The pandemic prompted most of us to get familiarized with and accept the webinar format as an instrument for meetings, classes, events, and other knowledge-building opportunities. Webinars were the most popular marketing tool during the pandemic; according to a GoodFirms study, over 74% of businesses increased the use of webinars since then.
So, are webinars still effective in 2023? Yes, webinars are still relevant in 2023. In fact, a Content Marketing Institute report said 64% of B2B marketers hosted a webinar in the last 12 months. The same report highlighted that virtual events/webinars/online courses were rated as the content type that produced the best content marketing results.
Webinars as a marketing tool
Webinars are a low-cost, targetted, engaged medium of marketing, a combination that’s rare to find. It allows us to actually interact with potential customers and clients in a captive environment, making it a high-converting addition to the sales funnel.
How to plan a high-converting webinar?
1. Select your Objective
Identify the goal and key metrics you are pursuing through a webinar marketing strategy. Where in the sales funnel does it fit in?
Do you want to test a product you’re launching? Do you want to generate leads for your service? Do you want to start a conversation with customers?
Do you want to increase your database of interested customers? Do you want to track link clicks to your website? Do you want to sell your subscription or packages live on the webinar?
2. Pick a Webinar Format
Webinar formats can be tailored to suit specific goals, topics, and audience preferences. The choice of format can depend on the purpose of your webinar and the desired level of engagement and interaction with the participants.
Find out which webinar format is best suited to the objective below. You can even mix and match them to enrich the customer experience further. Some common webinar formats include:
- Presentation: This format involves a single presenter delivering a slide-based presentation or lecture on a specific topic. Add in a Q&A element, and you’re golden. It is one of the most common webinar formats and is suitable when sharing a lot of information and insights.
Product or Service Launch
Thought-leadership Educational Content
Product or Service demos
- Interview: In this format, a host interviews an expert or guest speaker on a particular subject. The audience can participate by submitting questions, making it an interactive and engaging format.
Product Demo, Customer Testimonials
- Panel Discussion: A panel webinar involves a group of experts or speakers discussing a specific topic. A moderator facilitates the discussion and manages the flow of the conversation. Panel discussions allow for diverse perspectives and audience interaction.
Discussing Industry Trends
Problem-Solving, Community Building
- Q&A Session: This format focuses solely on answering questions from the audience. The speaker or panel responds to queries related to the webinar topic. Q&A sessions encourage audience engagement and provide valuable insights.
Market Research/Feedback Gathering
- Hybrid Webinar: A hybrid webinar combines elements of both live and pre-recorded content. It can include a mix of live presentations, pre-recorded videos, interactive polls, and Q&A sessions.
Product or Service Launch
Product or Service demos.
3. Assign Roles to Your Team
A webinar requires cross-functional skills. You will need the following skillset:
- Content programming and creation
- Tech and operations
- Marketing and Promotions
- Speaker (if relevant)
Assemble and delegate tasks to team members based on their expertise.
4. Pick a Webinar Tool
Select a webinar platform that suits your needs and budget. Consider factors like the expected audience size, recording capabilities, budget, and customization options. Start internal trials with free subscriptions or tools before spending on premium features.
Here are some tools you can try out
5. Prepare the Necessary Equipment & Space
Recce your location and equip yourself with reliable equipment, and don’t forget to test it a few hours before you go live!
The basic equipment you should consider for running your webinar includes;
- An excellent internet connection
- Laptop/Computer (+ a backup Laptop/Computer)
- High res webcam
- Video editing tool
- Screen recording software
- Hardisk to back up all data to address any technical failures
6. Plan and Produce Your Content
Depending on your chosen format, create a compelling content flow that keeps attendees engaged throughout the webinar. Surprise your audience with a great script, creative visuals, concise slides, multimedia elements, and interactive elements like live polls.
Spend extra time choosing the right title for the webinar. Research trending topics, popular blog posts, and audience interests to determine a compelling topic. Craft a clear and takeaway-focused webinar title, utilizing lists, “how to” formats, 101 introductions, or workshop-style titles.
7. Promote your Webinar
- Create a Registration or Landing Page: Design a registration page with clear goals, information about the online event, and a clear call to action. Utilize landing page templates from tools like Typeform or JotForm to simplify the process.
- Time it right: Start your promotions 3-4 weeks before the event for optimal registration rates. Keep pushing for more registrations even if you have achieved your attendance goal because research suggests out of 100 registrants, you can expect an average attendance rate of 40-50%.
- Utilize your own platforms: Feature upcoming webinars on your website pages, use banner ads on your homepage and blog, and advertise on thank-you/confirmation pages.
- Leverage the power of email: Send promotional emails 3-4 weeks before the webinar and increase frequency as the event approaches. The best time of the day to send emails promoting your webinars is between 8 am and 12 pm. Email drives 79% of registrations, making it an effective marketing channel.
- Get Social: Be active on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Use relevant hashtags, schedule promotions, and engage in relevant groups and forums. Consider paid social advertising as well to drive more registrations. Collaborate with industry influencers to add credibility and expand your marketing reach. Provide them branded imagery, registration links, sample emails, and social posts for easy promotion.
- Tap into employee networks: Involve your employees in webinar promotion, especially if their social networks align with your target audience. Provide them with links and social copy to share on their profiles. Work with your sales team to create personalized messages for key accounts, offering a one-to-one approach.
- Optimize your registration page: Improve conversion rates by reducing form fields, including a video, and highlighting the benefits of attending.
- Utilize retargeting ads and paid media: Reach out to visitors who didn’t register with retargeting ads. Consider targeted social and display ads on relevant websites to reach your desired audience.
8. Practice makes Perfect
Conduct rehearsals with your team to address technical issues and familiarize everyone with the content. Test audio, framing, recording, and resolve any potential internet disruptions.
Schedule the webinar day in advance with timings and delegated responsibilities, with emergency protocols in case of disruptions.
9. Post-Webinar Preparation
After the webinar, send a thank-you note to attendees with a link to the replay and consider offering incentives to move prospects further down the sales funnel. You can consider gating the replay behind a lead form to generate further engagement from attendees who did not make it or want to rewatch the webinar.
By following these steps, you can maximize the effectiveness of your webinars and achieve your marketing goals. Your business could even create its own series! Here’s wishing you the best of luck on your webinar marketing journey.
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