Webinars can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal, and the right webinar strategy can impact everything, from your brand to your bottom line. There’s a reason why 73% of B2B marketers and sales leaders see webinars as being the best way to generate high-quality leads.
Webinars provide an opportunity to start a conversation with your target audience as part of your journey to achieve wider business goals. To start that all-important conversation, your webinar needs to be engaging.
If you want to transform your webinar attendees into high-quality leads, you need to develop the perfect webinar topic.
In this article, I share the exact steps to follow to discover a winning webinar topic that engages and nurtures your audience.
6 Steps to find a winning webinar topic
A winning webinar topic is key to hosting an event that engages your target audience and motivates them to take action.
You can’t just pick a topic at random, cross your fingers, and hope it plays out — you need to be strategic.
For example, the marketing team behind a project management SaaS tool might want to host a webinar that covers time-saving tips for small start-up teams. The topic of this webinar is time-saving tips, the audience is small start-ups, and the objective is to get attendees to sign up for the project management tool.
However, it’s rarely that straightforward. To make it easy for you, here are the six steps to find a winning webinar topic:
- Understand your ideal customer profile (ICP)
- Highlight your audience’s needs and pain points
- Determine your audience and webinar goals
- Tailor your webinar topic to the customer journey
- Map your content pillars and cluster topics
- Speak to people (customers, sales, and support teams)
To help you craft a webinar topic that amplifies your business goals, let’s look at each of these in greater detail.
Step 1: Understand your ideal customer profile (ICP)
Before we even get to webinar planning, you first have to understand your audience. Who would you want to sign up for your webinar?
To answer this question accurately, you need to develop an ideal customer profile. Your marketing team may already have ICPs or user personas that can be used to define what your ideal webinar audience looks like. If they don’t, it’s okay. We’ll share some tips and tactics for creating your own ideal customer profile below.
Simply put, an ICP is a description of someone who would gain the most value from your products, services, or solutions. You might have multiple customer profiles based on the various products and services you offer.
Your ideal customer profile can be defined by any of the following characteristics:
- Company size
- Annual revenue
- Budget for a service like yours
- Ideal industry (or industries)
- Ideal company location(s)
- Any additional needs and requirements
Let’s generate an example for an eCommerce data connectivity solution that synchronizes your inventory and fulfillment information across sales channels by building custom APIs for 3PLs, 4PLs, ERPs, and sales channels.
Company size — 10 to 100 employees. Small eCommerce businesses of fewer than 10 people are less likely to have time to properly research and implement data synchronization processes. Companies of more than 100 employees are likely to have their own internal IT teams that will build something similar to our software.
Annual revenue — $5+ million in annual revenue. At this point we’ve found that merchants are more likely to 1) experience connectivity issues due to multi-channel selling, and 2) afford our solution.
Budget for a service like yours — $5000 per year. This includes an initial set-up fee, and our monthly maintenance fee. The company traits listed above will lose more than that in sales without our product, because poor data synchronization means dropped orders, missing inventory, and lost customers.
Ideal industry (or industries) — CPG and health/beauty space. These are the industries we’ve seen booming in eCommerce recently, so we want to target merchants selling in those categories first. Plus, they are categories that need regular replenishment, which helps increase customer lifetime value.
Ideal company location(s) — US and Canada. We have integrations built with logistics companies across the US and Canada, so we are geographically constrained to those areas for now.
Any additional needs and requirements — The company should want to get a solution up and running within a month at a budget. Our most common competitors are building integrations in-house, or going with traditional ERPs. Those 1) take longer than us to implement, and 2) are more expensive.
Depending on your offered products and services, you may want to include additional characteristics. You should liaise with your sales and business development teams when defining your ideal customer profile to avoid missing any key information based on your current audience.
Other ways to gather information about your ICP include:
- Looking at previous webinar attendee information and who went on to become customers
- Analyzing your CRM and existing customer lists to find commonalities
- Reviewing your website visitor information to see who converted
All of these data points will help you gain a clear idea of what your ideal customer looks like.
Step 2: Highlight your audience’s needs and pain points
Defining your ideal webinar audience is important. But understanding their needs, wants, and pain points is what will help you achieve your webinar goals.
When you understand the challenges and issues your webinar audience has, you can choose a webinar topic that offers high value and benefits to these individuals.
So, how do you highlight your audience’s needs?
The most simple way is to ask them. You can do this via email, phone, sending out a customer feedback form, or by setting up a roundtable with some of your valued customers. Speaking directly to your audience is the best way to understand what they need.
You’ll need to apply your own expertise to their answers, because often a customer will define what they think is the right solution, but you may know there is a better way.
For example, an eCommerce merchant might say they want a cheap fulfillment solution. What they actually want is to grow their revenue, and they’re thinking in terms of what they can save. You could flip the script, and look at how they can earn more instead, by adding fast delivery to increase conversions.
You could also learn more by conducting market research or by analyzing keyword research and industry statistics for these ideal customer profiles. This type of analysis is great for identifying trends over time and spotting any recurring pain points or interests.
