This will be an eminently practical, tactical article…
Long-time readers will know that I like to focus on Principles and Strategies (see The Architecture of A-List Copywriting Skills).
But sometimes, for some reasons, I’m inspired to deliver highly-actionable content of the step-by-step nature.
Today is one of those days.
I was talking to a friend who was having a bunch of success running automated, evergreen webinar funnels.
I’m very familiar with how these work. So it wasn’t any surprise to me.
In fact, I’ve been using variations of what I’ll share with you for years.
I actually brought this model to one client. They had such success with the initial campaign that they turned it into their default marketing approach, generating multiple millions of dollars. And within the next couple years they were able to sell their company to a much bigger company, for a big windfall payday.
And the thing is, this is fairly easy to do.
And if you do it right, you can either turn it into a steady stream of big sales — or windfall after windfall on a recurring basis.
Enough promises, let’s get down to brass tacks…
What the heck is an evergreen webinar funnel?
Let’s break it down, backwards.
A funnel is an online selling system. It typically includes multiple steps (often multiple offers). And it can include web content, emails, and so on.
A webinar is, of course, a video presentation of some type. They can be educational, but what I’m referring to here are video presentations made to sell. And important to today’s article, we’re referring to pre-recorded videos.
And evergreen means it’s not happening live, and it’s actually set up to be used and re-used through time.
So, we have an online selling system built around a video presentation, that can be used and reused through time.
Now, you actually have a couple options here.
Your two choices…
The first choice is that you can have these be timed in response to when someone signs up. Although you can delay the start, let’s call this an INSTANT WEBINAR for easy reference.
The second choice is to have them repeat on a specific day of the week, at a specific time. And yes, they could repeat more often than weekly, but for easy reference let’s call this a WEEKLY WEBINAR.
You’d typically use an instant webinar when someone is getting this as their first selling message.
The weekly webinar can be built into any follow-up system. Such as in the days and weeks after someone makes another purchase. Or for newer email subscribers, as part of a new subscriber welcome series.
If you choose an instant webinar, you’re probably going to want to set it up in a way where they’re getting into the webinar as quickly as possible. Perhaps even having the webinar “start” every 15 to 30 minutes or so, so there’s always a webinar starting when someone lands on your site. This is a strike-while-the-iron-is-hot situation, but it really only works for brand new prospects. Because you lose all the urgency if someone sees “webinar starting in 15 minutes” every time they go to your website.
Alternately, the weekly webinar can be used for new or old prospects. Try not to be too obviously repetitive and redundant with it, but it’s amazing how short a prospect’s memory is for your marketing messages.
(Note: the technical implementation of this varies by platform and I won’t go into it here. Rather, I’m going to cover the decision-making and copy angles required to make it work.)
Phase 1: Registration…
Whether you’re doing an instant webinar or a weekly webinar, it’s a good idea to get your prospect to register for it.
If you don’t have their email address, you need it for any future follow-up.
But even if you do, you’re getting them to reaffirm interest. You can use this for future targeting, because the webinars they register for give you a hint as to where their interests lie.
If someone’s already on your list, a one-click registration is best. This means all they have to do is click a link in your email and they are “registered.”
Lacking this capability, of course you’ll need a registration page that teases the webinar and includes a registration form.
All copy and content leading up to the webinar should be focused only on the value they will get out of registering and attending. Don’t make it about selling at all. Avoid selling completely. Don’t pre-sell in promoting the webinar, or even let them know you have anything for sale. (Am I clear on this yet?! Don’t sell here!)
For an instant webinar, this phase is very short. Typically it’s JUST the registration page, as well as any ads leading to it. If you are good at buying traffic, you can bump up ROI by retargeting page visitors who don’t register on their first visit.
For a weekly webinar, this can be much more sophisticated.
Let’s say that you have a weekly webinar every Wednesday. You might start promoting it on Sunday or Monday, with emails teasing the content of the webinar. Most good email follow-up systems can do this in a way such that no matter which week someone signs up, they get an email on the next Sunday (for example).
Then every day, another email goes out, again promoting the registration for the webinar. And on the day of the webinar, you may do multiple emails that go out throughout the morning, to encourage last-minute registrations.
Even though you know this is a weekly thing, you should treat it in your copy like this is your prospect’s one shot at getting this info, with all the urgency that suggests.
Phase 2: Selling attendance…
For prospects who register, they should immediately be removed from the registration email sequence or other advertising promoting registration.
Now your challenge is to get them to attend and to consume the webinar’s content.
Again, don’t sell yet! They shouldn’t even know you have anything for sale on the webinar, or will be making any offers. Rather, just make all this promotion about getting the valuable content by attending the webinar LIVE.
