Webinar Marketing 101: A Guide To Effectively Use Webinars As Part Of Your Marketing Strategy
Webinar marketing has proven value in virtually any promotional mix.
Still, some modern business owners hesitate to include webinars in their marketing strategies, for a wide range of reasons. Some believe that their current efforts are “good enough” and feel reluctant to change their approach. Others are apprehensive about learning a new technology and fear that they will have an on-air lapse that will derail their presentation. Some may even worry about the presentation itself; they are convinced that they have nothing of value to say.
Fortunately, executives in every industry often discover that their webinar marketing fears are unfounded. From a technology standpoint, partnering with a provider of an innovative and intuitive virtual conference system quickly eliminates the fear of live presentation glitches. Additionally, many professionals are surprised to learn they actually do have a lot to share with their audience.
Whether it’s hosting an online demonstration for a new product, providing a slide deck of recent industry trends, or even just hosting a question and answer session about a current hot topic, there are limitless ways to add value with followers using webinar marketing.
Stop Missing Out On Webinar Marketing Benefits
If you are not including webinar marketing in your current promotional approach, you may be missing out on an extensive range of brand-building benefits. Many entrepreneurs and businesses who are late to adopt a webinar marketing strategy quickly realize that their former content marketing strategy really wasn’t enough at all. Just one webinar session can help business owners tap into a wealth of advantages.
Unlike most advertising resources that only provide a marketing monologue (aka — your brand speaking at consumers), webinar marketing opens up ample opportunity for an actual dialogue with your targeted demographic. Not only does webinar hosting grant you a chance to engage with your audience, it also provides a platform for you to inform them. More specifically, webinars are an ideal marketing channel for you to inform your customer base about services, offerings, and topics they actually want to hear about. What else in your promotional mix can do that?
Finally, webinar marketing offers long-term, sustainable brand traction. You and your team get to further your corporate exposure and reach with every hosted session as well as provide a personalized dynamic to your overall brand identity. Your audience gets to put a face and voice to your business name to help you quickly build trust and credibility. An online conference can both generate new leads as well as further nurture current prospects in your pipeline as you move forward towards the ultimate goal of any marketing pursuit — a sale.
Moving Forward With Webinar Marketing In Your Branding Strategy
Once you’ve decided to include webinars in your branding campaigns, it’s important to put together a plan on how you’ll achieve your corporate promotional goals and objectives. Much like other resources in your advertising initiatives, it’s critical to develop a webinar marketing strategy to optimize use and results. When putting together your webinar marketing approach, consider the key steps to success shared in the following paragraphs.
Know What You Want To Achieve
Effective webinar marketing begins with detailing exactly what you want to achieve using this medium. Sure, you may have some general ideas about number of listeners, leads, and total conversions; however, it is imperative to outline your promotional purpose as well as how you will accomplish these objectives. Webinars can help achieve several marketing goals, including:
- New prospects
- Lead conversion
- Strengthening of brand identity and overall consumer exposure
- Establish industry expertise
- Develop mailing list for advertisements/newsletters
Beyond general objectives, you’ll also want to decide in advance what services/products you want to highlight, what type of promotions and discounts you will offer, and how many deals you’d like to close to develop a concrete tracking method of what works and what may require modification in the future. You’ll also need to decide whether to host live, recorded or automated webinars (or a combination of all three) to deliver your webinar marketing content.
Pinpoint The Right Topic
Never underestimate the importance of finding the right topic for discussion. The first rule in determining what you should talk about? Remember it’s not about you; it’s all about your audience. In order to connect with and captivate your listeners, you must zero in on a subject that will intrigue them. Fortunately, you don’t have to unearth the ideal focus area alone. Most business owners simply ask their consumers for input when putting together their webinar marketing presentation. Send a survey to existing and potential customers asking about what they’d like to discuss or learn more about and use it for guidance moving forward.
Remember, you don’t have to talk about everything you find on a survey. In fact, you shouldn’t. Covering too many topics in one webinar marketing session can overwhelm listeners. Stick to one relevant idea where you can establish your industry expertise as well as help your audience solve a related problem to truly add value and solidify their perception of you as a go-to resource.
