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Webinar marketing is booming right now.
With the pandemic still raging, in-person events are becoming next to impossible to plan or organize as we have learned to never expect things to really stabilize any time soon.
And if there’s one industry that has totally won from this disaster, it’s webinar marketing.
In 2020 consumers were reported to have watched three times more webinar content than they had done in 2019.
That’s a huge audience to reach!
No wonder, the global webinar market is expected to reach 800 million by 2023, up around 250 million from 2015, according to research from MarketWatch.
As with just about any marketing tactic out there, a webinar marketing strategy should always start with asking yourself the fundamental question: Why are we doing this?
What is it you want to achieve?
The most common answer is – understandably – more sales.
But how is a webinar going to help you build higher revenue?
Generally, there may be several fundamental goals behind creating a webinar...
Lead generation: This is especially useful in SaaS industry
Education: This could be educating your current customers on making a better use of your product (which opens up an upsell opportunity)
Brand awareness: This is about establishing yourself as a niche authority or a knowledge hub.
Ultimately, all of these goals are going to result in more sales, but it is important to pick one to better align your forthcoming strategy.
This will heavily depend on your chosen initial goal.
Here are a few possible webinar formats you may consider based on your primary goal:
“The temptation when finding guests is to go for the big names who you will regularly see on the circuit. While big names are an important part of building a presence in the industry - it's equally vital to search out folks who are able to contribute far more specific 'at the coalface' knowledge.
Finding these people, by definition, is harder - so if you have to be a sniffer dog for people who can both provide great knowledge and present it with clarity. I use Linkedin and Twitter far too much, and this, alongside my network, is the source for these people. Often these are the talks that resonate far more than folks speaking in platitudes in marketing. Mary Owusu is a great example of this, who recently delivered an amazing talk on how to use analytics to help discover SEO opportunities. Even though our audience might not have known her before - they were besotted by the end!”
Coming up with an effective webinar topic idea is not easy.
You need to find something interesting enough for people to want to register and attend.
I suggest using a combination of methods below:
Look at your web analytics: Is there a particular article that seemed to attract more interest and engagement than others?
Look at your most commended and shared blog posts, most downloaded whitepapers and most visited pages.
Brandwatch often choose to repurpose existing content, when building out their webinar plan...
Senior Field Marketing Manager, Brandwatch
“An important thing to ask yourself when looking for a topic is: what are the pieces of content we have out now and can I make this into a webinar/video? Our content team (or agency if you don't have an in-house team) spend so much time creating amazing pieces of content and we should reuse what we can.”
In Google Analytics, go to Behavior > All pages and examine your pages with highest traffic: Is there a way to create a webinar around that topic?
Consider the “Average time on page” metric as well, because it can give you some clues as to how engaging that topic is.
Use Finteza to get a deeper insight into how engaging each of your content assets traffic is.
For example, you can see exactly how any of your article readers are engaging with your sales funnel:
This is a great way to tell if a webinar on the same or similar topic will be able to drive actual leads which will be easy to convert.
If you have a chatbot helping your current site users navigate your platform, look at the most common questions your users are asking, and which answers seem to be most helpful.
This will help you identify key struggles your audience is facing, and help you find the best way to create a webinar that will help them.
For example, Intercom, a conversational relationship platform, allows you to identify what your customers are talking about, see questions people ask on each topic, and even access the full conversations:
Additionally, if you have a helpdesk or support ticketing system in place, you can use it as a conversational relationship platform that allows you to identify what your customers need to do right now, identify common questions they are asking, and cover those questions in your webinars.
Your sales and customer support teams have a deep understanding of your current and potential clients as they talk to them every day.
Set up a meeting to pick up their brains and come up with some cool topics that may be turned into a webinar.
Senior Field Marketing Manager, Brandwatch
“When deciding a topic make sure it's something relevant to your audience: what are some use cases that the sales team is seeing, and what are the questions they are asking?”
Question research is a powerful way to get a deep understanding of your target audience struggles. There are lots of ways to identify niche questions, including using BuzzSumo’s Question Analyzer
Use BuzzSumo Question Analyzer to identify questions asked across hundreds of thousands of forums and ecommerce sites, in relation to your topic:
One of my favorite BuzzSumo features is its ability to help my brainstorming process, by suggesting related topics and letting me see questions within each one:
“We run marketing events every week, so you'd think finding topics would be hard, but there is one magic trick that makes things so much easier... Asking the audience!
We lean on our community a lot: interviewing them, chatting with them, polling them.
Off the back of their challenges and thoughts, the schedule almost writes itself. We then just need to find the speakers!”
Any time we say questions, we mean Quora, the biggest Q&A platform out there.
