21 steps for creating a successful webinar

Throughout the years we have assisted dozens of companies with their lead generation efforts. We generated leads through many different channels and evaluated them based on numbers and cost per leads, qualified leads, opportunities, and closed won deals. Consistently, we have seen that webinar leads performed well for most organizations.

This is most likely because a live webinar not only gives valuable information to prospects but they also give attendees the opportunity to ask questions from industry experts. Prospects are more likely to give away their information and answer additional questions for a webinar that offers potential value, and less likely to give away the same information for an ebook on social media. Most people who are willing to sit through an hour presentation are also more likely to be interested in the topic for its educational value or because they are trying to solve a problem. As such, leads generated from a webinar are more welcomed by sales as they are deemed more engaged than some other types of leads.

But in order to create a successful webinar, marketers need to plan ahead and complete many tasks. Here is a list of suggestions to assist in this effort:

1. Pick a topic that your audience is interested in. If you do not know what they are interested in then either research what the industry is talking about or survey your database for potential topics.

2. Identify the speakers. There should be one speaker who represents your company and another who is a known industry expert on the presented topic.

3. Craft the webinar description. It should specify what attendees will learn. One paragraph with 3-5 bullets works best.

4. Schedule the webinar a month out. This way you will have time to promote the webinar via different channels, create the content, schedule a dry run with the speakers, and make any necessary changes before the live webinar production.

5. Best times for a live webinar seem to be Wednesdays 11am Pacific time.

6. Do not over-complicate your registration page. The page should show the webinar details and speaker information and the registration form. Try to keep the form short; not more than five questions. If possible, use either progressive profiling forms or pre-fill to make registration as easy as possible.

7. Promote your webinar to your database, post it on your website, post it on your social media sites, ask sales to send it to their contacts and ask the expert speakers to do the same.

8. If you are looking to generate new leads you can also reach out to a vendor who can generate registrants for a fee. Make sure to use a vendor who offers a number of guaranteed registrants for the agreed price.

9. Send registration confirmation to registrants with an “add to calendar” button and encourage them to share the webinar invitation with their colleagues.

10. Send the webinar invite out two-three times and remind your registrants a day before the webinar.

11. The content should be educational in nature and not a sales speech.

12. Structure the webinar. The company’s representative could introduce him/her self, the company, and the guest speaker. The guest speaker could introduce him/her self and deliver the bulk of the content. The company’s representative could add final thoughts and explain in few sentences how the company’s solution could solve the problems presented in the webinar. Finally, open up the floor for questions.

13. Have 3-5 seed questions ready just in case you do not get any questions from your audience.

14. Provide incentives to increase attendance or ask registrants to submit questions before the webinar so they would attend to hear the answer to their questions.

15. Tweet during the event and provide a dedicated hashtag at the beginning of the webinar for the attendees to use.

16. Poll your audience during the presentation so the event would be interactive. You can use this collected data for creating an infographic or a blog post after the webinar.

17. Review the exit poll for feedback so you can improve your next webinar.

18. Send the recorded version to both, those who attended and those who did not show up. In addition to the recorded version take this opportunity to share a whitepaper or some other content to continue the conversation about the webinar topic.

19. Post the on-demand version of the webinar on your website and social media outlets.

20. Process the leads and make sure sales follow up with the registrants.

21. Continue nurturing the leads that are not yet ready to speak with sales.