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September 26, 2018

7 Guidelines to Make Your Webinars Awesome!

webinarsWebinars continue to be one of the most effective marketing channels in the B2B space. Done right, they can help to establish [and cement] your position as a Subject Matter Expert (SME), define your competitive advantage in the marketplace, build awareness for your firm and – maybe most importantly – generate and nurture qualified sales leads.

But, webinars have more ‘moving parts’ than most marketing tactics. So, to ensure success when you’re delivering them, follow these 7 guidelines (in no particular order, except the first one!):

#1 – and most important – DON’T SELL! There is nothing worse – from the attendees’ perspective – than sitting down in front of the computer to watch a ‘learning’ webinar, only to have the first 10 minutes and first 5 slides be one long sales pitch. Stop that! Introduce yourself and your firm… then jump right into it. You’ll have the chance to sell when you follow-up (see #7 below).

#2. Use your webinars to share genuinely beneficial information. Inform, educate or challenge the attendees. Solve a problem, explain a new methodology, technology or application. Talk about trends in the industry. And to do any of those, you need to know your target audience and understand their needs and challenges.

#3. Stop it already with PowerPoint slides having 10 bullet points, each with a full sentence. If all you’re going to do is read to the audience, why are you even there? They can read! Instead, follow the 4×4 rule: no more than 4 bullets per slide and no more than 4 words per bullet. Then present. Use the bullets as a guide, not a script. Be the star of the show!

#4. Like the old joke asks, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The answer, “Practice, practice, practice!” And the same applies here. Not only do you need to know your presentation inside and out – so you present seamlessly and professionally – you also need to be an expert with the webinar software. No need to embarrass yourself looking for the button to advance the slides!

#5. Your webinars have no value if no one sees them. So, a big part of planning for webinars is the accompanying promotional plan. Use email, social media, digital ads, personal invitations, phone calls and, of course, your website. And while you will learn what’s most effective the more webinars you present, your best response rates will come from promos launched less than a month before the webinar… and likely less than 2 weeks out. What we have found with our webinars is that we get good registration numbers several weeks out, but a higher no-show rate than those who registered nearer the event.

#5a. Part of your promo plan is to make sure you’ve got a good landing page and an easy-to-complete form the attendees will use to register. The key copy points to cover on the landing page are who should attend, what main topics will be covered and how people will benefit by attending.

#6. People get busy… and sometimes work gets in the way of them wanting to attend your webinar. Help them to not forget about it when they get busy by sending out frequent reminders: a week out, 3 days out, one day out and the morning of. And if your webinar platform allows you to send out calendar invitations (for insertion into Outlook or Google calendars)… take advantage of it.

#7. Presenting webinars will generate sales leads. Of that, there is no doubt. But the real value comes in following-up with the registrants. Whether you choose to employ emails, phone calls, drip campaigns or some other tactics… you must have a plan. Without the follow-up… you’re walking away from potential revenue! For additional details on effective follow-up strategies, read our recent blog post on the topic.

Webinars require a fair amount of time and effort to present, which is why so few firms choose to do them. But if you commit to them and do them right, you will separate your firm from the competition, and in doing so, build a reputation in the marketplace, improve top-of-mind awareness and generate qualified sales leads.

Good luck.

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