Webinar Recap: So, I Want to Host a Webinar. Now What?
December 13, 2018 | Elizabeth Rivelli
Being a marketer in today’s business landscape is tough. It’s crowded and competitive, and we have to fight tooth and nail to get in front of folks who are short on time and overwhelmed with options. With each passing year, we’re spending more time trying to break through the noise and build brand awareness, identify the best prospects, and qualify every lead.
At SnapApp, we’ve found that a consistent webinar program allows us to do just that. We’re able to grab the attention of those targets that tend to be heads down and out of pocket for most of the week, or even longer. Recently, we chatted with marketing mavens Michael Nelson, CEO of 6Connex and Todd Davison, Founder & CEO of Demand Frontier, to discuss their best practices for all things webinar-related, in a—you guessed it—webinar! Check out some of the most common questions we heard from our audience, answered.
1. I’m planning my very first webinar. Where do I start?
Getting started with your first webinar might sound like a huge challenge, but it’s actually pretty simple. In short, it all starts with using the right platform to host the presentation. There are dozens of options out there, but don’t be fooled—they’re far from equal. Start by doing research to find the best platform that meets your unique needs and goals. The platform has to provide an experience for attendees that is seamless, enjoyable, and most importantly, one that reflects your brand.
Now, let’s take a step back and talk about design. Whether you’re planning your very first webinar, or you’re a self-proclaimed webinar whiz, we can all agree that content is the most important element. A good webinar hits on the main themes that the audience cares about, but strikes a balance with the topics that your brand wants to convey. The meat of your webinar should be compelling enough to hold the attention of attendees, but it should also start a conversation in an area that your company is an expert in.
Lastly, don’t overlook the tactical stuff. We’re all busy, and deadlines creep up faster than we’d like. Pick a date for your webinar to go live and work backwards, giving yourself roughly three weeks to promote the event, and three weeks to develop the content.
2. How should I promote my webinar so people see it?
We all know that demand generation marketing is a crowded space. And in order to break through the noise and make your brand stand out among the rest, your webinar promotion strategy must be tailored to the audience you’re trying to reach.
Some options come with a fee, such as targeted display banner ads and paid social media campaigns. On the other hand, non-paid strategies can be just as successful, like social media promotion on your organization’s owned channels and blog posts that live on corporate sites.
Check out this example on Twitter:
When promoting a webinar, many marketers overlook the power and influence of their executive and sales teams. These folks usually have far reaching networks, so asking them to personally invite connections or prospects they’re already in conversations with can be incredibly impactful. This strategy might not yield massive registration numbers, but it means that the people who do register for your webinar will be higher quality leads.
3. How can I make my webinar exciting and informative for attendees?
One of the easiest ways to leverage your audience is to really understand what they want to learn and what they want to take away from the event. Sending out a short interactive survey before the webinar is a great way to gather this data and use it to shape your slides and inform the direction of the presentation.
Here’s an example from one of our recent webinars:
Make sure your pre-event survey is conversational, and ask questions related to organizational challenges and goals, which will really help your sales team when it’s time to follow up.
To drive engagement during the presentation, interactive content is key. Think about linking to branded assessments, surveys or quizzes in the chat box. This allows your audience to snack on other content while they listen to the speaker.
Sprinkling in fun polls and questions during the event can also increase participation. They don’t necessarily have to be related to the topic of the webinar, but it provides an easy opportunity for attendees to get involved in the broader conversation and interact with other listeners.
As the presentation wraps up, drive your attendees to a landing page that rounds out their experience and prompts them to follow a CTA. Offering something tangible, like a free demo or consultation, can bridge the gap between the webinar and actionable next steps, so the process flows more naturally and creates an easier transition for sales.
4. What are the biggest mistakes I should watch out for?
When you’re planning a webinar, whether it’s your first or your fifth, make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to prepare and promote. Create a workback schedule and a timeline for designing the presentation, promoting the session, setting up your marketing automation streams, finding co-sponsors if needed, determining follow up assets, etc. You get the picture—there’s a lot that goes into hosting a webinar, so organization is essential.
Be smart about your reminder emails. Don’t think that one reminder email the day before will cut it. Instead, send one 30 minutes before the webinar is scheduled to begin, or even five minutes after it starts. In fact, research shows that the majority of webinar registrants sign up a week before the event, and many wait until the day of.
Now let’s talk about the biggest cause for webinar headaches—technology problems. All too often, technology doesn’t agree with us, especially when we need it the most. To mitigate the risk of technical errors, it’s important to understand your webinar platform and know how to fix issues quickly if they do arise. It’s also good idea to do a dry run to test everything prior.
On the backend, make sure your marketing automation connections are strong, so attendees are filtered into the correct streams and receive appropriate follow up from sales. When it comes to preparing for a webinar, you really do need to sweat the small stuff. Treat it like an event—don’t cut corners because it’s online and not in-person.
For marketing and sales teams, hosting a webinar is one of the most proven ways to reach potential prospects and demonstrate how your products and services can help them solve pain points in their everyday workflow. Have more questions about your webinar strategy? Check out the full conversation with Michael and Todd to learn more.