On the face of it, webinars often appear to be simple and easy to produce; put a content deck together, fire out a series of emails to an existing contact list, host your webinar on a platform like Zoom and you're all set.
Well, it’s not quite that simple if you want to get optimal results.
The reality is that the production of a good webinar involves a significant investment of time. Webinars need to be planned and executed in a systematic fashion if you’re looking to get true ROI.
When using a systematic approach to demand generation, it's useful to think of it in the form of a funnel with the following stages:
Following these funnel stages, we have outlined the key things you need to build your own successful webinar funnel.
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Every webinar needs an overarching strategy which should guide the decision making throughout the process. Meticulous planning will be the foundation for success - you’ll need to cover the following areas in this stage to ensure you've got all bases covered:
Objectives & KPIs
Start with your high level objectives and KPIs (key performance indicators).
What are your primary goals for the webinar, what are the metrics to determine success and how will you measure them?
What kind of audience do you want to attract? Are there particular personas you want to target with your acquisition activity?
Think about what qualification criteria you need to set for your audience to keep the quality high, and how you will capture this information in the process.
Arguably the most important part - constructing the webinar.
The key element to this involves the mapping out of the content that you want to present.
Consider what your theme is and whether the content fully aligns to your objectives and needs of your target audience.
Webinar content should be built based on a solid understanding of customer needs and problems if you want it to resonate with them effectively. Bear in mind, you should consider evolving your content if your webinar registrants provide feedback in advance on what they would like to learn from the session.
Think about supporting content too. Will you use blogs, social posts, follow up webinars and guides to drive awareness of the topic you're focusing on? These can be shared with your audience post-webinar to continue to educate them on and keep leads flowing in.
How you present your webinar content is another factor - get creative with the webinar format to keep things engaging - you want to keep your audience in your company for as long as possible.
If you plan to invite guest speakers to your webinar, try to get them on board as soon as possible in the planning phase as they can help support your acquisition efforts.
What acquisition channels can you use to promote your webinar to your target audience?
This could be owned or earned channels; owned channels being ones you control such as your company social channels, your blog, and YouTube channel, whereas earned channels leverage external publishing platforms to promote your webinar.
Calculate what media budget you'll need to hit your acquisition targets. Furthermore, identify how that budget will be distributed across the various channels in order to get the best results.
The technology that you choose to use will play a pivotal role in how your webinar campaign performs.
That could include your webinar hosting platform, your sales and marketing automation tools and your CRM.
Consider how the different systems need to talk to one another, how you can automate processes to make running a smooth campaign easier and what's required to track end-to-end performance.
What’s the timeline for your webinar campaign?
Make sure you are giving yourself enough time to hit your targets. How long will post-campaign activity run for to keep the momentum and help you close deals?
How will you acquire an audience to sign up to your webinar? This phase is crucial to the success or failure of your webinar.
There are many ways to promote a webinar to your target audience, but how specific your targeting needs to be depends on your content theme. Your channel plan will determine where you can find the right audience to hit your targets.
For example, using a pop up to capture webinar leads on your own website might reach a large audience, plus it’s a free conversion path. But if you’re looking to attract specific audiences or personas for your webinar, you’ll need to add qualification criteria in your sign up process.
If you compare that to B2B ad platforms like LinkedIn which give you access to an abundance of granular targeting options, you might ultimately find more success with a paid media approach to acquisition.
Yet, choosing the right ad platforms to find your audience is only half the battle.
You’ll need to put together a set of ad creative that grabs attention, and messaging that resonates with your specific personas. Ensure that you test multiple ad variants to see which ones have the highest click through and conversion rates, and continually refine as you go to drive optimal performance.
Finally, make sure you’ve got a remarketing campaign setup throughout the duration of your campaign. Not everyone will convert on your landing page the first time out, so you’ll want a sure-fire way to keep them in your attract phase of the funnel until they do eventually convert.
Conversion is the name of the game and you need to have the right mechanics in place to maximise lead capture for your webinar.
The starting point to this is having an optimised landing page. There are other ways to capture leads without a landing page, but the benefit of having one is the ability to provide detailed information about your webinar. This will engage your audience and ultimately convert them.
At a bear minimum, your landing page should do the following:
- Outline your headline webinar topic
- Break out subtopics and explain why they are important for your audience
- Include biographical information on your speakers
- Use a lead capture form
Think carefully about your form fields and how many you are using. You may want to capture details that are used for qualification or additional audience segmentation. But don’t go overboard, you still want it to be as easy as possible for a visitor to complete the form.
Create a thank you page that visitors land on once they complete the form. There are a couple of benefits to this. Firstly, having a thank you page URL makes end-to-end conversion tracking easy. Secondly, you can use it to ask your registrants for any particular things they want to learn from the webinar using a short survey, or something similar.
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Send Reminder Emails
For a few weeks in the run up to your webinar, you should send a few emails reminding your registrants about it. Keep them updated if new panelists are added, ask them to provide Q&A questions in advance, and get them to share the webinar details with other colleagues too.
Included in that, let people know that you’ll be sending a recording to them if they can’t make the time of the live webinar. This gives them the option to watch it in their own time rather than carving out time in advance to attend within their busy schedules.
Run The Live Webinar
Make sure you’ve done a full run through in advance to make sure the production is as slick as it can be. Be sure to test the sound and visuals before you go live too - technical issues can make or break a webinar experience.
Record the live version of the webinar. On average, only 35-40% of registrants actually attend webinars on the day, so it would be a huge opportunity lost if you don’t produce a recording you can share later.
Take opportunities to learn more about your audience so you can identify the warmest leads during the webinar, and gain marketing intelligence that you can use later such as persona and segmentation information. You could do this by using Q&As, polls and post-webinar surveys.
Limit how much ‘selling’ you actually do during the webinar. People sign up to be educated and not be blatantly sold to. Even so, make sure you include appropriate CTAs in your webinar so attendees have the opportunity to learn more and engage further with your brand post-event.
Send Follow-Up Emails
The first follow-up email you send should include the recording of your webinar. Send it to all your registrants, whether or not they attended.
Then, continue to nurture your webinar leads. Many businesses underestimate the importance of this step, but this is the key to getting more high-quality, sales-ready leads that help you maximise the ROI for your webinar campaign.
Automate your nurture sequences as much as you can to improve efficiency and try to personalise the messaging where possible. Any persona or segmentation details you captured through your landing page form will come in handy here.
Over time, you want to be moving the leads that originated from webinars further down the sales funnel until they are qualified sales opportunities.
Part of systemising your webinar lead management is automating the handoff of marketing qualified leads to sales. The majority of your webinar attendees will not be sales-ready so you should define your criteria to identify those that are and have a process for the handover in place.
Use marketing tools and CRM to automate that process where you can. It could be when leads earn a certain lead score based on their marketing activity, or by submitting certain forms on your website that indicate sales-readiness. When someone becomes sales ready, have that trigger a notification or a task assigned to the right salesperson for them to pick up.
If sales-engaged leads fall off the radar and become unresponsive, put them into a longer term lead nurture that further educates them and encourages them to re-engage and buy later on.
Report & Learn
Analysing performance and learning about your audience should be happening at every stage of your webinar funnel.
Use your marketing and sales tools to report on performance of all aspects of your webinar campaign and optimise performance wherever you can. These metrics should be monitored regularly throughout the course of your campaign.
- Landing page performance
- Ad platform performance
- Webinar engagement
- Drop-off rates
Robust webinar reporting can be used to improve your funnel-building process for future webinar campaigns, and give you a more refined approach to audience acquisition and conversion over time.
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