Webinar partnerships should be a cornerstone of your webinar strategy. In addition to adding their credibility to the event, each partner brings their own audience, unique content, insights, and expertise.
Why webinar partnerships are important
Every webinar partner you work with amplifies your event’s authority, adds more content, and brings a larger audience.
Here are just a few reasons you should invest in webinar partnerships:
- Relevant partners add credibility and authority to your webinar
- Co-marketing efforts expand your webinar reach to their audience
- Partners can fill in any knowledge gaps to create a more robust presentation
- You can leverage their expertise to provide more value to attendees
Investing in webinar partnerships is an investment in the growth and success of your business. Let’s look at each of the reasons above in more detail…
Add credibility and authority to your webinar
The people you partner with can impact your credibility. If your webinar partner is well-known for their work in a particular field, or is considered a thought-leader within your industry, it can enhance the credibility of your business and webinar by association.
Credibility and authority are also important for increasing brand trust. People are more likely to become customers and recommend your products/services to friends if they trust your company.
So, take care when choosing your webinar partner. Team up with someone who’s seen as an expert or credible authority within their industry. Whether it’s someone who has years of experience, is an esteemed academic, or who has positive public recognition within your industry, choose someone you know will boost your webinar’s credibility and authority.
Expand your webinar’s reach
The co-marketing efforts of a joint webinar allow you to expand your webinar’s reach by tapping into your partner’s audience.
Alone, you have to rely on your own marketing efforts to push your webinar in front of the right people. By co-hosting a webinar, however, you double your marketing efforts. As a result, your reach doubles, and the number of potential webinar registrants you have access to increases as well.
When selecting a webinar partner, consider what marketing activity they currently engage in and how successful they are. This allows you to see the potential reach you could gain by partnering with them on a webinar.
Also avoid making your webinar marketing and promotion one-sided. Ask your partner what marketing activities they plan to conduct for the webinar, and share with them your own marketing plans. You can then coordinate your efforts for maximum impact.
After all, the more people you reach, the more people will sign up for your webinar.
Minimize knowledge gaps in your webinar topic
As much as we all wish we could, we can’t be experts in everything. However, a carefully chosen webinar partner allows you to plug any knowledge holes you may have in your topic. This strategic knowledge share presents attendees with a more robust presentation by offering increased insight and knowledge.
To add context to this point, a pet insurance company may want to partner with a veterinarian to offer their webinar audience credible medical advice and tips — something the insurance company wouldn’t be able to offer.
Aim to partner with someone who has complementary skills and knowledge in your industry. This should be someone with expertise in an area or topic where your knowledge is lacking.
Provide more value to attendees
Having a respected and authoritative webinar partner on your side allows you to leverage their expertise to provide more value to the audience.
If webinar attendees find the session valuable, they’ll feel more inspired to take action at the end of the event. Simply choosing the right webinar partner can substantially increase the potential ROI and long-term benefits of your webinar.
Being able to utilize the expertise of your webinar partner links back to the earlier points I mentioned about adding credibility and authority to your webinar and minimizing knowledge gaps. These factors all work together to position you and your brand as a thought-leader and trusted name by association. In turn, this will increase buy-in from attendees.
Remember, your webinars should always focus on providing value to your attendees, not serving your own business needs.
How to choose webinar partners
Choosing a webinar partner isn’t always easy. Before deciding, you first need to determine who is a good fit for your webinar and business objectives.
You and your potential partners should align on your audience and webinar goals, and have similar target accounts without directly competing for the same business.
Ideally, you want to look for:
- A thought leader in the industry who can bring knowledge and expertise
- A brand that doesn’t directly compete with your product or service, but is adjacent to your business
- A company that either shares the same target audience or has a healthy overlap
These aren’t the only criteria for selecting a webinar partner; you also need to evaluate their potential reach, how well you can work together as a team, and whether they would contribute to generating quality leads, to name a few.
Essentially, you want to build a set of criteria that allows you to determine how valuable each person would be as a webinar partner.
Someone who recognizes the importance of webinar partnerships is Gina Tirelli Ellison. In 2020, Gina ran 33 webinars to build a lead list and generate pipeline volume. Using carefully selected criteria to determine a webinar partner’s contribution, Gina was able to prioritize and find the perfect partners for her webinars.
Where to find webinar partners
Once you have a clear understanding of what you’re looking for in a webinar partner, you’re ready to search for some suitable candidates.
The two main methods to find partners to co-host webinars are:
- Leveraging existing partnerships
- Building new partnerships
These methods can streamline the process of finding suitable partners for your upcoming joint webinars.
Leverage existing partnerships
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Leveraging existing partnerships can be a valuable way to identify key webinar partners.
If you have a healthy integrations library, your integration partners should be your bread and butter. You already have existing relationships with those companies, and webinar attendees receive double the incentive to sign up for one or both of your services.
Since your company has contacts from your integration partners, simply reach out and say something like:
“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 we can cover together.”
An existing partner strategy I follow is scheduling an integration partner weekly on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and opening up every Thursday for other potential webinar opportunities.
Tip: For sanity’s sake, as you start out, I recommend limiting your goal to two webinars per week at most.
Build new partnerships
Now, on to the more challenging part: pitching a co-webinar to your dream partners.
These could be companies, founders, managers, etc., who are already in your network, but don’t have any integrations or business ties with you. Or, they could be companies you admire in your industry, but haven’t worked with yet.
