Webinars are a lot of work.
You have to come up with the topic, figure out how to promote it, put the slides together, and so on.
It seems like a waste of time, especially when you’ve done them in the past and you got nothing from it.
I hear you groaning already.
But then again, what if you get one customer from it (or push an existing prospect to move forward faster)?
Webinars are one of the fastest ways to communicate and engage with your audience.
And when combined with an outbound sales strategy, they can significantly speed up sales cycles and help identify who in your audience may be moving into a buying window.
That’s significant lead intelligence because it indicates buyer intent.
When done the right way, webinars can help you:
- Streamline the content creation process allowing you to test content to determine if you’re hitting pain points that resonate with your audience.
- Streamline the prospecting process by identifying the low hanging fruit to go after in the short term and nurture others in the long term.
So, if you’re convinced enough that webinars are worth the effort to keep reading, let’s make sure you are maximizing all of your opportunities:
Step 1 – Choose the Right Topic
First of all, you need to choose a topic that speaks to a business problem that you solve.
It’s important to get this step right. Because if you don’t, the results will be not only low attendance but also unqualified leads in the ones that do.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who are you specifically targeting and what problem do they need to solve quickly?
- Where are they in the buying process?
- Do they know they have a problem, or do you need to educate them?
- Are they shopping for solutions to a problem they already know they have?
Answering that last question will help you identify leads for short-term engagement opportunities. But even if they’re not currently searching for solutions, long-term nurturing and education are important too.
PRO TIP: With proper planning, you can develop one webinar and run it over again changing only the introduction and lead-ins to address different buyer stages.
For example, let’s say I want to run a webinar about how to generate content that produces leads.
For those in my audience that don’t know that they have a problem, I could run a webinar titled:
“Why your content isn’t turning into sales leads” where I would talk about being too general in your topic selection and not thinking through the call to action and nurturing post-webinar.
Those same solutions could also be used in a webinar for an audience that knows they have a problem:
“The most efficient way to generate more leads through your existing content strategy.”
That’s the same webinar. I’m still going to talk about being too general in topic selection and stronger calls to action.
Step 2: Plan Your Content Development
Now that you’ve determined your topic, figure out the most efficient way to bring the content together.
- Can you interview a subject matter expert? (And do they have email lists to help you promote?)
- Do you have existing white papers that can be easily turned into a presentation?
- What’s the call to action? (What do you want them to do at the end of the webinar?)
It’s unrealistic to expect attendees to take a sales call or schedule a demo right after the presentation.
It happens, but it’s far more important to think about your nurturing strategy. In other words, what follow-on content can you send to them that helps solve the problem and keeping them engaged until they are ready to take your call.
Once you’ve answered these questions, develop an abstract with a few paragraphs about the topic and three or four bullet points about what people will learn.
Also, provide a short bio on the presenter and have a picture handy.
Step 3 – Promote!
The first (and best) method of promotion is always your existing audience.
If you have an email list, that’s a great place to start.
If not, find someone to partner with that does and offer the content to their audience.
Leave yourself at least three weeks to promote, and plan on sending at least two email blasts. Make sure you remove registrants from any subsequent email blasts to ensure you’re not encouraging unsubscribes.
Use your social media properties to promote as well.
If you have a Facebook page, consider boosting the post.
On Linkedin, post to your groups (if they allow it), put it in your post feed, and have your close connections like and comment on it.
Also, send one-to-one emails to your 1st-degree connections that meet your ideal prospect properties.
Step 4 – Engage With People When They Sign Up
When people register, it’s important to engage with them right away and get them excited about attending.
Send them an email (and call if you have their phone number), thanking them for signing up, and ask them if they have any issues they want to make sure you address in the webinar.
Thanks for signing up for our webinar on TOPIC.
Because we are still finalizing the content, I wanted to see if there’s anything specifically that you want to make sure that we cover?
Just reply with any questions, and we look forward to seeing you on (the DATE and time of the WEBINAR).”
This not only helps increase your live attendance at the event, but it also gets you engaged with them before the event.
I’ve even gotten into sales conversations before the webinar happened using this process. And, I’m regularly able to incorporate questions on topics that I wouldn’t have thought to include.
PRO TIP: Always have some softball questions ready to go for the Q&A. In many cases, people aren’t ready to ask something at the end of the webinar, so you have to get the ball rolling.
Step 5 – Follow Up With Something of Value.
Nurturing is about adding value, so don’t be too quick to push them to a sales meeting or demo.
Because if they’re not sales-ready, they’ll bounce.
If you’ve read my other posts, you know that everything needs to lead to one of your lead magnets like a white paper, infographic, link to sign up for a subscription, etc.
And if you’ve developed this webinar based on one of your prior white papers or ebooks, this is the perfect opportunity to send it to them.
Never miss an opportunity to engage with your prospects.
As for meeting with you (or scheduling a demo), give
them the opportunity, but don’t push.
Thanks for attending our webinar on X topic. I’ve attached a recording for further review.
For more resources, check out our white paper on this topic–it goes in-depth on this problem.
Of course, we’re always happy to discuss your situation directly and share best practices–if you’re ready for that, just schedule some time with me here.”
Rinse and Repeat
If you can incorporate webinars consistently in your content plan, it will not only push you to create more great content but also allows you to engage with prospects that may be entering the buying window at any given time–that’s a major shortcut if you’re constantly having to reach out cold.
Because they are deadline-driven, it will force you to commit to content development on deadline.
Keep those presentation notes handy because they can easily form an outline for a blog post or white paper down the road.
Once you’ve developed the meat of a good webinar (the heavy lift), it’s not hard to change the intro and topic slightly where you can deliver the same webinar to different audiences regularly.