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Apr 27, 2020
by Saurabh Kumar
Did you know that more than 60% of the marketers use webinars in their B2B digital marketing strategies? And why shouldn’t they! With its unbelievably high conversion rates (19%), webinar marketing is definitely a must-have in your marketing mix. Webinars typically have an average view time of a whopping 53 minutes, giving the marketers ample time to educate the audience, offer solutions to the challenges they are facing and pitch their services.
In the times of social distancing and global lockdown, the importance of webinar marketing is higher than ever as organizations are not able to conduct physical meetings, offline conferences, product demos, etc.
While webinars are rapidly becoming one of the most sought after B2B marketing tools, their success depends on careful planning and immaculate execution. In this article, we will take you through a 15-day step-by-step process of webinar marketing, and offer some pro-tips to ensure the success of your webinar marketing strategy.
Your webinar marketing strategy doesn’t start from shortlisting a webinar topic or a virtual conferencing software. In fact, it doesn’t start with webinars at all. The first step is establishing the objective of your communication strategy, finalising the TG you are targeting through the webinars, and picking out a key pain-point of your TG, directly related to their KRAs. For example, while a PPC executive is looking to increase the conversion rate of their ads, the marketing head of the same company is facing challenges related to the overall strategy, for instance, whether to outsource their firm’s digital marketing or set up an in-house team or which marketing channel will work best for the firm. Once you put this all down on a word document, start the research for your webinar topic.
You have multiple ways to go about speaker selection for your webinars. Shortlist the subject matter experts in your organization who have good speaking and presentation skills. Another way is finding out the digital marketing influencers from outside who have their own network. These SMEs host webinars on a regular basis. Collaborating with these experts has some advantages. Firstly, they can ensure great attendance as they have their own network where they can promote your webinar. Also, these speakers have readymade presentations, Q&As, and other material for the webinar that may save you a lot of time.
Create an engaging presentation for your webinar session. Your presentation shouldn’t just be informative. It should have a flow that can hold the audience for 50-60 minutes. Some speakers start with a poll to gauge the knowledge level of the attendees. This also acts as an ice-breaker, ensures participation, and gets you started on the right note. Include more Q&As in the middle of the presentation. Find out examples of what the competitors have done – case studies, videos, interviews, etc. And last but not least, include a questionnaire at the end for the attendees to measure how effective your communication has been in the webinar.
Software selection depends on the frequency of your webinars, the number of attendees you are targeting, and the budget you have for your webinar strategy. There are many webinar software in the market with different sets of features. Some are cheap but limit the number of attendees per webinar or sessions per month. Free software or free trials are generally feature-poor but if you have a low budget, these could be a good place to start. After checking how the webinars are being received among your TG, you may go for a premium account.
After your speaker is shortlisted, the presentation is created and the software is set up, the most important part of your webinar setup begins – getting registrations. One option is purchasing data from 3rd party vendors but that may or may not turn out to be effective. Another way is to build the database from scratch. Collect the email ids of your past clients, add the ids you have from the pre-existing email marketing campaigns, and set up a dedicated data collection team of 2-3 people who keep on increasing the size of your email database.
Email marketing and social media advertising are the two most common ways to promote your webinar and get a good attendance. But for that, you need a landing page, and that too a highly-converting one. Follow the best practices of conversion rate optimization while creating the page. Use clear and direct CTA buttons, keep the content on the landing page short (200-300 words), and preferably with the value proposition clearly defined in bullet points, and proofs to lend credibility to the speakers (awards, past experience, etc.).
For social advertising, use Facebook and LinkedIn. Create visually appealing ads with the pain points of your TG clearly mapped. Start your promotions 7-10 days before the date of the webinar. Create image as well as 15-second video ads. Go for smartphone dimensions to get more screen space. Design catchy thumbnails to increase the conversion of your ads. Spend a lot of time on the custom audience creation to make sure that you are targeting the right TG. This article by celebrity blogger Neil Patel could help you in creating the right kind of audience for your social media promotion.
For email marketing, after the database creation, the most important part is the attention to the details. Write a catchy subject line. Add a pre-header text to further support your claim. Keep the email content clear and concise. Do A/B testing to see what subject lines are working, whether to go for the HTML or text emailers, and what type of body text is getting more CTR. 51% of the people sign-up after coming to your landing page and around 36% will attend the webinar after signing up.
Now that you have the landing page in place, the promotions running and the webinar content finalized, monitor your email marketing campaigns and social media ads every day and make changes to the poorly performing one right up till the day before the webinar.
Getting registrations is the tough part but giving the attendees a value-adding experience is where you can ensure conversions. Do not forget to send ‘2 days to go’, ‘1 day to go’, and ‘1 hour to go’, emailers to the registrants and share social media posts as well. As the numbers suggest, 36% of your registrants are likely to attend the session. You have to make sure that this number goes up. If you have their contact numbers, Whatsapp is a great way to communicate about the webinar details like time, topic, duration, etc.
Schedule a demo session with the speakers so that they are comfortable with the video conferencing software you are using. Conduct a dry-run, proof-read the introduction script, divide the time for intro, presentation, and Q&A, check how the presentation looks in the webinar window to fix alignment and design issues and make sure that there are no tech-related issues (sound, videos, content sharing) during the dry-run. Create a folder to store all the webinar related links and documents in one place.
On the day of the webinar, remind the registrants first thing in the morning by sending a Whatsapp message and an email. Join the session half an hour before the scheduled time to upload the presentation and do a final sound, mic, and video check.
The flow of your webinar depends on the topic and context but there are some common tips to help one run a smooth session.
Start with an intro, introduce the speakers and wait at least 5 minutes so that all the users can join. Starting with a poll is also a good idea if you want to gauge the understanding level of the users. For instance, if you are doing a webinar on how to use Local SEO, it’ll be helpful to get a sense of the level of understanding of the attendees.
Halfway into the webinar, show a video, recount an anecdote, or ask a question to give the attendees some time to absorb. 45-50 minutes is a long time and you have to make sure that the attendees are not exhausted or they don’t start dropping out of the session.
Block the last 15 minutes for Q&A. Ask the moderator to keep jotting down all the questions as some questions put up in the start may get lost in the stream of messages. If there are follow-up questions, assure the attendees that due to paucity of time, all the questions can’t be addressed right then but they will be getting the answers via an email (or in the next webinar session).
If you are selling something, add the pitch part to the end of your presentation.
Do tell the users at the end of the webinar that you will be emailing the recording of that webinar as many of them might have missed some portions of the webinar that they would like to watch again.
After the webinar is over, some software give you a redirect option. Send the attendees to a survey and ask the users to rate the session on different parameters. This will help you in measuring the effectiveness of your webinar series and highlighting the areas of improvement.
In one of our emailers, we added a footnote stating that “even if you don’t attend the session, we will be sending the recording of the webinar to all the registrants.” This little footnote doubled the CTR of our emailers. While webinar preparation is a huge task that takes a lot of time, these little things can make a big difference.
What do we suggest? Make a comprehensive checklist of all the activities, no matter how small or how big, and tick them off one-by-one. To make your webinars successful, you cannot leave any stones unturned.
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