I talk to marketers, sales executives and demand generation practitioners every day. Most of the time, they’re leveraging webinars in some form or fashion, whether it be to create awareness, enhance thought leadership, drive demand or generate qualified ‘sales ready’ leads for their salesforce to pursue. Some have glowing things to say about their webinar process, while others haven’t received the webcasting ROI they’re looking for and simply think that webinars don’t work for them.
And consistently, I’m hearing the top three challenges over and over again. Here are the Three Biggest Webinar Challenges we’re seeing in the marketplace today:
- “We can’t drive enough webinar registrants to justify the cost!”
This is always at the top of the list, and most of the time it doesn’t have anything to do with your audience and that they’re not receptive to webinar marketing, but has everything to do with the approach that you’re taking in attracting an audience. I believe there are five ways to combat this. First, companies need to extend the time of their promotional efforts. Too many webinars are only being promoted for 1-2 weeks, when in an ideal world they should be promoted for 3-4 weeks. Second, the promotional drops aren’t going at the right time. Tuesday-Thursday are the sweet spots, with the ideal times being early in the morning, right after lunch or later in the afternoon when your audience has more downtime to read your promotional efforts. Third, mix up your promotional efforts. By this I mean take an integrated approach and hit your audience from a number of different angles – website promotion, dedicated eblasts, newsletters, social media, blogs and press releases are great ways to generate buzz. Fourth, choose a topic that’s bold and makes people stop and take notice. Something like ‘Three Reasons Lead Generation Programs Fail’ is going to catch the eye of an audience. Just be sure you can deliver on your boldness! And fifth, but perhaps most important, clearly relay to your audience what they’re going to get for taking 30, 40, or 50 minutes out of their day to hear what you have to say. What challenges are you going to address? What will they learn that will allow them to execute their jobs better than before? In a nutshell, what’s the value you’re delivering to your audience?
- “We can’t get our webinar attendees engaged”
This is a simple fix. Be sure to work with a platform provider that offers various tools and widgets for you to get engaged with your audience. Whether it be live Q&A, presenter/attendee chat rooms, live polls, documents for download, social media integration where they can share the webinar with their audience, etc., you want to provide a webinar experience that actually enables your attendees to touch their keyboard and get engaged. And on that note, it’s extremely important at the start of the webinar, and multiple times during the presentation, to remind the audience of all of the different ways they can get engaged. This will increase their participation and the success of your event
- “We don’t do a good job of extending the shelf-life of our event”
First of all, you need a post event plan. Within 24 hours, send an email thanking everybody that attended. For those who registered, but didn’t attend, tell them we’re sorry we missed you but the on-demand webinar can now be accessed at ‘XYZ.’ Not only let them know that the on-demand version is available, but that they can access the slides as well. If you want a deeper layer of feedback from your audience, run a post-event survey to see what they thought of the webinar and if there was anything you could have done differently to enrich the attendee experience. Target audience feedback is key! Once that’s done, build a 6, 9, 12 month plan to leverage the webinar content you worked so hard to produce. A webinar isn’t a one-time event, it’s an ongoing demand/lead generation tool if you leverage it the right way. Promote the on-demand version on your website, through partner channels, social media, and any other mediums that can extend its shelf life and allow you to reach your target audience. There are other ways webinar content can be repurposed – for example, a singular webinar topic could act as the foundation for a virtual lunch and learn or full-blown virtual event down the road. The possibilities are endless!
If you’re compelled, please share your feedback below. Talk soon
Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ firstname.lastname@example.org