Webinars have increasingly become the most important piece of any B2B marketer’s lead generation strategy. We all know the benefits: they allow you to more cost effectively reach more of your target audience; educate and engage them with top quality content that’s much more interactive than other forms of content marketing; get invaluable audience engagement metrics that enables you to determine who’s hot and who’s not; and drive more qualified leads into the pipeline, ultimately accelerating revenues. It’s everything you want in a demand/lead-gen tool. Unfortunately, not everybody takes the right approach from registration page creation to event archive, and the result is a campaign with no webcasting ROI and marketers saying “we’ve tried webinars, but they didn’t work for us or our audience.” Here are 5 Common Traits of Bad Webinar Campaigns:
1. Thinking the Registration Page is “Not that big of a deal”
EVERYTHING starts with the registration page. The whole point of a registration page is that when people get there, you want to convert them into registrants. The best way to do that is to align yourself with a webinar provider that allows you to customize your page to meet your brand and your call to action. The right tool should allow you to customize banners, logos and color schemes on the page. You should have freedom to create the registration fields you want and not be forced to use the fields that your provider has hardcoded. In today’s day and age, all registration pages should be optimized with social media integration so it can be shared through various platforms. Outlook and Google calendar integration so folks don’t have an excuse to ‘forget’ about your webinar. Finally, video is huge these days (we talked about that in our recent webinar – 10 Marketing Predictions for 2017). You should be able to add video to your registration page to tell the story of a product you’ll be promoting in the webinar, or to act as a webinar trailer of sorts so your audience will get a better feel for everything the webinar will cover. Video is one of the most engaging tools a marketer has in their toolbox. Add them to your registration pages and watch your traffic numbers soar.
2. Not Promoting Long or Hard Enough
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to a marketer who told me they’ve had zero success with webinars, and then I find out that they promoted it for two weeks and their marketing mix was non-existent. At Elastic, we believe a webinar should get four weeks of promotion time, three weeks minimum. But I’m a big stickler for four. Over this time you should have it front and center on your website and in your social promotions (FB, Twitter, LI). Plug it in blogs and newsletters, do a press release. If you have the budget, promote it through industry publications and associations. And for best results, email still reigns supreme. Over the course of four weeks, you should send three promotional emails – at the beginning, 1-2 weeks out and 2-3 days before. And don’t forget the reminder emails!
3. Not Providing Any Value Before the Webinar
In my opinion, when somebody registers for your webinar they become a prospect. They’re not a lead yet, but they’re somebody that has shown interest in what you’re going to cover. Once they’ve registered, the time leading up to the webinar is a great time to give them additional content that would be relevant to them and their role. The registration confirmation landing page, confirmation email, and reminder emails are great places to do this. For example, when somebody registers for a webinar of yours and goes to a page confirming they’re registered, it’s a good play to provide access to other pieces of content on that page. When they get the confirmation email with details about the event, why not say “Thanks for registering for our upcoming webinar. Based on your interest in this topic, we think you’ll get a lot of value out of our recent whitepaper on XYZ.” You can take this approach with your reminder emails as well. It simply allows you to drive more value for your prospects before the live event. You need a webinar provider with this capability.
4. Not Letting Your Audience Engage
Webinars aren’t a ‘one person talking to many’ environment anymore. They’re multi-touch, interactive, collaborative events that drive attendee engagement. We believe that audience engagement is the true measure of a successful webinar (that and did it ultimately convert to real $?). I see too many webinars today that are vanilla and it’s some guy talking for 60 minutes without getting the audience engaged. Your platform should give you the ability to have live Q&A and group chats. It should allow your attendees to interact with one another and network with each other within the webinar environment. Polls and surveys should be in your toolbox if you wish to use them. If you want to show your product, seamless screen/desktop sharing should be a play. Your attendees should be able to share the webinar through their social networks and get their colleagues involved that they believe would get value out of your webinar. And finally, you should be able to host other forms of content in the webinar environment, enabling your attendees to download literature, read blogs, view videos and register for other webinars that are relevant to the topic you’re covering. These capabilities make your webinars multi-touch, engaging events that provide more measurable results for you and your team on the backend.
5. Thinking the Live Event is all that Matters
Marketers do all of this hard work to have a great webinar. They get great speakers. They promote the hell out of it and have an awesome turnout. The webinar itself is jam packed with fantastic content and the audience is truly engaged. And then…they do absolutely nothing with a great piece of on-demand content and crap the proverbial bed. This drives me crazy. I argue that your on-demand strategy should be just as important as your strategy to drive traffic to the live event. The first thing you should do is immediately archive the event on your site. The right webinar provider will not only host the webinar on their platform for a certain period of time, but you’ll also be able to build an MP4 (complete media capture) of the webinar and host it behind a registration page on your site. Within 24 hours of the event, you should send emails to those who attended and those who registered/didn’t attend letting them know how they can access the on-demand version. After that, you should send an email to everybody on your list that didn’t register letting them know the webinar is now available on-demand for them to watch. Promote the on-demand version through social media and any other channels you see fit. Another great thing about on-demand webinars is they can be used to build other pieces of content as well. Use them to create a blog, eBook or whitepaper. How about this – take the highlights of the webinar and bundle them into a 3-4 minute video and distribute that to your audience letting them know these were the key points of the event. For people who don’t want to sit through a 45 minute on-demand event, this approach is much more consumable and engaging. The point is you’ve got a great piece of content…don’t waste it. Extend its shelf-life and watch your webcasting ROI improve dramatically.
If you’re compelled, please share your feedback below. Talk soon.
Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of ElasticSolutions. Email him @ firstname.lastname@example.org