Blueprint to a Successful B2B Webinar

Posted by Jackie Gonzalez on 11/18/16 1:47 PM

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Webinars are widely regarded as one of the best tools for conversion that marketers have, and for good reason. In a lot of cases, it’s the touch point that launches prospects from the general lead pool into the category of sales qualified leads or even to the point of purchase.

That makes webinars one of the most important parts of any good content mix, but they can only do their job if you ensure a successful event. A boring webinar or one that doesn’t provide any useful value to your audience won’t get you very far. If you’re going to host a webcast for your brand, taking these twelve steps will increase your chances of it paying off.

  1. Make sure you choose a topic relevant to your audience.

You could host the most amazing webinar that anyone’s ever imagined and it won’t accomplish anything if people don’t show up. Same thing goes if the only people that materialize are outside your target audience. They may walk away impressed, but if there’s no chance they’ll enter your waterfall then this reaction does little for your bottom line.

The first thing you need to get right is the topic. Look at the data you have on what topics prospects most consistently respond to. Talk to your sales and customer support teams about the questions your leads and customers frequently ask and the concerns they often have. Use all the information you have to select a topic you know matters to them. Your audience won’t sign up, much less show up, if the topic doesn’t compel them.

  1. Invite an influencer.

Your webinar immediately gains credibility if you have a co-host people respect and follow. If members of your audience have heard your guest’s name and associate them with trustworthy information, they’re both more likely to show up and to care about what you (and the influencer) have to say.

In addition, having an industry influencer on board means you’ll get some extra help with promotion, since they’ll be likely to let their audience know about your webinar as well. And at least as important as all the other points here, an influencer will bring solid information and insights to the webinar, making it a more useful experience for those that attend.

  1. Promote the webinar in advance.

Picking the right topic is step one to getting people to attend, but your audience has to know the webinar’s happening in order to show up for it. Promote the webinar over email to everyone on your list and to all your social media followers. That’s simple enough, but ideally you also want to get news of it beyond the people who already know about you.

Consider paid promotion on social media and search engine ads where appropriate. If you manage to get an influencer involved, ask them to help get news of the webinar out to their followers. And create a compelling landing page for webinar signups to get people past the point of general interest and onto the list of registered attendees.

  1. Be aware of sound quality.

You should never take for granted that tech will work just the way you’d like. Test it out in advance. Set up a test call on the webinar software you plan to use with someone else in the company. Pick somewhere quiet and see if they can hear you clearly. Is there background noise? Are you loud enough?

If you don’t already have one, it’s worth investing in a microphone or headset that will pick up your voice without capturing as much background noise. It’s possible that even with testing you’ll have issues on the day of the webinar, but you’ll be more prepared and reduce your risk of problems if you do your due diligence beforehand.

  1. Use compelling visuals.

The visuals in your presentation have a big job to do: keep people’s attention. Try to branch away from the typical stock photos everyone’s seen before to find something more unique and interesting. Keep the aesthetic consistent and on-brand.

  1. Have a script.

Don’t try to wing it. Writing a script to go along with your presentation will ensure you’re better prepared when the day comes. 

Spend enough time with your presentation in advance so you know everything you want to cover and the order you’ll be doing it in. You need the script to be prepared, but you want to know what it says well enough that you can do the presentation without having to read as you go.

When you and your colleagues test for sound quality, consider treating it as an opportunity to do a dry run and get some feedback on your presentation from others in the office. That can both increase your confidence before the big day, and leave you with some pointers to make the presentation stronger.

  1. Use examples and anecdotes.

Tying information back to specific examples or stories makes it more relatable to your attendees. If they feel disconnected from the information, it won’t be very meaningful to them. But if they can see how what you’re saying plays out in specific terms, they’ll have an easier time imagining themselves or their business in the situation you’re describing.

  1. Include some humor.

You don’t want the webinar to be dry and dull. Aim for a more casual tone and look for opportunities to include humor. Don’t try to force jokes necessarily – people can usually tell its forced when you do that and the joke will fall flat. But if you see a spot where you can slip in a favorite cartoon panel or reference something in pop culture, go for it. Adding some more casual or fun touches helps keep people engaged and interested.

  1. Have multiple speakers.

Lectures are often harder for people to focus on than discussions. By having more than one speaker, you can play off of each other and make sure you’re not just talking at the audience. Two speakers also means two brains and sets of experience to provide insights to the audience, which means you can pack more knowledge into the webinar time. Consider an event host as well so a member of your team can focus on the logistics while another concerns them self with content.

  1. Include interactive elements.

We all know how easy it is to get distracted. Sitting in front of a computer makes it all too easy to switch over to email to see if anything new has come in, browse social media or multitask – all while supposedly “attending” a webinar.

Just because someone shows up doesn’t mean you can assume they’re listening. You still have work to do. Adding some interactive elements to the webinar, like inserting poll questions throughout the presentation gives attendees motivation to actively pay attention. Not to mention, the results of which provide you more information on your attendees that’s valuable for understanding what prospects are thinking.

  1. Follow up.

Once the webinar’s finished, you’re still not done. If you did everything right, then the people who attended are valuable leads. Send them a recording of the webinar, in case they want to revisit certain points or share the video with colleagues. Encourage follow-up questions and feedback.

Include a CTA in the email that encourages your audience to get in touch or check out additional information, and consider providing a special offer just for webinar attendees to drive them to the point of purchase.

Whatever you do, don’t let the lead die here. Use this opportunity to keep them interested and thinking about your company and product.

  1. Use your data for this webinar to improve the next one.

One last thing your webinar accomplishes is providing you with a valuable set of data. You can see how many prospects clicked through to your landing page and what sources sent them there to inform how well your promotion efforts paid off and what to try next time.

You also now have more information on the prospects that attended, especially if they answered your polls or asked questions. And you’ll soon have data on who converted, either by moving further in the pipeline or becoming an outright sale.

All of that data can be used to help you craft the next webinar so you continue to maximize your impact. As with all marketing, webinars aren’t just a learning opportunity for your attendees, they’re one for your team as well. By analyzing the data your webinar produces, your team gains fresh insights that can be put toward improving your marketing plan moving forward.

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Topics: Webinars, Hive9

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