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