For consistent growth, consistent strategy, and consistent progress, one of the things Sid Bharath recommends is for the webinars to keep plugging along. Sid is a grow marketer and SAAS consultant who’s worked with two separate software companies and grew them to exponential heights specifically using marketing strategies like webinars.
Sid says the great thing about strategic webinars is you’re building relationships with awesome people, and that’s the name of this game. That’s the name of marketing. It’s not how quickly you can get the sales, it’s who can you connect with to build these long-term relationships with. Sid talks about how to leverage webinars for free traffic, building incredible relationships, and ultimately landing big partner and growing the business to exponential heights.
Listen to the podcast here:
How To 12x Your Business With Strategic Webinars with Sid Bharath
I’ve got something very special for you. How would you like to learn how somebody quadrupled the business of one software company that he worked with? If that sounds exciting to you, what if I told you that this same person 12x the growth of another software company that he worked with? I’m talking about the guy, the man, the myth, the legend, Sid Bharath, who worked with two separate software companies and grew them to exponential heights. Specifically, using marketing strategies like webinars. He did over 200-partner webinars to drastically grow their businesses. He revealed all the strategies that he used in this episode.
You are going to love this because Sid is an incredibly intelligent marketer, which is why he was hired on to two separate companies to be the head of marketing and head of growth. He leveraged these partner webinars to do some amazing things. Without revealing too much about what we talked about this interview, we’re going to get right to it so you can understand the background for how to leverage partner webinars for free traffic, building incredible relationships, and ultimately landing big partner wills and growing the business to exponential heights. Let’s get right into this episode.
Sid, welcome to the show.
Joel, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited. I’ve been seeing a lot of buzz about the show and I love to be on it.
Why don’t you give my audience a quick background about who is the man, the myth, the legend, and what makes you so special? Why have you been able to launch these software companies that you’ve worked with to such great success?
I love learning. I’m reading all the time, learning from other marketers, people like you, people who I have connected with on Facebook, listening to podcasts, reading books, taking courses. I’ve done this a lot as well. I worked with various different companies. Having exposure to all these other companies and trying to understand, “What is the core thing behind everything that makes it all work?” and tying it together to come up with that repeatable solution that I can then go out and take to other companies. I’ve been doing it for seven years and that’s what’s led to it.
Take us back to the first company that you were working for as the Head of Marketing. Tell me about what that company did. They were a software company. They were an eCommerce platform. Tell me about when you first started, what was the growth plan? What was the ideas and let’s start from the ground floor and we’ll take my audience through the life of Sid.
It was a little of two years ago when I joined the company, it was called LemonStand, a Shopify competitive store. Before that, I had been consulting with various companies. This was my first full-time role as a head of marketing at a company. I’ve got a ton of ideas having consulted with other companies, but my close friends at that point was content. I decided to start off with my close friend content but I also knew that every CEO wants quick results. Content, it takes time for it to grow in time, for it to buildup. I also had to try to on the side, get some quick results as well. Get that little thing going so that the CEO is like, “Good, you’ve got things moving along.”
It was content primarily and for the QuickDome, I started doing some ads. That was competitive ads who are targeting Shopify because I start targeting the eCommerce platform which is too broad keyword doing some basic Facebook ads to boost content I was creating. That was getting some results, and then I figured also for the short and medium dome, I started doing some influencers stuff. That’s when I started. I created this eBook with 50 growth text called The 50 Shades of Growth for eCommerce platforms. I’ve got some of the biggest names like Sean Ellis, Noah Kagan, all these people to contribute to that eBook and then to promote the eBook when it was done.
I’ve got 50 influencers. I’ve got them to submit a piece for the book or I helped them. I took something from their website. I put it in there together and then with the help a few other software startups, software businesses, SAAS companies, I created this launch which was basically get the eBook but also get into a contest to win discounts from all these companies and from LemonStand. All the influencers from one of the book, all the partners who are part of this launch promoted the book.
There’s this huge bang and a lot of people coming in. It was one of the cool things that I did. I did it a couple more times with other various topics. Then I was doing webinar swaps. I did a webinar with a couple of other software companies, which basically where we knew customers would be or the tools that our potential customers would be using and then teaching them about using LemonStand.
