5 Lessons about webinars you need to learn to succeed
How to create a webinar
InsideSales.com maintains that 73% of marketing and sales leaders say webinars are one of the best ways to generate quality leads.
"What is a webinar?"
Webinars provide a rich engagement experience for prospects at various points of the buyer journey. They can also inform how to personalise communications in the future.
Be warned, the format alone cannot guarantee you success. Considering how saturated the market is for webinars it’s important your sessions cut through the noise and are regarded as must-attend events by your target audience.
I have chaired countless webinars over the last four years. In this piece, I impart some of the lessons learned on the elements needed to create an irresistible webinar.
Lesson 1: Content is king
It’s important to ensure that your content connects with your target audience to such an extent that they are compelled to reserve time in their diaries to attend. If it doesn’t resonate they simply won’t sign up.
Stuck for ideas? A gem may be hiding in your archives. Ask your sales representatives to identify the existing content that is performing well and converting. You could look to repurpose an item with a new twist. Examples include:
Transforming a generic webinar into one that is industry/geo/role specific. Here you can keep a large amount of the existing content but tweak it in places so it is more targeted.
Bring static content to life: Why not use a webinar to dig a little deeper into the findings of your latest white paper, report or article.
Where will this webinar fall in the buying cycle?
The type of webinar you plan to host is often a good inspiration for content, it’s important to know where you plan this webinar to appear in the buyer’s journey.
Top of the funnel
The majority of webinars tend to sit at the start of the funnel. Remember, webinars are more than mere lead generators, they can establish a level of trust with viewers and build your credibility within an area of expertise. This will help lay the foundations for future loyalty with prospects.
Alignment is crucial – The webinar should supply food for thought and support for your target audience. Help them with their business goals, pain-points, unique concerns and even personal goals.
Don’t go for the bait and switch – As dubbed by On24 in its recent webinar How to Build Webinars Across the Buying Cycle, flicking to a product pitch abruptly at this stage can be unattractive, as viewers aren’t ready to be pitched to yet. This move can undo all of your hard work thus far. Timing is everything!
Don’t promise too much – Yes it’s tempting to have a big promise in your webinar title to attract a new prospect but bite off more than you can chew and it could backfire and emit the wrong impression. Instead of making broad promises on the webinar’s scope, go deep into a specific area and give targeted insight.
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Mid of the funnel
These webinars occur after you have laid the groundwork as a thought leader. These sessions are used to deepen awareness and inspire product interest. Tap into the challenges of the market and softly present your services as a viable solution.
Peer-validation is very compelling at this stage. Case studies are a useful choice. The webinar could bring an existing written customer success story to life. For these sessions, it is important to focus on ROI and the value your client garnered from their collaboration with you.
Bottom of the funnel
Here prospects need answers for objections stopping them from entering a partnership with you and visibility on what they can expect from using your product, according to ON24.
Demo webinars – Let the audience guide the direction of the session with any questions they have – use video to show products in action. You may wish to run a series on different features.
'Ask the expert' webinars – This style has a significant portion dedicated to Q&A. This set up allows the prospects to take control and tap into the trouble areas that are blocking them from purchasing.
Pushing buyers along the funnel
Wherever you place your webinar, it should look to nudge the user onto their next stage as a potential buyer, do this by littering your webinar with other content so they can continue learning – related whitepapers, ebooks, the landing page to the next webinar in the series, for instance. For mid to bottom funnel webinars consider using a widget that allows attendees to directly contact a sales rep of yours, a pricing grid or a product spec.
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Webinars could also act as a valuable tool to retain and upsell to customers while building a small support community. Provide best practice tips on how to get the most out of your services or any upcoming products they should look out for.
So you have your content in place, now you need to reel in some viewers.
Lesson 2: Webinar titles
Looking at how saturated cyberspace is for webinars, you need to make sure your title differentiates your session from the crowd. The title is going to be the first touchpoint with the user, it needs to generate curiosity. When creating an enticing title for your webinar, remember to:
Make sure it is benefit driven so potential attendees can immediately see the value they will gain from the session. Bite-sized quick wins: Accelerate your process….
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Use the language and tone your audience prefers to increase the likelihood of connecting with them
Make sure the title is SEO friendly to boost the amount of organic traffic it will attract
Look at including the buzzwords or formats that have performed well for you recently.
Lesson 3: Webinar landing pages
So your title has intrigued the user, now the landing page has to seal the deal. This page has to communicate to users that they can’t afford to miss this session. Align the body copy to the drivers and pain-points of your target audience and don’t forget to include the relevant privacy information.
Try to keep paragraphs short, use bullet points and bolded text to guide reader attention and give the page structure.
When it comes to the button to register, some webinar experts advise you to put this in a striking colour. Also instead of opting for the standard ‘register now’, play around with more inviting alternatives such as: Save your seat, Save your spot, reserve my seat or sign me up.
Videos summarising the content at the top of landing pages have been shown to increase conversion rates.
Where possible try to minimize the number of fields you have on the landing page, the more fields the more deterred the user may be to sign-up.
Lesson 4: Promotion
Be sure to have a promotion plan to publicize the webinar, be that using social media, email invitations or co-marketing partnerships.
Lesson 5: Webinar software
So the time has come to hit the Go-Live button? Here are some lessons I have learned which are influential for webinar success:
Always host a dry run- Make sure the speakers and presenters are familiar with the platform of choice and are comfortable with their script and slide deck. Here you can check the mics being used are of good quality. Always dial in from a landline.
Customize your platform: To boost user experience customize colours and images on the platform so they are dynamic, inviting and match your brand for a nice touch. Pump the resource centre full of related media users can flick to at the end of the webinar so they can continue their journey with your brand. Be sure to draw attention to these at the end of the session.
Empower your users: At the start of the webinar be sure to impart housekeeping tips so they know how to best use the tools they have available to them.
Interactivity: Remind your viewers throughout to enter their comments for the Q&A section, so you have questions ready. Video can be very compelling in a webinar and more personable.
Speaker drop-out? Don’t freak out: Even after all the preparation and test-runs in the world, technical issues can happen when webinars are live. Prepare a contingency script for the moderator to say should the speaker drop-off of the platform. They could read the speaker’s bio, mention what is to come for the rest of the session, assure the audience the speaker is on the way back and invite viewers to use the free time to enter any questions they have for the speaker.
Inform the speaker via the chat-box visually that they have dropped off, as sometimes it can take them a minute or two to notice that their audio has failed. Provide them with the dial-in details in the chat-box to streamline their return to the platform.
And that’s a wrap! Be sure to follow-up any unanswered audience questions, this is a nice way to open up a one-on-one discussion with a prospect.