Webinars are a fantastic info product for consultants and freelancers to use to build passive income. When you choose the right webinar topics, you can turn your expertise into significant revenue. Best of all, you can record your webinar once in front of a live online audience, and then sell the recording over and over again for many years to come.
I’ve created and sold some webinars that were extremely popular, and I’ve created some webinars that just didn’t sell. In my experience, one of the most important ways to assure that that your webinars sell is by choosing webinar topics that are irresistible to your audience. Through trial and error, I’ve learned a lot about selecting the right webinar topics for maximum sales, and I want to share what I’ve learned with you.
Should Your Webinar Topics Be Broad or Narrow?
One of the first things you need to understand about your webinars is that generally, you’ll want to pick webinar topics that are more targeted and narrow, rather than topics that are overly broad.
When it comes to building passive income, online classes are better suited to broad topics than webinars. That’s why, in your value ladder, you will often have webinars at lower price points and classes at higher price points.
Webinars are also a more limited teaching mechanism… most webinars are between 45 and 90 minutes long, while classes can often be the equivalent of 5, 8, or 10 webinars. Obviously, you’ll have more time to teach a topic during a class than during a webinar. Thus, you should choose webinar topics that can easily be taught in about an hour.
For example, when I’m teaching fundraising to non-profits, I might run a class on online fundraising that covers all aspects of the topic, including raising money on your website, through social media, through e-mail, and via crowdfunding. That class would consist of multiple webinars and other course materials. On the other hand, I could run a one-hour webinar that teaches fundraisers how to write better fundraising e-mails… that’s a much smaller topic that can be effectively taught in an hour.
Four Rules for Choosing Great Webinar Topics
Over the past twenty years, I have come up with four rules of thumb in deciding which webinar topics will be profitable, and which won’t. Here they are, in no particular order:
#1: Focus on Your Audience’s Needs
When creating webinars, you need to be laser-focused on your audience’s needs and wants. You might be the most capable consultant or freelancer in the worlds… you might be charming, funny, and have a knack for teaching… but if you choose webinar topics your audience doesn’t care about, you won’t make many sales.
One great way to figure out what your audience wants to learn is simply to ask them. I like to use SurveyMonkey to survey my e-mail list to ask them what they need help with, as well as present them with a list of topics we are considering focusing on. I ask my list to vote on which topics they most want us to cover in upcoming articles, webinars, classes, etc.
In addition to surveying your audience, you can use your own knowledge to help select webinar topics that meet your audience’s needs. As a consultant or freelancer, you know what your clients need help with, because they are paying you to help them with those things. Consider ranking those items that you are most asked to consult or coach on, and then developing webinars based on how often those items come up as part of a consulting project.
#2: Focus on Things People Spend Money On
You’ll also want to be sure to focus your webinars on things people are willing to spend money on. For example, lots of people would love to know how to get a stain out of their favorite shirt, but very few people would be willing to spent $57 on a webinar that teaches them how to do it. On the other hand, golfers will spend hundreds of dollars on books, webinars, and classes that teach them how to get an edge out on the golf course.
Choose webinar topics that people care enough about that they are willing to spend money on. There’s an old marketing adage that says that the things that most people are willing to pay for are things that will improve their health, wealth, or relationships.
This is generally true, although it is sometimes hard to see the true connections. For example, two of my businesses have focused on non-profit fundraising. I have sold thousands of classes, webinars, and e-books on the topic. Believe it or not, for most of our participants, these items fall under the “wealth” category… they want to learn how to do their jobs better so that they can get raises and promotions, and so that the organization they work for will have the funds it needs to keep them employed. And, of course there’s an altruistic motive too… they want those organizations to do more good in the world.
#3: Focus on Solving Problems
The best webinar topics focus on solving problems. Some of the most profitable webinars I have ever sold were webinars where a participant would walk into the webinar with a problem, and walk out knowing exactly how to solve that problem.
To use another example from my fundraising businesses, one of the most successful webinars I have sold is called How to Make a Successful Fundraising Ask. Fundraisers would come to the webinar not knowing how to easily sit down across from someone to ask them for a $10,000 donation… and they would walk out knowing my 6-step ask conversation that makes it easy to effectively ask for money.
Focus your webinar topics on solving one big problem that your audience has… one that can be solved in under an hour.
#4: Choose a Compelling Webinar Title
The final rule is that once you choose your webinar topics, you have to craft them into a compelling webinar title. Your webinar’s title is your #1 marketing weapon. People who see your title need to be so intrigued that they will read the webinar description, which in turn should make them want to register / buy the webinar.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say that you are a baseball coach and one of your webinar topics is how to throw breaking balls. You could simply call your webinar “Curveball 101.” People who see it would know what the webinar was about. But it’s not compelling enough to get people to sign-up right away.
Let’s say that instead of that bland title, you realize your audience is really parents who want to teach their kids how to pitch and have the money to spend to do so (as opposed to a 13 year old who probably doesn’t have $37 to spend on a webinar). So instead of “Curveball 101,” you call your webinar “Teach Your Son How to Throw the Nastiest Curve Ball in Little League.” It’s the same webinar topic, but a much more compelling title… one that is designed to grab people’s attention and get them to buy your product.