Many organizations can create one great webinar, but it requires a different set of tactics and skills along with a managed webinar service to ensure a winning webinar series over time. These crucial elements and strategies are present again and again in the top-performing series. Missing one could sabotage all of your otherwise good work.
Here are six must-haves for webinar series success:
1. A reachable, defined audience with common issues and problems
Start with the list or audience that will be most interested in your webinar series. They ideally will have common characteristics, frustrations, objectives, problems, and habits. For example, a webinar series could target your own customer list or it could be geared towards one profession like independent financial advisors. It could target “time-starved entrepreneurs looking to grow their business through marketing” or it could be for buyers of a specific product. It could also be aimed towards professionals that need to complete education for licensing requirements. Remember, the more you are able to reach a definable audience with webinars that are geared to their specific needs and appeal to their desires, the more successful your series will be.
2. Content and speakers to deliver valuable information and education to this audience over time
If you have only one topic, you do not have a webinar series. Similarly, if you are not able to deliver valuable content and education to your audience through different events over time, you are not likely to sustain a series. It is your target audience who ultimately judges the worth of your webinar speakers and content. Many webinar series producers will review multiple webinars – including their competitors – to see what topics and content resonates with the target audience. While it is always helpful to use proven, popular speakers, it is more important for the topic to address one of your potential attendees “Top 5 Pain Points” or they will likely neither register or attend.
3. An overarching theme for your webinar series to tie the webinars together
To create a sustainable webinar series, there needs to be an overarching, unifying theme among your events. The series theme does not necessarily need to be heavily promoted with your audience when advertising an individual event since prospects will generally evaluate each event on its own merit, but the overarching theme will help you create and market compelling events over time. For example, one training firm ran a series for its subscribers with the theme of “Educating Marketers on Top Direct and Web Marketing Strategies.” A technology vendor-hosted a series for years on “How to Take control of (Your Specific IT Environment)”. Your overarching theme will help you take the good feelings of value and excitement generated by the webinar and transfer them to you, the host organization, and create mind-share in the prospects’ minds.
4. A marketing plan to reach a large group of prospective registrants over time, ideally through email
Most webinar producers and marketers tend to underestimate the level of effort needed to gain a registrant and an attendee. Obviously, it will be harder and generally more expensive to get a first-time registrant for your webinars, especially if they are not already on your in-house email list. But social media offers a great opportunity to expand your general list as well as drive webinar registrations. Tweeting the event and promoting it through Facebook, YouTube and your blog, as well as other social media channels, is an emerging way to market. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the majority of registrants to one event in the series will come to all the events, especially if you are doing a series with marketing or selling objectives. Expect less than 15% of past registrants to register for an upcoming event.
5. A follow-up plan to monetize the series for your organization
Even if the way your organization will make money from the webinar series is to sell sponsorships or to charge for viewing the webinar, you will still generally want to sell something else. As you probably guessed, the best prospects to attend the next webinar in your series are the ones who have registered or attended your past events. So be sure to include invitations to future events in your marketing back to this audience. But don’t stop there. Consider creating an automated follow-up sequence of marketing and sales contacts to convert registrants by promoting your offerings back to this audience.
6. How to grow and evolve the series over time
No webinar series is ever done. This is both a source of excitement and frustration for many since a webinar series is always in a state of evolution. So rather than fight this, look for opportunities to improve your webinar topics over time. For example, you can ask the following questions after each event:
- What is another hot topic for your target audience that was not covered in your series?
- What topic or theme can be repeated or done in a slightly different way for great results?
- Who can co-sponsor a series and give us the resources to take this to the next level?
- What lists and social media marketing opportunities have we not tested for in our webinars?
- How can we get more people to each event?
- How can we convert a higher percentage of registrants to revenue?
- What can we do to leverage a library of recordings and re-purpose the content?
When it comes to a webinar series, the 80/20 principle applies. There are a minority of individuals and companies who are doing webinars at a very high level with amazing results. If you are not achieving the results you want, finding answers to the key questions above will help take you to the top.