While this method can be difficult, it’s also rewarding when you do secure your dream partner. So, don’t let the fear of the challenge hold you back from shooting your shot.
Start by reaching out to people and companies you already communicate with in your network, then look for possible introductions on LinkedIn. You can also join networking groups and communities that you know your dream partners actively participate in; this will open up a direct line for you to communicate with them and start nurturing your relationship.
When cold-pitching a webinar partnership to someone new, first establish a rapport with them. Ask a shared connection to introduce you, or find a common interest you both share as a way to open up a conversation. You could also connect on Twitter, sign up for their email newsletters and start replying with feedback, and utilize industry meetups.
Organizing partner webinars
Joint webinars involve more planning and scheduling than company-hosted ones. The more parties involved, the more complex your planning becomes. Here are some tips to help you organize your webinar partnerships and joint events.
Clarify key details in your pitch
Be sure to manage expectations as early as possible. Some things to call out while pitching a potential partner 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.
Managing expectations and setting boundaries early on is crucial to minimize bottlenecks or potential conflicts further down the line.
Incorporate 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’s marketing contact.
- Planned (owned) events for the upcoming year/quarter – What events do they have on the horizon where you could contribute?
- Channels they plan to prioritize – Will they be focusing on the blog? On webinars? You can tailor your pitches based on the channels they want to invest more time into.
- Prioritized topics on their blog and webinar calendars – Which topics are they most interested in covering? Do you have expertise to offer for any of them?
- Topics of their expertise – This is useful so you can reach out when you’re planning a relevant webinar.
This survey allows you to take partners’ upcoming events into consideration for your webinar plan as well. As such, it reduces the risk of you having any unexpected event clashes. It also allows you to identify co-marketing opportunities.
Create a shared FAQ doc
Bring as much relevant information to your kick-off meeting as possible to answer questions that might arise. You can do this by creating a shared Google Doc with the following points to collaborate and decide on:
- 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 for each partner, if you choose to incorporate UTM tags)
- Speakers and their titles
- Outline of the webinar
- Which speaker will cover each topic
- How long each section should be
- Marketing dates for each partner, along with the type of promotion (email, social, etc.)
Below the webinar details, include some frequently asked questions from partners, including:
- How/if leads will be shared.
- The average volume of registrants and attendance.
- The software you’ll use.
- Whether recordings will be shared.
- Anything else unique to your process (for example, if you require partners to record a video introducing themselves for your marketing materials).
You can make a copy of my free webinar planning template to keep everyone aligned on important dates, files, promotions, and common FAQs in your joint webinar.
Send the shared Google Doc early so your partners can fill in their information and have their questions answered, instead of spending meeting time on the same topics. Make sure everyone has access to this Doc throughout the planning process so they can refer to it whenever they need information that can be easily found on the shared Doc.
Tip: Template documents can streamline the event organization process and increase the efficiency of webinar planning. Take a look at my free content resources for more templates that might come in handy when planning a co-webinar.
How to share leads
One of the ultimate benefits of webinar partnerships is agreeing to share leads after the event.
While it’s common courtesy to share leads post-event, it isn’t a requirement. So, make sure you agree on lead-sharing with your partner before the webinar. You should also determine how you plan to share them.
Typically, there are four lead-sharing agreements: a 1-1 match, a threshold requirement, a full lead share, and no leads shared.
A 1-1 lead match means for every registrant a partner drives, they receive one in return. So, if your partner sends 100 registrants, they’ll get 100 new leads that weren’t from their efforts. This is usually on top of the registrants they drove, as well as overall attendees.
A lead threshold requirement means partners must drive a minimum number of registrations in order to unlock the full lead list. For example, if your average webinar earns 200 registrants, you could tell partners they must send 200 registrants before unlocking the shared lead list.
A full lead share is when you share the full lead list, regardless of how many registrants a partner drove. This usually has other requirements to unlock it. For example, you might say every partner can access the full lead list as long as they prove they promoted the webinar to their full newsletter list at least twice, and shared it on social media at least five times.
No leads shared means you won’t share any leads. This is more common when speakers are paid, or with popular events that have famously large turnouts, where the exposure of a speaker is enough to justify the lack of leads shared.
This also might apply if you have a multi-day event with multiple competing companies. For example, a summit that gathers different marketplaces to teach about eCommerce would naturally have competing brands driving registrants to the event. In this case, it wouldn’t be reasonable to share the full lead list, because they’re competitors.
You should have partner guidelines in place for post-event outreach. This helps to prevent spam and lost goodwill from your audience.
You could ask your partners that their first email to the webinar list included a prominent call-out to opt out of future communications.
Or, you could have partners agree to send a maximum of two follow-up emails (upon lack of response) for the next two weeks. After that, your registrants may no longer associate the additional emails with the webinar.
Wrapping up — Leveraging webinar partnerships
Developing strategic webinar partnerships can be an effective way to drive success for your upcoming webinars.
You can leverage webinar partnerships to boost event attendance, generate more relevant leads, build healthy relationships with your brand partners, and enhance the quality of your webinars. By choosing the right partner, you can also increase the credibility of your event and ensure it delivers value for attendees.
Once you’ve determined your ideal webinar partner, develop a fail-safe plan for organizing your partnerships. This will help minimize any potential roadblocks, allowing you to efficiently and effectively plan a webinar that’s geared for success.