by Tony Vidler
Advisers attend plenty of webinars, but very few seem to use a webinar marketing program themselves for marketing to potential clients, and it is a marvellous opportunity (if done well) to really position your expertise.
Prospects generally have no issue tuning in to watch broadcasts on any number of areas of interest, and many use podcasts and webinars as great ways of using their time well on their daily commute. It requires no new technology usually for prospects and good regular content which hits the mark will generate positive word of mouth and social sharing usually – widening the pool of potential prospects.
The key difference between this and producing video is of course the ability for the audience to interact live with you as a presenter – and interaction is what we are after in our marketing isn’t it?
There are 3 different types of webinars advisers might wish to consider:
Effective webinars can be delivered on an irregular basis, so it doesn’t have to be a regular commitment on the part of an adviser or practice. The best sort of “on demand” webinars will be around topical issues. An example of the moment might be running a quick series of webinars explaining crypto-currency. There might be Webinar 1: what is it? followed by Webinar 2: the pro’s and con’s of it followed by Webinar 3: where it fits into investment strategy for the typical investor.
Having dealt with that topic there might not be any further planned webinars for some time….but the practice has the technology and competence to be able to put one together again very quickly when there is a perceived need or level of interest in a topic.
The second example is the one where I suspect most advisers will get greater marketing impact. Educational content which is essentially “group coaching” and delivers information which empowers clients will tend to resonate well, and be found by prospective clients searching for just that sort of thing. It helps build the position of expertise, and establishes credibility and a level of trust. Just the sort of thing we want from our marketing isn’t it? Running a webinar perhaps every 6 or 7 weeks would mean running about 7-8 per year – not that big a challenge really for most professionals.
The third is also an area of opportunity – though a little dangerous potentially for advisers. Discussing technical content such as particular portfolio strategies or investment market moves or changes in the lending market has the potential to cross the line into personalised advice during any Q & A segment. However, as long as one is alert to that possibility and is prepared on how they will handle direct questions from audience members about personal tactics or personal advice it shouldn’t be a major issue.
To make technical content effective as a webinar marketing tactic it needs to be fairly regular, though potentially a lot shorter in duration than other types of webinars, and a distinctive stance is necessary. Simply regurgitating news headlines won’t cut it. Proving unique insights or perspectives, or delving into the implications of particular news items or tying them to a particular professional philosophy will tend to engage audiences and keep them coming back for more.
Providing something which is “more of the same” will not generate significant interest with people who do not know you yet, so the bland old standard professional approach of serious demeanour wearing suit and tie and looking earnestly straight down the lens while reading the news…..yeah, nah.
You do have to be completely consistent with your brand and target market’s perception of what is appropriate of course, but bring your own style. I’ve seen great webinars delivered by people wearing t-shirts and board shorts beside a pool….or sitting in a coffee shop with the world wandering by in the background…..you can run a webinar from virtually anywhere, and virtually any device with a camera, microphone and internet connection. So be unique…create your own tone and build your own distinctive brand.
It is the content which will keep people tuned in and coming back for more – but style matters as there does have to be an entertainment element. It has to be engaging. Dull is deadly.
Striking the balance between delivering meaningful information and minimizing downtime for the audience needs to be balanced. There is no rules that says webinars need to run for 60 minutes other than in our own professional lives where we are counting CPD hours. For prospects, a 5 minute webinar may be just as effective. Maybe. As a general guide though I’d be suggesting a better duration would be about 15-20 minutes with up to 5 minutes of quick Q & A. That is long enough to cover some meaty content well, but without trying to cover too many points or too much information.
Aim for one good piece of content, covered well and in sufficient detail so that all the implications are understood, and with a clear message or takeaway that the audience can use. If that can be achieved in 10 minutes, then only run the webinar for 10 minutes – running it longer simply because of a pre-conceived notion that webinars must be a certain length merely undermines the effect of the valuable content.
Do that however and this can be a very effective tactic in building a larger and more engaged group of prospective future clients.
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