How to Successfully Host a Webinar and Build Your Audience

By 19 August, 2014Marketing
How to Successfully Host a Webinar and Build Your Audience

Getting more leads through your website into your sales funnel is difficult, right?

There’s so much competition out there! Five to ten years ago, people were happy to leave their contact details with you in exchange for a walk-through of your product or service, but now – not so much.

It’s time to face the truth: potential customers no longer want to talk to you on the phone.

They want instant access to the product they can start using without any help, but only 20% of new free-trial users become paying customers. Unless you have tens of thousands of new free-trial users per day, you cannot afford to lose 80% of your potential customers, who will use the product, get lost in it and then leave never to return.

So, if you can’t get people on the phone, and you don’t offer a free trial service, what are you to do?

If you guessed host a webinar, you guessed correctly!

Why Do People Host Webinars?

Before we understand the why, let’s take a look at what a webinar is:

“A webinar is a live meeting that takes place over the web. The meeting can be a presentation, discussion, demonstration, or instructional session.”

Here is an idea of what you can expect when you host your first webinar. The average webinar has 28 participants and two presenters and lasts approximately 65 minutes.

The reason why people host webinars is simple: to grow their businesses. Eighty-five percent of all webinars are designed to educate existing and potential customers, and 77% are created to generate new leads.

Why do people organise webinars?

Make new contacts

31%

Convert new contacts

54%

Build a strong market position

60%

Lead generation

77%

Educate prospects and customers

85%
Source: Clickmeeting.com

Further benefits of creating a webinar include:

  • Cost savings: hosting several webinars per month for a fraction of the price of hosting a physical event.
  •  Time savings: minimizing preparation time to several hours rather than days or weeks.
  • Greater reach: there are no physical boundaries as all that’s required is an Internet connection.
  • Versatility: re-purposing webinar content for your content marketing strategy.

How To Successfully Host and Promote A Webinar

Before you start marketing your webinar, you need to do some preparation.

Preparation is the key to a successful webinar. Make sure you have at least one walk-through before the live webinar. This will help you get used to the webinar software and allow you to practice your speech and check the flow.

1. Create a presentation

You can’t leap straight into your product. Well, okay, you can, but it’s important to explain who you are and what you do before getting into the details.

Start with an introduction of the company, and talk about its existing customers. Keep the slide deck short as the real focus of your webinar is to showcase the product.

2. Webinar tools

To host the webinar, you need to find a tool. Webinars can be created through services like GoToWebinar and WebEx . All you need to do is set a date for the webinar and send invitees a link to a sign-up page.

3. Landing page

To get people to register for the webinar, create a landing page with a web form that requests attendee information. The bare minimum here is the email address, but you can pre-qualify leads by asking for more information such as company name and size. However, the more fields you have in your form, the lower the conversion rate.

Depending on your webinar software you will have different landing page options. Some are quite limited and some offer an extensive range of features associated with the landing page. On the plus side the webinar software will automatically handle confirmations and other communications with your audience. On the negative side you are often limited to a very basic layout (an example below left). Alternatively, you can create an original landing page for your webinar registration (example below right) and set up your own auto responders and processes.

webinar-landing-page-example

How To Get People To Attend Your Webinar

When you create your webinar, you want to get people to sign up to attend it. Remember, the goal of a webinar is to get more people to view your product.

Most participants will register within the same week of your event, so you don’t need to start promoting your webinar months in advance. You can, however, encourage people to attend your webinar in a number of ways.

Here are five ways to increase webinar attendance rates:

1. Ask visitors if they’re interested in a webinar

Before you create a webinar, you need to find out if there’s a demand for it. No one wants to host a webinar that has zero attendees.

A simple way to do this is to create a survey and ask your subscribers if they are interested in attending a webinar. The survey response will tell you whether or not you should host a webinar, and it can help you zero in on the topics.

Alternatively, you can launch a website pop-up that asks website visitors if they are interested.

You can use the thank-you page/section to promote gated content, which we covered in detail in our How to Increase Conversion Rates post.

2. Retarget visitors that leave the website

Visitors who engage with your website but do not make a purchase are excellent candidates for retargeting. Watch for people who visited your demo pages, product pages and/or sign-up page. Retarget them through display ads designed to promote your webinar.

When creating the display banner for your webinar, make sure you include a photo of the host, the time and date of the webinar, and a link to the landing page.

Here are three examples of webinar retargeting banners:

retargeting-banners-for-webinars

3. Spread the word through blogging

If you have a company blog, you can use the blog as a launch platform to announce the webinar. Write a great blog post that describes the topic. Outline the key points that will be discussed in the webinar and provide a link to the registration form. If you have a guest speaker for your webinar, include a bio of the speaker in your blog post.

Once the webinar has taken place, you can use the blog post to link to the webinar recording (we’ll cover that in more detail later in the post).

4. Email to your subscribers list

Perhaps the most important promotion tactic is email marketing. Whether you contact your blog subscribers or email sign-ups, make sure you announce the upcoming webinar at least seven days in advance.

If you request more detailed information, such as name, position and company, on the web form of your landing page, you could use it as an opportunity to turn your email sign-ups into marketing qualified leads (MQL).

Here is an example of an email from User Testing:

email-newsletter-webinar-promotion

5.Share the webinar with your social audience

No matter how big or small your social network is, you can always share your webinar details with your social audience. You can start with LinkedIn if you are trying to reach business professionals, or you can promote the webinar to potential consumers on your Facebook page if you’re launching a new product.

You can start promoting your webinar via social media at least two days prior to the webinar event. Don’t be afraid to promote your webinar several times. The more often you share it, the more people will see you are hosting an event.

