I see many B2B marketers and founders saying that webinars are dead. This mostly happens when they look at it with a short-term view. However, in reality, webinars are extremely useful as a demand generation tool.
In addition, startups and early-stage companies can find webinars to be one of the fastest ways to get potential customers into their system (by collecting their email and other info during webinar registration). This contact information can then be used for various promotional and remarketing activities.
Even for mature companies, webinars can help reach people in their ICP which they otherwise would not have been able to.
In this blog post, we look at all you need to know about conducting a webinar that attracts your ideal customers.
A brief outline of webinar marketing
Broadly speaking, a webinar can be split into three stages:
- Pre-webinar activities: topic planning & ideation, identifying speakers, content creation, etc.
- Hosting the webinar: audio & video equipment, dry run
- Post-webinar activities: data analysis, follow-up/remarketing campaigns, data cleanup, etc.
In the upcoming sections, we will discuss each of these stages in detail.
Webinar marketing – pre-webinar activities
Following are the activities you need to do before hosting a webinar:
Defining the goals and KPIs for the webinar
- Defining goals and KPIs
- Topic planning and ideation
- Identifying speakers
- Planning the schedule
- Finalizing the webinar structure and method of delivery
- Setting up the tech infrastructure
- Campaign planning
- Content planning and creation
- Planning design/editing tasks
- Website-related tasks
- Collecting webinar questions
1. Defining the goals and KPIs for the webinar
This should be the very first step of any kind of webinar you host. You can ask yourself the following questions to clearly define what to expect as an outcome from the webinar:
- What is the immediate objective of the webinar (number of registrations, attendance, engagement, collaborating with a partner, etc.)?
- What should be the long-term objectives of the webinar (launching a webinar series, content repurposing, focusing on a specific industry segment, improving brand awareness, etc.)
The answers to the above questions would form the foundation of all the other webinar activities.
2. Webinar marketing strategy – Topic planning and ideation
In the planning phase of a webinar, all the 11 steps mentioned above need not be necessarily sequential. Many of them could happen in parallel. Topic planning is an example of this.
This involves the following steps:
- Fixing a core topic – you can start with multiple options and arrive at the best one.
- Finalizing the title – a title has to be eye-catchy. It has to encourage people to register for and attend the event. A bit of copywriting expertise will help here.
3. Identifying speakers – the core of webinar marketing
Depending on the objective of the webinar, you can consider getting speakers in the following ways:
- Get your internal SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) to deliver the content.
- Request someone from your customers or partners to be the speaker (or one of the speakers).
- Hire a professional speaker using websites like SpeakerHub or Keppler Speakers.
- A combination of 2 or more of the above 3.
4. Planning the webinar schedule
This is nothing but finalizing the date and time of the webinar. The following image illustrates the best practices you can follow when it comes to picking the date and time for your online event:
5. Finalizing the webinar structure and method of delivery
Now that the topic, speakers, and schedule are finalized, it’s time to give a framework for the webinar content.
The first step in doing this is to give a proper order to the points you would like to cover in the webinar. You can do this by either creating bullet points of the key pointers or preparing a brief slide deck.
While this might sound simple, this is where you would outline all types of content you would want to include in the webinar such as intro video/slides (to be played in the initial 1 to 2 minutes of waiting time till the presentation starts), filler content (videos or slides to be played during breaks), polls, and of course the core content of the presentation.
The second step is where you decide on the method of delivery. By method of delivery, I am referring to whether you are going to deliver the content live or play a recorded (and edited) video.
You can take a call on this based on factors like the comfort and availability of the speakers, the nature of the content (for instance if you have to show a live product demonstration, you need to go for live delivery), and the preferences of your audience (for example, if you are a brand that relies heavily on storytelling and your ICP prefers that, a live presentation might work better).
6. Setting up the tech infrastructure
This involves setting up and configuring all the tools and technology you need to plan, promote, and host the webinar. These include:
- The webinar hosting platform (e.g. GoTo Webinar, Zoho meeting, Zoom webinars, etc).
- An email/marketing automation tool (any email or marketing automation tool you are using such as HubSpot, Pardot, ActiveCampaign, etc.)
- A landing page builder (this is not required if you are custom coding your landing page. Examples include Unbounce, Systeme, Instapage, etc.)
- An analytics platform like Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics (for tracking conversions and lead sources).
- Various other tools that are already part of your tech stack (such as design tools, social media tools, PPC ad platforms, etc.).
Note: we will be covering hardware-related tech in one of the upcoming sections.
