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An automated webinar is a powerful tool that will help you establish authority in the field, maximize your return on investment, and bring in leads - with no extra effort!
In this blog, we’re going to look at how you can passively grow your membership base using automated webinars.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
An automated webinar (also known as an evergreen webinar) is a pre-recorded webinar that runs on autopilot, on a recurring schedule, or on demand. Automated webinars are designed to make viewers feel like the webinar is happening in real-time - even without a live host. They can also include preprogrammed interactions — like polls, questions, handouts, and CTAs — to make sessions feel more interactive and keep viewers engaged.
Video is one of the most powerful marketing mediums you can use today. 86 percent of marketers say video has helped them generate leads and 94 percent say that it’s helped them increase understanding of their product or service.
Webinars take video a step further as they’re a great way to increase understanding - while also adding a human face to your club. People watching your automated webinar get to see you, hear you and learn about you and the services your club offers in a more authentic way.
Webinars that have interactive elements (including chat) can also make attendees feel heard, keep them engaged and build more trust.
Automated webinars work well for presentations or talks that you give repeatedly but are always limited in how often you can offer them because of the time and energy they eat up.
For example, if you wanted to introduce new members to your club facilities and the benefits of your membership program, a single on-demand webinar can be viewed by new members at their own convenience! And since the content is pre-recorded, you’re no longer stuck repeating the same thing over and over again.
Automated webinars also work well for content marketing and top-of-the-funnel lead generation. For example, you might hold regular live events, interviews, and panel discussions with experts, players, and coaches, record those sessions, and then make them evergreen through webinar automation. This is a great way to establish your club as an authority, build trust among potential and current members, and increase your visibility.
Now that we’ve established the importance of using automated webinars for your membership club, here’s a few key strategies for membership growth using automated webinars:
One of the most important things to remember while creating an automated webinar is to deliver real, tangible value to your audience. Webinars are an indirect sales strategy - which means you need to put your audience first and think about what they might get out of watching one of your webinars.
Direct membership recruitment might work elsewhere but it won’t work here.
Use your webinar as an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, establish credibility and trust, and prove you are an authority in the space. Your webinar should create standalone value that gives potential new members a taste of what they might get if they join your club.
For example you could offer a free on-demand webinar of an interview with a fitness expert, influential coach or player and end the webinar by saying you host exclusive live sessions similar to the one they just watched for existing members only - this will deliver value, while also marketing your club or association membership. It’s a soft — but powerful — sell. You can also offer discounts, giveaways, or bonus content to keep viewers engaged and prep them to sign up for a membership at a later stage.
Once people start seeing your club as an organization that not only offers a host of sports (or other) activities - but also as a source of knowledge with connections to experts - that’s when the signups increase!
Automated webinars can run indefinitely - so make sure you spend time planning your content and script. Be sure to establish the aims of the webinar, your target audience, and what you want them to learn. You can then go ahead and write an outline or even draft a full script. In the case of interview-style webinars, you can prepare your list of questions beforehand.
If you want to make your webinar more interactive by adding polls, questions, tips, contact forms or handouts - you’ll need to plan your webinar in greater detail as they need to pop-up at preprogrammed times. (Don’t forget to check whether your webinar platform allows interactions!)
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel when scripting your automated webinar.
Follow a presentation structure that is proven to work. A good webinar formula is all about the order in which you present things, including the timing of your offer at the end. Spend about 80% of the time on your topic of choice, and no more than 20% on your pitch, in your case talking about the member benefits and perks of joining your club. End with a CTA to become a member, and include a special webinar-only offer to join or other incentives.
If this is your first automated webinar and you decide to go the route of automating a repetitive presentation (like a club tour or non-member orientation), you might want to test it out a few times with a live audience first. This will give you a chance to hear what questions and objections people have, find out what works and what doesn’t, and discover what messaging resonates most strongly. Incorporating what you learn from those live presentations into your script will go a long way in making sure your webinar successfully converts attendees into signing up for club memberships once it’s automated.
