Webinars can be a very effective marketing tactic. Running one can improve your brand awareness, educate your target audience, and put your company in front of a self-selected group of people who have proven their interest in what you offer.
Do it right, and webinars can be an important revenue generator—even if you’re not actively selling during the webinar.
If you’ve never run one before, here are a few things to expect.
- Expect not all topics to be equally appealing. Not all topics lend themselves well to webinars. Ideally, your topic should meet these criteria:
- It should be meaty enough to justify a webinar.
- It should be something you can offer new, useful information on.
- It should be a topic your audience is dying to know about.
Ideally, there should be some excitement or anxiety around this topic for your audience—nail your topic, and getting sign-ups will be much easier. It’s worth it to put a lot of thought and effort into picking the right one, including polling your audience.
- Expect not to make money right off the bat. A webinar isn’t the place for a hard sell. You might get lucky and sell a lot of products right out of the gate, but many people don’—and it doesn’t mean your webinar wasn’t successful.
A webinar is a marketing exercise at its heart—and the more common strategy is to use it to warm up your leads. Many people use webinars to collect a contact list of highly qualified, strongly interested leads that they can market to later.
Knowing what you want to get out of the webinar will help you tailor your content and strategy.
- Expect some technical details to go wrong. If this is your first time, it’s always worth it to do a test run. No matter how simple your setup, tech has a way of letting us down right when we need it not to.
Get used to your webinar platform, your audio-visual equipment, and any other tech you’re using before the big day. Do a test run—or several—and try to work out any bugs beforehand. Have a contingency plan for potential problems.
- Expect to do a lot of marketing—before and after. Having a set marketing strategy—both before and after launch—can really make a difference. Well before the big day, have a plan in place that involves your website, social media, email marketing, and other platforms.
Establish some hashtags people can use to discuss your webinar in real time over social. And follow up with a strong post-launch campaign for people who missed the live event.
- Expect your audience to be distractable. The web—and people’s lives—are full of distractions. It’s important to have an interactive element to your webinar that keeps people tuned in. Consider how you can build this in—whether it’s a question-and-answer session, a moderated forum, quizzes, a live critique of an audience-member’s work, or other methods.
Your first webinar is an important milestone. Plan for technical failures, put a lot of thought into your topic, build in engagement, and plan your marketing as strategically as you do your content—and your first webinar should be a cut above the rest.