The Art and Science Behind Executing a Successful Webinar
- 45% of surveyed businesses cite webinars as a top tactic for driving qualified B2B leads*
- 35% cited virtual events as a top lead generator *
- 39% of B2C marketers leverage webinars and virtual events **
- 73% of B2B webinar attendees become qualified**
- Up to 40% of B2C webinar attendees convert†
Now that we have established the value of webinars in generating qualified leads, it is time to look at the art and science behind executing a successful one.
The art of presenting the correct value offer for the audience is paramount to webinar success. Equally important is ensuring your webinar is not seen as a sales pitch.
Value offers can be both tangible and intangible. For tangible offers, you can provide the audience with a certificate for attending the webinar (using Certifier), a physical book related to your webinar's topic, an e-book, checklists, case studies or a free demo/sample. For intangible offers, your webinar outline must convince the audience that they come out of it with specific knowledge or skills that would give them value and allow them to recognize greater success in the real world. You can test your value offer by asking yourself, "would it be worth my time to attend this xx-minute-long webinar for learning/receiving x benefit." Keep asking this question to yourself until you have a definite yes!
Once you have defined the value offer, it is time to communicate this to your target audience.
Driving webinar registrations is a science which involves using the correct set of channels and tactics. It can be broken down into ten steps highlighted below:
1. Identifying your audience: The first step is to understand who you are trying to reach and what pain points your webinar can help them overcome. For instance, does your audience fall under the C-suite category in the professional services industry or the entry-level category in the sales domain?
2. Map out your audience persona: The next step is to understand what channels your audience actively engages with? What do their motivators look like?
3. Using the proper channels: The audience persona will help you determine which channels you should utilize to reach them. Consider email and LinkedIn, and other social channels. Many are also seeing success with channels like cold calling and voicemail drops when paired with
website lightboxes and email signatures - free channels one can use to help drive up registrations.
Pro Tip: Make sure your email sending capacity is in line with the bulk outreach volume you are looking to achieve, warming up your email IP address is of prime importance. IP warming is progressive and will not produce results from day one. It can take up to 3 months or more of controlled email sending alongside IP warming to attain the desired send volume. Ensure that your email parameters like DKIM, SPF, DMARC and BIMI are green and that your emails are not landing in spam, even internally.
4. Creating a powerful landing page: The landing page is your final barrier in convincing your audience to register for the event. On the landing page, be sure to highlight the outline of the webinar. It must be well designed and echo the value offered by the channel that brought them there. Additionally, the landing page must cover details like:
- Title of the webinar
- Date, time, price, location and duration of the webinar
- Who the webinar is for
- What will be covered
- What problems will it solve for those who are attending
- Who the keynote/guest speaker(s) are, along with their credentials
- Clear CTA, which would be the event sign-up form*
- A checkbox to opt-in to company communications for upcoming events, newsletters and blogs.
- What value offer will the webinar provide for the attendees
- Contact information for the host to reach out if the audience has questions.
- A powerful infographic with statistics/insights from the webinar presentation.
*Pro Tip: The registration form is an excellent opportunity for audience data profiling. Adding data fields such as topics of interest (marketing, sales, operations etc.) will allow us to understand their preferences and reach out to them for future events. An equally critical data field is the source of registration. This data field can provide insights into the consumption habits of a different audience and equip us with enhanced targeting on those channels.
5. Create an impactful journey to drive registrations: Using the audience persona as a foundation, create a journey covering different parts of the landing page details in separate touchpoints. Creating personalized videos is an increasingly popular way to command attention (using tools like Idomoo, Vidyard etc.) Ideally, an audience journey built with 6 to 8 touchpoints is compelling, depending on the audience type.
6. Timing is pure science: According to ON24, typical webinars must be promoted two to three weeks in advance. Timing the journey is critical. Typically, there would be at least 2 to 3 days between each touchpoint, with the last touchpoint running on the W-day. Other timing factors to consider would be the duration of the webinar - which should not go beyond 56 minutes, including a reasonable amount of time for a Q and A session. According to the ON24 benchmark report, the most suited days for hosting a webinar were Wednesdays and Thursdays, with 11 a.m. as the better-suited hour (make sure you consider the different time zones to engage maximum people).
