Many people believe that webinars are one of the top lead-generation tactics for B-to-B (and occasionally B-to-C) marketing. That gives you a great reason to include webinars in your marketing strategy. The question is… how?
First, think about WHAT
First you need to brainstorm your perfect topic. You may know exactly what your prospects and customers are looking for in an online event, but if you don’t… survey your base to discover what content they are seeking or want to see. Put a survey on your website or newsletter to help you identify subject matter your audience finds interesting, relevant, useful… solves their pain points, etc…
Once you have your topic, you must find relevant speakers to add relevant color and fill the time void. We all know that using a 3rd party expert will add credibility to your event. But in addition to inviting industry experts or analysts to speak, consider inviting your customers as thought leaders – they can share how they’ve been able to drive success, what lessons they’ve learned, as well as discuss where they stand on critical issues. Of course, make sure they are both trusted, and friendly, or you could have a surprise disaster.
Also give careful consideration to the peripherals. What are your presenters wearing? What are they choosing as a background? What does the program look like from an aesthetic perspective?
Also give careful consideration to the technology, specifically:
Then, think about WHEN
Now, what is the best day to have your online event? The power user typical answer is Tuesday through Thursday, a little before lunch or a little after lunch depending on your time zone. Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s are clear winners… but Friday can be effective too. Mondays are considered a dead day for Webinars. Timing may be different for your audience, so test various days and times to determine when is most effective for you.
Once you’ve determined what and when, you need to figure out who. Who is your target audience? Consider the relevancy of the content as you develop your list. Is it focused on a specific industry, or product, or role within an organization? Is it more relevant to someone who has attended a previous event or downloaded a white paper on the same topic? Does it align to where an individual is in their buying cycle?
Once you’ve figured out WHAT, WHEN and WHO, you’ll need to focus on driving registration. Put the butts in the seats, as they say. Bodies, bodies, bodies.
Communicate! Get your email out!
You can utilize mailing lists, or your customer database to send invitations out to. And once you’ve figured out WHAT, WHEN and WHO, you’ll need to focus on driving registration. When putting together your event email copy, always remember that your email is about the webinar and not your product. No one is going to want to attend your webinar if all they are going to get is a sales pitch, and your email copy will set the tone. Provide your audience with compelling benefit based information on why they should attend your webinar.
Keep it very, very simple: Be sure to include all key event points, so that your audience can easily identify if your webinar will be of value to them. Your webinar invitation should clearly indicate the following key points:
• The Topic
• Date and Time
• Why You Should Attend?
• How to Register
Don’t Forget About Structure: The structure of your email is very important. You MUST make sure your audience can find the information that they need as quickly as possible.
When constructing your email invitation, make sure you consider the following:
• The call to action for registration is clear, and is located ‘above the fold’ (the visual line) in the email
• Use a custom header in your email to showcase the event details AND link to the registration page. This is a great way to capture your audiences’ attention.
• Always include a TEXT link for the call to action located above ‘the fold’, for recipients who do not allow images to appear in their email client.
Tip 2: Multi-Touch, Multi-Channel, Automated Promotion to Boost Registration
Use multi-touch, multi-channel promotion to help drive event attendance. Leverage automation to develop an effective and automated event promotion program. Follow this sample Best Practice Registration Workflow, as a starting point to building your program. When building your program, keep in mind these four tactics that help boost registration numbers:
1. Add additional channels to your promotion mix. Doing so has seen the following increases in registration:
2. Company.com links lift registration 3% – 15%
3. Partner Banner Ads and Email Sending lift registration 1% – 4%
4. Send follow-up emails to those who have not registered after the first invitation. This tactic has resulted in increases in registration from 30-45%
5. Use Batch Signatures to increase response rates. Sending emails on behalf of the sales agent (who owns the lead), using Batch Signatures, has resulted in increased open rates of 10-15% and click-through rates of 2-4%. See here for details on how to do this in Eloqua.
6. Leverage offline channels. Recent success has been seen using ‘text-to-voice’ functionality. Sending a recorded voice message at the same time as the 2nd invitation, or in a day-before reminder, helps to increase registration and attendance. See here for details.
CONVERT!!! Make Sure You Convert Webinar Registrants into Webinar Attendees
Today, webinar attendance rates are at roughly 25% for a typical webinar. That means up to 75% of the people who actually registered don’t get the value of the live event! Of course, you want your registrants to attend, to warm up prospects, and educate customers, so it’s critical you do all that you can to ensure those registrants attend.
Some quick tips to turn your registrants into attendees:
1. Include an ICS calendar object in your webinar confirmation email. This effective tactic has resulted in increases in attendance from 10-20%. See here for details on how to do this in Eloqua.
2. Send timely webinar reminders. Send a webinar reminder email to registrants 1-2 hours before the webinar, instead of a day before. This practice has increased attendance by 10-15%.
3. Use telemarketing (for large webinars) or call-on-demand to remind registrants about the upcoming webinar, and increase attendance up to 20%.
Follow-up to Generate Qualified Leads
So if the majority of people are not actually attending the live webinar – how do you maximize lead generation for all of those registrants? It is well known that follow-up connection rates drop off significantly if you wait more than a day, so it is critical to quickly assess who attended and who did not attend, and then send a targeted communication to both groups.
1. Split follow-up communications into those who attended, and those who did not attend
2. Follow-up no later than 24 hours after the webinar
3. Ensure you provide access to a recorded version of the webinar to BOTH groups
4. Provide an additional call-to-action for more value-add content
5. Monitor activity and pass on qualified leads to sales for follow-up
Like other marketing processes, driving the webinar ROI is becoming more of a well strategized science. There are definitely key tactics to follow to ensure your webinar is a success. Once you’ve done your first webinar program don’t forget the importance of measuring your success and keeping your program up to date. Why not add in some testing – test subject lines or sender names, monitor what resonates best with your audience, and continue to improve your promotional plan.
Finding technology to broadcast webinars or large scale meetings.
The best place to start is unbiased reviews, like this Top Ten Whitepaper, where you can analyze if any of the top Web Conferencing solutions can fulfill this need. For example, some of the vendors will allow you to have a meeting of up to 1000 individuals, all of whom you can have enter the meeting in “audience mode” so that they can only see and hear, rather than projecting outward. Webinar questions come through the group chat feature, located off to the side.