Build A Simple And Effective Automated Webinar Funnel with Greg Hickman | #04
The webinar has truly become the highest leverage point. No matter what funnel you’re creating in today’s world, live video is going to rival that in some way, shape, or form. But the ability to create a recurring event that is on demand where people can watch and buy from on their own schedule allows you to penetrate all these different types of audiences and get people to know they can trust you faster than ever before. Greg Hickman, founder and CEO of System.ly has been behind the scenes building out webinar funnels for some of the top online entrepreneurs. Greg goes in-depth into automating a webinar funnel and what your marketing funnel and your sales funnel should look like with a webinar if you’re selling your courses, products, and services.
Build A Simple And Effective Automated Webinar Funnel with Greg Hickman
I’m excited about our guest on this episode, Greg Hickman. What we talked on the show was all about the funnel, the automation, and what do your marketing funnel and your sales funnel look like with a webinar if you’re selling your courses, products, and services. Greg has been building these funnels for some of the biggest names in the digital marketing industry, so I knew when I reached out to him that he will be able to share a lot of great insight on what the actual funnel looks like.
If you’re just starting out what you need to consider as the first part of your webinar funnel, before you build out all the different complicated parts, I want you to focus on what you need to get started when you consider building your webinar funnel. Let’s jump in the interview and get to the meat of the content so you can learn how to start building your webinar funnel.
Greg and I have been connected for the past few months. We’ve done some work together and we’ve been doing some collaboration. I knew that I wanted to have him on the podcast because he’s got a completely different specialty than what I have, and our skills complement each other so well. I want him to completely brain dump and share with you what he knows and what his specialty is. I know that his value will provide tremendous benefits to you that are reading. Greg, welcome to the podcast.
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Greg, why don’t you give everybody an intro about what you do and where you came from?
I’m Greg Hickman. I started this company called System.ly out of desperation. We’ve been behind the scenes, building out marketing funnels for some of the top online entrepreneurs. Most of our clients are selling courses and/or some form of membership and the combination of those two with some coaching and consulting here and there. Every one of our clients has achieved mastery in some area of expertise, whether that’s Facebook ads or health, wellness, all different categories of experts that have taken that expertise and put it into an online training program.
At that point, they need to go out and market that. We’ve had the ability and the opportunity to build out a wide variety of funnels. A lot of live webinars, evergreen webinars, weekly webinars, video series, connecting all those dots to what it ends up being is that complete customer journey that is automated. There are a lot of systems that are talking to each other to make a lot of these things happen, but we’ve seen a lot of what works and what doesn’t.
When people consider webinars, a lot of people immediately want to go towards automated webinar. I know that people can have success with automated webinars, but if somebody were to approach you and say, “I’ve got this awesome course that I want to sell. I’ve got my webinar complete. How can I blow this up? I want to go to $100,000 a month and automate my process.” What’s the first thing that you’re going to be asking them? What are you going to be looking at to see, “Should we go automated first? What should be the first steps?”
It ranges based on the type of person. A lot of people that come to us, they’ve already been doing webinars live whether they’re doing one live one a month or a weekly live webinar. We’re looking to see if they have experience doing webinars first and more important than that, have they been selling from that webinar successfully? If it’s not converting or they’ve never done it before and taking the webinar and spending the time to do the recording when you’re not even sure if it’s working yet, there’s more time involved iterating on that than iterating on a live webinar. Iteration is paramount when it comes to finding how to best convert on a webinar, especially if you have a new offer or you’re testing a new offer.
If they’re new to webinars, we always recommend they go live. If they’re creating something new, we always start live to validate that they can close on a webinar. If they come to us and they’ve been doing it, they’ve shown and demonstrated that they can close from a webinar, and their real frustration is scale and the headache of having to show up live. We live in a world where people can do hundreds of thousands of dollars a month by spending one live webinar a week, 90 minutes to two hours. The fulfillment of these things that people are selling takes up a lot of time and the marketing, and building the audience takes a lot of time. At some point, you want to automate that. We’ve worked with folks that have been doing the live weekly thing and they’re exhausted.
The reason that they want to go automated is that they know that that’s the best way to scale beyond what they’re doing. The webinar has truly become the highest leverage point in no matter what funnel you’re creating. Live video is going to rival that in some way, shape or form. The ability to create a recurring event that is on demand where people can watch and buy from on their own schedule allows you to penetrate all these different types of audiences and get people to know they can trust you faster than ever before. You can sell products at $1,000 to $2,000 and sometimes even higher when done correctly on autopilot. If you’re new, validating and getting into webinars for the first time, go live but you’re doing that with the intention to get that evergreen.