Let’s talk about that real quick. The two things that you mentioned there that was very fascinating. You connect with other major influencers to get this huge buzz building LemonStand and around the product, you promoted it and tied a contest to it. You’re also doing JV webinar swaps. This contest marketing is something I’m very interested in because I’m actually doing a contest right now. I’m doing contest promotion.
I would love to hear since you’ve done both, you’ve done webinar swaps, which is where you’re swapping each other’s lists. You’re doing a webinar to partner list and then that partner is doing it to your list as well. Talk about the effectiveness of both of them. One strategy is the launch where you’ve got big buildup and then a big blast. The other one is consistently plugging away and doing these webinars. Talk about the difference between both and the effectiveness of both.
In the case of the big boom and stuff, it creates that initial huge boost, but then it dies down slowly. If you’re creating a lead magnet, just like the PDF book that I’ve created, then there’s still that ongoing organic traffic that keeps coming to it. We’ve got to close down the backlinks from various influencers as well that would have mentioned it.
It’s that big initial spike and then it goes down. It’s not something that you can do once and then be happy with. You’ve got to keep doing it again and again and do that launch thing. That’s one way of doing things the other way it was consistent, do the partnerships over and over again which is what the ConvertKit has been so good at.
If you have a big enough team, you should try and balance the two and you can have these big spikes. When you’re doing a big promotion or boost like that, you get to connect with so many influencers at a time and start that relationship, which you can then convert into partnership webinars down the road.
My suggestion is if you have the team size for it, the resources, try to do both and you’ll get big spikes, but you also have that steady growth coming in with your partner webinars. If you can’t, I do think you should lean towards the partner webinar thing because that is growth that you can depend on. With a big spike, you’re not quite sure how big it will be. You’re putting a lot of effort upfront for a big payoff and you’re not quite sure if that ROI will come back.
Doing this contest promotion, would you do it again or not? How did it perform for you? Do you remember?
That particular one it performed well and I’ve done a few other types of contests promotions where it didn’t perform as well. Looking back on all the data and what was different, the real cool thing is if you had a good list of partners or influences or affiliates who are willing to push your contest on launch date, then your contest will be successful. The contest works on momentum.
You have to have a whole bunch of people come in and then they start to share it to get points and stuff. That builds more momentum and it gets more people in and so on. If you only have a trickle of people coming in and one or two shares, it doesn’t go anywhere. It stays low. To make it work and if I was creating a campaign and I had the partners and affiliates and influencers, then yes, I’d totally do it again. If I didn’t have all of that already, I wouldn’t do that.
For consistent growth and consistent strategy and consistent progress, you recommend the partner webinars to keep plugging along. The great thing about partner webinars is you’re building relationships with awesome people and that’s the name of this game. That’s the name of marketing. It’s not how quickly you can get the sales, it’s who can you connect with to build these long-term relationships with.
I think people vastly underestimate why that works so well for webinars because you’re delivering such great content to somebody else’s list. It’s a win for them. It’s a win for you. You get exposure and there’s no downside. That’s what took LemonStand the 4X growth. Then you moved and you went to another software company. What happened? What was your position there in Thinkific?
Thinkific, I joined as the VP of growth. It was a head of marketing role. I was the first marketer back then, employee number nine to ten or something like that. A small company, small team. I knew the big boss man would want instant results. I started doing some ads, but I also knew that getting these long-term partnerships going and content going would also help in the long-term.
That’s what I was doing. I was trying to do it altogether. I’m doing a bit of each and then over the weeks, we were like, “This is working well. Let’s hire someone for it to do it full-time so that I can focus my time on other channels and exploring other guesting on other channels.” It followed that pattern where I would test out something if it worked, we would outsource or hire someone for it and we would move onto the next thing. If it didn’t work, I would scrap it and move onto the next thing.
What were you testing? What were the core things that you saw were working and what were the core things that you saw it didn’t work?
