Getting Started with Webinar Marketing

You've seen them everywhere. You've attended a few. Now you're ready to create your own.

A webinar is like a mini online conference where you share your insights and expertise. They are powerful audience building and engagement tools - no matter what industry you're in or how famous you are. You can run a webinar for $20,000 or you can run one from $0. There are many different variables and complexities involved (who you want to reach, whether you want to work with a major publisher, etc.), but the bottom line is that you can customize your strategy to reflect you and your brand.

It's this reason that makes starting and preparing a challenge. How can you come up with a topic that will resonate with people? And once you do, how will you run the webinar so that you don't have any technical glitches?

The fact is that you may need to run a few webinars to effectively answer these questions for your own business. But there are several steps that you can take ahead of time, to ensure that you're giving your best possible presentation and maximizing your ROI and generating highly qualified leads. The bottom line is that webinars position you as an authority in your space and give you a platform for sharing your knowledge with those who need it most - you need to make the most out of this opportunity, and in this guide, we'll show you how.

We'll introduce you to techniques and tips that will help you host your best webinar yet, whether you're running your first or 100th workshop. You'll learn:

  • How to tailor your webinar strategy to your marketing objectives
  • How to prepare assets for your webinar.
  • How to market and promote your webinar.
  • 'Hacks' for running your webinar more efficiently
  • Tips for engaging with your audience after your webinar is complete

Tailor Your Webinar to Your Marketing Goals

The first step to success with your webinar strategy is to clearly outline your marketing goals. Examples include lead generation, authority-building, and audience education. Research consistently shows that between 20% and 40% of webinar attendees turn into qualified leads. That means that if 100 people attend your webinar, you could gain up to 40 new customers. Awesome, right?

You need to build out your anticipated marketing funnel and make sure that you're putting the right conversion best practices in place, before running your webinar.

That's not all.

You can also run webinars that help onboard users, and others that offer product demos - to educate your audience about your industry. For example, if you run a marketing agency, you might host a webinar on how to get started with PPC ads. You can teach your audience about a new feature, give product demos, share insights from guests and industry practitioners. You can even partner up with businesses that serve similar audiences.

The bottom line is that there isn't one "right" way to host or run a webinar. Your approach is totally up to you, so you need to keep your eye on the prize from the get-go. Know what your audience cares about, and implement a strategy that aligns their needs to your business interests.

Prepare Assets For Your Webinars

Coming up with a topic that resonates

If you're hosting a webinar, you're going to want to attract as many attendees as possible. The key to success here? Choose a topic that's relevant to your audience. If your webinar helps them solve an important pain point, they'll attend in droves. The topic you choose will be mission-critical. When exploring options, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What's the most common question that our clients ask us?
  • What do we know about this field that others don't think about?
  • What's the biggest mistake our customers are making?
  • What aspects of our software are the most challenging to users?
  • Why do people drop off during the sales process?
  • Do people get stuck when they're setting up their accounts?
  • Have we created successful content that could be turned into a webinar?

By answering these questions, you'll begin to have a good idea of what your customers are more concerned with, and you can develop a webinar that addresses their issues. You can then use this information to create an effective promotion strategy for your target audience.

For example, Halley Gray and Michelle Nickolaisen write extensively on living the freelance lifestyle. Because they know their audience struggles to retain and keep clients, they held a webinar called 6 Systems to Get You Booked Out, which taught their audience about how to handle a lot of clients at once, as well as how to find ideal clients.

Coming up with a topic that resonates

Choosing a medium for presentation

Companies hold webinars in different ways. Some hold short webinars where a customer support agent shares their screen, then guides viewers through the use of a new feature. Other webinars are more performance-oriented with someone making a presentation, much like they would at a live conference. Some webinars function more like a fireside chat with a number of guest panelists sharing their insights.

When it comes to choosing a presentation format, think carefully about what information you need to get across. Do your customers need help with your software? If so, a webinar where you share your screen may be a good option. Do you simply want to educate your customers? A slideshow might be the best option here.

You'll also need to prioritize logistics. You'll have to choose a time of day that works for audiences around the world (consider time zones if you have customers on opposite coasts), date (experts say Tuesday is a good day for webinars) as well as a length for the webinar (experts say that the most successful webinars are about 45 minutes long). You'll also want to create a mechanism for recording and redistributing your webinar to audiences who can't attend.

Coming up with a technical checklist for the actual presentation

To make sure your webinar runs smoothly, come up with a technical checklist for the actual presentation. Here's one to help you get started.

  • Video/web camera are working well.
  • Microphone is working and sounds good.
  • All presenters can be seen and/or heard.
  • All necessary windows are opened (slideshow is synced up and ready to go).
  • Chat software and other distractions are closed.
  • There are no Internet connectivity issues (plug into a landline if you can).
  • All recording systems are in place.

In addition to preparing your processes and systems, you'll also want to prepare yourself. Stage fright is normal for even the most experienced speakers. The following steps will help you be ready:

  • Get your thoughts on paper. Create a brainstormed list of webinar content ideas to make sure that you've deliberated over your ideas. Consider writing a blog post for practice explaining your ideas.
  • Watch a few TED talks from master speakers.
  • Rehearse your webinar 3 times, with 3 different audiences (to maximize the value of your feedback).
  • On presentation day, make sure you have a glass of water handy and that you've eaten breakfast.

Promotion of Your Webinar

Earlier in this guide, we touched on the topic of promoting your webinar. In this section, we'll talk through specific tactics in greater depth. Here are some tips to generate sign-ups and guarantee a successful event.

