Today's guest post is provided by Kira Sparks is the Senior Content Manager at Shoutlet, a ReadyTalk customer.
Webinars are a true marketing challenge: If they go well, they can be a phenomenal content marketing and lead generation tool. If they go poorly, they can be a big-time embarrassment. (Raise your hand if you’ve ever lost sleep due to a webinar!)
Here at Shoutlet, we’ve put a lot of steps in place to make sure our webinars fall into that first category. And because of that, our webinar program generates a lot of value for us. It helps us meet new customers, nurture existing relationships, and share relevant content with community managers across the world.
Today I’ll share a few of the tricks and tactics we’ve learned along the way to help you get the most out of your webinar program.
Go in with the right partners
Launching a webinar program comes with certain technology needs. Chief among them:
A platform provider to help broadcast your presentations and an email or automation software that allows you to distribute promotions and other webinar communications.
Like many of you, we partner with Readytalk, which helps us ensure everything goes smoothly from the technical end. For email, we use marketing automation tool Marketo. Marketo goes way beyond email, allowing us to track our relationships with prospects over time, and communicate at the appropriate moments along the way.
Whichever providers you use, make sure they’re committed to being a partner 24/7. When it comes to webinars, the last thing you want is to get put on hold when something goes wrong.
Don’t skimp on the content
While it may seem obvious, remember that putting together quality content is one of the most vital components of the webinar process. If an attendee isn’t pleased with what they hear, it’s unlikely they’ll come to another webinar and even less likely they’ll want to talk with your sales rep after it’s over.
Here are three ways to create stellar content that results in repeat visitors:
Make it actionable: The standard hour-long webinar is a lot of time to take away from work. Provide specific actionable items to ensure attendees feel like they got something out of their time investment. We try to deliver specific tips to attendees, such as this webinar slide about taking a great Instagram photo:
- Go light on sales. While it’s perfectly fine to share information or examples of your product, people will be disappointed if that’s all they get. Think beyond your product to the place in the industry it occupies – what do professionals in this space need to know to thrive?
- Bring on great speakers. People like variety, and it can be rough to listen to one person for an entire hour. Bring on a customer or industry expert to share their experience and lend credibility to your organization.
Continually hone your process
Our digital marketing team never stops experimenting with email campaigns. They’re constantly testing subject lines, send times, segments, and more. Over time, this experimentation has led to incredibly valuable insights about how to reach our audience. Start small and tweak just one or two things per email to see the effect. Even if you don’t have the bandwidth for much experimentation, trying just one technique a month can help you transform your communications over time.
Engage socially – before, during, and after the event
While email is a main driver of webinar registrations, don’t forget to get the message out on social channels, too. This is where the buzz can really get going. You can see a full post on the subject here, but let’s look at some quick tips to fuel that social engagement:
- Create a promo kit for the speaker(s) that provides them with pre-written tweets and social images to share via their own networks.
Create a webinar hashtag. Encourage people to tweet with the hashtag during the webinar, and incentivize them with a fun giveaway:
- Use a Social CRM to track your social fans’ engagement with you during the webinar process and use this information to build the relationship over time.
- If you can, try boosting your reach through paid promotion via Facebook ads, Promoted Tweets or LinkedIn Sponsored Updates.
Follow up with relevant materials
When the webinar wraps and everyone returns to work, your job isn’t done. Send the slides and recording to all attendees within 24 hours. Go a step further by offering them relevant content that helps them continue to explore the webinar topic. Then, next time you promote a webinar, segment your communication to those who have and haven’t attended one of your presentations before. That’s a great way to show your regulars some love.
Bringing it all together
When you get all of these pieces in place, webinars can be a fantastic way to build new and existing relationships – even if you have to lose a little sleep in the meantime.
Want to hear more about Shoutlet or social media strategies? Visit our blog at shoutlet.com/blog. We’d love to connect with you.
About the Author
Kira Sparks is the Senior Content Manager at Shoutlet. In her role, she creates and delivers thought-leading content for community managers and marketing professionals across the country.