I want to dive deeper for the audience, which may be their first experience with a webinar. We talk about automating. When you build an automated webinar funnel, there’s more than just the presentation that we’re automating. What does a simple automated webinar funnel look like? I want you to expand and say, “Once that starts converting, we’ll take the next step and blow it out.” Let’s talk about a simple automated webinar funnel from scratch.
One of our beliefs at System.ly is, “Start simple. Get ninja later.” When it comes to implementing any funnel, regardless of if it’s a webinar, any automation you always implement we will consider as the minimum viable funnel first. A lot of people, when they hear how complex the segmentation is, it can get tricky. Most of that stuff delays it ever getting live in the first place. If you are in that stage of, “I’m new to webinars or I’m validating this new offer,” I recommend that you focus on the simplistic version. At its simplest, if someone registers, they get a confirmation email and the confirmation email gives them all the information on where to show up and a calendar invite gets on their calendar. That’s it.
I would recommend you want to do a little bit more than that. If writing three or four more emails is what’s going to stop you from getting your webinar live, get the one done. Get that one reminder email to when they need to be there. If you can spend more time, we see a confirmation email, we see 24 hours in advance the morning of, an hour before, and a text message fifteen minutes before. These don’t need to be complicated emails either. They could be like, version one, “Don’t forget. The webinar is starting at this time. Here’s the link to join. We’re going to be covering X, Y, Z.” It could be five sentences. It doesn’t need to be super psychology or anything like that. Tell people where to be, what you’re going to talk about, and why they should show up.
Then you have the event itself. You’ve probably talked about the power of the presentation, we’re not going to go into that necessarily. On that webinar, you’re going to be making some offer. There are going to be people that have registered, attend, and buy. There are going to be people that register, attend, and don’t buy. There are going to be people that register and don’t attend at all. You can go all sophisticated and segment all that stuff, we recommend you don’t. In version one, you put everybody that did not buy through the same follow-up sequence following the webinar. Even at our most advanced, it’s about six or seven emails over the course of four days that you’re sending out with the bulk of those coming on the last day. You’re creating urgency or reason for people to take action quickly.
All of the emails are focused on why they need to buy now and what we’ve seen work the best is an expiring bonus. I’m not a huge fan of discounting or get $500 off now, it devalues what you’re offering people. I’m always creating the funnel with the fact that I’m thinking about the future of automating it down the line. I don’t want to have to change the entire strategy when I go automated. A lot of people that do discounts, some of the flack that they’ll get, and we’ve seen it happen before, is people realize that it’s evergreen and they realized if they just reregistered, they can get the discount whenever.
What we’ve seen work the best that leverages urgency, creates scarcity, without getting a lot of the negative people coming back at you is just an expiring bonus. That bonus needs to be something that is brick to forehead so complementary to your existing offer that you’d be dumb not to buy. A perfect example of this is Amy Porterfield and she does a program called Webinars That Convert and she focuses on her webinar presentation or her flow. She talks a little bit about the funnel, but her bonus is the sales booster bonus, “How to sell on a webinar?” The whole point of people doing webinars is to sell on a webinar, you want this bonus and all of the emails are about the bonus going away. She never says the doors are closing, she never says discount, she says, “This amazing value-add is going away and we want to reward action takers because the people that take action are the ones that get the most results.”
Leveraging something like that is the crux of what makes the webinar successful. I mentioned about six or so emails over the course of four days, all of the conversations you’re weaving in testimonials and things like that. It’s all about, “Get in now because the sales booster bonus is going away.” If you’re going to be using webinars, you want to be selling something, so you need this thing. Connecting that urgency to an expiring bonus that is a no-brainer addition helps make people take action.
You could do one email reminder and you could do one email follow-up. I don’t think you’ll be as successful. The minimum viable from a first-time webinar will probably be three or four pre-webinar emails, time and why to show up and then the follow-up. “This thing is going away. Here’s why you should be joining,” really is the minimum viable and no segmentation at all. The only segmentation is if they bought, don’t send them these emails because that would be weird. If they buy, they get removed, if they registered, they all get the same conversation.
Expiring bonuses on an offer are very effective and you want to start live with the intent to automate down the road to help make everything much more seamless. Where we were going on this tangent was the simplest funnel to start with your webinar is you’re going to advertise or promote it however you want to do it, maybe it’s a Facebook ad or an email promotion, whatever it is. You’ve got your landing page which is your registration page for your event. You’ve got page two, which is your confirmation page.