7. Engaging your CRM: It is essential to link the webinar registrations with your CRM and manage them as a separate list. These data streams will become highly significant for post-webinar communication and sales outreach. Make sure the webinar platform integrates with your CRM for detailed analytics.
8. Test, test and test!: Use multiple variations in your messaging piece, do A/B testing, and ensure you have your team's thoughts and opinions on all the marketing materials. After the webinar, do a thorough quantitative analysis to identify the successful and unsuccessful factors, the ROAS, and the CPC for various channels.
9. Compliance is a first: Ensure you are not violating any privacy laws like HIPAA, CASL etc. Ensure you comply with these laws and do not engage unsubscribed contacts.
10. Go social: Promoting the webinar across your existing marketing cloud is essential. Using videos and creating events on social media are great opportunities to expand the reach of your webinar. Promoting the webinar with like-minded groups and pages can effectively drive registrations.
Consider this list of items to prepare for a successful webinar; they can be broken down into the following points,
- Creating a crisp and engaging presentation: Make sure you deliver on what was promised and ensure that all the topics are covered in your presentation. Be sure to build up key takeaways or crucial pieces of information; often, attendees show up late. Use the first 10 minutes to introduce the keynote speaker, the organization and the impact you have created. Use engagement tools like polls and whiteboarding to ensure your audience is active.
- Diving into the CTA: Ensure you equip your audience with a way to act following the webinar. Generally, towards the end of your webinar, before the Q and A session is an excellent time to make your ask. The right call to action is essential. It can be a 1:1 meeting link, a promo code or a free discovery call with a service expert.
- Do a dry run: A successful dry run is a must. This is an excellent opportunity to test the flow of the webinar, test the platform to ensure there are no technical glitches, and, most importantly, sufficient time to cover all topics.
- Selecting the right webinar platform: Make sure your webinar platform is easy to use and access. Often, most company laptops/machines are restricted from downloading external applications, and it is wrong to assume that the audience is tech-savvy; try keeping the webinar platform simple to use without much back and forth.
- Do your homework: Before the W-day, it is essential to understand who the audience is; this allows the speaker to add in the personal element and grab the audience's attention.
- The art of subtle reminders: Getting registrations is a job half done; the other part of the job is to ensure they attend. Using subtle reminders by way of timely notifications is a key tactic. Ensure that at least three reminders are being sent.
Pro Tip: A tested sequence would be 1. a day before, 2. an hour before and 3. 10 minutes before.
On the webinar day, ensure that all the minutes are captured, the webinar is being recorded, and the attendance is tracked to the minute. A final gamble is to shoot out another email reminder at the 10-minute mark of the webinar, reminding the audience about the webinar and informing them that they can still join.
The art of doing a post-webinar follow-up can heavily impact your conversion rate. This touchpoint is crucial; make sure you devise three different messages for different categories, namely:
- Those who registered but did not attend
- Those who registered and attended
- Those who attended and had specific questions in the Q and A sessions.
It is equally essential to provide the audience with the promised materials (tangible and intangibles) coupled with CTAs. If your webinar was a one-off, it might be a good idea to provide the audience with the recording (gated). If not, you can invite them to attend the next webinar. Providing a link to the webinar deck is a wise move and enabling tracking on it so you may act on those who engage with it is a great opportunity.
Though, as we’ve established, webinars are a great way to generate qualified leads, don’t be discouraged if opportunities aren’t created immediately. In most cases, the opportunity will present itself weeks later.
Does this mean there is nothing else that can be done until then?
No, scoring the webinar leads and organizing them into meaningful segments is essential. Various parameters come into play for scoring the leads. The science behind scoring them can be categorized into:
- Number of webinars registered
- Number of webinars attended
- Depth (the duration) of webinars attended
- Downloaded/engaged with post-webinar materials
Maintaining these leads and their scores in your CRM can help inform meaningful conversations for faster conversions.
Explore practical ways of developing and utilizing your data segments with Vigorate – Crest Salesforce partners, click here to get started!
Pro Tip: A rarely used technique to engage a lead who has gone cold would be to send them a survey form to gather their feedback on the webinar, the good and the bad. Make sure this is being done within ten days after the webinar.
In short, executing a webinar goes beyond a traditional push strategy. It involves creating a pull effect using the principles of science outlined within and managing them artfully.
The real art lies in developing the value offer of the webinar, while the science lies in appealing to the right audience at the right time using the proper channels and tactics.