In the previous article, we covered the whats and whys of using webinars for content marketing. We've seen that video content as a whole was still on a growing trend for marketers and consumers alike. And we've seen that webinar marketing benefitted from this trend as well.
We've seen all the reasons why webinars are impactful in an inbound marketing strategy as a top-of-funnel step to generate and qualify leads.
Now, if you decided that webinars were indeed a useful addition to your marketing stack, the next logical question you're probably asking yourself is... "all right, but how do I do that?"
Well, you're in luck because at Livestorm, we know a thing or two about how to run effective webinars. We're also spending a lot of time talking to our customers. Many of them are first-time webinar hosts. Understanding the roadblocks they face is key to helping them succeed.
For this article, I decided to explore the topic of webinar marketing through the lens of a total webinar newbie. Imagine a person who may be a bit stressed out about having to go live in front of a crowd. A person who may not know what to focus on first during the preparation stage. Someone who wants to ensure the session is as enjoyable as possible for viewers, even if it's their first try. I'll also look at it through my personal lens: As a marketer, I put a big emphasis on data and results. And I get unreasonably bothered if I can't track the results of my actions.
The most common problems everyone has with their first webinars, and how to overcome them
Many of our customers at Livestorm are first-timers when it comes to hosting webinars. So we see a lot of questions from them about how to successfully run their first webinar. Hosting a live presentation in front of an audience can be jarring. It's a totally different experience from crafting a piece of content in the comfort of your desk and having the luxury to proofread it.
Ensuring enough people attend the webinar
First, know that an average of 50% of your registrants will show up live... or at least that's the number you should aim for.
Second, you should also take into account the number of single replay views. That is, even if they don't attend, some of your registrants signed up to watch the replay in their own time, and will do so after your webinar is over. These registrants might be less engaged but will consume your content anyway.
Third, have you thought about how that compares to your other content? How many people actually read your blog posts from beginning to end?
But knowing all this won't bring more people to your webinars. Successful webinar marketing strategies take time and effort. You need to dedicate time to promote the upcoming session(s). We've got a full guide with 34 ideas to bring more people to your next webinar. Key tips for content marketing webinars in particular:
- co-hosting with a prominent personality in your space
- co-hosting with another company in your space (like Customer.io did with...us!)
- Paid advertising - If you're treating content marketing webinars like a way to general pipe, it may make sense to promote them for you. It shouldn't be your main focus with paid ads. But you could fit it as part of your budget even only to differentiate your retargeting ads.
Focusing on your strengths
Sure, webinars are a totally different activity than most of the skills we're used to as marketers. But there's still a lot of overlap. Good at making presentation? Then make the best keynote you ever did and spend all the time you need to create it. Good at copyrighting? Double down on writing a tight-nit script that you'll follow to-the-letter come webinar day. As is true with any live presentation, preparation is key. So make sure everything you can control and are comfortable with will complement you during the live webinar, not play against you.
There is such a thing as a "minimum viable webinar", and you can find quick wins in making it look professional. Even on your first try.
Make a checklist that covers all the important points of your webinar setup.
- Stable internet connection
- Background decorations
- Script (don't forget to mention the Q&A, remember to mention your special offer for webinar attendees, etc)
We've made a First Webinar Setup Checklist for you, so you don't have to.
Getting the technics right
Imagine preparing everything right for your webinar. Everything is going perfectly, participants exceed your expectations, you managed not to stumble on words, didn't forget anything and then boom... Black screen, loading circle, it all goes dark. You know instantly what it means. You lost your internet connection, and all your viewers are left hanging.
This is a catastrophic turn of events. And although you can't 100% ensure nothing will go wrong, you can make it so nothing should go wrong. There are many checks you can run during your webinar prep time to reduce the risk of your setup letting you down.
1 - Internet connection - The big, obvious one is definitely your internet connection.
- Check your connection's upload speed. We recommend >5 Mbps - Run a Speed Test if you're not sure
- Check your connection stability before going live. Again, Speed Test can help. But webinar softwares often provide a proprietary test using their own software for an even more precise assessment.
