If you haven’t incorporated webinar development into your inbound content strategy yet, it’s time to start. Webinars don't take a lot of your budget to implement, but provide an immediate lead capture opportunity and enable you to directly engage with qualified prospects. Best of all, they’re an effective way to provide comprehensive, educational content for your buyer personas. If done right, webinars can significantly drive lead generation and boost ROI.
Planning your first webinar can be an overwhelming process, so we’ve created a list of the nine essential steps to take to ensure your next webinar is successful.
1. Be smart about your timeline
Any marketing professional understands that timing is everything and webinar development is no exception.
When it comes to choosing a day and time for your webinar, consider when people are most likely to tune in. If you’re trying to reach business professionals, airing your webinar mid-afternoon on a weekday is a safe bet. Webinars offer the opportunity for prospects to learn in a way that can be more engaging than reading a lengthy ebook or whitepaper. Tuning in to listen to a short webinar on a lunch break is often a much-desired change of pace for busy professionals.
Your webinar should last from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the density of your chosen topic. Avoid hosting webinars longer than an hour. A lengthy time commitment may deter busy professionals from registering. After determining the length of your webinar, organize the script and slide deck to match your time frame.
Your timeline for planning should kick at least one full month ahead of the established webinar air date. This lead time will ensure you can implement effectively and see ROI on your marketing efforts. We recommend allotting a minimum of three weeks for ongoing promotion. The longer you promote your webinar, the more leads you’ll capture and the more revenue you’ll generate in the long run.
2. Identify a prospect list
Now that you’ve set a time and date, you're ready to figure out who your target audience will be.
What buyer persona(s) do you want to reach? What are their pain points and how can you address them through this content medium? Rather than sending out an invitation to your entire contact database, establish an ample prospect list based on specific qualifying criteria. From there, focus on the different attributes and challenges of your targeted personas to shape your webinar content strategy.
3. Choose a relevant topic and knowledgeable speakers
Now that you’ve identified the prospects you aim to target with your webinar, it’s time to a choose a topic and speakers.
Inbound best practices dictate that your content should provide value for your buyer personas in the form of education. Select a topic that is timely, relevant, educational and alleviates a pain-point of your targeted buyer personas.
Next, it’s time to consider connections within your network who are experts on this topic; they’re going to be the most effective speakers. Be aware of your selected speaker’s comfort and skill level with public speaking. Verbal clarity and succinctness are key to conveying your content in a compelling way.
4. Establish a content outline
Once you’ve found the perfect subject matter experts to speak about your topic, you can begin to outline the content of your webinar. Create a script, slide deck and any other documentation necessary to your preparation.
Your script can be cursory or calculated depending on the style of your webinar. Brief, informal scripts are great for conversational presentations. If you are covering a general topic at a high level, this style of webinar is a great choice. Conversely, deep dives into complex topics often demand comprehensive, rehearsed scripts. Determine your topic’s level of intricacy and choose your presentation style accordingly.
Your slide deck should not be text-heavy or overly exhaustive. It should provide sufficient information to supplement your verbal presentation. Bullet points and images are effective ways to keep text minimal and points concise.
5. Create a gated registration page with persuasive copy
The copy on your registration page must clearly communicate the value of your webinar and include all essential information. Remember to consider varying time zones when sharing your webinar’s air time and date.
To support your lead generation efforts, we recommend requiring users to submit a form in order to register for your webinar. Webinars are usually a middle-of-funnel content offer, so your form strategy should mirror requirements corresponding to this stage of the buyer’s journey. Content at the middle of the funnel aligns with the “consideration” stage of the buyer’s journey — meaning that the buyer is deciding whether or not your solution could be a good fit for their business.
Because the buyer is showing a high-involvement interest, your form can ask for personal details without seeming invasive. Capturing this critical information can help your team better tailor their sales conversion efforts and build rapport with leads post-webinar. Don’t forget to configure your landing page so that form submission automatically registers users through your webinar-hosting software.
Lastly, be sure to route users to a thank-you page that incorporates inbound best practices and a relevant content offer upon submission.
6. Create promotional content with appropriate methods of measurement
Your returns will depend on your promotion efforts. We recommend promoting your webinar via email and social media for at least three weeks prior to the air date. It's critical that you clearly communicate the value of your webinar through concise, persuasive copy. Furthermore, be sure to supplement your copy with engaging visuals and actionable CTAs.
The only thing as important as your promotional content is your method for attributing how it contributed to lead generation. Understand your means and method for measuring the value of your efforts. Define it and share it with team members. Doing so will enable you to identify strengths and weaknesses within your webinar promotion strategy and ultimately improve upon it in the future.
7. Set up an email workflow to urge prospects to register
Your prospects are busy people and it’s likely that a single promotional email won’t suffice to bring in your desired number of registrants. A prospect could initially dismiss your promotion as spam without realizing that they’re missing out on a premium content offer.
Thankfully, your marketing automation platform can help you avoid falling victim to miscommunication. Consider creating a workflow of three to four promotional emails to encourage registration in the weeks leading up to your air date. Once your prospect completes the desired action (webinar registration) they’ll be unenrolled from your workflow and will stop receiving promotional content.
By creating a workflow to nurture prospects who have received promotional content for your webinar but still haven't registered, you can ensure that prospects aren’t mistakenly dismissing your offer.
8. Host your webinar
After weeks of preparation, it’s finally time to air your webinar. We recommend recording a test run with your speakers prior to the actual air date to troubleshoot any technical complications and help everyone get comfortable.
Make sure you’ve configured a platform like GoToWebinar to host and record your presentation. Confirm that all guest speakers who will be attending remotely are given the necessary permissions to attend the webinar as a co-host.
Most importantly, relax and enjoy your experience as a speaker or host. Surely, it can be intimidating to consider the prospect of public speaking, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Focus on effectively communicating your message to your audience in a way that is both easy to follow and engaging. In the end, what matters most is the value you've provided your prospects — so make sure you take your time to emphasize key insights.
9. Conduct post-webinar follow-up with registrants
After the webinar airs, follow up with registrants via email to thank them for taking part. Be sure to provide a recording of the webinar for registrants who were unable to attend the live airing or would like to re-watch it.
If you’d like to promote the webinar recording to non-registrants, we recommend creating a new landing page to fuel your lead generation efforts. Even though your webinar has officially passed, the recording still has value as a middle-of-funnel content offer, so tailor your form strategy accordingly.
Be a webinar star!
Incorporate webinar development into your content strategy to promote lead generation and drive revenue. As long as you follow the nine steps detailed above, your next webinar is sure to be a success.
Interested in learning more best practices for incorporating video into your inbound marketing strategy?