There’s nothing worse than lining up your speakers, identifying the best time, choosing your technology provider and everything else that goes into planning a webinar, but then seeing registrations come in at a drip feed, or the number of attendees being well below the number of registrants that signed up.
The old adage ‘If you build it they will come’ might work for the ghosts of baseball players past, but webinars, like physical events, need to be promoted.
That doesn’t mean it’s hard to get the word out — especially when you’re marketing your webinar to current or prospective clients, partners, stakeholders, relevant industry groups or like-minded individuals with whom you already have some kind of relationship.
We’ve put together a 5-stage webinar marketing workflow that will help you cover all the bases.
1. Content preparation
Choosing a suitable topic or focus area aligned with the objective of your webinar — and working out the best way to frame it — is key to any successful event. It’s also key to your marketing plan.
When you’re planning your content keep in mind your target audience and what channels and networks you’ll be promoting it through, because the two go hand-in-hand.
Research the content to ensure it’s the right topic for your audience. If possible, run a survey. One opportunity to do this might be at the end of a webinar, or when following up after it.
Offering a solution to a problem you know your target audience has is a great way of attracting attention.
Think about how you can create a narrative that will run throughout your webinar, and end in a conclusion that solves the problem or answers the question you’ve posed.
Choosing a title
Remember that you’ll be promoting your event across a variety of different channels and formats — from a landing page to an email signature — so consider things like the length of your title and tagline. You might also consider:
- Asking a question: Asking questions engages audiences. Using the words ‘how’, ‘why’, ‘when’ and ‘what’ resonates with people and will get them thinking about their own objectives. For example: ‘Are you bringing up your kids the right way?’.
- Being negative: Looking at your topic from a negative perspective can be a better way of attracting your audience’s attention. For example, ‘How NOT to bring up your kids.’
- Using numbers: Be upfront and let people know what they’re going to walk away with from your webinar. People love numbers and lists and they will definitely increase click-through rates. For example, ‘5 Mistakes NOT to make with your kids’.
2. Prepare your collateral
Once you’ve established your event title, key copy lines and call to action, it’s time to think about the most effective way you can get that message across through your marketing channels.
The first piece of collateral to complete is your landing page.
It should include the title, topic, presenters (name and title), date, time, and, if it’s a paid event, the cost.
It’s a good idea to include a short introduction of 2 to 3 sentences. This is a good place to include the ‘big question’, relevant statistic or impact statement that you’ve already established.
Then provide an overview of your webinar in 3 to 4 bullet points, and brief bios of your presenters. You should also always include photos of your presenters which will add a personal touch and increase the reader’s engagement.
Include a clear call to action — in this case ‘Register now’ — and a short registration form to capture the registrant’s name, email address and any other relevant details. Try to do this on the same page because this is where you will send people from your invitation — there’s no reason to get your reader to click again if you don’t have to.
Invitation emails should be just that — personalised and targeted at a particular person by name.
Include the webinar title, a brief outline, time, topic, presenters, cost, a brief description and a link to register that takes people to your landing page.
Invitation emails should be sent no more than two weeks before the event. Remember, you would have already begun pre-event marketing which your prospective attendees may already have seen, so your invitation is a good way to create some urgency by sending it closer to the date — around 7 to 10 days before your event.
You should also create any display ads, banners, copy for newsletters, a press release, a link to be included in email signatures, a confirmation email, a ‘last chance to register’ email and a final reminder email.
Don’t forget collateral for your socials and other platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. Pin them to the top of your feed, tag your speakers, and include relevant hashtags.
If you have time, create a few executions for each channel to create a narrative in the lead-up to the event. Make sure they’re suited to the particular channel. Twitter is good for reminders, and Facebook and LinkedIn for general promotion, to create discussion and highlight your speakers.
Remember to make them different for each platform because a person might be following you on more than one channel.
If you’ve got relevant podcasts or videos of previous webinars, make sure they’re online, on YouTube or available on the top podcast aggregators such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
3. Pre-event marketing
While email is one of the best ways to promote your events, don’t leave it up to your actual invitation email to drive all your registrations.
You should start your pre-event marketing around 4 weeks before an event in your e-newsletter, on social, and in forums and other industry groups. Closer to the event add some paid promotions if they’re in your marketing plan.
Start your dedicated email marketing campaign around 10 days before the event with an invitation email.
Make sure all of your emails contain a link to the landing and registration page, and a point of contact for any questions.
See the table below for a suggested marketing timeline.
|Webinar Marketing Timeline|
|Time before event||Action items|
|4+ weeks||Promote in newsletter
Add link to email signatures
Promote on social
Interact on relevant online forums and groups
|2 weeks||Paid promotions on social
LinkedIn thought leadership pieces
|7-10 days||Send ‘Invitation’ email|
|1-2 days||Send ‘Last chance to register’ email|
|Day of Event||Reminder to attend|
Don’t forget to ask your presenters and partners to share information about your webinar on their social channels.
If your event features a well-known speaker, exclusive content or research, or a topical issue, consider advertising it on relevant media channels.
4. In-event marketing
The start of your webinar doesn’t have to mean the end of your marketing — there’s a number of things you can do during your event to maximise brand exposure, promote your experts, and share other content.
For starters, your webinar provider should be able to offer you an opportunity to brand the platform with your approved colours and logo.
If you’re filming in a studio, another important visual asset can be the design of your set which will not only add to your webinar branding, but also reinforce your strategy.
In contrast to remote webinars, where the camera can only accommodate a backdrop about 1m2 in size, there are a number of more impactful ways you can film your webinar in a studio.
One of the main advantages is that you can customise the set to reflect your brand, messaging and theme.
For panel-style discussions and debates presenters can be seated at a desk, while for more informal discussions or one-on-one interviews, a lounge-type setting may be more appropriate.
The design of the webinar presentation slides is also another way you can easily add another visual branding element.
Webinars are also a great way to promote your organisation’s experts and industry leaders by including them as a speaker, presenter or moderator.
You can also include gated downloadable assets such as ebooks, checklists, guides, white papers and presentation slide decks in your event resource pack. Your webinar is also a great place to promote previous and upcoming webinars — including a link to register for your next event.
You can also pre-write some social posts and schedule them to be posted during the event
5. Post-event marketing
The end of your webinar doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your marketing.
Make sure you follow up with everyone who registered, whether they attended or not.
Thank those who attended and provide everyone with a link to a recorded version of the event so they can watch it in their own time. You can also include links to any relevant content that you might have shared during your webinar, as well as any other relevant existing webinars and podcasts you have.
You can also create a brief post-event wrap-up which you can stream through Facebook Live or similar, or just use the audio and create a podcast (or both).
Finally, don’t forget to promote your next event.
If you take the time and follow these simple 5 steps, you’ll not only see an increase in registrants, attendees and returnees to your webinars, as well as downloads of your on-demand content — you’ll also have a solid webinar marketing plan, and the knowledge of how to make the most of it for your next event.
For more on organising great webinars, download the Webinar Organiser’s Handbook.