You might have implemented your Marketing Strategy and you are looking for new ways to generate leads and influence people? Well, you must have heard of webinars. Webinars are what people normally do nowadays because of the social distancing rule due to the pandemic. Doing free webinars, live meetings, and whatnot are highly encouraged to avoid direct contact with each person. In article, discover the advantages of webinars and how to create and promote a great one.
What is a webinar?
Short for web-based seminar, a webinar is a presentation, lecture, workshop, or seminar that is transmitted over the web using video conferencing software. A key feature of a webinar is its interactive elements and the ability for a presenter to give, receive, and discuss information in real-time. If you’re an Inbound Marketer, doing webinars is a great strategy right now.
Using webinar software, participants can share audio, documents and applications with webinar attendees. This is useful when the webinar host is conducting a lecture or information session. While the presenter is speaking they can share desktop applications and documents. Today, many webinar services offer live streaming options or the ability to record your webinar and publish to YouTube and other video services later.
Below are the top webinar software programs used by most of the industries nowadays.
Zoom webinar provides videotelephony and online chat services through a cloud-based peer-to-peer software platform and is used for teleconferencing, telecommuting, distance education, and social relations. It is much higher quality than others by a long shot. It’s easy to see why this stuff has a better call quality, the ability to record meetings, and being able to share high-quality video over that call.
Zoom webinar pricing starts at $14.99 up to $19.99 but you can still opt-in for a free webinar with limited features.
GoToMeeting is sold in two plans, each with different pricing but you can still start a free trial and make use of your GoToMeeting webinar without any cost. GoToMeeting Professional allows you to host meetings with up to 150 participants and costs $12 monthly (billed annually at $144). Our most popular option, GoToMeeting Business costs $16per month (billed annually at $192).
Webex Event Center
Webex Meetings lets you host online meetings with HD video, audio, and screen sharing. This Webex webinar is a perfectly fine solution for basic webinars in which you can speak to a small audience in picture-perfect video quality. Plus, the price isn’t bad! You will not be able to grow with WebEx if you plan to host webinars with more than 200 people in attendance.
Salesforce is used by over 150,000 customers across the globe. Customization in The Salesforce webinar is indeed very powerful, but it often requires a deep understanding of the platform. In salesforce webinar, you need to really dive into the configuration to even start drawing your webinar workflow.
Livestorm is another new kid who deserves a closer look. The reason is a simple and intuitive interface, many interesting features, and an approach deliberately geared towards lead generation. In terms of pricing, livestorm webinar will take € 99 per month with up to 100 people in the room (€ 199 for 250 people and € 299 for 500). Note that it is possible to create the first webinar for free to be tested.
Hangout webinar is an offer from Google. Google Hangouts has very stable with a good connection and a pretty good machine plus it is resource-intensive of up to 10-12 people in which you can very well do without any paid software at first. You can even link your account to your YouTube channel to publish your video or share it from your desktop directly.
UberConference is a cloud-based conferencing system produced by a private company in San Francisco known as Switch Communications, Inc. It is a visual audio conferencing system that allows the callers to see the avatar of the other participants on the mobile browsers or on the desktops. UberConference webinar is free now that allows longer call duration and up to 50 participants.
Hotmart offers free online webinars for teachers in which they can have live classes every week for their students and other participants.
EverWebinar is ideal for businesses that want to pre-configure their automated webinars while giving their audience plenty of scheduling options.
You might also be interested in this list of great tools for you Inbound Marketing Strategy.
Ways to Create and Plan a Webinar
Looking to generate leads, build thought leadership, make friends, and influence people?
Webinar marketing might be your secret weapon. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to plan and promote a truly memorable webinar that works wonders for your brand.
Step #1 – Choose a date and time
Schedule your webinar for a time that works well for attendees in different time zones. We recommend Thursdays at 12:00pm PST/ 3:00pm EST.
They say that timing is everything, and choosing the right time to timetable your webinar is a case in point. According to GoToWebinar, the optimum time for a webinar to be broadcast is 11 am. But if you’re reaching out to a global community, then you’ll, of course, need to consider the time difference before promoting your webinar.
