The 7 Pillars of a Successful Webinar Strategy

Posted on Apr 21, 2018 by .

Webinars are the best content marketing/lead gen tool in a marketer’s toolbox. Successful webinar strategies don’t just simply happen…far from it. There are certain steps and processes involved that separate the great ones from the rest of the pack. Anything worth doing is worth doing exceptionally well, right?

  1. Plan – webinars are events that can generate huge audiences. You should treat them like one and plan accordingly. We suggest a 6-week project plan where you can get all of your ducks in a row. At the beginning, you need to determine:
    • Topic and abstract – what value are you going to deliver to your audience? Why should they attend?
    • Speakers – are you going to use in-house talent, outside talent (customer, 3rd party of some kind, etc.) or both? Are you speakers compelling and will they effectively engage your audience?
    • Promotion – what channels are we going to leverage to drive a significant audience?
    • Type of webinar – is it going to be audio/slides, video/slides, combination of both? What tools do I want to leverage to get my audience engaged? Polls, surveys, content downloads, Q&A, etc.
    • On-Demand – how are we going to use the on-demand asset as a lead-gen tool for our business?
    • Success – how are we defining success? Total registrants or attendees? Number of qualified leads, pipeline value or closed business as a result of this webinar?
  2. Promote – guess what? 2 weeks and one email blast isn’t enough. We suggest a four week promotional period consisting of 3 dedicated email blasts; promoting it front and center on your site (not lost on some page that nobody ever visits); promoting in on social channels that work well for you; plugging the webinar in blogs; doing a news/PR release; promoting it through partners and/or 3rd party media outlets; and finally, putting together a personalized call and email campaign targeting accounts that you believe have to be there.
  3. Train – not everybody is a webinar pro and because of that training is essential. Why risk being unprepared the day of the big event? I’m a firm believer in a soft walkthrough about 2 weeks out from the webinar and then a dry run the week before. This ensures everybody knows their role and is comfortable with the flow of the presentation. It’s also a smart move to train your presenters on what to do in case something goes wrong (they lose connection, lose audio, get flustered, etc.).
  4. Test and Execute – 30-45 minutes before the webinar actually starts, everybody involved with the webinar should do one final run through to ensure a successful webinar. This should include going over the slide deck, roll-in videos, poll questions and other webinar items to make sure everything is in order; testing sound quality to make sure all of the speakers are coming through loud and clear (no cell phone or speakerphones!); running internet and stream tests to ensure everyone has a solid connection (a hardwire connection is always preferred over WiFi); finally, make sure your presenters are in a quiet room with no distractions. Once all of this is confirmed, you’re now ready to execute!
  5. Engage – the first way to engage your audience is to have a compelling topic and message, but we already covered that in the ‘Plan’ stage. Now, it’s up to your speakers to deliver a presentation that gets your audience touching their keyboards. They need to believe in what they’re presenting and come across as excited to be there. Your audience will feed off of that. Provide ways for your audience to engage – Q&A, group chat, content downloads, social sharing, responding to polls and showing them the results, answering surveys, etc. And if you want to kick the engagement meter up a notch, include video. Either video of your presenter and/or rolling in some pre-recorded video that supports the overall message of the webinar. In my opinion, audience engagement is a true sign of webinar success
  6. Extend – you nailed steps 1-5. Great job! But it doesn’t end there. You now have an incredible on-demand asset and it’s your job to extend the shelf-life of this content to ensure it acts as a lead generator for your business for months to come. 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, dedicated email blasts, 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.
  7. Measure Success – If you’re going to run webinars on a frequent basis, you need to be sure that you have the tools to measure success. Were my email promotions effective? Did my social strategy drive traffic? What promotional outlets worked the best? And regarding your registrants and attendees, your webinar provider should give you the reporting and analytics to determine which attendees were truly engaged and look like qualified leads/prospects, versus those that aren’t