Once your automated webinar is ready it’s time to get people to attend! Now’s the time to engage marketing channels like email marketing, social media (from LinkedIn to Instagram), blogs and other advertising to get people to register for your webinar.
Driving traffic to your webinar is an ongoing process that you’ll need to keep revisiting. Here are a few key strategies to keep leads flowing to your landing page:
Find online communities, like Facebook groups, Quora and subreddits, of like-minded people who are interested in a particular sport your club offers or health and fitness in general. Join conversations and answer questions — without selling your club — to establish yourself as a trusted resource. You can share the link to your webinar when it’s relevant or adds to the topic of discussion. Participating in discussions is also a great way to figure out what topics you might want to create webinars for in the future.
You can create blogs and ebooks and advertise your webinar through other high-quality content. If they get some value from your ebook or blog - people are more likely to sign up for your webinar. By promoting your webinar through other forms of content you’ll also create multiple points of access - which will eventually drive more traffic to your webinar landing page.
Using live virtual event software or a conference call service, host special one-time-only live events as a way to build your contact database. Feed the leads you capture into a drip campaign in your CRM or email marketing software and, wherever it makes sense in the sequence, invite them to attend your automated webinar.
Reach out and establish relationships with people who serve demographics similar to yours but with whom you don’t compete. These can be fitness experts, nutritionists, coaches of a particular sport, restaurants or sports brands. You could co-host interview-style webinars, or even run joint promotions. Look for opportunities that are mutually beneficial.
This is one of the most common ways to drive traffic to your page - but be careful how you use it. Start by targeting a mix of relevant audiences and experiment with different ads to see what works best. Until you really understand who your audience is and how to target them, and are certain your registration page and webinar reliably convert, don’t spend large sums of money on paid advertising. You might get a lot of visitors to your page - but most won’t convert. Consider working with an expert when placing ads as they’ll help you with your strategy and spending.
A solid automated webinar can run for months (if not years!), and still get results as long as you are able to generate enough leads through advertising and marketing to feed into your sales funnel.
Optimizing your webinar page for conversions is crucial if you want to increase membership. All the effort of planning and hosting your webinar might be wasted if every stage of your sales funnel isn’t functioning properly.
Viewers might get started with the sign up process but drop off if it isn’t easy or intuitive - so spend some time checking that everything is functioning properly. You might also want to work on the messaging of your landing page. Don’t be afraid to play around with text, imagery or format and run experiments as often as possible until a healthy percentage of visitors to your landing page are regularly signing up for your webinar. (Webinar registrations are also a great way to add subscribers to your email list for future outreach.)
Remember that optimizing your conversion process is an ongoing task - you’ll always need to measure what’s happening and iterate based on results. For example if people are signing up for your webinar but not signing up for a club membership - you could examine the content of your webinar. What’s the ratio of time spent on valuable content versus time spent on your pitch? Is the timing of your special offer in the wrong place? You might also learn that those interested in your content aren’t the right audience or need to be targeted differently.
Your sales funnel doesn’t begin and end with an automated webinar. Use other marketing channels like email to follow up with attendees after the webinar and keep your membership club top-of-mind - especially with leads who didn’t convert. The people who registered for your webinar but didn’t attend are also some of your key prospects - send them automated reminders to watch your webinar or read other material to continue engaging with them. Don’t let anyone fall through the cracks!
To measure how well all your efforts to grow your membership are working, find a membership platform with robust reporting that will allow you to track your growth.
Automated webinars are a unique way for clubs to deliver high quality content while also advertising their services to potential customers. They give you a chance to build trust and credibility among prospects. The best part? Once you’ve set it up, automated webinars save you a ton of time and effort - so you can focus on creating more great content!
If you’d like to get started creating your own automated webinar, use software like eWebinar, which will help you create highly interactive webinars that keep your audiences engaged - and get those new membership numbers and conversion rates up!
Need more club membership advice? Take a read of some of our related guides below:
This was a guest post contribution for Eventcube By Todd Parmley, COO of eWebinar