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3 critical steps for planning and promoting your next webinar

Attracting the right audience to your upcoming webinar, and in large numbers, can be harder than it seems. However, follow a few basic steps each time and you’ll be on the road to webinar stardom!
 
Let’s kick off with a few need-to-know facts:
 
#1: The promotional cycle for webinar registration is getting longer, meaning you need to start marketing earlier. 17% of registrants sign up for a webinar at least 15 days in advance.
 
#2: 30% of people prefer to attend webinars on a Wednesday, 25% on a Thursday and 21% on a Tuesday. Basically, don’t bother on Mondays or Fridays. 
 
#3: 15.00 GMT is the best time to run a webinar, with the next best alternative being 14.00 GMT.

(Source of webinar statistics)

 
So already we have a few guidelines to use for every webinar you run. 
 
How to promote your webinar
 
Now let’s look at what a webinar promotional campaign should include. Based on our own experience, there’s 3 critical steps:
 
Step 1: Plan Early
 
Choose the right day of the week and time of day; follow the guidelines above as a general rule and then experiment with your audience if needed. Depending on who you’re targeting and the type of industry they’re in, there may be some specific traits to take into account. For example, some registrants might prefer a Tuesday to a Wednesday, so don’t be afraid to ask them if you’re not sure – you could do a quick poll on Twitter, for example. 
 
Pick your webinar tool. There are many webinar hosting tools out there, but which one gives you the right combination of features? Some are free to use, some require a subscription or pay-per-use fee. Naturally, paid-for tools offer more features such as polls and surveys, automatic recording and dashboard style reporting. Choose your preferred solution and then spend some time getting to know how it works in advance of the big day – there’s nothing like a last minute technical panic to throw you off your game at the start of a live webinar!
 
Step 2: A Focused Landing page 
 
Creating a dedicated landing page for the webinar means you’re likely to convert more people from interested-in-attending to actual registrants. It should contain everything they need to know about the webinar, and nothing more. Don’t be tempted to sneak in any other sales or marketing messages on top, you’ll only create confusion and increase the likelihood of the person bouncing off the page. 
 
A good landing page should include:

  • Date and time of the webinar
    Sounds obvious, but it’s an easy one to forget! Remember to include multiple dates/time zones if appropriate.

  • Whether it’s available live and on-demand
    Providing it on-demand can catch people who can’t make the live date, and gives you an asset to market once the live event has passed.

  • The line-up of presenters and panellists
    Create a short, compelling bio for each. Why are they qualified to discuss the subject, what will they teach the audience?

  • Ask registrants to submit questions in advance
    Increase engagement and the likelihood of a registrant attending live by providing a text box for questions.

  • Tell them exactly what they’ll get from attending
    Be really clear, and concise, about the benefits of attending. A bullet point list of the ‘5 things you’ll learn about…’ or ‘Discover how to …’ will communicate the core message succinctly.

  • Be adventurous with your CTA
    Don’t automatically settle for ‘sign up now’ or ‘register to attend’. Use a CTA that draws on your panellists’ expertise, or make it sound interactive and inclusive. Examples include ‘hear from the experts’, ‘join the debate’, ‘have your say’, ‘learn how to (do something)’’.

  • Don’t forget the 5 Ws
    Do a final check of your copy to make sure you’ve got the essential information covered:
    Who? (line-up of panellists)
    What? (topic)
    When? (date and time)
    Whom? (who should attend)
    What effect? (what they’ll learn)

Step 3: Promote and Promote Again!
 
Allow yourself 3-4 weeks to market the webinar properly. This should be enough time to attract the right people, but not so long people forget about it.

 
Firstly, think about all the channels you could use for promotion; social media, email, your website, blogs etc.
 
Next, create a list of the assets and materials you’ll need for each channel. Such as:

  • A series of 140 character pre-written tweets

  • A series of Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media posts

  • Copy for a dedicated email blast

  • Imagery – pictures of the panellists, and other imagery to illustrate the topic/add interest

  • A blog post for your website

  • Copy for your website

  • A registration confirmation email that is sent immediately after registration. It should include:

    – Clear information on how to join the webinar
    – What software/equipment with links to download or access the webinar
    – Add-to-Calendar buttons, and a reminder of the date and time
    – A reminder of why they should attend – what they’ll learn and from whom

Then, start working on the detail. Here’s some promotional ideas to choose from:

  • Schedule your pre-written tweets and social media updates over the 3-4 week marketing period leading up to the webinar.

  • Ask your panellist(s) to write a guest blog post about the webinar, and why your audience will find it useful to attend.

  • Create pre-written tweets and social updates and send to panellists to promote the webinar on their own social media accounts.

  • Create an email blast to your current customers and prospects. Make sure you entice them to attend by promising exclusive expert information (from the panellists), practical takeaways and quick wins.

  • Give your panellists pre-written copy and content to use in email newsletters sent to their own network of contacts.

  • Add content to your website that will encourage registrations; it might be a blog post, a news section update or a piece on your homepage. Don’t forget a clear CTA that links directly to the webinar landing page.

  • Add a brief introduction to the webinar and a CTA to your sales and other customer-facing employee email signatures.

  • Use your email marketing system’s automation to send reminder emails to anyone who registers. Or if you don’t have automation, add a reminder to your calendar. We suggest sending two reminders, one the day before, and the second, one hour before.

  • In the run up to the webinar send registrants additional related content, such as an existing whitepaper or other content that covers something connected to the webinar topic. This keeps your registrant warm and engaged, decreasing drop-outs on the day.

What other ideas have you tried for promoting a webinar? Let us know in the comments below!
 
Coming soon: Best practices for running a webinar