September 30, 2014
(Editor's note -- Brian took some time to lay out some best practices for aspiring webinar hosts looking to generate leads. In the first part of this two-part series, we looked at the pre-broadcast tips. This time, in Part 2, we'll tackle the during and post-broadcast parts of the process.)
At this point, you're ready to roll. You've got a good plan, a terrific partner, and you're well-practiced. It's showtime -- but how do make sure it goes well, and what do you do after the last participant signs off? Let's keep going from where we left off.
Wherever you choose to present your webinar, make sure that it's somewhere that's quiet and comfortable, and most importantly, that has a fast and reliable internet connection. Make sure your laptop charger is on hand as well. I often choose to give my webinars from the comforts of my home office (major props to the Contactually team for giving me the flexibility to do this), where I know I won't be disrupted by any inquisitive colleagues or vocal office dogs. This helps to keep me focused on the task at hand, and gives me peace of mind knowing that I won't subject my audience to these external factors as well.
Pro tip: I always have a glass of water on hand when I give my webinars. Talking for several minutes at a time without much of a break results in a dry throat and mouth, and nobody likes hearing someone coughing on the other end of the line for minutes on end.
Pro tip 2: A drink with carbonation is NOT advisable during a webinar or any other speaking-centric initiative. Just saying.
Whenever I give my webinars, I always mute all of my attendees in order to alleviate any potential issues with internet bandwidth and background noise. That being said, I try to make my webinars as interactive as I can, which you can measure with many platforms by monitoring your engagement levels.
To start, I've found that conducting webinars with two or more presenters on the line greatly increases engagement throughout the course of the webinar, as two perspectives and dialogue tends to pique interest. Once the webinar begins, I encourage the attendees to interact with our brand and with other participants using a designated hashtag at the beginning as well as throughout the webinar (it's also a great tactic to get people to join your webinar last minute!).
Then, I let the audience know that they can ask questions using their keyboard at any time using the Q&A functionality. If possible, Ill answer quick questions in line. I save questions that I think the audience would benefit from hearing for the end of the webinar, when I conduct a live Q&A. As far as questions go, if you feel equipped to do so, you can always unmute individuals one at a time to ask their questions live over the air. With GoToWebinar, our provider of choice, webinar attendees can "raise their hand" indicating that they have something to say.
Last, if you're up to a challenge, try scheduling some polls or surveys that you can activate during or after the webinar. This is a great way to make sure that people are paying attention, and you can gain some valuable insights about your audience by using these tools. Depending on your webinar software, you'll be able to export the data from these surveys and polls at the end as well, so you can use the data as you please.
After all of the hard work and effort that you've put into your webinar, your time to shine shouldn't have to start OR end in a short 60 minutes! Make sure that you follow up with your registrants and attendees after the webinar ends with a link to the recording. Even if they didn't get a chance to attend live, they still expressed interest in learning about your topic, and this way can view the presentation at their leisure. (We see an average registrant to attendee conversion rate of 35%.)
Since the people that registered for your webinar have also opted into your communications by submitting the registration form, you should also add them to your marketing automation software's lead nursing workflows, pending your partner's permission. This way, you can continue to educate and market to them after the event has ended, in hopes of moving them further along your sales funnel.
Alexandra, our VP of Marketing, estimates that it takes her about 10 hours to put an hour-long webinar together from start to finish. That's a lot of time and energy to put into any marketing endeavor. By making the content evergreen, meaning that it will never go out of date, you're creating a valuable resource for your brand that will continue to move you closer to your marketing goals.
To start, consider uploading your videos to Wistia rather than YouTube. Wistia is a great video hosting service that allows you to fan gate a video, making it mandatory to submit a name and email address before you can watch the webinar. Then, we connect the video to HubSpot, our marketing automation software, and continue nurturing the new leads through our email workflows.
In addition to fan gating your webinar recordings, you can repurpose them into other forms of content as well. Start by turning the presentation into an eBook or whitepaper, and put it behind a landing page in order to capture new leads. You can also break them down into a series of blog posts, or pull memorable statistics and statements in order to create an engaging infographic, which you can then share on social media and beyond. The possibilities are endless, and with them, you can craft a comprehensive marketing campaign and extend your reach far beyond that of a single webinar.
What are your webinar best practices? Did I leave anything off of my list? Tweet us at @Contactually, or let us know in the comments below.