How to manage, promote and run a B2B webinar and ensure you achieve maximum ROI
Webinars have been the linchpin for our clients' content marketing efforts for a number of years. But what once used to be a blue ribbon product in our vendors' media planner has now become something of a commodity.
Certainly as the rate for a webinar has been driven down by competition, which in some instances, has affected both the quality and quantity of leads/registrations/attendees for webinars.
So have webinars had their day? Absolutely not.
As part of a sustained, strategic lead nurture campaign they can still provide a great opportunity to generate leads and also provide a rare opportunity to engage with your prospects rather than just talk at them. Here are my tips to increase ROI with your webinar campaigns.
LEAD TIME - AIM FOR 6 WEEKS
A common pitfall is to commit to a webinar with limited time to generate awareness/registrants and ensure the webinar is well organised.
We recommend six weeks as an optimum time from registration to broadcast date. We have all-too-often been in a position where a client confidently states they can deliver a webinar in four weeks, only to be hampered by illness or having to prioritise other projects, significantly effecting the webinar's overall success.
Once a webinar time and date is set and has been promoted it's very difficult to start moving the schedule around. Always allow enough time to do your webinar justice. A poorly executed webinar can do more damage than good.
CHOOSE THE TOPIC WITH CARE
Always ensure that the topic of your webinar reflects a problem or opportunity your prospects commonly face or offers insight into potential solutions to your prospects' problem or opportunity.
Rarely is a product or service focused webinar popular with the life science community. You’ll have an opportunity to engage your prospects with "decision" focused content (a more advanced stage within the science buyer's journey), but that time is not now.
If you can offer genuinely valuable advice to your prospects, they will register for your webinar and return for more if you deliver on your promise.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO PROMOTE YOUR WEBINAR
A common mistake with webinar registration marketing is leaving the promotion to the vendor, which means only their community may be aware of the webinar. Ensure you utilise your own databases and channels to promote the webinar. If you have social media channels such as Twitter or a LinkedIn page, ensure these channels are utilised for promotion. Similarly, if you have product experts or key opinion makers within your organisation, use them.
USE EMAIL AND DISPLAY TO PROMOTE YOUR WEBINAR
Another method of increasing awareness of your webinar is utilising email marketing campaigns and digital display campaigns via third parties. This can be especially useful if the third party can target the section of their audience who would be interested in the topics covered in your webinar.
SET SMART OBJECTIVES
Also, ensure you clearly define who you are trying to reach with your webinar. Keep in mind company type, job function/title and location. It's no good generating 500 registrants if a large percentage of them are not relevant to you.
If you have agreed on KPIs (or SMART objectives) with your webinar provider, ensure that they take into account registrant relevance and also that any registration targets include a caveat relating to the number or percentage of registrants generated by the vendor. If you have generated 60% of registrations through your own (or third-party marketing), was this in line with expectations?
As mentioned above, ensure you allow enough lead time to generate sufficient leads, and rectify any poor initial take-up by adapting your marketing message.
Be sure to send sufficient reminders and follow-up emails tailored to those that have registered and those that might not have but could be persuaded to. A way of increasing registrations is to offer a secondary related piece of content to those who attend the live event.
TIMING/LENGTH OF WEBINAR - APPROX 1 HOUR
Other important factors to consider when planning your webinar is how long the webinar will last (we recommend no longer than an hour, including introduction and Q&A) and also the time of the live webinar.
If you are looking to target Asia-based prospects, it is of little use broadcasting a webinar at a time which is impractical for them to attend. With a pre-recorded webinar you can broadcast in different time zones and host separate live Q&A’s afterwards, which can address questions which may have factors related to location.
If you’ve delivered a successful webinar you may strike lucky and have a number of sales-ready leads to pass on to the sales team, however, it's more likely that your prospects will need further engagement/nurturing so ensure you have a follow-up plan in place.
Create different workflows to engage with prospects based on their behaviours around the webinar:
If they attended have a piece of related content ready to follow up with.
If they registered but didn’t attend send the prospect an on-demand link.
If they engaged with the webinar promotion activity but didn’t register, is there another topic the might be interested in?
Strike while the iron is hot. You should follow up with prospects no later than a week after the live webinar.
REPURPOSE - GET MORE FROM YOUR INVESTMENT
You will have no doubt invested a lot of resource into your successful webinar, so ensure you stand to gain as much ROI as possible. Make sure an on-demand version is available in your content library (and negotiate as much on-demand marketing with the vendor as possible when agreeing on the webinar).
Also, engage a writer to transcribe the content into a whitepaper or infographic, this means you’ll essentially have a second piece of valuable content to offer prospects at no additional cost.
It's imperative you are aware of what your prospects do next, and whether or not attending the webinar eventually translates into sales. Ensure you engage with your sales teams to track the initial source of any sale so you can tailor future webinar topics and vendors around what works, and not what you assume worked.
Webinars are a fantastic B2B marketing channel. If you are not already conducting webinars, you are missing out - they have definitely not had their day. We work with many vendors and many clients to promote and run webinars, and the results are consistently positive.