Webinars are the 3rd most effective tactic for content marketers and 62% of marketers are using webinars in their marketing mix. Although the percent of marketers using webinars is quite high, I believe it should be even higher given the effectiveness of the tactic. I suspect the discrepancy is in part due to the seemingly overwhelming task of adding webinars to the content marketing mix for the first time. This is especially true if you have many other programs on your plate already. To help get you started with taking advantage of this very effective tactic I’ve organized a list of seven tasks to tackle first with more details in my previous posts. Whether you are adding one webinar a quarter, or planning a larger program, the steps are the same for getting starting.
1) Determine where webinars fit into marketing funnel: Your first task is to determine where in your content marketing mix webinars fit best for your unique customer engagement cycle. You’ll want to use webinars as a tactic if interaction with prospects, increased content memorability, and on-the-fly content adjustment/delivery is desirable (among other reasons). Then add content to determine where the webinar will fit within the overall marketing funnel. For example, a thought leadership webinar for contact acquisition would go at the top of your customer engagement funnel while a product demo webinar would go near the bottom.
2) Assemble a team: It takes a team to run a webinar program so don’t try to go it alone. Think of all the resources you can tap into to help make developing your webinar program easier – including internal resources like SMEs, product marketers, evangelists and IT, as well as external resources like your agency, media partners or channel partners. If you can swing it, I highly recommend carving out a dedicated webinar program manager on your staff.
3) Secure a webinar producer: Whether this is someone in IT, a current member of your team, or you hire a free-lance producer, this resource is a must.
4) Select a webinar platform: Choosing an appropriate webinar platform for your marketing webinar program is critical to your program success. To begin your search you will want to make sure you have a clear idea of your program goals. How many events do you plan to produce? What level of attendance do you expect? What is the goal for each event? Are you planning a series of repeat events? Is interaction, and therefore memorability, important? Do you want to accelerate the sales cycle? Is mobile reach important? Is recording and ondemand capabilities key for your program goals? How important is branding and customizability?
5) Prepare new presenters: If you do not already have experienced virtual presenters available to speak on the content you have planned for your new webinar, you’ll want to spend the time to prep your chosen speaker. You can take advantage of SMEs, evangelists or product marketers within your organization to provide and deliver the content. However, if they are not experienced presenters via webinar delivery, you’ll want to take steps to help them with the transition to this new virtual medium so that your webinar is as successful as possible.
6) Set up: Once you’ve accomplished the first five steps, it’s now time to set up your webinar event from a technical perspective, just like you would for a live in-person event. This will include registration for the webinar, webinar room set up and audio broadcasting. You’ll want to think through how you want your event to flow and then set up the webinar ‘venue’ appropriately.
7) Plan promotion: Marketing tactics used successfully for other programs do not always work with webinar promotion. When it comes to driving webinar registrations, the targeted and focused communication of an email invite works better than any other promotion tactic.
Take the time to click through to the previous posts I’ve indicated to learn more about each of these steps in more detail. I hope this helps you get started with confidence.