7. Campaign planning
As the term suggests, in this step, you design your promotion strategy. You can think along the following lines for this:
- The channels or platforms you would use for promoting the webinar – email, LinkedIn (or social media), newsletters, podcasts, YouTube videos, third-party media websites, etc.
- The schedule and frequency of your campaign – number of emails in the sequence, the interval between consecutive emails, number of social media posts, number of mentions in the podcast, etc.
- The content of the campaign (which we will discuss in detail in the next section).
- The segments you will target for the campaign (for emails, paid ads, and third-party promotions).
Now, depending on the channel, there might be some specific details you might want to think of. For example, for email campaigns, you need to decide on the sender account. Similarly, for social media, you might have to send DMs to people in your ICP, in which case, you will have to plan that as a separate campaign.
Note: We will discuss some additional promotional techniques in a separate section later.
8. Content planning and creation
A webinar requires creating a wide variety of content items, some of which we have already touched upon in this article. But here is a comprehensive list of all content types (both text and design-based) you need to create for a webinar.
- The core content (or slides to be presented during the webinar)
- Supplementary content (such as intro and filler videos)
- Webinar landing page and thank you page
- Email campaign content (common promotion email, emails to be sent to partners, automated email on the webinar hosting platform)
- Banners for social media, website, and third-party promotions
- Content for social media posts and events page (LinkedIn, Facebook, communities)
- Teaser video
- Ads content (for LinkedIn, Google, YouTube, or Facebook ads)
- Content for direct messages on LinkedIn (or any other relevant social media or community)
The types of content you need to create will also depend on the promotions you run. You might not do all the above. But any kind of content creation for webinars will more or less fall under any of these types.
9. Planning design/editing tasks
We briefly covered this in the previous section. But I think it’s worth calling this out separately, particularly because certain design tasks like video editing can take time. And many a time, they become a bottleneck in the whole process. So make sure you plan all such tasks ahead – be it designing and editing banners, carousels, webinar slides, or videos.
10. Website-related tasks
This is basically about making sure all the necessary updates are made to the website for effectively conducting the webinar. Some of these activities include:
- Getting all relevant website pages ready
- Adding internal links, popups, and banners for promotion
- Implementing the webinar registration form the right way
11. Collecting webinar questions
This is applicable only if you plan to collect questions from registrants prior to the webinar. It is done by adding an extra field to the webinar registration form where registrants can fill in their questions. It is the responsibility of the webinar lead to make sure these questions are shared with the speakers well in advance so that they are prepared to answer them during the webinar.
Hosting the webinar
When it comes to hosting a webinar, following are the things you need to keep in mind:
- Identify a host. This can be one of the speakers, or a dedicated host who will manage the entire session. If you have more than 2 speakers, it’s always good to have a separate host.
- Good wifi, audio equipment, and a camera are non-negotiables.
- Always do a dry run. Even if you are well experienced in hosting webinars, I would always recommend doing a test run. Make sure all elements come together to deliver a well-packaged webinar that will give the attendees something valuable to take away.
- Make sure that all the speakers are on the same page. This is something that needs to start from the pre-webinar stage itself. I included it here since the consequences of not doing this reflect mostly on the day of the webinar. This responsibility can be left to the host or the marketing person coordinating the whole webinar.
- Ensuring the questions received prior to the webinar are answered: If you received too many questions, you can pick the ones you can answer within the limited time.
This is one of the areas where a lot of companies do a bad job. To many, a webinar is all about collecting as many leads as possible and getting done with the session. But what makes a real difference is engaging with the leads post the webinar to increase the chances of converting them into paying customers.
Here is a list of post-webinar activities you need to do:
- Analyzing webinar engagement data.
- Qualifying leads and passing the relevant ones to sales/product teams and the rest to a nurture set.
- Ensuring effective leads data capture
- Content repurposing
1. Analyzing the webinar engagement data
One of the criteria you can use to qualify webinar leads is the level of engagement of each attendee. This data is available with some of the webinar hosting platforms.
For instance, this page explains what kind of information you can obtain at a webinar level and a user level on the GoToWebinar platform. Attendance rate is a key metric that will tell you the extent to which a user listened to your content. This can be further used to qualify a webinar lead or attendee.
2. Qualifying leads
Depending on the quality, you can pass a lead either directly to the sales/product/technical teams, or add them to a nurture campaign if it is not warm enough. The following criteria can be used to judge whether a lead is ready to be shared with sales as a hot/warm lead:
- The firmographic and demographic characteristics of the lead: If a lead falls into an account and a persona that you really want to convert, you can right away share it with the respective sales team.
- Queries asked: Questions asked before and during the webinar are one of the best ways to gauge intent. Look at each question and qualitatively assess the interest level of the prospect. If you think there is business potential, share it with sales.
