Every modern marketer knows that a professional, well thought out webinar is one of the best ways to generate sales leads.
In fact, research shows that more than 70% of B2B marketers and sales leaders believe a webinar is the best way to generate high-quality leads, and almost 90% of marketers who have hosted or participated in a webinar found it to be an effective strategy.
But there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about things, and webinars are no different.
Be strategic in your approach to webinars by going through the following steps: plan, create, promote and nurture.
We believe in it so much, we do it ourselves! Here’s how you can benefit from following the same process:
- Get to know your buyers and their journey
If you don’t already have your buyer personas mapped out, it’s probably time you did. The more you can understand about your prospective customers, the easier it is to identify and attract an audience that is interested in your product or services.
Personas will also help you identify the different ways your ideal prospects interact with you and the various paths they may take on the sales journey.
A buyer persona enables you to focus on the characteristics of your ideal buyer, and will help you determine things such as:
- Topic choice
- Target audience
- Guest speakers and presenters
- Promotion channels
- Associated content and formats.
It’s important to remember that pitching a webinar shouldn’t be a hard sell. Try to ‘woo’ your audience when you think about your topic and how to frame it.
Webinars are a great chance to give a prospect content they want, when they want it, rather than simply telling them something you’d like them to know.
- Create thought-provoking content
Think about your content as a first point of contact: the opening sentence in a novel; the first words of a song. It should attract the attention of the audience, and be thought-provoking, relevant and memorable. Most importantly, it should have substance.
Effective webinars provide value in an understandable, actionable way. Give the audience what they want, and what you promised.
Failing to understand what will interest your audience will increase the likelihood your webinar will miss the mark, so make sure you take the time to determine the best content for your ideal buyer from the get-go.
This also gives you the chance to consider the best format for your ideal buyer, such as an educational webinar, case study or product demo, and whether to create visuals, infographics or other collateral to complement your webinar.
Don’t forget: keep your customers top-of-mind, and ensure that your lead generation strategy will take your customers on a journey in which you can attract their interest, nurture and convert them.
- Promote your webinar
Now that you’ve readied yourself to deliver a targeted, thought-provoking webinar, it’s time to let the world know.
Make sure you utilise all your relevant internal and external marketing channels, as well as the channels of your presenters, guests, sponsors, industry media, and other interested parties.
An online event calendar on your homepage is a great way to keep up-coming events in the spotlight.
Emails are one of the best ways to promote your events. You should start your email marketing campaign around 10 days before an event with an invitation to attend. It should include two to three sentences about the event, and three to four bullet points outlining the main talking points.
Depending on the response, around one to two days before the event you can send a ‘last chance to register’ email. On the day of the event you should send a reminder to attend.
Depending on your particular circumstances, you might also want to consider paid advertising and partner marketing.
Most importantly, you should try to ensure that every piece of marketing collateral, whether it be a social post by a guest speaker or an email link, includes a direct link to the registration and event page, and a point of contact where possible.
- Know your nurture
It’s important to remember that not every webinar attendee is going to buy your product, and some who have registered won’t attend for one reason or another. But the good thing is, even if they don’t attend, you still have their contact details so you can contact them again.
That’s why it’s important to develop a post-webinar lead generation strategy to engage and nurture prospective leads.
Follow-up is essential. Theses days, sales and marketing automation platforms such as Marketo and HubSpot allow you to build engagement campaigns that categorise your contacts and market to them in a considered, systematic way.
Another way to ‘keep in touch’ is to provide your webinar content on-demand; in fact it’s estimated one-third of all webinar attendees only watch the on-demand event. So make sure you always promote an on-demand version after your live webinar is finished to capture new leads and to allow those who missed the event to catch up in their own time.
It’s also a good idea to produce relevant post-event content — and it doesn’t have to be new content. Consider creating an ebook, infographic or simple PDF of your webinar content.
And don’t forget to use surveys to get feedback about the content and presentation.