While BuzzSumo includes Quora in its question analyzing feature, it is often useful to browse the site itself because it is laid out the way you can discover more related questions and browse people’s answers too:
When you research a webinar topic, you want to justify its relevance with all the data you can get your hands on. BuzzSumo's Content Ideas Generator comes in handy here.
It brings together all of BuzzSumo's most important data into a single tool, helping you instantly validate your topic and pull a brief together.
The data sources include:
There's a couple of really handy ways of finding the webinar content that performs best too.
In your search, simply write "Keyword + Webinar" to see the most engaging webinars surrounding your topic idea.
Or search your keyword, and dive into video content types to see which topics are already doing well for the video format.
Google’s Search Console is the only source of keyword data that comes from Google itself.You can find search queries that are driving traffic to your site, and filter that traffic by a question word to find some questions people tend to type in Google’s search box:
Access that data inside the “Performance” report of the Search Console.
Answer the Public is a freemium tool that collects results from Google’s search suggestions (i.e. those that show up when you are typing anything into the search box).The tool then organizes the data by a question word showing you a handy mind map to brainstorm:
Text Optimizer is a semantic analysis tool that includes a handy question analytics feature. It is a great way to get a more structured understanding of your audience’s struggles:
Other than these, there are a ton of tools that help you match your audience’s intent, solve their problems, and attempt to answer the questions they’re asking (and the ones they’re not).
AI-based tools are increasingly getting better at identifying touchpoints and optimizing the customer experience.
Use data and AI to map your customer journey and come up with webinar ideas, topics, or even little bits of advice that enable you to meet them halfway at every brand-customer touchpoint.
BuzzSumo offers a variety of tools allowing you to find unique and interesting angles for each of your webinars to stand out, including:
BuzzSumo’s Content Analyzer
Content Analyzer is that sort of a tool that may turn useful for just about any marketing-related task out there. For example, you can limit your search by content type (in our case, videos):
You can then filter results by either overall engagement or evergreen score (i.e. if that article or video was acquiring any social media engagements or backlinks 30 days after it was published)
Use BuzzSumo’s Content Analyzer to find engaging webinars around your topic to spark inspiration.
This is a great way to find engaging and backlink-generating videos on your topic, and come up with a great topic idea of your own!
BuzzSumo’s Content Analyzer will also help you identify your future panelists, i.e. people who already participated in related webinars or wrote in-depth content on that topic.
Topic Explorer is another content brainstorming feature that could turn useful here.It is a recommendation feature that lets you gain a broader understanding of any subject, by clustering it into related concepts and suggesting content idea for each one:
BuzzSumo’s Keyword Tool is another useful niche research and content brainstorming feature which will also let you evaluate the demand for any chosen topic.
Once you have a list of possible topics, do a simple Google search for the associated topics to explore all organic opportunities you can aim for – especially video carousels that present some additional opportunities for your webinar to build some ongoing exposure.
Another SERP feature to pay attention to is Google’s People Also Ask boxes because it can give you more ideas on questions to discuss on your webinar.
Choosing a webinar hosting platform may seem intimidating.
Where do you even start?
There are indeed quite a few options out there, and I usually recommend picking the easiest one, like Zoom and Zoho.
These will save your time and let you focus on content and marketing rather than figuring out technical issues.
There are, of course, many more webinar hosting options (some of them are free): Here’s a good overview of those.
“We use Zoom for our webinars. While there has been a tonne of virtual event platforms that have sprung up over the past year, I appreciate the simplicity of the interaction. Our marketing events are unashamedly virtual, but the chat feature provides a really powerful interaction platform, when nourished and made part of the culture of the event.
Some criteria I considered when selecting the tech was:
1. Acceptance within the community of the tech already (if people are already familiar, they're more likely to use it)
2. Robustness of the connection (we've only had one speaker's connection drop out over the past year!)
3. Clarity of the flow folks would go through from sign up to attending
4. Cost. We have thousands of people attend our event every month. Zoom was cost-effective enough to justify.
As you can see, for me it was far more about 'it does the job it needs to' rather than all the bells and whistles.”
From there you will need to figure out how to set up your webinar roles:
Prior to creating your webinar, you need to clearly know what each of those participants can and cannot do.
For example, in Zoom the role capabilities are as follows:
Attendees are view-only participants and they can be unmuted only by the host or a co-host so they can speak. Any attendee can be promoted to a panelist by a host or a co-host.
Whether you are planning to create one webinar or a series, you need to know when you are going to host each one.
Multiple sources (including on24 2020 Webinar Benchmarks Report) claim that the best time to host a webinar is mid week (Tuesday or Wednesday) which makes sense because Mondays are too hectic and Fridays might be too relaxing to attend events.
