There are three things we know about webinars:
- As of mid 2020, more than 65% of B2B marketers were using webinars to generate leads and drive pipeline. This number will only continue to grow as digital events are the new normal.
- Webinars (and virtual events) are THE most effective content marketing tool to educate, engage and generate qualified leads.
- Poor attendance is the #1 reason why companies give up on webinars. How can this be fixed???
To fix the webinar attendance problem, we first need to understand what causes poor webinar attendance. Considering that executing webinars and helping our clients drive pipeline everyday is what we do, here is what we know:
- Most webinars simply are not properly planned.
- There is a lack of an audience and/or the audience is not the right one. Webinar campaigns, many times, are not going after the right targets.
- The market is flooded with webinar topics and registration pages that are untimely, repetitive, and boring.
- Promotional schedules are inadequate with no creativity.
- There are not enough tools being used during the webinar to get the audience engaged.
- There is no on-demand plan and organizations are only putting an emphasis on the live webinar.
- The wrong tools for the job and previous webinar disasters are having a significant impact on overall webinar campaign success.
With that said, what needs to be done to generate more webinar traffic and better leads at the end of the day?
A 6-8 week project plan is crucial – we recommend
four weeks of promotions for webinars, so you need to tack on at least two
weeks in front of that to plan out the topic and messaging and put the
registration page together. Watch this on-demand webinar, The
Ideal 8-Week Webinar Project Plan, for an in-depth look at what your
plan should entail.
Hit your target – ensure that
your webinar message is going to the right people. I cannot tell you how many folks
we speak with that say their webinar registration and attendance reports are
littered with targets that don’t make sense for their business. List integrity
is crucial for any content marketing campaign and webinars are no different.
A registration page’s purpose? To get
registrations – your registration pages need to be highly customizable;
tell a compelling story and let folks know the value what they will get out of
attending your webinar; be optimized so people can save them to their calendars
and share them through social media channels; only request the information you
need. The more fields your audience needs to fill out, the more likely they are
to jump ship and not register at all.
A multi-pronged promotional approach –
we recommend a 4-week promotional schedule. Email is still the best and
most efficient way to generate webinar registrants and we suggest sending as
many as four dedicated email blasts promoting your webinar. It should be front
and center on your website and you should send out at least one press release
to whatever industry you are targeting. If you have partners that have access
to the audience you are looking to penetrate, leverage them. If you have budget
to advertise with industry publications and think tanks that make sense, put
together a promotional plan with them. Leverage every social channel where you
have a targeted presence and make posts on a weekly basis leading up to your
webinar. Finally, offer a giveaway of some kind that compels the first 50 or so
folks to register and attend. Amazon gift cards and things of that nature
typically work well.
Your webinar’s over, but not really –
let’s face it: the overwhelming majority of organizations don’t give
their on-demand webinars the attention they deserve and that needs to change.
We live in a Netflix culture and there’s been a tremendous upward shift in
on-demand consumption of webinars. Your customers and prospects want to watch
webinars and video content at a time that is convenient for them and having a
post-event promotional plan is important to overall webinar success. Do not
judge your webinars on the live day attendance only, but rather judge how much
traction each of your webinars get over a 6, 9 or 12-month period. Great
content will be relevant for a long time. That is why we recommend promoting
your on-demand webinars with the same tenacity that you promote your live
webinars with. Finally, your on-demand webinar is an awesome piece of content
that can be used to create other pieces of content. You can pick out the best
parts of the webinar and put together a brief, 5-7 minute highlight reel that
is easier and more efficient to consume for many folks. You can take the
message from the webinar and re-purpose into a blog, white paper, or eBook. You
can also use the engagement metrics your received from your webinar – questions
asked, responses to polls and surveys, content downloaded, chat transcripts,
etc. – to help dictate the focus of your next webinar that will be timely and
important to your target audience. The possibilities are endless.
Are you using the right tool for the job? – at the beginning of any webinar strategy, it is imperative that you pick the right webinar vendor. A poor webinar experience at the beginning could doom your webinar campaign for a long time to come. Ensure that your webinar solution is browser-based and does not require downloads or plugins that have been known to impact attendance by as much as 25%. You need to be able to have the ability to customize your registration page and webinar interface so it reflects your brand and makes your audience want to engage. Speaking of engaging, make sure your platform offers plenty of ways for you to drive and measure audience engagement – live Q&A, live chat, social sharing, resource downloads, surveys, polling, the ability to schedule appointments. Finally, be comfortable that you have a support team that can get you up and running immediately should a technical difficulty arise. With any piece of software, eventually something will go wrong (it is unavoidable) so it’s crucial to have a vendor that places a huge emphasis on customer and technical support.
Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of
Elastic Solutions. Email him @ firstname.lastname@example.org