A couple of reminders that will push people to your webinar and you’ve got your sales page and that’s it. Let’s say, Greg, I just signed up, I’m a client of yours and, “I’m converting my offers. I’ve done this for a couple of weeks. I’ve done this for a couple months. It’s time to automate it.” What are you going to be looking to do now to in your own words go more Ninja? What are the next steps to automate?
Some of these things are super subtle technological features when it comes to the tool. If you’ve been doing live webinars, you are most likely using a tool like GoToWebinar, WebinarJam or Zoom Webinar. Those are the top three for live. In order to do an evergreen, you need different technology because those tools don’t allow you to process a recorded webinar the same way that these live tools do. You need to make the migration to the evergreen tool. EverWebinar is our go-to with some other clients using StealthSeminar, but that’s a lot pricier.
Let’s take the email copy and the follow-up and apply this to this evergreen system. One of the key things that always comes up is, “How frequently do you want this webinar to be available?” If it’s evergreen you can do on-demand. We’ve had some people take this to the extreme where it has a negative impact on their business. When looking at all the different people that we’ve worked with, where we’ve taken a live to an evergreen, a lot of it needs to come down to, what is realistic for you as an entrepreneur and how your audience will respond.
What do you mean negative impact?
We have this one client who started to see tremendous results from her evergreen, it was on-demand. It was working. She started putting a lot more money into it and expanded how available it was. This was against our advice. People can be watching webinars at 11:00 PM their time on weekends, it was every single day. She ended up getting comments that people are upset, she was coming from a place of not having integrity. There were negative Yelp reviews of this person which was extreme. When you would go to look for her organically, a lot of this negative stuff would show up first, which doesn’t set a good a good tone. It was working so well, and she was doing a quarter of a million dollars in revenue from the evergreen webinar funnel alone per month and that wasn’t enough.
You need to ask yourself what’s enough and to what detriment are you willing to keep going? You can only spend so much on Facebook, but it goes backward. There are some people that I know that run evergreen webinars that it’s only available twice a week and at specific times. They’re still doing anywhere up close to six figures a month on that webinar. It comes down to the person, the type of personality you are, and how well your audience knows you, and are you joking that it’s like, “You can watch this whenever you want.” There are little subtleties that can make it be so successful but then also be a complete failure.
How can you make sure that you approach this in a way where you maintain your integrity and you’re not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes? That’s going to be different for a lot of people based on their style of marketing. Just because you can do a lot of these things, it doesn’t mean you should. If it’s your only source of revenue, then I would probably be a little bit looser on how frequently it’s available. If you still do launches and all these other things, you might not need it to be a daily on-demand thing. It’s the complimentary revenue that allows you to save some time. A lot of the subtleties come in the execution of making it operate the way that is believable and still in the highest of integrity. Cadence is the main thing. While we see work the most is still having on-demand but only within a certain window of time.
Define what you mean by on-demand because people may be getting a little bit confused with what that is.
On-demand like with tools like EverWebinar, if you’ve ever gone to a webinar registration page or when you make your webinar go evergreen if someone shows up, there will be a webinar starting within the next fifteen or 30 minutes. The tools have an option. If I show up to the page now, there will be a webinar starting in six minutes and there’ll be a countdown timer. It’s as close to on-demand as you want so there’s an availability to attend and watch on either every 15-minute or every 30-minute increment.
Outside of that, we still recommend having two standard procedure times. We see 11 AM and 7 PM pretty common. That’s available two days from the day that someone is registering. The reason behind that is that you still want people to show up. If it’s starting in fifteen minutes, you only need to send them a confirmation email, there are not many more emails you need to send. Sometimes depending upon what you’re selling and the price point, you need those warm-up emails to build some trust. To get people to understand why they’re here in the first place, understand the result that they’re going to have afterward.
There are going to be these different types of personalities that need that encouragement, “Why am I here again? What am I going to walk away with?” Those warm-up emails end up being a key reason as to why people buy. They’re prime, ready and hot when they show up to the webinar versus people that are like, “I want it right now,” or people that already know about their problem. They’ve been researching the solutions and they probably already know you and they’re ready to take action, assuming it aligns with the problem is or it solves their problem. You have the best of both worlds when you go evergreen because someone can just take action as soon as possible, but people can also get warmed up if needed. Having that power is good.
Now, we’re in a day and age where the true power of evergreen is that we see higher show-up rates because of that on-demand. If it’s two days from now, all of a sudden something happens, you don’t show up. You get much more people to show up and engage shockingly on an evergreen webinar. I know I’m dancing around a real answer, but it does come down to these idiosyncrasies of who you’re talking to, what the price point is and do they need to be warmed up? If we’re warming them up, it’s still four to six emails that are all still saying the same thing. The different tool that we’re using allows that to happen whenever someone records. The email doesn’t go out on Tuesday at 11 AM, it goes out at X time before the webinar starts and that can be unique to everybody. People are coming in at all different times.
