For reasons too many to name, webinars continue to be one of the most popular strategies for leveraging content to drive qualified leads. There has been significant focus on creating great content over the past few years, for good reason, but the fact remains that no matter how good your content is, if people can’t engage with it, it’s all but useless.
- Have a plan. There is so much that goes into planning a successful webinar, but in order to start you need to ask yourself:
- Who are you targeting?
- What amazing content are you going to be presenting that is going to knock everyone’s socks off?
- What day and time are you going to host it to drive the best attendance?
- How are you going to reach your audiences?
The answers to all of these questions and more should be answered up-front in a comprehensive strategic plan. To be most effective, promotional activities need to occur pre-event, during the event, and post-event – what tactics will you be employing at each phase? The chosen strategies and tactics should be aligned to your audiences and their behavior – have you built personas that help you identify the best ways to reach your intended audience?
Having a thorough plan ensures that when it is “go-time”, promoting the webinar is strictly about world-class execution.
- Engage hearts and minds. People are faced with a constant deluge of information. The hard truth is that no matter how interesting you think your webinar topic is no one is going to show up to your webinar unless you engage their interest – emotionally or intelligently. The key here is coming up with ideas that will get your audience excited. Excited enough to register, mention it to a co-worker, and share it on a social media platform. Excited enough that it is memorable.
If you want to be memorable, boring email blasts are not going to cut it.
Giving away valuable content, offering special discounts, creating games or sweepstakes, hosting contests and even the strategic use of humor are all ways to create a more engaging promotional experience.
- Take an integrated approach. Use every available means to reach your audience: email, social media, direct mail, the homepage of your website, and PPC campaigns can all help drive your audience to register. If you have multiple speakers, leverage them! Have your speakers add a link to the landing page to their email signature. Every speaker, sponsor, and partner should also be communicating within their own professional networks to drive attendance. Write a blog post that teases or supplements the content you will be sharing in the webinar. Invite industry media and analysts so that they promote it to their audiences during and after the webinar. Create a 30 second teaser video.
Sometimes people fall into the trap of thinking that since a webinar is a digital event – only digital strategies can be used to promote it. Nothing is further from the truth!
In reality, people can and should be reached across multiple mediums. Direct mail and PR can be used to effectively promote a webinar, especially one on a trending topic.
- Stay in front of your audience. According to HubSpot, only 30% of people who register for a webinar will actually attend. Once someone has registered, don’t forget to send reminders the week and even the day of the event – people get busy and webinars are easy to forget. If someone registers but doesn’t attend, send a follow-up email that drives them to the webinar recording.
When it comes to promoting an event, once is never enough.
- Keep it simple. Make sure your invitation emails are clean and informative so that it is simple for people to learn what they need to know and take action. Keep it simple to register via obvious CTAs, a clean and well organized landing page, and an easy way to access previously recorded webinars. Use best practices on form fields and placement. Less is more, now is not the time to gather every potential piece of information on a lead you wish you knew!
Webinars are a cost-effective tactic that allow companies to expand their reach, target more people and deliver content in a compelling, fully branded way. Developing a strategy that effectively promotes your webinar will drive attendance and ensure success.
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By: Cole Naldzin, Principal