Step 3: Determine your audience and webinar goals
With your ideal audience in mind, you’re now ready to determine your audience and webinar goals. Any successful webinar strategy starts here.
The goals you set for your audience and webinar will inform your topic choice. They help you identify a topic that’s aligned with your objectives and, more importantly, one that succeeds at achieving your goals.
Your webinar goals refer to your performance expectations for your webinar. For example, one of your webinar goals may be to attain 300 webinar attendees. You could also set goals based on previous performance. For example, if your last webinar received 250 sign-ups, you may want to set a goal of 350 registrations for your upcoming event.
Your audience goals refer to the action you want your audience to take as a result of attending the webinar. These could be conversion based (e.g., to earn 150 new course purchases), or they could be revenue based (to acquire $100,000 revenue from these webinar attendees over the next 12 months).
To determine your webinar and audience goals, be sure to use the SMART goal-setting method to ensure your chosen goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. This increases the likelihood of you finding a webinar topic that aligns with these goals and, in turn, accomplishes them.
Step 4: Tailor your webinar topic to the customer journey
It’s crucial to understand which stage of the customer journey your audience is in when deciding on your winning webinar topic.
The typical customer journey, going from the traditional sales funnel into engagement and retention, is made up of five major phrases:
- Awareness – The first stage of the journey, where the customer begins to gather information.
- Consideration – The second stage, where the customer researches solutions, finds your brand, and compares it to other competitors.
- Decision – The third stage of the journey, where the customer converts (e.g., becomes a buyer).
- Loyalty – The fourth stage of the journey, which focuses on retaining customers.
- Advocacy – The fifth stage of the journey, which focuses on turning customers into company advocates.
When planning a webinar, you need to tailor your webinar topic to the customer journey. If you know, for example, your ideal webinar audience is in the consideration stage of the funnel, you could host a product demonstration webinar.
Meanwhile, you may want to engage customers in the awareness stage by sharing educational and informative content, such as industry trends or key learnings. Educational webinar topics will help establish you as an industry expert and will meet this audience’s need to gather information and learn more before they move on to the next stage of the funnel.
Think about your webinar audience’s current stage in the customer journey, then choose a webinar topic that aligns with the user behavior and needs of that stage.
Step 5: Map your content pillars and cluster topics
Webinars are rarely standalone events. The webinars you plan will likely form part of a larger marketing and sales campaign, or they could relate to content you produce elsewhere for your business.
Whatever topic you choose for your webinar, it should strongly relate to your business goals, your audience needs, and the products/services you offer. To establish these connections, you need to map your content pillars and cluster topics.
Your content pillars should be the main points of your brand. These are top-level themes you can break down into smaller subtopics.
Let’s look at an example: The content pillars of a fitness trainer could be nutrition, fitness, and coaching. These are broad topics that can be narrowed down to smaller, more detailed subtopics.
Your cluster topics are the subtopics that sit underneath each of your content pillars.
Continuing the fitness trainer example, the cluster topics beneath their nutrition content pillar may include subjects such as healthy food ideas, how to calculate calories, or a six-week meal plan.
By understanding their key content pillars and cluster topics, this fitness trainer could then create a webinar topic that’s firmly ingrained in their business goals, audience needs, and products/services. This then ensures they host a webinar that attracts, engages, and converts webinar attendees.
Step 6: Speak to people (customers, sales, and support teams)
At this point, if you’re still not sure what your webinar topic should be, speak up! One of the best ways to find a strong webinar topic for your business is to talk to other people.
You should speak to the people who are closest to your brand to get great topic ideas — your customers, your sales team, and your support teams.
Each of the segments will bring something special to the table. Your sales team understands the most common blockers of potential customers, your support team knows what active customers struggle with the most, and your customers remember what problems they were dealing with when they discovered and chose you.
Invest some time interviewing these key groups to develop a profound understanding of what type of webinar will resonate the most with your audience and goals.
When speaking to your sales team, ask them questions such as, “What stops leads from converting?” or “What do potential customers struggle with the most?” Dig deep to learn the common concerns or queries your sales team receives from leads and customers.
When speaking to your support team, as “What are the most common complaints we get from customers?” and “What kind of questions do you get the most?” Looking through support tickets for trends can surface what the industry is paying attention to right now.
When speaking to your customers, ask “What are you trying to learn about right now?” and “What are the biggest goals for your company this quarter, whether or not they relate to our service?” This will teach you what’s important to them, which should also be important to you.
Alternatively, you could analyze the current topics your ideal audience is discussing on social media and forums. By looking at your audience’s present interests, you can select a webinar topic that’s both timely and relevant (ticking two boxes of your webinar SMART goals).
Final thoughts on finding a winning webinar topic
Webinars are a tried and tested marketing tactic proven to generate new leads. By strategically selecting your next webinar topic, you can amplify your webinar success and hit your company goals.
Choose your webinar topic by conducting thorough research into your ideal audience, your goals, and your content pillars. Then speak to the people closest to your ICP to make informed decisions about your topic options.
Finally, make sure your webinar topic focuses on your audience, not your brand. Putting your customers at the heart of what you do will bring you more engagement and conversions than creating brand-centric content.