We were testing after initial brainstorming and understanding the customer and everyone had thrown in a bunch of ideas, we started testing those ideas. Optimizing the existing landing pages and funnel, trying to get new leads to affiliates or to an influencer or a software partner. Things that didn’t work initially was we realized that there was no point in optimizing the funnel if we didn’t have a lot of traffic coming in. Trying to optimize that would take a long time to get the data until we’ve got a ton of traffic and that we could get those things faster.
We shifted focus to getting more traffic in. Getting more traffic in, I’ve tried a lot of ads. Some worked, some didn’t. We scrapped the ones that didn’t, we booked the ads that did. We tried Twitter ads, which didn’t work but Facebook ads worked, so we focused on that. Then the real big things we saw was ConvertKit was doing partner webinars and we had a connection with them as an email platform.
I’m talking to all these other markets and seeing what they’re doing and I learned that all ConvertKit did everyday was partner webinars. We’re like, “We’ve got to do more partner webinars.” We did a few. It worked well and we said, “Let’s hire a guy and let him do all day long contact influencers, contact other software partners, build that relationship and then book those webinars.” That’s how we built that engine.
For somebody who’s getting started and they’re wondering, “How on Earth am I going to contact these influencers?” What was your strategy for contacting these influencers and how would you reach out to them to get them to agree to a partner webinar? Would you do a commission split with them? Is it purely a webinar swap where you’re swapping each other’s audiences? Have you found what works the best?
When you’re starting out and we we’re starting out at one point too. We would have loved to have the biggest names in the industry, the John Lee Dumas-type do the partner webinars with. John Lee Dumas uses Thinkific. We finally, build that relationship. We started with people who weren’t all up there or still building up their influence. Even if they sent us ten people I’d still get on a webinar and do it.
Who knows one day with they may be big, but also it was slowly building up our base to which we could go to bigger and bigger influencers and we could work our way up the ladder to get those bigger names. At the same time, Lewis Howes, John Lee Dumas have those people building those relationships. John Lee Dumas for example had a journal, a product coming out, we helped him promote it. No ask just, “We’ll promote the eBook for you. We’ll push it out to the list.”
We did this the first year and then the second year. Then we took them out to dinner and we went to Social Media Marketing World. We gave them hoodies and stuff. We built up that relationship until the point where it’s like, “We should keep working together.” Sometimes it will take two years, sometimes it would take two days, but you start off with getting value offer and saying, “No questions asked, we will help you. What do you need? What do you got going on? What launches do you have? I can help you promote. I can give you advice. If I don’t have a list, I can connect you with other people.” Then as you give them value then it’s like, “What can we do for you in return?” “Let’s do a webinar.”
What’s sad is that this sounds so simple. The strategy sounds so simple, which is give value first before you ever asked for anything in return, but most people don’t do it. They’re going to reach out to three or four people. Nobody’s going to respond. They’re going to say, “It doesn’t work.” They’re going to scrap it.
When you started out at Thinkific, how many people do you think you reached out to? You said you did about 200 partner webinars. How many people do you think you actually reached out to and asked for some promotion or whatever to get those 200?
Way more than 200. We had a guy doing it full-time. He probably let’s say consolidated ten a day, that’s 3,000 a year. 6,000, over in two years or maybe even more so. That much and those many webinars, but even if we’re the ones who didn’t even respond or didn’t bothered or responded, but said, “No, it’s not going to be a good fit.” For those people who responded, we keep in touch, we still keep building relationship. Who knows? Maybe they can connect someone with us. Maybe they’ll become a good fit at some point.
You do these partner Webinars, you’re reaching out to thousands of people. In my mind, I’m like, “There can’t be that many influencers out there 3,000, 4,000, 5,000, 6,000 influencers?” In the marketing world, where did you find all these people? Were you reaching out to other verticals even markets that could have been like a stretch? Are these all marketing influencers or course creators? Where are you finding all these people?
We weren’t focusing just on the big influencers, the ones that everyone has heard of. Those are maybe a few hundred of them. We expanded into the ones that no one has heard of as well. The ones who’ve got a thousand followers in Instagram. There are numerous of them. Even if they’re not a good webinar or maybe they become a client, who knows.