You touched on a couple cool things there. First of all, what I’ve seen in terms of market awareness, it depends. Let’s say you want to take your webinar and you want to automate it. There are a couple ways that you can go, you can still drive traffic directly to an automated webinar or take a step back and add a step before that automated webinar and people need to be warmed up. Warming up like they need to know who you are a little bit more before you show them your conversion method, which is your webinar.
That might be a lead magnet before you invite them to the auto webinar or an email series. That’s market-specific and it’s also tied to the level of your offers. There are a lot of variables there. I want to wrap this up with going down this rabbit hole of warming up. When you go to automate a webinar, how do you determine if you can go straight to the automated webinar or if you want to put another step-in front of it?
It depends on who you’re talking to.
Meaning the client or end purchasers?
If I’m hosting the webinar, I’d want to target and invite certain people directly into my webinar and others, I’d want to probably veer into a different warm-up funnel or sequence. Who would I want to invite directly? People that have been on my email list for a while, if a referral partner or a joint venture partner or someone who I know, and trust is sending their audience to me and saying, “Greg’s the guy for this thing. You’ve got to check it out. They will already know they can trust me because the person that they know and trust told them to.
I don’t need to warm them up as much. We worked with a lot of people that have built personal brands. They have a podcast, they have a YouTube channel, they have a big email list or a lot of blog subscribers. Those are the people that see their videos every day or every week or get those emails, those are the people that you can send to the webinar, previous customers if this is a new product, all of those sorts of people, I can go directly to the webinar.
What we’ve always found is that when you want to go directly to new audiences that might not know who you are, like you start tapping into Facebook ads, you can still use Facebook ads to drive directly into webinars. There are a few variables. One, are you retargeting people that have been on your site? Are you aware of the pain that you’re solving? What it comes down to this client journey. Not everybody is at the same stage of that awareness journey that the hottest customers are at. A good example is I have this client, he has a podcast, he talks about helping pre-med students with their application letter.
There are a lot of people that are getting ready and wanting to go to medical school that didn’t even know that this letter was important. There are all of these tactics that he teaches on how to make the best letter. I can’t go and say, “Here are the three things you need to talk about in your application letter to likely be accepted” I can’t say that to people that didn’t even know that writing an application letter was important, that might just go over their head. If I’m going to go out and I want to tap into new audiences, I might need to go out there and say in a blog post or a podcast that’s like, “Did you know that you should have an application letter when you’re applying? Schools look at this and they value this.”
That whole conversation started broad and vague. Once they know, “I didn’t think of that, let me learn more about that” and I’m the one teaching them that, “Here’s why it’s important that you need this letter. Here are some things that you shouldn’t talk about in this letter. Here are the things that you do need to talk about. It’s important that it’s formatted in a very specific way and that you talk in a certain style. I have this webinar where I’m going to teach you exactly how to format your application letter.” People that don’t even know application letters are important aren’t going to care about how it’s formatted. Once they realize the importance of the letter in the first place, you can have that conversation.
The ads and conversation that you’re having with these people need to start broader. If you want to expand audiences, not everyone’s going to know that the formatting is so important, you need to bring them into the whole world of this conversation. They don’t even know that the problem exists, you need to make them aware and educate them on, “Here’s a solution. I’m going to go deeper on this.” That whole time you’re getting them to know you a little bit better so that they’re willing to even spend 60 to 90 minutes with you.
It’s all about being able to crystallize your solution by taking a step back and envisioning your customer journey. You can frame a webinar as best as you can, you can have the best closing techniques and the best content. If you’re getting people on there who aren’t necessarily at that stage to make that purchasing decision and take that next step with you, where that sales conversion happens, it’s wasted energy and I see it happen so much.
Stage three, four, five, you want to get your own webinar converting. You want the people that know about this problem and the people that know you best to convert. You can go start having that conversation with all these other people, but if you’re driving them into this conversation webinar that doesn’t convert, all of that effort is a waste. We talked about reverse implementation, build things that are closest to the transaction as possible. As you go outward you might just need to warm people up so that they’re willing to be on that conversion method. There are people that live, breathe and die by, “You only need one funnel to take off, to get off the runway and start having that cash flow.”
