34 Tips, Tricks, and Thoughts for Better Webinars

I recently did a webinar sponsored by Citrix GotoWebinar entitled 5 Reasons Every Marketer Must Do Webinars & How to Get Started: A Practical “How-To” Approach for Success.  And now, I’m writing a blog post on webinars for a couple of reasons:

  1. Every time I do a presentation on something, I get inspired with content. BOOM, blog post on webinars.
  2. I am trying my best to follow Ardath Albee’s “Rule of 5,” which states that for every content idea create five pieces of content.  Well, I’ve not created five pieces of content, but what I have accomplished a webinar, this blog post, and a discussion on Focus.com. That means, I got to three…which is a beautiful thing.

As is becoming more common on this blog, below is a list of things/thoughts/ideas/utter randomness from me on webinars:

  1. The #1 reason to do webinars is that they work.  Someone asked if I had something more exciting to offer than webinars the other day, I told them I certainly could but if something works…see #2 below.
  2. Rule #1 in all lead generation: if something works, do it until it doesn’t work anymore.  We are always looking for the next best thing which is fine, but if it works beat the crap out of it.
  3. There are four key benefits from webinars: education, thought leadership, branding, and quantifiable lead generation. Oops and one more, nurturing (more on this later).
  4. Webinar ROI is NOT just conversion rate — All four or five benefits should be considered when doing a webinar
  5. Content wins in today’s competitive internet, so you should create a lot of it.  Webinars are a great platform for content creation.
  6. Don’t live off whitepapers, create a portfolio of offers.
  7. Just do it.  If you’re afraid to jump into doing webinars, you shouldn’t be.  Once you break the ice, you’ll get better and better.
  8. The same tenets of remarkable content creation are relevant to webinars.
  9. “Always be helping” is the new “always be closing”.  This was coined by Scott Albro.  This is a great rule for content. Ask yourself: Is your content educational? Does it help the buyer?
  10. “Always be helping” part two: Create content that connects with the buyer about their business issues instead of a demo of your product.  Example: Anatomy of a Lousy Pitch: The 6 worst presentation habits and how to avoid them.
  11. Buyers are distracted so create content that is interruptive and even provocative.  Example: How to Replicate the World’s 10 Most Amazing Network Failures. Also see above: Anatomy of a Lousy Pitch.
  12. If your topic sounds boring, it is boring.
  13. If your speaker is boring, your webinar is boring.
  14. Entertain. An hour is a lot of time, help your potential viewers choose you and choose you again and again.  We live in the world of thousands of TV channels, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  15. Build personas to determine topics. What is the role you want to target and what do they do every day?
  16. The persona will help you create topics you didn’t realize existed and help you create unique content focused on getting the right buyer in the seat.  Example: The 7 Biggest Sales Innovations of the Last Decade and what they can do for you.
  17. Keep in mind that the narrower the topic, the lower the attendance and that is not always a bad thing.
  18. People trust two types of people more than you– their peers and third party experts. Have a third party expert or a real-life practitioner speak on the topic.
  19. If you have to pitch the product, have your “pitchman” go last after the expert or practitioner.
  20. But if you have a webinar and everyone on there is your product marketing team, you are not getting it.
  21. Email is the best way to get people to webinars.
  22. Do 2-3 emails within three weeks of the event.
  23. “Sell the offer, not the product” when promoting webinars –  Howard Sewell.
  24. Tie social media promotion in.  Have employees, partners, and experts tweet before and during the event.
  25. Create a LinkedIn event page and have people close to you RSVP and forward it.  But please don’t care if not enough people RSVP, you want them to register not RSVP.
  26. Capture what you HAVE to have on the registration form not what you would LIKE to have – keep it lean to get as many people to the webinar as possible.
  27. Speaking of which, why wouldn’t you want as many people to hear about your product as possible?  Filter AFTER the event.
  28. Get butts in the seats.  Have a strategy for getting registrants to attend.  This can be reminder emails or phone calls.
  29. Polls are cool, so do them to keep people engaged, but don’t do too many because they’ll think you are filling time.  P.S. Poll data can help you score the leads.
  30. Hashtags! – #createahashtagforeveryevent and then #announcethehashtage and #keepitprominentonyourslides.  Oh, and #encourageeveryonetotweetduringtheevent.
  31. Webinars are incredible for lead nurturing because you get data (Did they attend? Ask questions?) and you can score them.
  32. With whitepapers, you never know if they read them. With webinars, you know.  Powerful.
  33. Don’t pass webinars leads directly to sales.  That’s a tried-and-true Funnelholic rule.  Always put all leads through a qualification process.  BTW, if your webinar ROI is suffering, check what you do AFTER the webinar to see if the leads being processed correctly.
  34. A successful movie doesn’t always have a big opening weekend – Michael Dortch who was my moderator for the event said this and I thought it was a really good point.  Webinar content lives on and success shouldn’t be judged solely on the event data.  This is CONTENT that can be used going forward for lead generation, lead nurturing, sales enablement, etc.

I hope this works…what would you add?

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

  • http://marketinginteractions.typepad.com Ardath Albee

    Thanks for plugging my Rule of 5, Craig! As an “ahem” there are a number of your 34 reasons that aren’t “utter randomness” that would spawn additional content assets.

    Just pushing the lever :-)
    Ardath

  • http://www.findnewcustomers.net Jeff Ogden

    Great tips, but let me add a few more.

    Create a 90 second preview of your webinar. Instead of a static page, they can watch the expert introduce the webinar.

    Build a landing page to follow the webinar. Fill it with content from the speaker to match what was presented.

    Leverage the speaker for additional content. Record an interview for a website clip. Have a transcript done and turn into blog articles. Re-purpose as much as you can.

    Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor
    President, Find New Customers
    http://www.findnewcustomers.net
    http://www.twitter.com/fearlesscomp

  • Owen

    Craig – that is a really great argument fo why to do a webinar and a recipe for how to do them (for anyone who is paying close attention). Really solid content.

  • http://http//www.metrohispeed.com/ internet fax

    I think that Jeff Ogden has a good point about recording an interview for a website clip. Also, I think webinars need to present information in a very clear manner. I find that many videos online don’t adequately explain things or use text and music instead of intelligent narration and description to clearly outline what the producers are trying to get across. Be specific people!

  • http://loopfuse.com Matthew Quinlan

    Your point #34 is extremely important. Webinars should not be temporal events that disappear after the microphones are turned off. Leverage these assets and build a library of videos that inform your target audience long after the event has concluded. My experience has been that less than 1/10th of the webinar views happen during hte actual event if they are made available afterward.

    -Quin’

    ———————–
    Matthew Quinlan
    VP, Field Operations
    LoopFuse.com

  • http://www.Fearless-Selling.ca Kelley Robertson

    Great list Craig.

    I particularly like #26. I seldom register for webinars that require me to fill out 12 fields.

    Cheers!
    Kelley