Step #2 – Choose a topic
This is the most vital decision to make. The topic of your webinar is the primary hook for any would-be customer or audience. Go too broad and you won’t be able to fit everything you or your audience need to know into one session. Too narrow or niche and you may find yourself running out of things to say. Start with what you know about and what you think other people will want to know about. If you’re still stuck for ideas, then why not mine your old blog posts for ideas or look back through some of your tweets.
Use a tool like BuzzSumo to identify which content resonates and performs well on a given topic; or try out AnswerthePublic, which pulls out actual questions people are asking on Google. Industry-specific forums are a great jumping-off point for topic ideation, too. You can guarantee if someone is willing to ask a question on a forum, they’ll be willing to attend a webinar to receive an expert answer.
Step #3 – Do your research
There’s no substitute for research, so why not take a look at what other companies or businesses are putting out there in their webinars before setting up your own? Even if you’re a webinar wizard, it can still be useful to see how other people are presenting themselves and their topics. There are literally thousands of webinars out there, covering a wide range of subjects. Watching how other people do it will tell you more than any theory.
Step #4 – Send out your webinar invitations
This is one of the most important promotion strategies. There are lots of different tactics to adopt when promoting your up and coming webinar but the highest response rate still seems to come from email. According to The 2017 Big Book of Webinar Stats, compiled by GoToMeeting, 45% of marketers use email as their primary promotional tool. Don’t be surprised if you receive a flurry of interest at the last minute though because, according to the same study, 69% of signups take place in the final week leading up to the webinar.
This is when you should really publicize the event. Send the invite to your email list. Post about it on your website or blog. Use the hashtag on social media. Get creative and you’ll get more people to attend.
Step #5 – Do a practice run
Get your speakers comfortable with the webinar controls and make sure things go smoothly by doing a test run using the webinar software or tool beforehand.
Step #6 – Choose a host
All webinars need a host to make the magic happen. Some are free and some require a subscription. To save you doing the legwork, we researched a range of webinar hosts before running our own webinars and decided on ClickMeeting; a webinar-hosting site that boasts the following credentials:
- See how many people took part in your webinar
- Tell you what device was used to log on
- Where in the world your customer or audience is/are
Other companies we analyzed included GoToWebinar (a sister platform to the hugely popular GoToMeeting), ReadyTalk, Webinar Ninja, and Cisco WebEx, which claims to host a staggering 71 million meetings every month.
Step #7 – Choose Your Team
A webinar usually has three prime players. The success of your session depends on them, and I recommend that you carefully consider your options when selecting the following:
- The Organizer: The organizer or the facilitator is the key individual responsible for developing content for the webinar. They are also responsible for finding a suitable speaker and promoting the event. They are in charge of registrations and communicating with the participants at the beginning and end of the webinar.
- The Presenter(s): The Presenters or the Subject Matter Experts should focus on developing and delivering the webinar presentation. They look after webinar programming and troubleshooting, event registration, and other details to help them deliver an engaging presentation.
- Assistant(s): Assistants help in answering queries that the Presenter and the Facilitator don’t have much time for. They help by responding to technical queries. (For example, “The audio and video are not in sync!” or “There is no sound!”) Assistant(s) are often required for webinars with a large audience.
Step #8 – Select a style
There are 4 main styles of a webinar that you could opt for:
- The interview – With an industry-specific expert who has influence in your industry and is known in some capacity. Someone whose reputation alone should be enough to secure good signup to your webinar. The interview webinar works best when the person is live on screen but make sure you send over the questions you’re going to ask well in advance. You’ll both need to agree on a script where possible, as well as clear timings, to ensure that there are no surprises when you go live.
- The Q&A – The Q&A format is the most engaging, as it means your attendees can participate. Always ask for questions to be sent in advance. This will not only give you a chance to vet them but it also means that your audience is more likely to engage if they’re waiting to see if their question will be chosen. Q&As provide an excellent opportunity for your top brass or influencers to place themselves in the hot seat. They are an excellent way to build brand loyalty and add value to your offer.
