Webinars 101: Best Practices

In my last post I wrote about how webinars can be a great lead generation tool for businesses looking to establish themselves as a thought leader and provide value to their audience.

But, as with any marketing effort, you cannot simply host a webinar and expect it to bring you business. You want to create a webinar for a specific buyer so that you are directly speaking to your customers’ needs. In this post I will show you how to create a webinar for your target audience so you’re efforts result in leads.

Resource: Webinar Audience Research

Buyer Personas

Buyer Personas are the high-level qualities that your target audience has as they relate to your business/sales/marketing. It is essential that when you’re making your target customers’ buyer personas that you’re looking at traits that will help you create products and marketing strategies that will relate to them.

Here are some traits worth considering for your B2B buyer persona:

  • Their goals & pain points for achieving those goals
  • Their customers’ goals & their customers’ pain points for achieving those goals
  • Location of business
  • Type of business
  • Size of business
  • Trends in their industry
  • Policy/regulations that may affect their business

If you’ve not created buyer personas, some places you could start are…

  • Surveys to your email list
  • Research target customers on social media (especially LinkedIn)
  • Have an informational interview with a past customer or a prospect customer
  • Find out what kinds of content your target audience prefers
  • More methods for developing your buyer personas

Do a thorough promotion

After finding your target audience, you need to find where they hangout digitally so you tell them about your event! To do a thorough promotion of your event you should try to promote on multiple platforms so you can cover your bases and cross promote.

Email: This is a must for your business provided you have accrued emails of prospect customers. This list could be created from newsletter sign-ups, raffles, events (digital & in person), courses, or from anything digital that can be used to provide value to your audience. Once you start building an email list you must keep it clean of bad emails, allow your list to unsubscribe, and send high-quality content sparingly. I recommend doing an email a week to promote your webinar for 3-4 weeks before the actual event date.

Social Media: Find what social media your audience uses and create posts based on that platform’s posting best practices. Factors like posting time, important engagement metrics, and hashtags can have an impact on the success of your message. You can also find groups to join where you can promote your event to your target audience.

Digital Ads: If you have some money to spend you can run digital ads. There are ad options on all social media platforms and Google ads are also well known. I recommend taking a course or watching a YouTube tutorial on the type of ads you want to run. While they aren’t expensive and I’ve found they do give you a good bang for your buck, digital ads perform better if you put in some effort and learn as much as you can about the platform.

Plan & Prep for your event

To keep webinars engaging, it is best to keep webinars under an hour and to have multiple panelists/speakers to keep the content interesting. I suggest having at least one meeting with your panelists to discuss the goals of the webinar, the target audience, and what each panelists should bring to the table. Have a second meeting a week before the webinar to review presentations and make sure they flow smoothly together.

Logistics prep-Companies use different technologies for webinars and panelists will likely have different levels of comfortability with these technologies. It is helpful to do a run-through of the webinar technology so panelists aren’t confused the day of the webinar. Other logistics to review are:

  • Making sure videos/microphones work
  • Testing the chat box & sharing features
  • Asking panelists to turn off all notifications

On the day of the webinar- It is ideal to have industry and topic experts participate in your webinars, but not every expert is a great public speaker. Encourage your panelists to go off script on subjects they are thoroughly comfortable with so they avoid sounding like they’re reading off a script. It is usually very obvious when panelists are reading a script and it can take attendees out of the educational experience.

Another common feature of webinars is to have a Q&A section after panelists have presented. If your webinar doesn’t have common questions built into the presentations, 15-minutes of Q&A is a good way to ensure panelists are satisfied with the content.

Follow-Up

Lastly, you must do some kind of follow-up after the webinar. The webinar itself should have a call to action (CTA). Common webinar CTAs are to sign up for an email list, contact a panelist, and to join a social media group.

Record your webinar-Send the presentation and slides to all the webinar REGISTRANTS (not just attendees) after the webinar. It is common, especially in B2B webinars, for professionals to register for a webinar knowing they can’t attend but then waiting to receive the presentation so they can review it on their own time. Do this in a timely manner, ideally within a week after the webinar has been created.

Another optional, but useful follow-up is to send registrants notes and resources that they can refer to after the webinar. Most people don’t absorb information after hearing it just once, especially if they’re trying to take in lots of new information. Sending webinar notes and resources is a good way to provide continuous value to your webinar registrants.

The Finale-Review your registrants. The goal of your webinars is to educate and provide leads. Review your webinar registrants (a feature on all webinar software) to see if your webinar attracted the right audience. If not, you may want to rethink your targeted audience and marketing strategy. For your high-quality leads (meaning your ideal customers) reach out to them right away. The longer you wait to reach out to your leads the less they will remember you and your content/message.

Other Resources:

Leave a Reply