11 tips to create a must-see webinar

Experts discuss how to put together and market an online seminar that will attract prospective customers and hold their attention.

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Webinars continue to be a good way for companies to engage with prospects and generate revenue. But you can’t just decide to have someone, even if it’s the CEO, chat about a topic a couple of days beforehand, post a notice on your website and/or social pages and expect hundreds of people to tune into it.

To have a must-see webinar, one that’s well attended, engages viewers and makes them want to find out more about your company, requires careful planning and marketing, as outlined in these 11 tips.

1. Choose a topic that will be of interest to your target audience

“Do your research and choose a topic [prospects] care about,” says April Runft, senior content specialist, kCura. Then “craft your promotional materials to show them why they should invest their time with you. And don’t tell them how great your product is. Done right, your webinars [and other content] will lead them to that conclusion on their own.”

“When deciding on a topic, focus on new and popular topics in [your] industry that haven't already had hundreds of webinars on them already,” says Ryan Malone, founder & CEO, SmartBug Media. And “choose a topic that showcases your unique industry expertise and intellectual capital.”

2. Feature an expert

“The success of our webinar program comes from connecting our audience with true experts on individual topics,” says Henry Link, senior marketing program manager, Paycor. And the expert doesn’t necessarily have to be someone from your company.

“The audience doesn’t want you to pretend your company is the master [of] every topic,” he explains. In fact, “they'll respect you more when you can connect them with experts in the field. Just make sure that your products and services help support [or are relevant to] the topic being presented.”

“Inviting experts is a win/win as they have a platform to share their expertise and you gain access to their networks, invaluable in webinar promotions,” says Nili Zaharony, CMO, Penguin Strategies.

[ Related: 6 reasons you need webinars in your content strategy (and how to get started) ]

3. Pick a day and time likely to attract the most participants

According to ON24 research, the best days to conduct webinars are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The best time depends on where the majority of your target audience is located. In general, though, it’s best to avoid first thing in the morning (between 8 and 9), late afternoon (after 4:30) and right before or during lunch (12 to 1).

4. Promote your event

A great way to promote your webinar is to create a preview or trailer. “We’ve seen tremendous results in our registration numbers when we market our corporate learning webinars with a short video trailer [like this one],” says Carol Leaman, CEO, Axonify. “A 30-90-second video is the perfect length to peak potential viewers’ interest [and] leave them wanting to learn more.”

Then, at least a couple of weeks in advance of your webinar, start promoting the webinar via your email list, social pages (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) and on your website. Be sure to include the date and time, a brief summary of the program and a link to register. Then post follow-up reminders a week in advance and again the day before and then shortly before the webinar is scheduled to begin.

[ Related: How to make webinars valuable marketing tools ]

“Segment your database and email sends so that the day of your webinar anyone who has not registered yet receives a ‘last chance’ email – and all those people who have registered get a friendly reminder with a link to the event a couple of hours before you start delivering your webinar,” says Joe Hyland, CMO, ON24. “This keeps your webinar top of mind as they’re starting out their day… and makes the event link easily accessible.”

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