- The presentation – Possibly the easiest webinar to deliver, the presentation format is also the most popular. But don’t underestimate what’s needed. To host a really successful presentation webinar, your presenter will need to be as engaging and enthusiastic as possible. A presentation webinar is exactly what it sounds like – a PowerPoint style presentation accompanied by a prewritten speech. To maximize your success, you’ll need to guarantee content that is relevant to the audience, sharply written and delivered with aplomb.
- The panel – Providing access to experienced professionals who are willing to discuss hot topics in a panel format can work exceptionally well. You’ll need to brief everyone fully and always have an agreed script in place. Using an experienced and unbiased facilitator is also crucial to the flow of conversation. You’ll want to select someone who’s impartial, knows how to handle a panel, and is also familiar with the subject.
Step #9 – Follow up
Check up on your attendees shortly after the webinar, preferably within 24 hours. Ask whether there are any more questions or requests.
Step #10 – Make your webinar recording available
A recorded webinar is a great way to keep generating leads long after you’ve finished hosting. Publishing the recording can broaden your reach and attract extra interest for the product, service, or information you offer.
What does it mean for an evergreen webinar?
In the marketing world, the word “evergreen” is usually in the context of “evergreen content.” Evergreen content refers to an article that is on a topic that is perpetually relevant and fresh for readers thus, it can withstand the test of time.
Similarly, evergreen webinars should be sustainable and lasting. Putting together an effective webinar takes time and effort. Writing a script (get the perfect webinar script here for free), putting together a deck, being prepared to answer questions at the end. Plus the anxiety that tends to come with speaking in front of a live group is probably present every time- even if the attendees are not physically in the same room.
How To Promote Webinars?
To Promote your webinar, use social media like Facebook and Twitter, email, and other communication tools like Slack to help spread the word about your webinar. Encourage your team members, colleagues, partners, and panelists to do the same. Provide social media and email images to panelists and partners to make sharing as easy as possible. Check LinkedIn for relevant industry groups and invite them to attend as well.
You can also use event management and ticketing website such as Eventbrite that will help you create and promote your events locally.
Here are some useful hints and tips on promotional techniques you could try:
- Post on your blog: Sounds obvious but, if you’ve got a readership and/or following, then using your company blog is a great way to draw attention to your up and coming webinar.
- Email your customers directly and any other prospective attendees: Holding a webinar is like hosting a party. Make the most of any database or contact list you already have and get inviting.
- Partner with someone else to maximize email reach: If you’re running a webinar that involves a partner organization or business, then it makes sense to join promotional forces and maximize on the email reach.
- Post on social media: Maximise your reach by leveraging your social media channels. Twitter, for example, is a great way to nudge any potential audiences that the time and date of your webinar is fast approaching.
- Create adverts on social media: Make sure you use a platform where your audience hangs out. For example, there’s no point developing Instagram adverts if your audience is largely active on LinkedIn.
- Put a link in your email signature: Such an obvious promotional tool but often one that gets forgotten. Your email signature is an ideal place in which to advertise a webinar.
- Post on industry forums: Promote where you know others will be interested. Whatever your webinar topic, research the people and places that you think will be most interested in your subject.
- Write a guest post and mention the webinar: Use your guest posts to promote your webinar. Always ensure you include the key information points in the post – time, date, and host site details.
- Create a website pop-up to alert web visitors: Pop-ups are annoying, yes. Yet, they’re also extremely effective. Sumo users collected 23,645,948 email addresses in less than two years using their List Builder pop-ups.
- Tell people you meet at networking events or through your sales team: Walk, talk, live, and breathe your up and coming webinar. Encourage your team members to do the same. Promotional word of mouth still counts – even in this age of algorithms!
If you’re just starting out on your webinar career, then we’d advise you to start small and test the water first. Host a webinar that you know will be of interest and see what the take up is before hosting another one. It might be useful to set up a series of webinars that are hosted at the same time – either weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Having a regular series of webinars means you can plan your marketing for each webinar well in advance, building on the success and interest of each one as you go.