Webinars give marketers the chance to come face-to-face with their target audiences in a snap, making them the tactical choice for top-of-funnel strategy.
Regardless of whether or not you’re using popular tools like Webex, GoToWebinar, or Zoom, the process of building a webinar that works is a potent mix of prediction, repurposing, and authentic connection.
Here, we’re sharing five essential tips for maximizing effectiveness and engagement potential for your future and existing webinars.
1. Invite your guests to form a tribe
Sometimes you want to go where everyone knows your name (and webinars are no exception).
For a fun webinar party trick (aside from starting the meeting BEFORE the advertised start time), try to get the early birds to introduce themselves to your host by tribe.
Invite them to submit their name and where they’re from and why they joined the webinar in the webinar console’s chat or question box.
The goal here is to launch a conversation with folks before everything gets started.
Our theory isn’t rocket science: we’re believers that most webinar viewers have at least four windows open in the background.
This leads them to believe they’re anonymous because no one can see them.
However, as soon as they hear a personal greeting from the host, their experience will be 10x more personable because they know that they will be called on and therefore, 10,000% more memorable.
Also, when your guests take the extra step to submit their name and location, they’ll already know where to send their questions at the end of the session! Win-win, right?
2. Make polls your secret weapon
Polling is a vastly underestimated tool in the world of webinar production.
When you implement polls into your webinar strategy, it does a couple of things: first, it stimulates additional engagement.
Second, it allows people to speak their mind on topics that genuinely engage them.
Yes, the whole goal of the presentation might be to deliver a message – but the real feedback that polls offer in real time is invaluable.
Why? Any feedback received is another opportunity to build more trust with your audience.
And we all know that trust can equal sales big time.
When you post a poll question, it’s important that you kill enough time for people to actually answer. So make sure to read the question and all of the potential answers.
You can even talk to the other panelists or the moderator about why the question is being posed.
This will help you buy the 30-45 seconds that you’ll need to get the majority of your attendees to submit their answer.
Final pro tip, just when you think you’re ready to close the poll and share the results, wait another 5 seconds. The insight you get from any extra stragglers could be the difference in turning an attendee into a client.
3. Send a questionnaire pre-webinar
When you’re asking for 30 minutes to an hour of a busy guest’s time, it’s of the essence.
So, it’s crucial to do everything you can to make your webinar content relevant.
Around a week to a couple of days before the webinar, try emailing a questionnaire to guests to poll them on what they’re looking to get out of the session once it begins.
This strategy works wonders for guest satisfaction because you’re able to get a sense of what your registrants are looking for before you finalize your PowerPoint.
Typically, webinar attendees only have a title and a brief description of what the presentation will be about – so if you decide to go all “choose your own adventure” on your audience, however, you’ve got a golden opportunity to increase engagement and conversion rates.
4. Repurpose your webinars frequently
When it comes to webinars, work smarter – not harder. Many webinar builders get stuck in a constant churn-out of new content because they assume it’s all old news after the first session. Wrong!
Session recordings are just as influential as the real, live thing – so a common tactic for many marketers is to host an initial on-demand session to be packaged and replayed at later dates.
The only caveat is that replays won’t have a live host to interact with future guests. So, we recommend a workaround: Run a live encore of your webinar two or three days later instead of issuing a simple replay.
This not only allows you to interact with anyone you missed in previous sessions but this tactic also creates a more robust connection than anything created in a webinar replay session because people who attend the encore presentation still get the “live” feeling because it’s run like a live session.
It’s also smart to shoot to air the webinar multiple times to mine feedback for future sessions – bonus points if you target different segments or experiment with titles for each particular version of your webinar.
Another pro tip is to find ways to repurpose webinar content in different formats. Get your webinar transcribed with a site like rev.com.
They’re an awesome service that charges anywhere from 10 cents to $1 per audio minute depending on whether you want an automated transcription with 80-90% accuracy or a transcription that’s 99% accurate.
All you need to do is upload your audio and video and you’ll get your webinar transcript in as little as 5 minutes (or 24 hours if you want 99% accuracy).
We’ve used this service many, many times and are huge fans.
Once you have the transcript, you can then take the thousands of words that you’ll get in return and package them up in blog posts, executive summaries, social media posts, infographics, and more. Then take the audio format and post as a podcast in iTunes.
5. Get your follow-up sequences on point
Conversions, of course, are always the KPI in question – so it’s vital to your webinar strategy to perfect your follow-up sequences.
Will your leads go to an inside sales team, or will they follow a nurture sequence?
When viewers are spending up to an hour of their precious time with you, it’s pivotal to not only have a call to action that will move them to the next step of the funnel but to also have all of the engagement metrics and follow up process mapped out with your marketing operations and sales operations team.
Many companies who run webinars don’t think about how much thought and work is required to follow up on the webinar effectively.
First, you need to make sure that the workflow managed by your marketing operations team is well defined.
This begins with making sure that all attendees have their engagement score and campaign member status in your CRM and marketing automation tool updated to “attended”.
It also means that an easy to consume report is prepared, typically in your CRM, for your sales team to leverage in their follow up sequences.
Finally, having a predetermined follow up sequence of emails and phone calls that offers free pieces of content or even gift cards are great incentives for potential new customers to stay engaged.
And even if they don’t – that’s another data point to leverage later and ask: “Was that successful or not?”
If it was, then you’ll be able to attribute all of the pipeline that you generated to your webinar.
If there are any other tips that you would recommend webinar organizers consider, then please put them in the comments below.