The follow-ups should count backwards from the webinar itself. So if the webinar is on Wednesday, there should be one or more attendance notices that go out on Wednesday morning. But you should also set one to go out on Tuesday, talking about “tomorrow’s webinar.”
And you could have one on Monday, reinforcing what you’re going to share, “later this week.”
Again, make it all feel as live as possible, and with that make it feel urgent to attend.
With that, you’ll still be lucky to get even half of the people who registered to attend, but you’re far better off following this process than ignoring it.
Phase 3: The “live” webinar…
The presentation of this can come in many formats. Video is great if you can pull it off. PowerPoint can work, but your presentation better be fast-paced. You could even do this in Video Sales Letter format, as long as it feels like there’s valuable content in the first half.
Most of all, it should feel like a live broadcast.
So an, “Okay guys, let’s get started,” increases believability. So does a, “Let’s wait just a few more seconds for the last few folks to get on.”
Be careful about the video player — it should look and feel like a live video, not embedded. There are technical ways of accomplishing this that I’m not going to go into here. Just be mindful of it.
Most of all though, this should still be a selling message.
Which means that even though you’re going to lead with value, it should still have the fundamental structure of a selling message.
You need to make it clear that you understand the prospect’s problem — their need, desire, or challenge.
Agitate their emotions around that problem, and the experience of continuing to deal with that problem and its negative impacts on their life.
Invalidate all the other solutions they’ve tried, showing them that you understand that this can be a difficult problem to solve.
Establish the criteria that a true solution to this problem must have, setting up the buying criteria that will favor them choosing you.
Then lay out your product or service — your offer — as the solution to the problem, and ask for the order.
This isn’t meant to be an article on webinar scripts, so I won’t go deeper here. But you absolutely want to nail this to make the full funnel work best.
Just before this webinar is “live” you want to make sure the prospect gets an email telling them to join you for the webinar with a link. And when they get the link, it should feel like the whole thing is live. Which means if they arrive early, there’s a waiting screen. And if they’re late, it should be “in progress.” You can make the last situation more effective by offering an option to start from the beginning.
Phase 4: The “replay” webinar…
Even with your best efforts and your prospects’ best intentions, there will be people wanted to attend the “live” webinar that missed it.
So shortly after the “live” version you release the “due-to-popular-demand replay” version.
That is, you give them a link to a page where they can watch instantly.
Depending on the sophistication of your software and funnel, you can have this only go out to people who didn’t attend. Or you send it to everyone who didn’t buy.
Either way, this is seen as a convenience to people who missed it or didn’t get a chance to watch all the way through.
You can also link directly to the offer page or checkout from here — either immediately when the page loads, or triggered at a certain point in the video.
Again, depending on the sophistication of your system, you can continue to sell the “replay” to people who haven’t watched it yet, in the hours and days following the webinar.
If they haven’t watched it, remember they are probably not familiar with your sales message or your offer — so again you want to make all the “watch this” messaging about the value they will get from watching, not about your pitch.
Phase 5: Sales-related follow-up…
For those who attended the webinar — as well as for those who watched the replay — you CAN finally start selling them.
Lean on the value of the webinar.
Lean on the messages with an, “As you heard…”
But don’t be afraid to lay out the offer, in text form, linking into the checkout process.
Immediately after the webinar, you’ll want these messages to be less urgent, and more about the value they get by responding to the offer.
But quickly you’ll want to turn toward the deadline, and make sure you’re really selling.
So let’s say it’s a Thursday webinar. My selling follow-up on Thursday may be as simple as a quick email that says, “Here’s where you can grab the offer I told you about…”
But if the offer closes Saturday, Friday’s going to get more urgent, with a, “You’ve got 24 hours, and here’s all the reasons why you might not want to wait…”
And then leading into the deadline, you can be much more direct about just closing the sale.
And for those who registered but never attended, in the last day or two you can actually transition to talking about the offer. Typically you’ll still want to include a replay link. But don’t be afraid to say, “We talked about this in my presentation. And even if you missed it there, you may still find it valuable. And since it goes away Saturday, I wanted to send it to you directly so you don’t miss it.”
Phase 6: Close, count, repeat…
Even an evergreen campaign should honor its deadline. Use whatever tech necessary to actually take away the offer on the date you promised, or future deadlines won’t be believed.
So, close the offer…
Count your sales…
And because this is evergreen, set it to repeat with the next group of prospects through your funnel.
And, in fact, you may want to set your follow-up sequences up to repeat this strategy with the same prospects, using new webinars, week-after-week.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,