Leverage Partnerships And Affiliations
Another way to rely on others to help boost your webinar marketing results? Invite guest speakers to participate in your events. Leverage the partnerships and affiliations you have to broaden the spectrum and reach of the discussion. Showcasing industry thought leaders as guest speakers during your session will instantly further the breadth of your webinar marketing efforts beyond your existing customer base and help you stretch into other relevant demographics.
Of course, before you can advertise your guest presenters, you will have to convince them to take the gig. When promoting your webinars, be sure to pitch your expected audience size and how your webinar marketing can make an impact on their marketing efforts as well. In short, be ready to sell what’s in it for them.
Even if you don’t yet have an extensive network of industry-innovating partners at the ready, or if you’re working with a small marketing budget, you can still offer guest speakers at your next webinar. Nothing says that a co-speaker has to come from outside of your company. Tap into the wealth of knowledge held by your own staff members by asking them to host various pieces of the webinar. Not only can they keep your audience engaged, having them speak adds another level of familiarity/personalization between your brand and your consumers.
Plan Lead Time Wisely
In order to reap maximum results from your webinar marketing, you must strategically plan your lead time to optimize your registration numbers for your upcoming webinars.
As a general rule of thumb, you will not want to wait too long between your webinar announcement and actual webinar date, as it runs the risk of having registrants forget what they signed up for. Whenever possible, allow for two weeks of lead time, especially if it’s your first webinar. Having a longer registration stretch means you can utilize a comprehensive range of resources to market the upcoming event. Consider both free and paid promotional channels to give your event the publicity it deserves.
Planning your lead time wisely also gives you the ability to carefully monitor trends in your signup numbers. Slower registration spans means you will have time to amp up your webinar marketing promotional efforts before game day. Likewise, spotting surges in attendance before the webinar may mean you’ll want to break up the event into separate sessions to accommodate everyone. Remember, when first hosting webinars, initial attendance may seem light. However, don’t let this deter you; as you continue to establish your brand as an authority in your vertical, you should see overall momentum begin to increase.
Reward Your Participants
If you do notice a downturn in registrations, consider rewarding guests who have signed up. Offer free perks such as e-books, downloadable materials, and even a link to view the webinar again at a later date. If you have a product line you’re hoping to promote, offer exclusive samples to everyone who registers as further incentive.
You can also run a pre-event contest on your corporate social media pages to cross promote both your conference as well as your brand. Create a fun hashtag for your event and encourage those who register to post on their pages for a chance to win a special gift even before they attend your webinar. These webinar marketing tactics not only makes registrants feel valued, it also increases the odds that they will tell others about your event, driving up attendance numbers for you.
Optimize Your Presentation
Yes, shamelessly self-promoting throughout the entire presentation can feel forced (as well as possibly make your audience uncomfortable). However, you should still optimize your presentation materials to make the biggest impact possible on guests.
Include specific brand imaging (both for your and your guest speakers) throughout the webinar marketing materials as a subtle way to remind your audience who you are. Also, always include Q&A segments throughout your presentation for added promotional return on investment. Fielding inquiries from your audience not only keeps them tuned into your webinar, it also provides a more organic, less-contrived opportunity to endorse the value of your services and products to a live audience.
Don’t Miss A Chance To Reconnect
Many webinar hosts do a stellar job connecting with registrant before their event. However, they fail to reengage with them after the session has ended. Your job as marketer doesn’t end with your webinar. Everyone who registers for your webinar should be considered a lead worthy of follow up. Once again, planning is critical to promotional success. You and your team should go through the list of attendees to determine where each person falls in your sales funnel. Are they an existing contact? A new referral from an affiliate? An existing client? Determining the status of every registrant can help you develop a customized webinar marketing approach for next steps.
After you’ve gone through your lead list, work with your team to develop strategies on how you should engage with each prospect. Forwarding materials, soliciting feedback, promoting future webinars and even directly marketing products and services are all ways to reengage with attendees and help convert them from webinar lead to actual customer.
Picking the Right Software
Finally, you’ll want to pick a webinar software that will maximize the ROI of your webinar marketing efforts. Luckily, the choice for marketers is easy. BigMarker is the only webinar platform that comes with a complete stack of marketing capabilities that’ll provide robust solutions for your webinar hosting from start-to-finish. To get started, sign up for a 14-day free trial today, or send us a message if you have a question about getting started.
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