Webinars, done well, can be an integral part of your event marketing mix. They are a chance to get to know your market, leverage the expertise that resides in your organization, and establish thought leadership. Better still, if you engage your listeners effectively enough, webinars can result in immediate opportunities for sales.
In my experience, webinars have become a more and more powerful lead qualifier. This post contains some key insights I’ve learned.
1. Target your topics and help your attendees learn.
By examining your web stats and other metrics, you will likely see a pattern of what attracts interest and what creates sales opportunities. For example, say you are marketing office supplies. Which of these webinars is more likely to attract attendees?
- “Introduction to ABC Office Supplies”
- “Learn to cut your spend on office equipment by 60%!”
You’re right. B. Why? You are likely targeting leads that have never heard of you before, so while many potential attendees won’t yet be interested in learning about your company, they will probably be interested in learning about something to ease a pain point—in this case, how to cut spend.
2. Make sure your presenter is prepared.
Get any visual aids (videos, slides, etc) as far in advance as you can to make sure the material is of the right length and of sufficient quality. Edit credibility-killers like misspellings or conflicting messages. And keep your eye out for bad graphics! Unattractive or unprofessional slides can really hurt you.
Get any new presenters to do a run through with you days in advance of the presentation date. I have never failed to be surprised how many problems come up in practice sessions. You don’t want to have issues with poor sound quality or visual aids not working on the day. Be prepared to get a new microphone for your presenter if necessary!
Also, make sure that you do platform training. 10 minutes before a webinar is certainly not the time to go through how the presenter needs to use the platform. To make sure that you take care of any technical issues well before the webinar start time, dial in 30 minutes early.
4. Send a last-minute reminder.
Sending an email reminder with “Your webinar starts now!” in the subject line increases the percentage of people who actually attend. Providing a contact for tech support in case of issues logging into the webinar helps increase attendance as well. (Webinar applications are not always 100% intuitive, and people often struggle with the login process.)
5. Involve the audience.
For example, for a 45-minute webinar I would plan 1-3 regular Q&A breaks. Ideally, there should be someone hosting the webinar, doing the following things:
- Introducing the main presenter
- Asking attendees’ questions during the breaks
- Preparing a few “dummy questions” just in case no one asks any
- Responding to any simple questions or comments directly to audience members via chat window
Also, two different voices on the webinar are simply psychologically more engaging: it helps people stay awake!
6. Gather information.
I found that running polls during the webinar – often just before/after a Q&A session – is a useful exercise for both engaging the audience and learning about our market. Asking the audience about particular concerns or problems they have is a great start.
I usually also put in a question like, “What did you think of this webinar? A. Informative B. Boring C. Confusing D. Entertaining”. That often sparks a bit of humour. Alternatively, you could ask quiz-style questions to test the audience, to highlight little-known facts or pique interest. Think about potentially including an incentive for those who answer the questions right.
I’m sure you do this anyway, but here are some things I tested that proved effective for webinar follow-up:
- Address any unanswered questions after the webinar. If you have a lot of questions that went unanswered, consider a blog post! This is also a great way to promote the webinar recording to those who couldn’t attend.
- Record the webinar and make it available for download on your website. *This is particularly important. According to Forrester Research, videos are 53 times more likely than traditional web pages to receive a first-page ranking.*
- Highlight any particularly interesting things that come up in Q&A on your social media channels and link to the download.
- Send a follow-up email to registrants with a call to action.
- Configure your marketing automation solution to alert sales to any leads that get qualified during the webinar (i.e. attendees with the right demographics who attend and ask questions).
One key thing to remember when it comes to follow-up, is make sure that you follow up in a timely manner. Our research shows that timely follow-up substantially increases click rates since the event is fresh in the mind of your attendees.
I like doing webinars and videos because they enable a valuable form of two-way communication with your customers and prospects. And, the more targeted and relevant they are, the more power and engagement they put behind your brand.
If you want more information on performing killer webinars, be sure to take a look at our helpful webinar checklist.