Content Insight used Twitter, for example, to promote its webinar:

promoting-webinar-on-twitter

Keep Your Webinar Leads Warm And Engaged

Not all registrants will attend the webinar. In fact, only 42% of registrants, on average, will attend your webinar, so make sure that once the webinar is finished, you contact your attendees with an email that includes:

  • A recording of the webinar in case they want to view it again
  • A link to your slide deck (you can upload it on Slideshare)
  • A feedback and satisfaction form to find out whether the attendees were happy with the webinar.

Below is an example of an email from KISSmetrics:

post-webinar-email-recording

Sending people to your slide deck will give you the opportunity to create a more “salesy” presentation for them. Add more detailed product information, case studies of customers who have had success using your product and testimonials from existing customers as social proof.

 Two days after the webinar, send out a second email to your webinar registrants with a unique offer exclusive to webinar sign-ups (ideally, this process should be automated).

The unique offer could be a discounted price on your software for the first three months, a free 30-day trial or an invitation to an in-person meeting.

The offer depends entirely on your product, but the goal of this email is to maintain the webinar registrant’s interest in your product and to turn him or her into a more qualified sales lead.

How To Measure Webinar Success

Measuring success depends upon your goals. Ideally, you want to get more leads that eventually turn into paying customers. To get started, here are some key metrics to measure your webinar success:

Metric:
New customers
Webinar leads
Webinar attendees
Webinar recording views
Webinar feedback

How to measure it:
The number of new customers earned
The number of people who sign up for the webinar
The number of people who attend the webinar
The number of people who watch the webinar recording
The response from webinar attendees

As mentioned earlier, one of the added benefits of hosting a webinar is the ability to re-purpose content. Not only can you collect new leads through hosting a webinar, but you can also:

  • Turn webinars into webcasts and ask for contact information in order to view the webcast
  • Upload webinar presentations to SlideShare and include a web form in your presentation (using the SlideShare paid membership plan)
  • Create new content in the form of a blog post with key lessons discussed in the webinar

Given the range and the efficacy of these techniques, it\’s easy to see why hosting a webinar is the number one customer acquisition channel for many companies.

Conclusion

Webinars are a great way to increase brand awareness, demonstrate thought leadership and, eventually, generate new customers and revenue.

If you haven’t held a webinar yet, now is the time to do it. Today, 62% of marketers include webinars into their marketing mix (up from 59% in 2013).

Hosting a successful webinar isn’t easy, but equipped with the tips in this post, you are sure to succeed.

Now It’s Your Turn

I’m curious: how do you promote your webinars to get more leads for your business?

Do you have any tips that I didn’t mention? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

And before you leave today, make sure you visit our webinar section to see several on demand webinars produced by the eMarketeer team.

Steven is a guest blogger and content strategist at eMarketeer. With a proven track record of successful traffic growth and more than ten years of experience as a professional in the online field Steven’s writing will surely inspire you to improve your marketing.

14 Comments

  • David says:

    I think this is a very good sum up of how to run a successful webinar. However, one thing that I find often overlooked is attracting people who live in other time zones. The beauty of the internet is that it doesn’t matter where you are located – you can still get access to great content (through a webinar for example), but it doesn’t happen by itself.

    As you note, every required field reduces the signup rate. Similarly, only posting your webinar time in your local time (or perhaps two, as in the images above) immediately creates an obstacle for attendees not located in that time zone.

    I would love to see more webinar hosts including a link to a simple time zone converter, making it easier also for international audiences to attend. That is something both hosts and attendees would benefit from.

    David
    myMeetingTime.com

    • Thanks for the comment, David.

      I agree. Having a simple timezone converter is a great idea to make it easy for international audiences to attend the webinar. I know I would benefit from that.

  • […] List: Just like with podcasts or simply having a YouTube channel, every webinar you made forges new contacts. Webinars allows you and other presenters to build an audience in the form of viewers or even other […]

  • Charles Jackson says:

    Including webinars in a marketing strategy will really help you to achieve huge growth in brand awareness and leads. I completely agree that running a webinar isn’t easy. There are lot of things we need to consider before hosting a webinar. Nowadays we can see that even companies without a good website hosting webinars and online classes through online training softwares. I think it is the best way of running website for a small budget.

    • Klaus Trolle says:

      Thanks for the comment, Charles.

      I agree that mixing webinars with online training sounds like a powerful cocktail.

      Klaus | eMarketeer

  • […] By hosting a webinar, people can attend from anywhere in the world and interact with you in real-time, which means you can access a wider network of potential customers and invite them to engage with your brand. In fact, webinars are a great source for making new contacts, generating leads and educating new prospects. […]

  • Andrew Daves says:

    Above mentioned article helps one to effectively conduct webinars. Various tools like webex, gomeetnow, gotomeeting, R-HUB web conferencing servers etc. can be used regarding the same.

  • […] Emarketeer reminds business owners to measure the number of people who sign up for the webinar and compare it to the number of those that actually show up. Then, see how many of those become customers so you can gauge your webinars’ effectiveness. […]

  • Stacystone says:

    It is actually a great and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • […] decision to host a webinar is an excellent choice for your business. According to eMarketeer, “The reason why people host webinars is simple: to grow their businesses. 85% of all webinars […]

  • team koderey says:

    Hey, this is really good. You explained everything so well. I appreciate your writing style. Keep the good work up 🙂

  • Nsim Delhi says:

    Providing useful information about Webinar and Build Your Audience, thanks for the sharing.

  • Ovais Mirza says:

    HI Steven,

    Thanks for writing a great piece of article on webinar .. The importance of webinar is now increasing especially after the COVID-19 when everyone today is shifting to webinars instead of seminars to get the audiences..

    Regards,
    Ovais Mirza

  • alam says:

    Thank for the idea , they are use full for our bisnis .

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