That’s where our strategy was and different markets as well, Australia, different market verticals, going from not the ones who are in marketing and going into branding or other core teaching or other verticals that are similar to what we were talking about.
Tell me about best case scenario with your partner webinars and then tell me a worst-case scenario, ones that worked well and ones that didn’t. Share with me the experience.
Most of it were all good experiences. There had been one or two who didn’t really promote the webinar and sent anyone to do us. In the early stages, we were fine with people only sent ten people to the webinar. That was great. We’d still do it. As we’ve grown bigger and we’ve had bigger influencers and partnerships, the ones that are small we put effort and time into that.
We funneled them into a different webinar that we’ve already got planned, a weekly webinar that we do as part of nurturing customers. The really good ones, those are the ones that are sending us thousands of people to our webinar. Everyone’s there, they’re really engaged, we’re delivering them all great content, they loved it. People are eager to sign up and get our stuff at the end of it.
Take me inside one of those big webinars. What’s going through your mind when you’re delivering these webinars, these presentations, do you have a specific end goal in mind? Like, “I want to hit X number of people to sign up for my free offer at the end.” How does that work?
They promote a webinar to their list and all these people would come to our landing page and sign up for the webinar. We’d set it up so you’d sign up for the webinar, step one. Then the thank you page of that invites you to sign up for the platform for the product, for the free plan. We’d see that spike in new accounts created new emails come in the day before the webinar. We were already on that highway like, “This has already got us a couple bunch of people.” I need to deliver on the promise of a good webinar. The webinar itself is focused on pure value. It’s not the typical, a perfect webinar style thing that you see others do it because we’ve already got these people using the platform.
We need to blow their minds away with value and also motivate them. Creating an online course, a lot of people don’t have the motivation. They want to do it or they don’t believe they can go do it. The webinars are focused around helping them with that self-belief, the motivation, showing them stories and examples of other people just like them, regular people who have made millions with courses.
Then busting any objections they have, “I need to have expensive equipment.” No, you don’t. “It’s going to take me months.” No, it doesn’t need to take you months to create. ” I don’t have any market. “We have training material for you at the end here as a bonus.” People on the webinar they already asked them to sign up for free and then at the end we give them the bonus where they’d have to sign up to our paid plan.
We give a free month to the paid plan as well to ease them into it. Eventually, a lot of them stick on the paid plan afterwards as well. We’re aiming for 15% is our average, 20% is great. I’ve done a few where it’s gone up 20%, 30% who can convert at the end. Around about 15% to 20% is the sweet spot there.
That makes it well worth your while if you get 30%, 20% even to take you up on your free trial and learn how to build the course. As you’ve gone through, you’ve done these webinars, what types of content in the webinars have you tested? Do you use specific pieces of content in the webinar or how does that work? What have you found to be the most effective and most impactful content inside the webinar itself?
We definitely tried different types of content. The content that we use depends on the source of the webinar attendees. If these webinar attendees are coming from our own internal list, it means they’re already aware of Thinkific. If they’re maybe using the platform creating courses. The content is to help them be successful on the platform. It’s more around showing them how to use the platform and the tools. If they’re coming from a partner webinar, they probably haven’t seen Thinkific before or used it before.
Then, it’s more about online courses. Why you should create online courses, how to do it, what are the steps. We tried various new funnels as well, funnels for traffic on Facebook. We have you created these cold traffic audiences and we drove them into a webinar. That webinar was helping them get instant results on the webinar. We did one where there was pre-selling your online course.
We actually get people to come up with a message for their upcoming online course even though they had no content, no landing page, nothing. Share that message on Facebook, LinkedIn, which goes here in creating this course. “Are you interested? Comment below.” You’ve probably seen some of these people do this as well.
We’ve got them to do that on the webinar and they get instant results. They have people commenting. The moment they get an instant there like, “This is so easy. I should keep going and they step into it now because people that are already commenting.” That webinar allows people to go instantly from cold traffic to like super-hot traffic because now they’re in it. They’re doing it.