Most of those people are selling something that has a very high ticket, so they can afford to spend a lot of money on ads. They’re qualifying people through applications. There are still tons of people that aren’t buying that are on their list, it comes down to they weren’t ready. If you want to be proactive about your scalability, these are conversations like, “I need a funnel or two funnels or lead magnets that are a little bit broader, but I know that I’m creating a conversation that’s going to slowly bring them into wanting to come onto this webinar that is working.”
Instead of having all of these dead leads behind me, because all I cared about was the cash flow, now I can nurture them. I could also start approaching new people earlier on in the conversation which puts me in a position of being that credible authority, and they’re only going to know and trust me more. I have the foresight to say, “People that care about formatting a letter to medical school, there might be people out there in this world that are applying to med school and don’t even know about this. How do I talk to those people?” that slowly steps down the road. Once your webinar is converting, you start worrying about the broader market.
The last thing that I want to talk about, if we’re talking automation we need to get into tools. These people may not be at this automation step yet and may just be at, “I’ve got a course,” or “I need to get coaching clients.” They’re just about to take that leap to launch their first product or service. They might not know what types of automation tools they need to talk about. You mentioned EverWebinar and StealthSeminar, that’s for the actual webinar presentation automation. You upload your recording of your webinar, it’s going play the video, host the videos, so people can have room to show up to watch the presentation. Let’s talk about the other tools that we need to complete the automation, emails, text messages, landing pages and web page. How do you finalize on that?
The key driver in all of this stuff is your marketing automation tool. Some might call it email marketing. There are three different categories, there is email marketing, advanced email marketing, and marketing automation. You want a marketing automation tool and it allows you to apply tags based on if they registered or attended, which is what allows a lot of this automation to start and stop. We’re super big fans of Infusionsoft. We’re Infusionsoft-certified partners. It’s also expensive and it’s not for everybody. If you’re just getting started or you don’t have a big budget, I would be starting with ActiveCampaign. You can get started for $9 a month. It gives you all of the power of something like Infusionsoft and it’s a lot easier to use. It’s super affordable and will do everything that you needed to do.
We talked about registration pages. EverWebinar offers up their own registration and thank you pages. If you’re on a tight budget, I would say, just use what they offer, but if you care a little bit more about how things look, you might want a landing page tool. This tool will go above and beyond just what you need for webinars. You’ll probably want to invest in one of these anyway. We’ve become die-hard fans of ClickFunnels. I’m not a designer, I have a good visual eye, but I can quickly create beautiful looking pages that are mobile responsive, and they connect to Infusionsoft or ActiveCampaign very easily. That’s also on the pricier side. If you’re a bit more budget-conscious, the other options are Leadpages, Unbounce or Instapage. We have clients that use all three. They’re all great and easy to use, their monthly fee range anywhere from $19, $30, $40 a month.
The last thing is a way to accept money. In Infusionsoft, we can accept transactions. If you’re using something like ActiveCampaign, they don’t have a payment processor, so you’ll need something like SamCart connected to Stripe, which is a payment gateway that connects to a lot of tools. If you’re using SamCart or ThriveCart, you can be using those two to accept money. Some people do an order form where they pay you to get access to the thing that you’re selling. You need your market automation tool, webinar tool, landing page tool, and you need a way to accept money. The cost to get started these days is super low. If you go with those four categories of tools and you get any one of the ones I mentioned, you’ll be using the same tools that most six and seven-figure businesses are using. They don’t change that much. You’re using the same tools everybody else is using.
Tell us where we can learn more about your company and to find and follow you.
Thank you for the opportunity. System.ly is our website. You can request a consultation there if you need help. We have done-for-you services and we also have a free on-demand workshop that you can attend by going to System.ly/Workshop.
We had an awesome conversation. I love talking to you because you are the automation king and I’m very much interested in automation as most people are. You simplified it all for us. For anyone who’s interested in automating their webinar funnel, go ahead and follow Greg on Facebook. He’s always dropping knowledge bombs. What’s the name of your Facebook group?
We just changed the name, but it’s called No Leads Left Behind.
Join his Facebook group. He does a bunch of Facebook lives in there. I want to thank you for spending time and sharing your information and knowledge with us and with our audience. Thank you for tuning in. I hope that you were able to get some great knowledge from this and get excited and focus on building, automating and scaling your six and seven-figure webinars. Until next time, take care.
Thanks so much for being here. We hope you enjoyed this episode and we look forward to giving you the next one. You can also follow and watch the behind the scenes look at how I’m personally launching a brand new six and seven-figure product from scratch at SoldWithWebinars.com/TV. If you’d like to come and hang out with other fellow experts, join our Facebook group at SoldWithWebinars.com/Experts. Join us next time and I’ll see you there.
About Greg Hickman
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