Your business' marketing strategy can't comprise of just one plan of attack – it should be multi-pronged. You should use every available channel to grow your business. Today, most businesses use content marketing as a major part of their strategy. When it comes to content marketing, webinars are one great form of content to include in your editorial calendar. One study by Content Marketing Institute shows that 61% of businesses (B2B) use webinars as part of their content marketing efforts.
You can use webinars to demonstrate your products, educate your audience, and establish yourself as a thought leader. You can use them to give previews of some of your products and services. You can also use them to interview experts.
However, knowing that webinars are effective, and developing effective webinars and using them to help you achieve your goals are two different things. Marketing through webinars involves work before, during, and after the webinar. The following tips will help you develop and use webinars for effective marketing:
Like every other marketing tactic, webinars require a lot of planning. What are various aspects involved in planning a webinar?
- Determine goals. Why are you hosting the webinar? What do you expect to achieve? For instance, do you want to improve your relationship with your existing customers? Or, do you intend to turn leads into customers? Or, do you just want to demonstrate to your audience that you (or your company) is an expert in your niche? Figuring out why you want to host a webinar is the first step.
- Understand your audience. Like in any other aspect of content marketing, your audience is the key. Know what your audience will expect from the webinar. This way, when you start marketing your webinar, you will be able to appeal to your audience more effectively.
- Choose a topic. Once you know your goals and your audience's needs, you can choose an appropriate topic. Figure out (from your customer support team, for instance) some of the most popular questions among your customers. The topic you choose should add value to your audience.
- Invite industry experts as guest speakers. Involving industry experts (and expert speakers) in your webinar will help you to gain more attention and tells your audience that you know what you are doing.
Once you finish planning, you have to start creating your webinar. This includes everything from the presentation itself to preparing for hosting and promoting your webinar.
- The presentation. Your webinar is just another presentation. Think of how you would present the topic to one of your customers (among your target audience). This will let you know what all you need to include.
- Build pages. You should build a web page to accept registrations, and a post-registration page. But, neither of these pages should be used for sales. The post-registration page should have content that will generate enthusiasm in your audience and further their desire to attend the webinar.
- Prepare pre- and post-webinar campaigns. These are basically email campaigns. The pre-webinar emails should contain a confirmation of registration and a couple of reminder emails. The post-webinar email should contain a link to the resources page (which you should plan for) and perhaps another email or two a few days after that contains links to related topics.
- Build your resource page. You can do this even after the webinar, but doing it before will let you launch it as soon as the webinar is over. The resource page can become a useful source of information and can contain the webinar recording as well as links to other useful information on related topics.
- Rehearse. It is important that you have a rehearsal before the actual event. This way, if there are any glitches, you can take care of them and have everything set for the actual webinar.
This is the part where reach out to your target audience and instill in them a desire to attend your webinar.
- Social media. This gives you an excellent channel to promote your webinar. You can talk about the highlights and the speakers. Share your webinar's registration link a few times. Don't overdo social media promotion, though. Talk too much about your webinar, and your audience may stop listening to you.
- Reach out to existing audience. Apart from social media, you can also use emails to promote your webinars. Send a few emails (do not flood their inbox) containing details of your webinar to your existing audience (like customers, email/blog subscribers, and partners).
- Blog. Talk about your webinar in your blog posts.
- Reach out to new audience. A proper ad campaign can also help you to draw in new audience. You can work with your partners to this end. You can also employ paid ads on social media platforms.
- Calls to action. In select blog posts and social media posts, you can invite your audience to register for the webinar.
Now comes the important part – hosting your webinar. You can open your webinar early (though start the presentation at the announced time). Your webinar must give your audience what you promised. Also make sure that you record your webinar. In your webinar, you can, and should, direct your audience's attention to products and services offered by you that are related to the topic being discussed. This is where you get to turn leads into sales.
Your work is not complete once the webinar is over.
- Post-webinar promotion. Launch your resources page and send emails to your audience informing them of it. Talk more about related topics on your blogs. The resources page, emails, and blog posts should all have sharing buttons for social media platforms. You can also turn your webinar into a podcast.
- Request reviews. Send emails asking guests for feedback and a rating (on a five point scale, for example). Don't ask them to review your products. They can share the experience of the webinar on your social media pages or write blog posts and share them too.
The above guidelines help you to use webinars effectively as part of your content marketing strategy. Webinar marketing is like any other content marketing approach. To be effective, you have to implement it properly. And, if you do that, it will help your business develop a larger follower base.