Remember, content and the way it’s presented isn’t everything when it comes to webinar planning. Even if your lead speaker and content are fantastic and you have a managed webinar service, it’s easy to trip up on the items in the list below, which would cause anyone to hesitate to register for their future events.
Here are some simple, tactical yet critical things you must do to avoid webinar disasters:
- Create a marketing plan and project schedule with responsibilities for each webinar – there are those who say, “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.” Generally, good planning helps you avoid problems: good project management helps you correct them before anyone notices them.
- Increase attendance with proven email lists and invitation copy – opt-in email lists that match your target audience could account for as much as 80% of your registrations. Following the rules of copy will help you get more attendees from the same lists, the number of invites, and ads.
- Make the registration process easy – don’t make it hard for prospects to register. For online forms, that means one-click to a landing page, and a simple registration form with one-click to register. Make offline registrations easy as well.
- Automate the reminder sequence – the last thing you should be worrying about is a good reminder sequence, which can convert 40% to 50% of registrants to attendees for a free webinar. A simple sequence of auto-reminders – providing webinar details and a reminder upon registration and a reminder at 24 and 3 hours before the event – will generally create the conversion to attendees you desire.
- Run a rehearsal to prepare speakers – while many speakers know their material – and webinar producers should use ones who do – little things like transitions, questions, and tailoring the examples to the specific audience can be covered in a 30-minute rehearsal.
- Have an experienced moderator or webinar manager on the pre-call – Your moderator or webinar manager can manage the rehearsal, pre-call and the webinar itself. While a good moderator may only slightly enhance your webinar, a bad one can get in the way and sour an otherwise solid experience for the attendee. And, when a good moderator “saves” an event in danger of disaster for what could be a variety of causes, they can be worth their weight in gold.
- Make sure interactions are built into the webinar – much of the value from a live webinar comes from examples, tailoring content for the audience and answering the audience’s top questions.
- Record the webinar and increase views by making the recording available within 24 hours – one marketing webinar series rule to consider is that recording a webinar and promoting it can increase viewers by up to 150%. Meaning if 40 of 100 registrants attend the live webinar, 30 may watch the recording – especially if it’s promoted within 24 hours of the event. Additional promotion could bring another 30 new registrants who watch the webinar. That means over time a series could have the same number of webinar viewers as registrants for the live event.
- Consider companion materials like success kits – this strategy is often overlooked but extremely effective. People love little checklists, articles and white papers related to the topic presented. These handouts can increase registration for both live webinars and recordings and encourage “next steps” from attendees.
- Have webinar follow-up marketing ready ahead of the event – many who produce a webinar series put so much energy into the event that they have little time to create a simple marketing follow-up, write a sales letter or make sure a sales team properly nurtures webinar leads. If you avoid this mistake, your series will be vastly more effective.
- Review webinar performance after the webinar – make it a habit to debrief speakers and key attendees after a webinar and look at key webinar numbers and comments after the event. A simple way to judge a marketing webinar is to review registration numbers, response percentages from promotions to different list/media, attendance, cost-per-registrant, information requests, number of sales or sales opportunities per webinar and feedback from post-event surveys, as well as ROI numbers like webinar sales/webinar costs.
Thus, while webinar operational excellence is not exciting for many, some webinar series will fail because the tactics and evaluation process are poorly managed.