free, they certainly don’t want to pay more to listen to you.
When you said cold traffic, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. How do you define a cold visitor?
Someone that doesn’t have a relationship with you. Traffic that you’re getting from Facebook, or search engines.
So you’re saying with cold traffic, you can often hold them for 60 to 75 minutes.
With a really good webinar. That’s the highest converting.
Now let’s talk about that. We’re trying to create an outcome. So if I’m trying to sell my consulting services, and we have a webinar, it’ll be education based but it’ll have a goal outcome. I’ve seen it done and done it myself many ways; what is your belief that there should be a set-up for that sell? Do you leave the close until the end, or do you seed it throughout the presentation?
Seeding it throughout.
I agree. I think throughout you should be seeding the entire process so there’s no surprise at the end. So, one mistake that I see, and its how the call to action is created, right; people over complicated it. What is the most effective way to take people from a webinar, to an action? Do you give them a URL, do you push them to your website?
Remind me, before we end, to tell you how to get an 80% show up rate for your webinars, okay? The best way would be a link that’s available for people to click right on the webinar. It can link directly to a product page. Or it can take you right to booking for a strategy session.
And that’s the great thing about StealthSeminars, if you’re running webinars on go2webinar, it can be tricky to time links to come up when you need them, but that’s actually one of the strengths of StealthSeminars. Now, can we talk about that 80% show up rate?
Don’t you think we should save that til the end, Derek?
You got me so excited! But you’re right. It was on my list, I want to talk about registration and getting people to show up. But you’re right. Let’s talk about selling on webinars, and price points. What are you seeing from a price point perspective where people are having success?
There’s a huge variety. Anywhere from $7, to people selling homes and real estate. For them, it’s closer to $35,000 – $40,000. From the standpoint of what makes sense if you’re promoting it and paying for traffic, you’ll want your product to be at least $250.00. Or at least, a lifetime customer value of $250, but even better if its closer to $500. It makes it much easier to drive clients to your webinars, and you can acquire them at a profit.
One of the reasons I ask that question, and you mentioned it earlier, is the beauty of webinars is that they’re not, from my perspective, the traditional e-commerce sales page. What I see is the paradigm changes when you have that live event and that webinar, to the point of real estate.
One of the projects I’m involved in is a property investing portal, and my partner in that started a property investment fund, where people were investing into this fund and he was then investing. The fund to total maxed out, he’s raised $75,000,000 dollars, and well over half of that came from webinars. Every day it blows my mind; the ability of webinars to create an outcome that you couldn’t create anywhere else.
Before we get to this 80%, I have one more question for you. So there’s a lot of business out there that don’t have a personality. It’s a brand, but there isn’t necessarily a voice. How do you advise those people to use webinars when there isn’t that voice or personality?
Great question! By the way, I’ve still got a massive smile on my face because to raise half of 75 million dollars on webinars–that’s crazy! That’s incredible. That’s the sort of stuff that gets me jazzed. I’m sure t some point in time, webinars will be replaced by something new, but I don’t see that yet. I don’t know what it’ll be.
I don’t think it’ll be replaced, I think it’ll be people like yourself driving webinars to be better, and to create a more engaging live experience, and create those with scale. One of my businesses in Melbourne, while I was in Melbourne a couple months ago, and Tony Robbins was running an event there, I forget which one.
For the first time ever, Tony wasn’t actually there–he appeared as a hologram, a live hologram, on stage. He was in the U.S., but he created this live event where people felt he was there. He was effectively doing a holographic webinar, and he had a tremendous response. So I don’t think webinars will go anywhere, I just think they’ll evolve.
So we’ve covered a lot of ground here, and now, with what you teased us with, that is show up. And this is a problem for webinars. Getting people to actually turn up. The numbers that I hear from my customers, students, and members, measuring show up rates, particularly when dealing with people that don’t necessarily have a brand. We were just talking about Frank Kern, who can probably send out two emails and get everyone to show up. But that isn’t the norm across the industry of people just starting to set up. How are those people going to get that 80% show up rate that you just teased us with?
Sure. Well, alright. First off, if people don’t have that brand or that celebrity, that’s okay. StealthSeminar has been around for five and a half years now, and was started by early adopters that did have that brand. But over the years, the client base has really changed. Now we have a much higher number of people that don’t have that. We deal with people that work in elective dentistry, plastic surgeons, law, all of those sorts of things.
