Webinars are a tried-and-true way to find new customers, identify leads, and build trust with your audience. Plus, they're still the preferred way for marketers to learn. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 75% of B2B marketers attend webinars—and that figure isn't changing any time soon.
Unfortunately, most webinars don't perform well with their audiences. On average, only about 40% of your registrants will show up live—and only 15% will convert. That doesn't give you much wiggle room!
Use our webinar planning and strategy best practices to capture your audience's attention—and hook them from the moment you step on the virtual stage. Here's everything you need to know about planning your webinar, from developing awesome content to driving engagement during the event itself. Let's dive in!
8 Weeks Out: Planning Your Webinar Content
Two months from your ideal launch date is the best time to kick off your content planning and strategy sesh. Follow these tips for developing content that converts!
Know Your Audience
To develop great webinar content, you have to understand your audience's pain points. What are they hungry to learn? What problems are they trying to solve?
Not sure? Conduct small-scale targeted research through polls and surveys by putting your email lists and social channels to good use. (Pro tip: Try LinkedIn's polling feature to gauge your audience's interests quickly.) You can even narrow down your inquiries with event registrants—or ask your audience about a finer point live during the event!
If people think you can help them solve their problem, they are often happy to share—especially if responding means a more tailored, engaged, or personalized event experience.
What are you waiting for? Get researching!
Planning a webinar? Download our Free Webinar Planning Template so you don’t miss a thing on your to-do list!
Invite an Engaging Speaker
It's not easy to engage audience members through a screen. Look for a speaker who's:
While we all want to cultivate partnerships with like-minded brands to nab incredible webinar speakers, don't discount the expertise of your own team. Sometimes relevance and depth are better than an instantly recognizable name—especially if you have a topic bound to draw in registrants. (Remember the importance of credibility?)
Once you invite your speaker, work together to discuss pain points and narrow in on a topic that will wow your audience.
Choose a Topic That Resonates
According to Search Engine Journal, 70% of B2B professionals are searching for tips, tricks, and best practices. What can you and your speaker share with other professionals who really want to solve their most pressing problems?
Working from a broad topic to a narrow, audience-centered hook is often helpful. For instance, you might start with "Webinar Best Practices" and narrow it down to "Double Your Webinar Conversion Rate!" That is, as long as you've got the goods. ;)
Typical broad topics include:
- How to solve common problems
- Insider industry know-how
- How to learn a specific skill or understand a relevant new trend
- Product deep dives
Which approach works best for your audience? How can you tailor the topic to be even more relevant to their needs or challenges?
Develop Supporting Content
The best webinars have a host of supporting content. This content should be designed to engage your audience during and after the webinar, from landing pages and downloadable assets to special event or community invitations.
Already written about your webinar topic? All the better! Now's the time to optimize your site's content to drive more traffic to your webinar registration page. Don't forget to add calls-to-action, or CTAs, to old blog posts and your homepage to bump those registration numbers.
3 to 4 Weeks Out: Conducting Outreach for Your Webinar
You've picked a great topic. You've launched your registration page and created valuable supporting content your audience will love. Now it's time to get your "Register here!" button in front of as many people as possible.
Target Your Audience
It might be tempting to toot your own horn, but webinars are about your audience: what they want to learn and the problems they want to solve. All the copy in your announcements and outreach emails should reflect this to attract the best leads to the event.
And don't forget to target the job titles, companies, or prospects who will most benefit from your content! The more you can personalize these invites with information you already have in your sales database, the better.
Find the Right Email Cadence
There's an art to webinar outreach. And it likely takes more messaging touchpoints in your campaign than you think to convince prospects to attend your event.
Since nearly 60% of webinar registrations are generated via email campaigns, it's important to get it right. At a minimum, you'll need to send:
- A webinar outreach email
- A registration confirmation email
- An event reminder (or three)
- A "Thank you" message
- A follow-up message with the webinar recording and any other assets you've prepared for attendees
Now's the time to put all of your thoughtful, hard-working copy to the test. Build anticipation and clarify why your audience can't miss out on your offering!
Track Registration Numbers
You've launched your email campaign, and the registration numbers are starting to tick up. Awesome!
As your campaign progresses, remember to track how you're doing. Are you hitting your registration goals? About 54% of all webinar attendees sign up a week before you go live, so make sure to consider the impact of a last-minute push.
Still, if your numbers are lower than you'd like, shake it up! Adjust your messaging or change the channels you're using to draw in more attendees. Simple changes, like optimizing your webinar form or working with a brand partner to conduct outreach, will make a big difference in webinar attendance.
Need more tips on webinar registration? Check out our article, "How to Boost Registrations and Attendance To Your Webinars," for expert ideas.
During Your Webinar: Driving Engagement
The big day is here, and you've got a to-do list a mile long. With all the planning and strategy work you've done for your webinar, your content is bound to drive leads and sales. Here are the best tips for keeping everyone happy, excited, and engaged during the event.
Support Your Speaker
Ensure your guest speakers are prepped, ready, and comfortable in your virtual green room. The more thoroughly speakers understand the run-of-show, the more relaxed and engaging they'll be during your presentation.
Create a Jaw-Dropping Experience
Creating an interactive, personal, and memorable event is the best way to drive engagement in your webinar. Here are a few tips:
- Choose hype intro and outro music
- Conduct polls and surveys during the event
- Fire up the chat
- Conduct a live Q&A
- Use breakouts or lounge rooms for more intimate experiences
- Provide strong CTAs with clear next steps
Extra touches, like fun pop songs and chat prompts, keep your attendees happy and engaged, even during transitional moments. Meanwhile, audience polls and live Q&As are a great way to know what your attendees think. Their responses might even inspire your next webinar topic!
Finally, remember: only about 56% of webinar registrants will attend your event live. You'll need to inspire your on-demand audience members to engage, too. This makes enticing CTAs and supporting webinar content all the more important.
After Your Webinar: Nurturing Leads
Congrats! Your webinar was a huge success. Maybe attendees are still hyping the event up on social media. As they return to their day-to-day, your post-webinar work has only just begun. Here's how to make the most of the information you collected during your event.
Your follow-up emails after the event are crucial for identifying meaningful leads and moving them through your sales funnel. It's your chance to capture interest from anyone who didn't click that CTA button in your live event and transform them into a customer.
Review Your Analytics
How did your event perform? According to the Content Marketing Institute, there are six key metrics you should analyze after every webinar:
- Click-through ratio
- Attendee ratio
- Online poll results
- Audience retention
- Exit surveys
- On-demand viewings
With the right webinar platform, you can conduct deep dives into your event's performance to discover when your audience was most engaged, where their attention drifted, and how they felt about your content.
Analytics is critical whether you're trying to prove the ROI of conducting a webinar, better understanding your attendees, or looking ahead to the next event.
Work with Your Sales Team
Your sales team has incredible insights into customer pain points, needs, and challenges. They also want your webinar to drive leads and sales, so they're rooting for your success.
After your event, share key findings or collaborate with the sales team to develop meaningful follow-up content. Together, you'll nurture the most promising leads from your webinar and increase the event's ROI.
Creating a webinar? Check out the Webinar Best Practices Guide to ensure your webinar program is a success!
Planning a webinar is a big lift. But with the right strategy and event platform, they can be fun, entertaining, and informative. Not to mention a meaningful investment for your company!
From developing content to tracking performance, this guide will help you get any webinar off the ground. Happy planning!