Since the response for my "5 Elements of a Great Whitepaper" post was tremendous (nearly 600 views in just 3 days on LinkedIn), I though I'd follow up by covering another challenging piece of content marketing - the webinar.
The webinar is another staple in the tech industry - it's an opportunity to learn about business challenges, hear what other companies are doing to solve them and to see what solutions exist. But it's not as simple as send out an email and have a webinar - you want lots of solid leads that are well past the awareness portion of their buyer's journey and are seriously interested in solving a problem by spending budget on the right solution (yours).
So, there are 5 elements of your next webinar you should consider in order to make it the greatest success it can be.
1) The Topic
Nobody has time for an ambiguously titled webinar. They want to know what pain in their life you're going to take away. In essence, what's in it for them. Like the whitepaper, the webinar title ideally should be self-selecting for the prospective attendee.
What to Do: Choose a title that lets the attendee identify that it's for them and that it solves a problem they have. For example, if you're going to have a webinar about changing your bedsheets, a title of "3 Ways to Speed up Bedmaking" is far better than "Bedmaking Methods and Strategies". Why? because it not only identifies the webinar is for those that make beds (they both do), but also implies the attendee has a pain (bedmaking is so slow) and that they will learn how to take away the pain.
2) The Promotion
I recently spoke with a client that is promoting their webinars to a very old email list which contains leads whose origin they aren't even sure of (a clear sign, BTW, that it's time to largely give up on these leads). I suggested advertise the webinar with a reputable media partner that could target the promotion to an audience spot on to be potential clients. I'll ask the somewhat rhetorical question - which option will produce more viable leads and (most likely) more revenue?
What to Do: You do need to hit your internal database of leads, but be selective on who you are targeting. Those leads that are showing some interest? They may like the webinar medium and will want to continue their journey with you if invited. Those leads that haven't shown any interest at all in 6 months? It's unlikely they will be interested and you may be more stalking them and being a bother than actually helping your company. You also need to always be injecting fresh leads - and that means going out to where your target audience is. Advertise the webinar with a solid media partner that will filter the list to meet any demographic or persona needs you have so you get the highest quality of leads possible.
3) The Presentation
I can't tell you how many times I've sat in a presentation where one person speaks forever in a monotone voice with no excitement whatsoever (sound familiar?). This is a huge opportunity to communicate the value of your product that is only trumped by an in-person meeting. Why would you want to waste it using someone with no presentation skills and a "death by powerpoint" methodology?
What to Do: Always have two presenters. Usually one works for your company (product management or an SE) and the other usually is an independent industry expert. If you can't afford an expert, still have two people on the call. Here's why: Think about what you listen to on the radio on your drive to work. Which would you rather listen to: one person talking or the "morning show" with 3-5 people conversing about a topic? The answer is usually the morning show. Why? Because listening to them makes you feel like your a part of the conversation. It's the same at a webinar - don't have one presenter go and then the other go with zero interaction; have the two converse about the challenges your customers are facing. Have the Q&A section also be interactive, as much as possible. I can't tell you how many times I've received feedback like "this is the best webinar I've ever attended" because of this presentation style.
4) The Intel
You have an audience that is showing interest in your product or service and, so far, all you have to go on is whether they attend or not. Someone willing to give up an hour of their time is more interested than just trying to do research. You need to gather as much intel on each attendee as is possible for sales.
What to Do: There are two critical pieces of intel you can gather for sales. The first is through an in-webinar survey. Ask a question (or even better - questions) that both helps to tailor the presentation to the audience, as well as provide sales with some needed detail on what pains each prospect. The second is to take the survey results, any questions asked, and the attendance detail (e.g. how long was each attendee on the webinar, how engaged, etc.) and load that into your CRM with the lead data. Then inform sales about the Intel so they know what to look at before they call the attendee.
4) The follow-up
In my experience, only 35-45% of registrants actually show up (my rule of thumb was 42%). That means you're going to need to do some follow-up to re-engage those registrants - and that that may not necessarily be done by Sales.
What to Do: Remember, these are folks that have shown some interest in perhaps learning more about your product, or maybe just the business challenges it solves. They may not be ready to talk to a salesperson (that, from the perspective of the buyer, wants something). But, some registrants may actually be ready. So... I suggest sending a follow-up email from the assigned rep pointing the registrant to the webinar recording or related material (more on this in #5) and offer to speak with them if they have any questions. It's a solid happy medium.
5) The Reuse of Content
So many companies promote and have a webinar and then just post it on their website. Think about that for a second. You had a great enough topic that you spent a month promoting it, hired an expert speaker, spent advertising budget on it and then you just stick it on the website? I guess it wasn't such a great topic after all...
What to Do: That webinar needs to be reutilized many times over. First, write a whitepaper using the same topic and content from the webinar (some people may be more "I like to read" than "I like to watch and listen"). Given, that you have a whitepaper, I always suggest 2-3 blog posts promoting the whitepaper (so break up the whitepaper into a few topics and write a similarly themed - but not duplicative content - set of blog posts with a CTA of downloading the whitepaper). Next, continue to promote the blog posts, whitepaper and webianr recording via social media, newsletters and marketing automation. Remember, you can't keep telling your audience "I have a product. I have a product. I have a product." Utilizing this new content, instead gives you new reasons to reach out to your audience with a message that helps them.
Making Your Webinars Great
Hosting a webinar is pretty easy, the success comes in the details and how you execute.