Much of the world’s in-person activities have temporarily stopped, but that doesn’t mean that marketing must stop. So many people are stuck at home, and the demand for education and entertainment has skyrocketed – as have marketers’ opportunities to meet these demands.
Enter: Webinars. A webinar (an abbreviated name for web seminar) is a way to offer comprehensive, engaging online education that draws viewers to your brand, much like a blog post. What makes webinars unique is that they are community events that often allow for viewers to interact with one another and the hosts – and they boast pretty unparalleled engagement and lead generation.
According to GoToWebinar, the average webinar attendee’s time spent viewing is 61 minutes, which is usually the length of an entire presentation. When you consider that 50 percent of those who sign up for a webinar actually attend, it’s not hard to see why so many brands value webinars as an important lead generation tool that contributes to their marketing and sales strategy.
There has never been a better time to offer your audience free value, and never a better opportunity to build your brand’s authority on what it is you specialize in. Here are the basics to running an effective and measurable webinar marketing campaign:
Start with a Compelling Topic
Because of how effective webinars can be (as well as the unprecedented time at home many of us are experiencing), it’s important to pick a compelling and specific topic for your webinar so your brand can stand out. This process begins with identifying what your brand’s expertise is. What problems do you solve for your clients? What problems can you solve right now? The more specific you can be, the more likely your audience is to sign up for your webinar.
You can also leverage your sales team when you’re looking for a great topic, as they might have insight into what your audience wants and needs. Another great place to mine for great webinar content: Your blog. What’s been most popular? What have people engaged with most? When in doubt, don’t feel like your topic has to appeal to your entire customer base. In fact, creating webinars that are highly targeted to specific segments of your audience can yield the most engagement.
Whatever topic you choose, you’ll want to begin planning at least a month in advance. We’ll get to why that is later in this post.
Pick a Digital Venue
If you were planning an event in real life, you’d want to make sure your venue could seat enough people and had the proper presentation technology to facilitate your seminar, right? The same principles apply to webinars. Choosing the right platform is crucial when it comes to capacity and features.
Knowing how many people you want to attend your webinar is a good way to start, as is considering any important integrations. Some will offer seamless posting on social networks like Facebook or YouTube, while others will integrate with your email marketing service provider for lead efficiency. Other features to look for include: Automatic recording, analytics data, multiple host capabilities, and audience moderation. When in doubt, both GoToWebinar and Zoom are great options.
Create a Presentation Style that Stands Out
The typical webinar is usually made up of a PowerPoint presentation followed by a Q&A session, but don’t feel like you need to stick with this format. In fact, it might be a good idea to shake things up. (Remember: There is a lot of extra digital content being generated right now.)
A lot of companies fare well with unscripted, discussion-style presentations that provide multiple experts and much more opportunity for audience engagement. If you do decide to go with a PowerPoint, just remember to keep slides moving quickly and text to a minimum to keep your audience as engaged as possible.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about webinars is that they ultimately aren’t sales pitches – they’re about providing free value. To bridge the gap, you can have a product or service in mind when you’re brainstorming your topic to make buying it the next logical action when your attendees are solving whatever problem they’re facing.
One last way to up sign-ups and engagement is to consider co-presenting with another brand (or guest speaker) who has similar expertise to offer. Not only do you capitalize on two audiences, you also capitalize on novelty.
Tackle your Marketing Strategy
Remember when we said you should plan your webinar topic one month in advance? To support a lead-generation strategy, you’ll need three full weeks to promote your webinar, get sign-ups, and make sure the earliest sign-ups keep your presentation top of mind. Most brands will create a landing page where participants can register, and then they’ll use that landing page to promote the presentation elsewhere – such as through their email list, through their social media platforms and/or in paid social media advertisements.
Beyond marketing to potential attendees, you’ll also want to continue to remind those who have already signed up for your webinar when it is and what they can expect. At minimum, most brands will send an email the day before the webinar as well as the hour before it begins. This keeps it top of mind and makes a big difference in attendance!
Follow up with Attendees
After your webinar is over, you still have plenty of opportunity to connect with your attendees – and those who missed the webinar! You can send all who signed up a thank you email with a link to the replay, which offers those who couldn’t make it (and those who could) a second chance to interact with your brand.
This is also a great time to connect with sales again, letting them know how the webinar went and how many new leads you generated. This will ultimately help you determine what kinds of webinars are more effective than others as well as how they’re contributing to the bottom line, and it allows the sales team to nurture leads following the webinar.
If all this still seems confusing, there are planning resources out there that will help you stay organized and on track as you develop your next webinar.
Webinars are always an incredible lead generation tool, but now is a particularly great time to offer free value to your audience and connect with them during a time that they… well, have time. Few marketing tools offer such staggering engagement and leads, and few make so much room for showing off your brand’s expertise. Hosting webinars is a great way to share some knowledge with your audience – and create some conversions while you’re at it.
Reach out today to schedule a call with one of our marketing specialists and discover what’s possible.
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