At Cadence, webinars are kind of a big deal. We’ve been working with clients for years to perfect and hone virtual events to support brand awareness and lead generation. It’s no surprise in the midst of a global pandemic that we are seeing a rise in online events to support business objectives and so we thought we’d collate some of the most commonly asked questions from customers to help get you ready for webinar success.
What's the right webinar format?
The first area you’ll want to look at is your choice of format. Firstly, there is no right or wrong way of doing this. Do you want to run your event live or pre-recorded, or a combination of both? Do you want each speaker to deliver a presentation or do you want to consider another format, perhaps a Q&A? Or how about a combination of the two? How about adding a poll to the mix? Or some handouts for your delegates to take away from the event? We know all the best practice approaches and, once you talk to us, you will soon find we have plenty of real-life examples to back it up.
Who do you want to reach?
We cannot stress enough the importance of targeting the right people for your webinar. Let me ask you a question: how many promotional emails and invitations hit your inbox every day and how many do you actually unsubscribe from or delete without bothering to read past the first sentence? If you’re anything like our people, we would estimate only a small proportion of invites actually get past your initial first glance. And why is that? There are many reasons for this. Below are just a couple of tips on how we help you get over this barrier.
- Your subject line: Is it eye-catching? Does it make you stand out from the crowd? Or is it obvious enough for the recipient to know what it’s about and that it’s for them? If not, you’ve failed at the first hurdle. We can suggest the right subject line for you to ensure your recipients open your communication
- Personalise your email (correctly): Recipients are used to receiving personalised communications nowadays and are wise to it so making sure your email has the personal touch without sounding forced or contrived is a real trick we feel we have mastered over the years. Crucial to this is making sure your data is accurate and trustworthy. But, remember we’ve got this covered too via the power of our databases and communities. Email+Data = Success.
- Less is more: Don’t bombard people with emails. When it comes to email marketing, less is more. Take the time to truly consider your audience, and what will truly engage them to take valuable time out of the day to attend your webinar. If your content is strong and relevant, and that includes your speaker line-up (more on that later), they won’t need much convincing. Again, we have proof this works too.
But before you put pen to paper, you need to know who we are talking to. Think about your ideal customer profile. What’s their job role? Where do they sit within an organisation? Do they have the ability to influence or make buying decisions? Always make sure you’re making informed data selections with these questions in mind.
Once you start promoting to your chosen audience criteria, it’s worth organising regular performance reviews and, if a particular email comms isn’t hitting the mark, be sure to change your approach and get things back on track.
What do you want to say?
Start with the agenda. Most webinars run for between 30 and 40 minutes, allowing enough time for your audience to ask your speakers burning questions on the topic at hand for the final 15-20 minutes. So how do you keep your audience engaged throughout your event? The key thing is to remember every second counts and it doesn’t take much for people to switch off. Put yourself in the shoes of your perfect customer.
- What do you want to say and how do you want to say it?
- What key learnings can delegates expect to leave with?
- More importantly, how do you ensure a delegate leaves with the right (positive) view of your organisation and the products and services you offer?
The most important thing to note is delegates from organisations across all sectors have one thing in common – no-one wants to be sold to. However, this is easier said than done. Let’s face it, delegates attending webinars are wise to the fact that there is a ‘sales’ element to most webinars but once again, it all comes down to choice. Putting the choice in the hands of the delegate accompanied by a gentle nudge through the use of well-crafted follow-up nurturing content is more likely to result in that all-important conversation having a successful outcome.
So getting the balance right between your ‘sales’ content and thought leadership content is always a tricky path to navigate, which brings us to the second factor – ensuring you have the right speaker and topic to draw the crowd. If a topic is too niche, this will impact on the numbers as it won’t have as broad an appeal. But, if this is the right audience profile for your proposition, then it’s definitely a case of quality over quantity with regards to leads generated. Make sure the chosen topic matches your webinar objectives.
As for speakers, a big draw is your own customers, particularly if your customers match our audience profile. There is nothing more powerful than the telling of a story that an audience can relate to; a truly shared experience. An endorsement of your product or service by an organisation facing similar challenges is more powerful and lends itself quite nicely to a speedier buying decision.
And finally, let’s face it, there will always be sales content within your webinar. The key is always to bring it back to the benefits – how will engaging your services help organisations to do things better? Use plenty of case studies or user experiences and convince your audience you know their world and your solution has real, tangible benefits for them.