Lead Generation through Webinars: Setting Up Your Event
To attract new leads or close deals, webinars need to be well coordinated so you can plan them in conjunction with your other programs. Plan events far in advance so you can send out promotions and follow-ups, and think about who is going to run your webinars and what platform you want to use.
When initially creating your webinar program, think conservatively. Tackle one to two webinars per month and then increase from there, depending on how each webinar is received, how much effort you put into production, and how many leads were generated. You also want to pick one day and time per week to run webinars for consistency.
Keep track of your webinar calendar either on a Google Calendar so it can be shared with everyone, an Excel spreadsheet, a whiteboard calendar, or a calendar that is available in your marketing automation tool. Each calendar entry should have the following information:
Dial-in and URL details for participant login
When creating your program, you need to choose a webinar platform. There are many platforms available such as Citrix, GoToMeeting, WebEx, and ReadyTalk. Choose your platform based on your needs, how many attendees you expect at each webinar, cost, and what sort of interactivity you are looking for. Many platforms offer the functionality to create polls, upload videos, and chat with the audience. Make sure your platform is easy to use and intuitive.
Knowing what to do before an event
Preparing for a webinar is the most time consuming and difficult part, so have all of your ducks in a row. You need to coordinate your speakers, help develop presentations, set up your event in your webinar platform, and more. Here are some webinar-specific action items you need to keep in mind:
Decide on your topic: You should map your webinar program to your buying stages and business priorities, so the first step when thinking about a particular webinar is deciding what stage of the funnel the webinar maps to and who your audience is. Then you can decide on a topic that makes sense.
Choose your speakers: You want to make sure you choose speakers that are subject matter experts (SMEs) on your topic. Speakers can be chosen from within your company or externally. It is also a good practice to consider switching it up — have one internal speaker and one external thought leader.
Write your abstract: Next you need to create an abstract. Your abstract is what you add to your landing page, give to your speakers, and use for social promotions. Your abstract should include a short paragraph about the webinar itself, a few bullet points about what the viewer can learn, and speaker bios. The figure below shows a sample abstract from a Curata webinar.
Create your webinar event: You also want to make sure you create the event itself in your webinar platform. Every platform is different, but you will likely have to schedule it and input the abstract. After you schedule it, you should get a dial-in number for participants, a dial-in number for speakers, and a URL for participants. You can use that information in your promotions.
Build a webinar landing page: Every webinar should have its own landing page complete with the abstract and signup form. If you have a marketing automation platform or an Email Service Provider (ESP), you can make the landing page yourself using an easy landing page creator.
Schedule and conduct content sync calls and platform training: You should schedule an initial call with the speakers a few weeks before your webinar to discuss content. About a week before your webinar, have another call to do platform training (if needed) and another content sync. Full dress rehearsals aren't necessary, but it's up to you.
The key is to make sure you are in constant communication with the speakers and that you stay on top of the process to ensure a smooth webinar.
Creating the right presentation
Whether you are the speaker or are just coordinating the webinar, you need to make sure you create the right presentation and that it accomplishes your lead-generation goals. Here are some best practices to take into consideration when designing your slides with lead generation in mind:
Keep it entertaining: On average, only about one-third of the people who register actually attend your webinar. And of that one-third, you have to make sure you keep them interested. Boring decks encourage drop-offs. Use memes, cartoons, and engaging slides to bring the energy level of your deck up. Check out the figure below as an example. Notice how the slide includes memes and compelling imagery.
Include a few links: Throughout your presentation, include a few links that participants can follow to download more information via a form. Make sure that your link pertains to the content.
Always include your Twitter handle and tweetables: Help your audience out by including pre-written tweetables throughout your deck. That way, your audience doesn't have to create their own tweets. And of course include your Twitter handle. An example of tweetable takeaways is shown in Figure 14-6.
Consider a poll: If your webinar platform can accommodate it, consider including a poll in the middle of your presentation. Not only does a poll increase engagement, but you can also gain additional knowledge about your buyers.
Leave time for Q&A: This seems obvious, but it can be overlooked. Always include time for Q&A at the end of your presentation — ten minutes is a good goal. Q&A gives you time to speak directly with your audience and answer any questions they might have.