We’ve found it to be super effective. One of my other clients, Dan Henry, I had him on as a podcast guest. He talks about that too. He has an auto webinar that he did close to $2 million in sales with it. It something exactly you talked about. He gets his prospects’ results on the webinar. It’s very effective.
I learned that trick from that Dan Henry.
It’s crazy, but if you can get results on the webinar, it’s too easy of a sale.
For that webinar, I actually guide them in going to a free trial at the end and go straight to the paid. I still get a good amount of 10% to 15% conversions in there.
For all of our webinars we do direct sales selling. The only time where we don’t do direct selling is when we’re pushing them into a strategy call or a consultation call, and we’re selling a high-end offer like $5,000 and above. For the most part we’re selling it directly on the webinar and converting the sale right away.
The reason for the partner webinars, we don’t do direct it’s an understanding between partners that we don’t want to pitch to your audience, but we want to give them a lot of value. When we’re in cold targeting and cold traffic and stuff, then we do direct selling.
It was a bittersweet moment. I love the company, Thinkific. It’s hard for me to leave, but also because I used to do consulting before. I liked the lifestyle of being able to travel around and consult with various companies. I feel I’ve learned a lot over the last few years working in companies and noting how as the companies grow, seeing how it works operationally. How departments are created and process and systems. That I’ve got that knowledge.
I feel like I can go out again and start with consulting and help other companies do their marketing. Also on the side, maybe probably building my own software product or ecommerce business using the same learnings that I’ve had about growing a business. Trying to grow that business with them.
When I was in marketing and sales before jumped out on my own, you see what the potential is. You’re helping these companies grow by over tenfold. It’s time to take my own claim and launch my own business.
I know it’s a bit of a selfish thought, but, “I’m helping these people grow to millions of dollars. I can do that for myself.” At some point, you’ve got to look out for yourself as well. That’s what it was.
We talked about a ton. I learned a ton. I love talking about partner webinars. I love talking about joint venture webinars because I do think that it’s such an untapped market. At least coming from where I’m from. I come from a very much direct response marketing, paid traffic background. That’s how I jumped into this whole world. They’re very much like go direct to sale, do paid traffic.
People don’t realize there’s so much more potential with free traffic and highly targeted traffic where you put in the time, put in the effort to make connections, build bonds, build relationships. Then grow your list that way. It’s a lot riskier. You build the great relationships of John Lee Dumas’, those are the big whales in your industry eventually. That’s how you make the big impacts. Sid, I had a great time. Where can people reach out and connect with you?
Sid, I had a blast. If you ever need anyone to bounce ideas off of or get professional marketing and consulting advice, he knows the stuff and hopefully he shared enough knowledge to prove that he’s one smart dude. Sid, thanks for hopping on the show. Any final parting thoughts?
Thanks so much, Joel. I love this whole thing and I’m looking forward to all the episodes that you’re having.
I’m sure we’ll be doing things in the future. We’ll talk to you 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 personal launching a brand-new six and seven-figure product from scratch at SoldWithWebinars.com/TV. If you’d like to come hang out with other fellow experts, join our Facebook group at SoldWithWebinars.com/Experts. Join us next time and I’ll see you there.
- Sid Bharath
- The 50 Shades of Growth
- Dan Henry – previous podcast
- Sid Bharath’s Facebook
- Sid Bharath’s Twitter
- Sid Bharath’s email
About Sid Bharath
This story is going to sound familiar, so I’ll skim through it. I used to work a well-paid, corporate job as a management consultant at Deloitte, one of the top firms in the business. I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do, despite making some amazing friends at the company and getting paid really well. So I quit and left the comfort of my home in Canada to explore the world and figure out what I wanted to do.
Pretty standard so far, right? At this point, you probably expect that I went to Thailand and then wrote a blog about starting a lifestyle business with pictures of myself living the life on some beach. Well, that’s not quite what happened. Oh, there are beaches involved, but not until much later.
My first stop after quitting was Chile with my friends and business partners. The government of Chile had started a program called Startup Chile, where they invited entrepreneurs to move there to start a business with $40,000 in funding. Our fledgling travel startup idea was picked amongst thousands of others, largely due to this epic promo video.