- During the dry run, ensure that there's no VPN or Firewall throttling or blocking access to your webinar software
- Connect via ethernet, it's more reliable than WIFI. I know, it's 2018 and WIFI is everywhere, but it's all about reducing the number of possible points of failure. (if you do get a cable, make sure nobody trips on it! 😉)
2 - Computer - Also pretty obvious in general, but some of the tips may have escaped you
- Use the best machine you can, and keep the same one than on your dry-run!
- Install any plugin, tools or helper apps you need
- Block all notifications (sometimes your software will hide them, but better safe than sorry on this one!)
- Close all your useless apps (I never close Spotify... except for webinars!)
With this done, you've reduced all the possible points of failure for your webinar. There is no way to reach 100% stability (your internet provider's signal may just die, for example). But by doing this, you've at least backed yourself up so that you won't blame yourself if there's a technical issue.
Ensuring all the data on registrants doesn't get lost in the ether with all your other databases
Webinar forms are a gold mine of information to qualify leads through content. Make the most of the data you collect and definitely don't let it go to waste. First thing you can do is enriching your data. We'll expand on that further down, but this helps reduce the size of your registration form... without sacrificing any of the actual knowledge.
Then, alway try to make the most of all this data you collected. Filter your leads outreach according to the relevant parameters you gathered.
One issue some people have is they manage their webinars like a totally different medium than their exiting platforms. In the worst case scenario, they don't even create bridges between their existing tools and webinar software. This creates a lot of unnecessary work to ensure data gets passed along from your webinar software to your other platforms, and vice-versa. (Spoiler alert: you're going to hate your life if you do this. So don't do it 👍)
Fortunately, there are solutions out there to integrate your webinar software with the services you already use. For starters, think about automating some/all of the following:
- Sending registrants to your mailing list
- Sending all your webinar and participants data to your CRM software
- Inviting a contact list to a webinar as soon as it's published
Taking things one step at a time. Here's everything you should consider doing in order to track your webinar registrations/participations... and to get that data out of your webinar software.
- Send the registrants' data out of your webinar software and to all your other softwares. For example here's how to do it with Livestorm and Salesforce
- Use direct/native integrations when available
- Otherwize, use Zapier. Also helpful for more advanced workflows. For example, to send data either on each registration event or on all registrants/participants at the end of a webinar and filtering out "@gmail.com" emails
- Enrich webinar registrants' data with Clearbit.
- In your follow up, use the enriched data to personalize your messaging. For example match each registrant with their company, allowing for example to filter by size or estimated revenue
- If you need it, know that you can handle the webinar announcements / reminders emailing with your own email software. Same goes for registrations, you shouldn't have to rely on your webinar software for that. For example you can use this to gate webinar participations behind a paywall. You could also decide to create webinar registration pages by yourself, or by using third party softwares.
Integrations are a powerful way to get more out of your webinars without much effort aside from setup time.
Properly tracking webinar registrations/participations
You can - and should - use a webinar software that collects the UTM data in your source's URLs. This is the best way to analyze where your webinar registrants come from.
Then add UTM tags every time you share your registration page. This is still the best way to avoid the annoying mislabeled "direct" traffic in your reports.
Since we're on the topic of tracking, integrate with Google Analytics. And while you're at it, if it's relevant in your case, add a Facebook pixel to correctly attribute your traffic.
If you do all this, you'll be sure to not miss out on unattributed traffic that leaves you wondering where you got your registrants from.
to sum up:
- Integrate your Webinar software with [Google Analytics](https://livestorm.co/webinar-integrations/google-analytics/)
- use [UTM tracking](https://blog.bufferapp.com/utm-guide) on all your campaigns
- Add [your tracking pixels](https://support.livestorm.co/article/94-how-to-track-conversions-registration-pages) (for Facebook, etc) in your webinar registration pages
To sum it up, here's every detail you should think off that first time webinar-hosts often forget about:
👉 Promote the webinar session in more than 1 way
👉 Focus on your own strengths when preparing the session
👉 Ensure the live itself goes well (3 life savers: check the tech, have a script, make a dry-run before the live show)
👉 Integrate your webinars with your other tools
👉 Set up tracking on your webinar registration pages (with UTM tags and/or tracking pixels)
With all that taken care of, you'll have all the pieces in your hands for a great content marketing webinar. Then after your first try, go on to the second and the third... Soon enough it will become second nature to you. Sooner than you think, you'll have a webinar marketing strategy in place 🤟