I’m sure that most of you have attended a webinar before. Personally, I enjoy attending them because they are a way to learn that keeps me engaged through both visuals and sound. They are also a great way to hear well-known thought leaders without having to pay expensive conference fees.
Marketers seem to like them as well, since data shows that 59% of marketers use them. The appeal for using webinars as a marketing tactic lies in the fact that these events allow you to engage with an audience and generate interest for your products by demonstrating thought leadership in the space. However, producing a webinar can take a great deal of time and effort. Thankfully, there are a few best practices that you can use to inform your webinar strategy and derive greater results.
1. Plan Ahead
With so many moving parts involved with producing a webinar, it is important to begin the planning process as soon as you can. Make sure that you give yourself enough time to prepare and get all of the details in line, including securing guest speakers, planning the marketing activities you will use to promote your event and preparing the presentation materials.
The first step to producing a webinar is deciding on a topic. You want to be educational and not overtly promotional, as most people do not want to spend an hour listening to you talking about how great your product is. Instead, think of ways that you can give your audience value, such as bringing in a well-known thought leader or discussing a recent research report.
The date and time you hold a webinar is also important to think about strategically. As far as time of day, it is a widely-accepted best practice to hold your webinar toward the middle of day, keeping in mind the various time zones your audience resides in. According to research from virtual event platform provider ON24, 10AM and 11AM PST are the most popular times to hold webinars. When thinking about the day of the week, avoid the early part of the week, as most professionals are more overloaded with work earlier in the week, and will be catching up on tasks that occurred over the weekend. Fridays should also be avoided, as many people who take weekend trips will make it a three day weekend and take Friday off. The best days to aim for are Wednesday and Thursday.
2. Build an Audience
Once you have determined the topic of your webinar and finalized the date and time, you can move forward with promoting the webinar. Pre-webinar marketing is important, because if people aren’t aware of your webinar in advance, they’re less likely to attend. In order to get the most value of your investment in the production of a webinar, you need to have a large enough audience attending.
When reaching out to potential attendees to drive registrations, it is important to be straight-forward in the benefits of attending the webinar. Keep email copy short and lead with the top benefits. With so many webinars taking place (most at the same days and times), it is important to differentiate your event from others.
An effective method for driving registrations is by enabling current registrants to easily share information about your webinar with their social networks. Including social sharing buttons in all of your email communication allows them to do this in one easy step.
According to ON24, 64% of registrations come the week prior to the event, with 21% coming the day of the event. Therefore, it is important to time your promotions to be close enough to the event so that people pay attention. Additionally, reminder emails, sent the morning of the event, have been shown to drive attendance to the live event. Since busy professionals’ schedules fill up quickly, it is important to get onto their calendars so that they will make time to attend. By including a link to a calendar invite file, you make it even easier for registrants to add your event to their calendar.
3. Get the Most Out of It
Once the live event is over, make the most of the webinar by promoting it on-demand, preferably as soon as possible after the live event is over. This way, registrants who were unable to attend the live event can still experience the webinar. ON24 found that an average of 25% of registrants viewed a webinar on-demand. In addition, consider embedding the slides and/or recording into other marketing channels such as your blog, social media and nurturing emails.
Webinars can be an effective method to generate leads and grow your database. However, it is important to think strategically and give yourself plenty of time to prepare. By following these steps, you help to ensure that your hard work pays off and that your webinar is successful.