Do you need to improve the performance of your webinars? This post highlights some of the do’s and don’ts of webinars. In part one, we offer some tips on defining your marketing and content strategy driving your webinars. In part two, we explore campaigning, the event experience, and measurement.
Step 3: Campaigning
Promise something big. People attend webinars because they want something impactful to help them succeed. While you can’t promise to change their lives, you can promise to make their work life better in a meaningful way.
What’s your SMIM?
It’s impossible to get everything you’d like to communicate into one message… So, try to decide on the Single Most Important Message you need your audience to know about your event. By limiting your message and call-to-action to one single message and one action to take, you’ll see a lift.
Identify promising channels
Gather intelligence about your target audience, especially about their media choices and habits. Find out which websites they visit and social platforms they use, who they follow, their goals, and preferences. Craft messaging that resonates with readers and drives registrations.
Most organizations lack the in-house creative resources (like writers and designers) to create compelling promotional campaigns. If that’s you, work with freelance talent and/or marketing agencies.
Advertising drives registrations
I say again: it’s vital to investigate your audience, which sites they frequent, what social networks they use, and preferably their preferred communication channel. The more you know about your audience, the better your advertising, and the more potential registrants will visit your registration page.
Use quality imagery
Instead of using the cheapest possible (and often cheesy) stock, invest in quality photographs and video. You can run targeted video ads—like skippable or bumper video ads—on video search portals. Video ads for webinars work well because viewers get a better idea of what to expect are just a click away.
Intrigue your target audience. Strong webinar ads offer compelling information and deliver a small but significant call to action that incentivizes them to act.
Facebook & LinkedIn
Although video ads outperform other online ad units, if you reach your audience on Facebook and LinkedIn, you’ll need to consider text and display ads that can redirect them to a short, teaser video on your registration landing page. To get them to attend, they need to see the value of the information.
Drive registrations by email
With a good list, email remains the most cost-effective way to drive attendance to your webinar. However, some marketers reach out too early or too late to drive registrations. For best results, use a three-week period when following up with prospects. You can always make it longer, but on average, 91% of registrations happen three weeks before the webinar.
What email format should you use? HTML and plain text emails work well. Best advice? Mix it up. Variety piques interest and that can compel people to register.
Step 4: Event Experience
In this step, let’s focus on the webinar experience itself. After all this time and work and money invested in planning and campaigning your webinar, you expect the experience to be nothing short of fantastic. Some companies treat webinars like any other business event and will go so far as to hire producers.
Don’t be boring
We’ve all been there. We sign up for a webinar because of a compelling offer, only to feel like we’re back in grade 11 math class, listening to some stuffy presenter drone on, reading bullet points from one slide after another. Or worse, we end up listening to an extended sales pitch, like a bad late night informercial. Awful!
Rewrite the script
If you plan to present slides, make them great. No one wants to stare at reams of text on slides or cares to decipher complicated graphics. Keep your presentation simple, elegant, intelligent, confident, and concise. If you have the time and budget, hire a designer to typeset your deck professionally.
Offer (don’t just sell)
An exciting and unexpected offer delivered during your webinar can turn a participant into a customer. Even if you plan to sell at the end of the webinar, you should still provide exclusive, no obligation offers. Remember: Jumping into a sales pitch will guarantee that you sell nothing.
Practice really helps
Practice with your presenters. If you’ve done webinars in the past, you already know the importance of providing an airtight communication experience. What you may not appreciate is just how important it is to practice. Make sure everyone knows their cues and try never to speak over each other or to argue.
Step 5: Measurement
Every webinar you host is a learning experience. The more you host, the more you learn, and the better your results.
Any modern webinar platform you use should provide you with the basics, from your click-through rates and audience retention, to online polls and exit surveys. If you can, try offering your webinar on multiple days and times. Let the results tell you what time of week works best for your audience.
Remember: The performance of your webinars depends as much on the performance of your promotional efforts as it does anything else. Whether you work with an agency or not, you should have a campaign dashboard that measures your advertising, social media, email, and any other activities.
Try to glean and share qualitative information from your webinars with other teams, such as your broader sales and marketing groups. Something as simple as excitement about a particular slide in your presentation or a comment about a product feature can prove invaluable.
One final tip — Refine your webinars—and the campaigns that support them—based on their real-world performance. Invest more in what works!
Keep reading! Check out PART 1 of “Five steps to improving the performance of your webinars.”