Although after Covid any work day seems to work:
As for the best time, if you are in the United States, 11 a.m. Pacific (2 p.m. Eastern) tends to work best for most webinar hosts.
What kinds of slides you need for your webinar will rely on two main circumstances:
My rule of thumb is: “prepare for a webinar just like I’d be preparing for speaking at a conference.”
I always make lots of notes and prepare lots of slides.
If I am a moderator or a host and not going to speak, I’d still create intro slides listing the speakers and the end slides giving all the contact info and including a CTA.
Just like for in-person events and speaking gigs, I try to make my slides visual-heavy and copy light. It is always a good idea to keep them well-branded to help build recognizability.
The same visual identity elements will be used across all marketing channels before and after the webinar.
Creatopy is a great way to set up your visual identity and then reflect it in all your visual marketing channels.
The site allows you to create your brand kit which will then help you create consistent header images (for your Facebook event), banners and social media images.
It can also be used to design slides as well:
To keep your webinar audience engaged, you need to come up with all sorts of interactive elements:
Your webinar software will likely support a few of those, so look around and come up with your plan.
Keep your polls and quizzes easy to complete – you don’t want your participants to get distracted:
Here are a few great webinar polling ideas for you to get inspired. Most webinar software (including Zoom) allows you to create polls beforehand and launch them during the webinar.
Create all kinds of diverse assets to promote your webinar on a wider range of social media channels, including Instagram, Instagram stories, Pinterest and more.
Tools like Boosted allow you to create promo videos to use across all your social media channels. You can play with the video formats, mix several videos into one, add music, etc.
With Boosted, you can use your own footage to create videos from scratch, or you can use the platform’s hundreds of themed templates as your starting point, customize the titles, colors and logo, and export it within minutes.
Setting up a landing page may also be included in your webinar software.
If not, you can use one of existing Wordpress plugins that allow you to put together an effective landing that would include a sign-up page with form and a countdown timer:
This landing page can later be easily converted into an on-demand location after your webinar is over.
It is also a good idea to come up with additional traffic engagement methods, like web push notifications which could be set up to target those people who visited your landing page but didn’t sign up.
This way you will be able to engage those who didn’t join your webinar but may be interested in the recorded version.
If this is your first webinar and / or if you have panelists, this step is especially important.
Consider hosting a test webinar with your co-hosts, panelists or interviewees to familiarise yourself and them with permissions based on role, screen sharing, sound and video quality, etc.
Additionally, do a run-through with someone joining as an audience member, decide who is driving the slides and test your interactive elements.
If you took keyword research into consideration when brainstorming the webinar topic, consider this part half-done. From here, what you need to do is:
This is a basic SEO work that will help your webinar rank for your chosen keywords. Of course, you can try to get some external links to your webinar, which definitely boost organic rankings, but that’s a separate topic which I have covered here.
Whether you are uploading the full webinar or its takeaways, it is a good idea to optimize that YouTube page.
That will help it rank in Google’s video carousels and bring additional exposure.
Here’s a detailed article on YouTube keyword research and here’s my checklist which I use for each video I upload to Youtube:
What you say in your video may be as important for SEO as the written content you surround it with – if not more so.
Google is now able to index video content, and Brian Dean recently stated that, when it comes to YouTube SEO, it's just as important to include your keywords within your video content, as it is to optimize your video during upload.
So when creating your video, make sure to work your main keywords and topics into the script!
Creating an email sequence to confirm, remind, and later follow-up your attendees to thank them for coming and engage them further is a crucial part of webinar success.
Email is the most efficient way to drive in attendees. According to Go to Webinar, more than half of registrations come from email rather than other communication channels.
Besides, most people will completely forget about your event unless you remind them, and a lot of them will quickly forget about you and your webinar unless you follow up the same day.
Most contemporary webinar software includes email automation and customer relation management features that allow you to set up effective email sequences and segment your attendees by how engaged they are (for example, people who registered to an event but missed it will be automatically sent the webinar recording).
Make sure you understand that these actually work and customize it to include:
Add-to-calendar links to your confirmation email and your first reminderInclude your primary CTAs in your thank-you emails
Here’s a short and sweet confirmation email that includes only one CTA: “Join Webinar”:
It is also a good idea to use your current email list to announce your upcoming webinar and, if you can afford the time, do a quick email outreach to invite bloggers and influencers to come join you.
Social media gives you a huge variety of possible ways you can promote your webinar.
You can choose a method based on how much time you are (or your team is) willing to invest here.
These methods include:
There are many more ways to utilize webinar content for on-going promotion through re-packaging.
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