I’ve worked with a few different clients who used webinars to generate leads, but I saw it reach a new level at Deliverr, where we have a heavily webinar-focused marketing strategy, particularly for our partnerships arm.
After organizing and executing webinars with multiple eCommerce brands, tools, and marketplaces, I’ve put together a few webinar marketing strategies and tips for keeping sane.
Quick note: These are tips for executing webinars behind-the-scenes. I haven’t gotten in front of the camera, but if you’re looking for that, here are some great presentation tips from Presentation Panda.
Step 1: Format and scheduling
First things first; What do you want your webinars to look like? A webinar can take many formats, and you’ll need to look at your overall goals to determine which will be best for you.
Here are some examples:
- A teaching webinar where a founder/owner or marketing director speaks directly to registrants.
- A round table for your users, where you invite registrants to ask you anything (ie. AMA).
- An interview-style webinar where you (the host) can ask your guest(s) questions.
- A joint Q&A where the audience can ask you and the companies you partner with questions via a chat box and you answer them live.
- A joint webinar where you partner with other brands to teach registrants about a certain topic.
- A hybrid of the above. For example, a joint lesson with brand partners, with the 2nd half of the webinar reserved for live Q&A.
For examples 3 to 6 above, you’ll need to regularly find partners to collaborate with on these webinars, which adds an extra level of organization and collaboration to the entire process (which we’ll go over below).
In order to maintain a healthy webinar marketing strategy, you need to present webinars consistently and reliably for your audience. So, how do you ensure consistency with so many moving pieces?
One way to do this is to put on regular webinars that only involve someone from your company. For example, a co-founder can have monthly Q&A sessions on his/her product/company that’s open to anyone who registers.
However, I recommend partnering with other companies for maximum reach (ie. leads) and value in terms of what the webinar itself will bring to the table. Two founders sharing experiences, case studies, and strategies will provide more insights than one, and if you rotate partners regularly your audience will always get a fresh new perspective and reasons to sign up.
How to find partners for your co-webinars
If you have a healthy integrations library, your integration partners should be your bread-and-butter. The reasoning behind this is that you already have existing relationships with those companies, and webinar attendees get double incentive to sign up for one or both of your services.
One strategy I’ve followed in the past is scheduling an integration partner weekly on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and opening up every Thursday or Friday for other webinar opportunities that could come along.
Tip: For sanity’s sake, as you start out, I recommend limiting your goal to two webinars per week.
Since your company will already have contacts from your integration partners, simply reach out and say:
“We’re starting a co-webinar series with all of our integration partners. Are you (or someone from your team) interested in joining us for a joint webinar on [proposed title/topic]? We’re happy to brainstorm other topics that we can cover together.”
Now, on to the more challenging part: pitching a co-webinar to your dream partners.
These might be companies, founders, managers, etc. who are already in your network, but that you don’t have any integrations or business ties with. Or, they could be companies you admire in your industry but haven’t worked with yet.
Start with your network, reaching out to people and companies you already communicate with, then begin looking for possible introductions on LinkedIn.
Tip: If you’re reaching out to a company for the very first time, try signing up for their email newsletter first, then starting a relationship from there.
Pro tip: Incorporate existing partners’ upcoming events into your planning
If you have close co-marketing or business relationships with adjacent companies, send out a quarterly or yearly survey asking about any upcoming events they have planned.
Information to capture in your survey
- Company email address – Your main partner marketing contact.
- Planned [owned] events for the upcoming year/quarter – What events do they have on the horizon that you may be able to contribute to?
- Channels they plan to prioritize – Will they be focusing on the blog? On webinars? You can tailor any pitches based on the channels they want to invest more time into.
- Prioritized topics on their blog and webinar calendar – Which topics are they most interested in covering? Do you have expertise that you can offer in any of them?
- Topics they have expertise in – This is useful so you can reach out when you’re planning a relevant webinar.
Step 2: Organization and marketing
This is where tools come in. In order to get webinar organization underway, you’ll need webinar/broadcasting software, project management software, and scheduling tools.
Once someone says yes to doing a joint webinar, jump into dates and details needed from them. For example, you could ask for:
- Confirmation of the webinar title and outline (or if you haven’t spoken about this yet, pitch a few topics/titles)
- Full name, email address, bio, and headshot of their speaker(s)
- Their logo (and a white version, for darker backgrounds) to put in your marketing materials
- A finalized date and time of the webinar itself, plus a run-through the day before (or a few days in advance)
Be sure to manage expectations during this stage as well. Some things that you might want to clarify include:
- Whether you will share the registrant list and emails
- Whether there will be a shared recording
- When (or if) you and your partner will announce the webinars in your email newsletters
Pro tip: Include a summary and FAQ doc for your partners
Bringing as much relevant information to your kick-off meeting as possible to answer questions that might pop up. You can do this by creating a shared Google Doc with the following points to collaborate on and fill in.
