Here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as you build and launch your webinar series:
Know Your Objectives
You must be able to answer the question, “When we are done with the series, what will have changed?” Many wish they would have asked and answered that question before they created their webinar series. It’s important to know what you are trying to accomplish before investing your time and energy.
When it comes to objectives, you’ll also want to make sure you know how to measure your success after a period of time or number of events. If things are not going as you had hoped, either fix the problems or end the series. There’s nothing wrong with ending a series prematurely if you’re going to tweak it and make it more effective.
Target Your Audience Correctly for a Sustainable Series
Before you can move forward with creating your webinar series you’ll need to be sure that you are clear on your audience and have targeted them appropriately. While it’s more art than science, correctly targeting your market is one of the essential steps to building a successful series of events. Many make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people in their market while others too narrowly target their series content. Unfortunately by taking either of these approaches no one is satisfied with the result in the end.
In an ideal world, your webinar series targets the same market that your company already knows and markets to in other ways so that your webinar series becomes one part of your entire marketing plan.
A Fundamental Rule of Media Success: Content and Distribution
Success with webinars – like with most media – is all about content and distribution. If you don’t have “must-see” content and a marketing plan to match, don’t expect to build a large audience.
Keep in mind that registrants for the first webinar in the series will likely be registering without having seen any of your content so it is important to be able to “sell the sizzle” – the benefits of attending.
Go Beyond Delivering Webinars, Deliver “Must-See” Content
Some think well-run events alone with guarantee they will hit their webinar series objectives. But think again. Granted, you will want to have a compelling speaker and a good webinar experience using interactive tools such as chat, polling, and Q&A, but at a minimum, you generally want to address the top questions the audience has on a topic.
“Must-see” webinar content should be important and informative, if not critical, to the target market. It should be presented by a specialist or expert and full of specifics and examples, perhaps with case studies. It could be motivating or promoting the next steps or actions and offer a point-of-view that could be seen as different. Most of all, it should present a potentially “life-changing” or BIG idea to the marketplace.
Invitations and Execution Do Matter….A Lot
An email invitation to a relevant opt-in email list will generally drive 80%+ of your registration. This is still true today even in the Web 2.0 and social media world.
So it stands to reason that an event can fail because the email invitation did not follow the rules of good direct marketing. Be sure to pick topics that are important to your audience. Use your own and other email lists to reach that market and articulate your message in an appealing way in the invitation.
Line up Your Resources Before You Start Planning the Series
Many webinar series are doomed to failure because they don’t have the necessary resources. Resources come in many forms including time, speakers, marketers, event coordinators, a managed webinar service, written content, marketing lists, and budget. If you have no audience, only average speakers or mediocre content, then go back and update your series plans.
Build on Momentum and Success
One of the exciting, but sometimes frustrating aspects of webinars, is that you are only as good as your last event. Past success in any area does not mean you can take success for granted the rest of the time. Know that if an event runs smoothly because of good preparation, forgetting to do a rehearsal at the next event will likely mean things will go poorly.
So when you do achieve success, leverage it to take the series to the next level. For example, if you deliver amazing content, repeat the event or heavily promote the recording. If you win a big customer from a webinar, use that to gain more resources. If you feature a dynamic speaker, use that with all of your various constituencies.
When it comes time to launch a webinar series, keep in mind that building and launching a webinar series can be a lot like doing product marketing launch, except the “product” is your live and recorded webinar events. And with a webinar series, your next event can be the one that takes your series to the next level.