Timing your announcements right

It may seem like you should give people advance notice about the webinar, but it's been found that starting promotion about two weeks before a webinar leads to best results. Why? Schedules shift, and if people sign up too far in advance, they may forget. One way to make sure that you're spot on with your timing is to run continuous experiments. Over time, you'll find your 'sweet spot' for maximizing attendance.

Webinar as part of a larger communication funnel

Webinars are great by themselves, but they bring the most value to your business when they're part of a larger communication funnel. If you're already writing in a blog, promoting content on social media, and sending out emails, then it will be relatively easy to promote a webinar.

If you're hosting a webinar, you'll want to create a detailed distribution plan. Make sure to address the following in your marketing planning process:

  • Who the webinar is for (aka your audience and target customer)
  • How you're going to reach prospective attendees (aka your marketing channels like email, social, etc.)
  • Who the webinar is for (aka your audience and target customer)
  • What the entire lead funnel looks like

Coming up with a compelling landing page

Every webinar you hold should have a landing page that promotes your webinar, lets people know what they can expect, and gives them crucial information such as the date and time.

For example, FreshBooks holds webinars on a regular basis for their new users, and has a compelling landing page to encourage customers to sign up:

Coming up with a compelling landing page

Here's how to create an effective webinar landing page:

Make your copy as clear as possible.
If people don't know what they're signing up for, they won't register. Write copy that's clear and succinct.
Stress the benefits.
Why is it worth attending this webinar? After someone has watched it, they should have gained tangible benefits. Stress these benefits on your landing page
Make sure the design is compelling
A lot of work has been done to create high-coverting landing pages, and you should hire a conversion-oriented designer or use a template to make sure your design will lead to registrations.

Sending emails to your list

The most effective way to encourage people to register for your webinar is to email your target audience with an invitation. Start by sending a Save the Date that allows them to sign up for reminders, and then send them an official registration email. You can send reminder emails for those who register, and those who have not yet registered.

Here's a Save the Date email for a webinar put on by Brian Clark:

Sending emails to your list

Your email schedule might look like this:

  • Save the Date - two weeks before the webinar
  • Official Registration - 8 days before the webinar
  • Reminder Email to Those Who've Registered - 3 days before the webinar
  • Reminder Email to Those Who Haven't Registered - 3 days before the webinar
  • Reminder Email to All - day before the webinar
  • Last Chance Reminder Email - morning of the webinar

Creating marketing assets to promote the webinar

For your marketing communications, you'll need to create images for emails and social media efforts. If you're having guests, you may want to create a PR kit to make it easy for them to promote the webinar to their audience.

Creating marketing assets to promote the webinar

How to Run Webinars

Now that you've gathered everything together, you'll want to make sure your webinar runs smoothly. Here's how:

  • Make sure everything is working 30 minutes before the event
  • Introduce yourself, as well as any guest panelists
  • Speak slowly - if you talk too fast, it will be difficult for listeners to understand you.
  • Always remember your audience. What do they want to know? Why are they attending? Always think about what they need as you're presenting.
  • Hold a Q & A session. At the end of your webinar, let attendees ask questions that went unanswered during the webinar. You can use tools like screen sharing, interactive polls, and video to facilitate this process. Spend some time with a sample audience to see what workflows are best for your specific group.

Post-webinar Communication

Your webinar isn't over once you've held it. In order to run an effective webinar, you need to thank your attendees. Many opt to send out surveys to get feedback, and many others promote additional assets, such as eBooks.

After Grasshopper's webinar on how to scale a business, the company asked attendees what they thought. This information allowed Grasshopper's marketing team to learn what worked and what didn't, allowing them to create a better experience at the next webinar.

Post-webinar Communication

Another thing to consider is whether you'll send out a recording. Because only 40% of registrants usually show up at the webinars, sending out a recording can potentially capture a larger audience.

According to a study by ON24, 25% of registrants view the replay. These replays can be used for weeks and months after as additional marketing assets. Make sure that you optimize these replays for specific conversion goals: you could host a contest, promote an exclusive offer, or send audiences to a free trial. Focus on helping your audiences learn, and make sure there is a clear call to action for the 'next steps' you'd like your audience to take.

Ready to Get Started?

Webinars are an excellent way to connect with your audience and build your authority. They're great for generating leads, driving traffic to your website, and they a way to have a more personal feel than other forms of marketing. If done well, webinars could be a source of serious revenue for your business.

If you follow our tips, you're sure to develop a great webinar marketing strategy. No worries, on the next page you will also find a checklist to go through before an event - just print it out and use it to prepare amazing webinars.

A Technical Checklist for Your Presentation

  • Video/web camera are working well.
  • Microphone is working and sounds good.
  • All presenters can be seen and/or heard.
  • All necessary windows are opened (slideshow is synced up and ready to go).
  • Chat software and other distractions are closed.
  • There are no Internet connectivity issues (plug into a landline if you can).
  • All recording systems are in place.
  • Your presentation screen appears properly

You'll Also Want to Prepare Yourself

  • Get your thoughts on paper. Create a brainstormed list of webinar content ideas to make sure that you've deliberated over your ideas. Consider writing a blog post for practice explaining your ideas.
  • Watch a few TED talks from master speakers.
  • Rehearse your webinar 3 times, with 3 different audiences (to maximize the value of your feedback).
  • On presentation day, make sure you have a glass of water handy and that you’ve eaten breakfast.
  • Wait few seconds, for those who log in at the last moment, before beginning the introduction.

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