How to make webinars valuable marketing tools

Webinars are a great addition to any marketing strategy, but you can't launch one without a plan.

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If you’re looking for a way to differentiate your marketing efforts and create exceptional content that delivers lasting value in 2016, then webinars should be at the top of your list.

However, don’t launch a webinar without a specific plan of attack. You need to make sure you know exactly what you’re doing.

The Value of Webinars

When companies first began investing in online marketing, it was so new that there was little focus on quality. Instead, everyone was simply trying to learn the ropes and — for lack of a better term — manipulate the system in ways that would help them achieve visibility and garner traffic. This is why keyword stuffing, short 250-word articles and spammy ads were so pervasive in the early days of the internet.

Over time, online marketing has become a much more refined science. There’s a demand in the marketplace for highly personal and relevant content. Want to create content that satisfies this need? Webinars are a great place to start for the following reasons:

  • Convenient. Webinars are valuable because they can be conducted from anywhere and target anyone (assuming they have an internet connection). Whereas a conference, event or class must be held from a specific classroom, webinars have a much wider reach.
  • Educational. What better way to educate your consumers and target customers about a specific issue, pain point, product or service than by directly teaching them information they need to know. Someone is going to tell your story — why not do it yourself by controlling the flow of information?
  • Establishes credibility. Webinars allow you to establish credibility with your target market better than any other content medium. Webinars have the reputation of being higher in quality than formats like blogs and news articles.
  • Drives brand awareness. A webinar, while it may not be specifically about your brand, is great for driving brand awareness. Both in the build up to the event and the event itself, webinars maximize exposure and encourage people to talk about your brand.
  • Monetizable. Finally, webinars can be used to drive revenues. While many brands choose to host free webinars, there’s always the option to charge a fee. In some cases, a single webinar can produce tens of thousands of dollars.

Whereas some marketing mediums and tools deliver just one or two of these benefits, webinars actively accomplish all of them. That’s why businesses across industries are diving head first into webinars.

4 Tips for Webinar Success

Before you dive head-first into webinars, you need to have a clear understanding of how to enjoy maximum return on your investment. Because, make no mistake about it, a webinar is an investment.

Here are a few tips for success:

1. Design a High Quality Landing Page

The buildup to the actual webinar is the most critically important aspect of a webinar campaign. After all, if people don’t attend the webinar, then it can’t provide much value. And while there are multiple factors that play into increasing attendance — and we’ll focus on these in tip number two — it’s best to start with the landing page.

  • Simple opt-in form. A concise, yet complete opt-in form is necessary. The goal is to gather as much information as possible about the attendees, without overwhelming them. Here’s a good example from RJO Futures’ Trading Metal Futures Webinar.
  • Brief and concise summary. While the links and content pointing to your webinar signup page should clearly explain what the webinar is about, you should also include a brief, concise summary on the landing page. Cision’s webinar landing pages show what effective summaries look like.
  • Quality headline. Much like a product landing page, a webinar landing page should have a quality headline that convinces people to sign up. Here’s an example from Moz.

If you can nail these three aspects of landing page design, then you’re prepared for signups. Next, you have to focus on driving traffic to your landing page in order to increase attendance.

2. Focus on Increasing Attendance

When webinar attendance suffers, it’s almost always a direct result of inadequate marketing and lead generation. In order to increase attendance, you have to develop a versatile strategy and target people via multiple mediums.

Aside from the landing page, you should be sharing on social media, finding opportunities to appear on podcasts and vlogs, investing in some PPC advertising, running competitions, sending out email newsletters, and more. All of these elements will allow you to maximize attendance.

3. Spend Time Shaping Content

Some brands spend so much time and money trying to increase visibility and drive signups that they don’t actually invest much time in the webinar itself. Not only is this unfair to the customers who take the time to attend the webinar, but it doesn’t do your brand justice.

In addition to carefully crafting content and developing valuable materials, there needs to some rehearsal time involved. This will make the actual presentation go much smoother from a delivery and technical standpoint.

“Mitigate the inevitable technical hiccups by doing a dry-run a week before the webinar date,” marketing expert Georgiana Laudi suggests. “Use the same software and hardware you plan to use. It also really helps to get a third person to join the dry run as an attendee to confirm they have no audio or video troubles.”

4. Archive for Future Use

While most value will be extracted from the live event itself, the great thing about webinars is that they can be recycled. On your website, you should create a section where webinars can be archived and accessed at a later date. This allows you to continually collect leads and create value.

Make Your Webinars a Powerful Marketing Tool

Webinars are extraordinarily versatile, powerful marketing tools that can be used to accomplish a variety of goals. The key, however, is developing a strategic plan of attack before launching one. Webinars are only high returning if you carefully plan your execution.

Think about how you can use webinars to compliment your existing marketing strategy and get started today!

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