Marketing

How To Set Up Your Webinars For Success

Rahul Danak
January 14, 2022

Webinars are a great way to communicate with business prospects. They empower you to demonstrate value to hundreds of people whilst sitting in the most remote parts of the world. They enable you to deliver memorable presentations from all across the globe without leaving your desk.

But how should you go about hosting a webinar that, in addition to adding value to your audience, converts them into paying customers?

Let’s go step-by-step and list the key stages of planning a successful webinar:

1. Topic and Audiences:

The very first step towards executing a successful webinar is to identify a topic — and the right target audience for it. Pick a topic that adds value to your target market and makes attendance worth their time. Perform extensive market research to truly understand the challenges and interests of your audience. Needless to say, you should only choose a topic you and your company are proficient in. In the case of Factors.ai, for example, this might be presentations related to marketing analytics, multi-touch attribution, etc.

2. Communication and Promotion Channels:

Once you’ve set your topic and identified your target audience, it’s important to make a concise communication plan for the same. This would involve shortlisting  channels to be activated for promotions, content buckets/themes, and a timeline of when you plan to engage the audiences. Here’s an example:


Channels: Social Media (FB, LinkedIn), Google Ads, Email, Slack Communities, etc
Content Theme: Brand of Speaker, Virtual Summit, Value proposition, etc
Timeline: Ads to be run from N-30 till the webinar date, Customized Email sequences to be sent to website subscribers on N-20, N-10, N-7 and so on.

Key metrics for measuring performance will depend on the type of channel. For instance, in the case of Social Media, link clicks and CTRs will be good metrics. For emails, metrics like open rates and click through rates may be better suited.

3. Pricing and Offers:

If you plan to monetize your webinar, a pricing model that changes based on the promotion channels may be employed (the reason being user intent).

For example, while promoting a business webinar, a user browsing Facebook (lower intent) may need more convincing than a user browsing LinkedIn (higher intent), given the latter is a business platform. This is where price fluctuation will  convert even low intent users into webinar registrants. You may look to promote the entry fee for the webinar on Facebook at 10-12$ while promoting the same on LinkedIn at 18-20$.

Another variation that may be added to the webinar are offers. If you have a product/service that would be promoted before/during the course of the webinar, create a custom offer just for webinar promotions. This way, you will also be able to better measure the performance of the webinar

For email sequences to already subscribed users, specific offers (based on their profiles and funnel stage) can be created to improve attendance and pipeline velocity.

4. Creatives and Targeting:

The quality of your creative copies and designs will make or break the performance of your online promotions. The best way to approach this is to create a custom copy and design for each set of audiences to increase viewer connect. If this proves to be resource-heavy, you could experiment with 2-3 creative variations to see what works best.

Always take note of these learnings and implement the best practices for future webinars. It’s generally best practice to highlight the webinar takeaways as well as details about date and venue.

5. Landing Page or Lead Generation Form?

It's now time to decide how and where a user will be able express interest for your webinar. There are two ways to go about this:

A) Lead Generation Ads

These simple in-line forms open instantly when an ad is clicked without taking users to a separate page. Users can fill in the required fields and move on.


Pros:
i) Quick and easy
ii) Does not require website development, making execution faster


Cons:
i) Very little content can be put into these forms to educate users about the webinar
ii) Website cookies will not be generated making re-marketing campaigns less effective
iii) Integration for payment getaways (in case of a paid webinar) will prove to be a difficult task


B) Landing Pages

Creating short and crisp landing pages with concise content is a great way to get users to register for the webinar.


Pros:
i) More content can be accommodated to tell a story and convince users
ii) Integration with payment gateways is seamless
iii) Re-marketing campaigns are simple to execute through cookies for users who have visited the page but are yet to register

Cons:
i) Resource-heavy since it involves website development thus increasing overall execution time and cost

So, depending on the resources and time available to you, either one can be chosen.

6. Practice Run and Hosting the Webinar

No matter how well you promote your webinar, if on the day things don’t go as planned, you may end up losing all your potential prospects.

Therefore, practise the entire webinar flow and everything you plan to cover on the day. Make sure your content is validated from other team members to ensure accuracy and relevance. Finally, ensure your webinar is interactive as you do not want to lose out on participants mid-way.

7. Reaching Out To Webinar Participants

Do you plan on reaching out to each participant after completion of the webinar to check whether they’ll be interested in your offerings?

While it’s not a bad idea to do this, a poor execution strategy could leave a bad impression on your brand. It always helps to be subtle and strategic.


Here’s how:


  • Create a checkbox in the webinar registration form asking users whether they’ll be open to calls from the Sales team to know more about your offerings. This way, you’ll know who are the ones interested to know more beforehand.

  • During the webinar, take up questions from participants to understand challenges they face in their business'. Use this moment to talk about the specific features that your product/service solves for these challenges and ask the participants to directly reach out to you via mail for documents like case-studies or feature specifications. The Sales team can then take the discussion forward and drive the funnel.

  • After the webinar, share an event replay that can be consumed by participants who couldn’t attend the webinar and by those who would prefer to go through the content at their own pace for insights. Add a Call-To-Action here asking if they would open to be contacted by the Sales Team.

  • When contacting participants, begin every conversation with takeaways of the webinar and how useful it has been for them rather than directly asking for a demo. This would help structure the conversation around the challenges faced by the participant and how your product/service could solve it.

  • It is important to understand where a webinar participant is in the buying funnel. For example, if someone is simply exploring products/services, first understand their problems and use-cases, suggest ways they can solve them, and then proceed to the next stage of engagement. This would ensure you’re not too early or too late with your sales pitch.

8. Reporting and Analytics

Finally, how do you plan to measure the success of the webinar? Are you measuring the right metrics and tracking impact on the pipeline? This data is critical to understanding how much the webinar has resonated with the prospects and what needs to be tweaked to make future webinars a success.

Most teams would be measuring performance across different data silos such as Facebook Ads, Google Analytics and an MAP/CRM such as Hubspot/Salesforce.

Let’s a take real-life scenario to understand this better:

Jay, a marketing manager, has recently concluded an important webinar for his organization that develops SaaS products. He now wants to:

  • Understand the impact of the efforts that were put in to set up and promote the webinar.
  • Understand how the webinar participants progress through the buying funnel to focus future promotion efforts on channels that produce quality prospects

Jay’s team would be able to give a performance report on:

  • Ad Platforms such as LinkedIn Ads in terms of which ads worked best, got the highest clicks, CTR and other metrics.
  • Landing page visits and drop-offs across channels
  • Hubspot contacts and Salesforce leads created from the webinar

While Jay will be able to gather insights on individual platforms for the webinar, more importantly, he will need a complete view into user journeys right from the first user visit all the way up to their status in the buying funnel.

This would help Jay make informed decisions for planning future webinar promotions better in order to acquire quality prospects.

At this point, Jay’s team were unable to find a way to stitch these data silos together to give Jay what he wanted.


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