In today’s global market, webinars are a great marketing tool as they have the ability to erase the barriers of time and geography, making it easier for everyone to access content no matter the time or place. Webinars can we be watched live or for those that are time poor, on-demand at a time that suits them best.
More importantly, they’re a great medium to directly interact with your clients and prospects on a large scale. And as the cost per head is lower than traditional face-to-face event marketing, your marketing dollar is well spent.
Underpinning align.me’s methodology is the concept of the buyer’s journey – in B2B marketing, buyers progress along a cognitive journey before making a purchase decision. At the top of the funnel it’s Marketing’s role to execute tactics that will position us with the buyer, while at the bottom we need to execute tactics that will get buyers to their end point – making a buying decision.
Webinars are mainly effective at the top of the funnel to position your company, create interest, and get buyers to a point where they acknowledge they have a problem that’s worth fixing.
But what type of webinar is most suited for what purpose? There are many types of webinars, but they can broadly be split into training-based and sales-based webinars.
As the name suggests, training webinars are educational and focused on sharing knowledge with your audience, which in turn positions your company.
These are basically demonstrations, and are typically non-interactive. However, they can be effective with a mix of other training webinars such as seminars or interactive.
Single direction training. That is, the host provides information and the audience receives it (in a non-interactive way).
These differ from lectures in that they are very much two-way directional. They comprise of Q&A and discussions, however, you must have a backup plan in case people don’t ask questions!
This type of webinar is very similar to a seminar, however has a stronger focus on the discussion part. Essentially equivalent to a tutorial, it takes the interactivity to a further level.
Sales webinars, on the other hand, are more focused on troubling the audience and perhaps even beginning to define a need.
Planning your webinar
They key to a successful webinar is planning. On average, there’s an eight-week planning cycle, ranging from planning to design to marketing. Here are 10 tips for planning a successful webinar:
- Determine your attendee objectives. How many attendees are you after? With a typical 30-40% attendance rate for webinars, work backwards to identify how many registrations you’ll need.
- Define your target market. Making sure you have the right list of names, and enough names, is critical for your webinar’s success. As a next step, review if you have the right names available in your CRM. If not, consider buying or renting a list. Make sure, however, that you have permission to email the contacts in a way that adheres to the Spam Act.
- Send two different email invitations with a unique message to gain registrations. For example, email 1 can be promoting what is addressed in the webinar while email 2 promotes the featured speakers.
- Increase your overall attendance by sending reminder emails to those already registered a day in advance, as well as on the day itself.
- Start promoting your webinar three weeks out, and use a mix of marketing tools such as email, website, and social media to maximize your reach.
- Cross promote with partners and guest speakers.
- Embed social media links on landing pages to enable registrants to share your event.
- Remove barriers to access. Make sure there are no downloads and plug-ins required for viewing, and ensure that your webinar is viewable from mobile devices.
- Engage your audience during the webinar by using interactive tools such as polls, surveys, Q&A, and chats. GotoWebinar is an example of an easy-to-use tool that enables these functionalities.
- Record your webinar and make sure it’s available on demand as soon as your event finishes. This can increase viewership by over 25%.
While there is a fair bit of time involved in planning your webinar, the investment is worth it in that (provided you remember to hit ‘record’!) you end up with a piece of content that you can repeatedly use for the purpose it was originally designed.