- Lead score and attendance rate: By looking at these two values together, you will be able to understand how warmed up a lead is.
One thing to note when you look at the above 3 parameters is that they mostly should not be read in isolation. You might have to consider more than 1 of them at once to choose between adding a lead to a nurture campaign or sharing it with sales.
3. Ensuring effective leads data capture
This might sound obvious. But this is one of the areas where the execution could go wrong when it comes to conducting webinars. When you are using the native form given by the webinar hosting platform, make sure it is integrated with your CRM or marketing automation tool so that you do not have to later download the leads data and manually upload it to them.
Some of the hosting platforms come with out-of-the-box integration with the most popular CRMs like HubSpot, Salesforce, SugarCRM, etc.
4. Promoting the webinar
Once the webinar is concluded, you can use the same set of channels that we discussed in the pre-webinar section to promote your webinar – the only difference here is that after the webinar, you will be distributing the webinar content in your campaigns.
There is often a debate as to whether you should gate your content once the webinar is done. There is no right or wrong approach here. My suggestion is to test both gating and ungating and see which one provides the results you are looking for.
5. Content repurposing
I think by far this is the most overlooked aspect of a webinar. Many conduct a webinar and forget about it – without realizing that there is a huge potential in repurposing it into different content pieces. Here are a few ways in which you can do that:
- Splitting the complete webinar into smaller snippets of 2 to 3 minute videos or even shorter (say within 60 seconds for YouTube shorts). Here, you can either use the same content as the webinar, or create new videos with refined or repurposed content.
- Repurposing the content into multiple articles.
- Converting these articles/webinar content into multiple social media posts.
- Using the webinar content in items like newsletters, email campaigns, and even podcasts.
Webinar checklist and other templates
Now that we have an end-to-end understanding of how to effectively host a webinar, I thought it would be useful to share a webinar checklist, a few templates, and sample content. Here are they:
- Webinar checklist: this acts as a checklist to make sure you have completed all the necessary tasks for the webinar.
- Email campaign sample content
- Social media post template with sample content
- Social media direct message template
- Sample landing page
A few tips to promote your webinar
Without going into the details, in this section, I wanted to list down some techniques you can use to promote your webinar effectively. We did discuss this briefly in the campaign planning section. But I wanted to dedicate a section to this since this is one of the most common activities related to a webinar.
- Email marketing
- LinkedIn (or social media) – organic posts, ads, DMs, events, and groups
- YouTube: teaser video, ads
- Third-party media websites: websites having a relevant audience in your niche – can be banner ads, video ads, email blasts, or even co-hosted webinars.
- Relevant forums and online portals
- Google ads (search, display)
This is not an exhaustive list. You might as well have channels that are specific to your industry. So flex your imagination and try to come up with different and innovative ways to promote your webinar.
Final words about webinar marketing
Like anything else in marketing, it is not practical to use the same framework for webinars across companies and industries. So make sure you adapt the approach I covered today to what suits your business the best.
And I know the article was long. But I wanted to cover everything related to webinar marketing comprehensively. If you have any questions about the topic, please feel free to reach out to me.
Skalegrow – webinar marketing services
Skalegrow is a B2B marketing agency aimed at making life better for marketing leaders and founders in the B2B space. It was founded to address two key challenges in the B2B world:
- The lack of quality of services offered by marketing agencies
- The misalignment of marketing activities with organizational level goals
By introducing a consultative approach to offering marketing services, Skalegrow strives to make growth simpler and predictable for B2B companies. From webinar marketing to SEO-led content to LinkedIn organic marketing and email marketing, we offer a complete suite of marketing services to the IT, SaaS, tech, and embedded systems industries. If you are looking for help in implementing marketing tactics that work, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Naseef KPO is the Founder and CEO of Skalegrow. He comes with rich experience across multiple areas of B2B marketing including content marketing, demand generation, SEO, account-based marketing, marketing analytics, revenue attribution, marketing technology, etc. He writes thought-provoking and relevant articles on The Skalegrow Blog and his weekly LinkedIn newsletter Elevate Your Marketing.
Prior to starting Skalegrow, Naseef led large marketing teams in multi-million dollar B2B organizations where he made significant contributions to the topline growth of the business. He has also appeared on numerous podcasts where he shared his thoughts on trending marketing topics such as the application of AI in marketing, startup marketing, ABM, and B2B content marketing, just to name a few. Being the founder of Skalegrow, he is currently focusing on helping its clients stay ahead of their competition by using innovative yet practical marketing tactics.
You can connect with Naseef KPO on LinkedIn.