- Webinar title
- Placeholder for dates (at this stage you may not have the final dates yet)
- Webinar date
- Rehearsal date (with a note that all content should be finalized by then)
- Placeholder for landing page link (or unique links per partner, if you choose to UTM tag them)
- Speakers and their titles
- Outline of the webinar
- Which speaker will be covering each topic
- How long each section should be
- Marketing dates for each partner, along with type of promotion (email, social)
Below the webinar details, you should include some frequently asked questions from partners, including…
- How/whether leads will be shared
- The average volume of registrants and attendance
- The software you’ll be using
- Whether recordings will be shared out
- Anything else unique to your process, ex. if you require partners to record a video introducing themselves for your marketing materials
Tip: Send the shared Google Doc early so your partners can fill in their information and get their questions answered early, instead of spending meeting time on common questions.
To organize the dates, I recommend sending out Google Calendar invites to block off your target time and date on everyone’s calendars. Another way to approach this is to use scheduling software like Calendly, then send your calendar links to partners and ask them to book whatever timeslot is most convenient for them.
Make sure you sync your calendars to avoid double-booking, mistakenly showing reserved times as available, or allowing them to book time in your off-hours (ie. the weekend, or middle of the night if you’re in different timezones).
When you have a confirmed time and date, start building your registration page and create a shared Google Slides file where you and your partners can collaborate on your presentation.
Tip: Some companies have VAs who control founders’ calendars. If you’re going to be doing multiple webinars every week as part of your strategy, getting a VA to act as a gatekeeper for a founders’ speaking schedule could be a great investment.
Webinar software options
I’ve used Livestorm and am happy with their software (I’ve only run into major issues with them once, where one of our speakers was kicked off and couldn’t get back on due to high attendee volume).
May 2020 update: We’ve since run into more issues with Livestorm and are switching to a new platform.
Make sure to align on co-marketing in the planning and organization stage!
Here’s where having co-webinar partners becomes extremely helpful. If you agree to both send out announcements and webinar reminders, your webinar could potentially double in reach versus you trying to market it alone.
I recommend requesting:
- Social media shares in the week leading up to the webinar. Twitter can be daily, LinkedIn should be once or twice max, Facebook can be two to three times.
- An email announcement the week before the webinar, and a reminder the day before to register.
- A guest blog exchange with CTAs at the end of the blogs to register for the webinar. You should aim for these blogs to go live two weeks before the webinar to give it time to gain traction, get announced on newsletters, etc.
If your partners have a unique email newsletter schedule, ie. monthly versus weekly, just ask to be in whichever email newsletter is closest to the webinar date. There’s no need to ask anyone to change their email schedules to suit your preferences (after all, you’re making the webinar ask). I’ve also seen partners who sent out three or more emails weekly, and blast the webinars more times than expected. It goes both ways.
Step 3: Execution
As the webinar date draws near, you should have a run-through set for the day before. Often, the speakers wouldn’t have personally put together the slides, and so this is their chance to run through them, talk about the flow, make requests, and more.
Here’s what to cover during the run through:
- Who will welcome attendees
- Whether or not you’ll start the recording on time or 1-2 minutes after to give everyone a chance to join
- Flow of the webinar and where speaker handoffs will be
- Reminders, such as using headphones
- Whether or not your video cameras will be on
During the webinar itself
During the webinar itself, I recommend having two people present representing your company. One is the speaker, and the other handles questions in the chat box. In especially busy webinars, you’ll get more questions than your speakers can answer live, so having someone share resources, tips, and answers as questions come in can improve the attendees’ experience.
- Before the webinar begins, have one of the speakers welcome attendees and let them know it’ll be starting shortly.
- Once the webinar begins, welcome everyone and go through housekeeping. Ie. whether the recording will be emailed after, if there will be a time for Q&A at the end, etc.
- Non-speakers should keep their mics off at all times, and speakers should turn mics off when they aren’t presenting.
Step 4: Post-marketing
After the webinar, provide plenty of ways for interested parties to watch it. I set our old webinars to on demand, which means if you have the registration page link, you can register to watch the recording immediately. I also share it on YouTube and with our partners, some of whom publish it on their blogs.
Another idea here that I haven’t gotten to test out just yet is creating a dedicated webinar page that has recordings of past webinars, and links to register for upcoming ones.
Step 5: Measurement
Finally, it’s time to measure. There are mixed reactions to this; some marketers live and breathe metrics, and others take a cursory glance and call it good. I fall somewhere in the middle, but here’s what’s important to look at (don’t worry, it’s not too much).
1) Your registration count: Indicates how well your marketing went, but registrations vary per partner.
2) Your live attendee to registrant ratio: Shows you how interested your audience is in that topic, which provides insight into how well you chose the title, framed the description, timed reminders, etc.
I’ve seen an average of 40-50% registrants attending live, but I’ve also heard from other partners that 20% is a solid attendance rate. It’ll fluctuate as your list grows.
3) Interest (views, registrants, etc) in your webinar recording wherever else you shared it, such as YouTube or leaving it available on demand.
4) Results in relation to other webinars. It’s particularly important to look at your attendee:registrant ratio in comparison to your other webinars. As you built up a webinar “bank,” you’ll be able to see which ones did better than others in terms of registrants, which did better than others for turnout, etc.
Paired with the knowledge of how you and your partners marketed the webinar in the first place, this will give you special insight into schedules, announcement techniques, days of the week, and marketing techniques that work better than others.
Any thoughts or questions on the above? I’d love to hear from you! Please reach out @rgo_go.