So if people are in that business, and they don’t have that status of “guru” themselves, what they should do is either deliver the webinar themselves, or have someone on their staff deliver the webinar and think about what are the three most attractive, compelling, valuable things, that they could deliver to their prospects. They should task someone with creating that webinar, and that will work unbelievably well.
Then we move on to, how do we get these people to show up? What ends up happening, is most people have a very low show up rate. Typically, that rate will be from 25% to 35%. So this particular strategy, you can do on your own, right away, and this is for cold traffic. So this would be people that are visiting your website but don’t have a current relationship with you. That is, you need to have the appropriate webinar schedule to get the approximate 80% show up rate. I’ll give you the schedule here, and I also have a free download if you’d like to get it. On your webinar registration, you offer three options for these people to attend these events.
Three options exactly. The first is the top of the next hour. So if someone visits your website at 2:30pm, it’s going to start at 3:00pm. This will only run for twelve hours a day, not overnight, because that wouldn’t look believable. The second option, is tomorrow at 11:00am. The third is the day after at 7:00pm. What you’ll get by this option, is an approximate 80% show up rate.
I’ve seen this across all kinds of different industries; it is unbelievably powerful. Most people will choose the top of the next hour. They’re already on the web, so they have some spare time, and when they arrive at your page, they’re thinking, “I’m just in time!” So they’ll register, they’re already on the event player page, so we don’t need to worry about if our email goes missing. So you take that out of the equation, and that’s how you end up with an approximate 80% show up rate.
That’s great. I was scribbling notes as you were revealing that. It definitely is one of the biggest problems; people are out there buying traffic, buying leads, people are opting in, but no one is showing up. The top of the hour is brilliant. I think what a lot of people need to realize, is to do a top of the hour type schedule, you can’t use a go2webinar type service. You have to use something like StealthSeminars, which has that kind of technology built in.
Which brings me to the final close that I wanted to ask you, Geoff. Tell us about StealthSeminars. You’ve created this incredible system, and I think it’s something that people have a little trouble wrapping their heads around. So quickly, explain StealthSeminars, why is it the service people need?
Sure. By the way, if people didn’t scribble down that schedule like you did, they can go to bestwebinarschedule.com and they can get a PDF. StealthSeminar is a service that is unbelievably powerful, and profitable for most people, it’s easy to use, because StealthSeminar support is always around and we recommend set up your events.
It’s a tool you can use that will automate your events, and within that tool you have your registration pages, your thank-you pages, your event player pages, your streaming, your replay pages, everything you need to run webinars. And it’s a tool that most people find incredibly profitable, and we know that once people get a webinar up and running, it’ll be a success, which is why we set things up for people. Because when they succeed, we succeed.
So over the years, I’ve used your service, I’ve sent tons of people to use your service, and there’s one thing–well, there’s many things–that sets you apart from other services I’ve used, be it in terms of reliability, or up-time, you’ve got a bullet proof system there.But the one thing that really blew me away, was the fact that you guys did all of the work for me. I took the recording of the webinar I wanted to play, filled out a form, and I sent it over, and you guys set it all up. Even with my e-commerce system. I was absolutely blown away.
For those people just getting into this, when you go out and shop different systems, you might find other systems that are cheaper than StealthSeminars. But I can tell you from experience that you’re going to spend far more time, far more money, and far more aggravation trying to make those systems work. So if you want to have something that you can just get up and running, and have a team there supporting you, Geoff has my endorsement 100%. I’ve been there, and it’s fantastic. Your team takes care of everything. I love it.
Thank you, Derek. I really appreciate it. I’m not a technical person myself, so I wanted to have this service be appropriate for a person like me, who doesn’t want to spend the hours or days or weeks or months setting this stuff up. Thank you for your kind words.
Before we wrap, are there any online resources or webinar tools you’d like to share?
bestwebinarschedule.com, or stealthseminars.com will give them lots of information, free courses, blogs, podcasts, and so on.
Thank you so much for being here and divulging all of your best practices.
Alright everyone, that was Geoff Ronning, founder of Stealth Seminars, one of my personal favourite webinar services and automated webinar tools.