Beginners Guide to Webinar: Planning Your First Webinar
Webinar for beginners might look like a highly complex process.
A beginner’s guide to webinars is the perfect way to prepare for your first-ever webinar or revisit the process to ensure that you have everything covered. Anyone can conduct webinars efficiently if they get the basics right. The process remains the same whether you are going in for an educational or promotional webinar.
So here is a beginner’s guide to webinars, where I will cover the basics of planning, building, and promoting your webinar. It’s a step-by-step process that will help you achieve your goal of creating a great webinar campaign.
What are Webinars for?
So first thing’s first, what are webinars used for?
Webinars can do lots of things. They are powerful for educating prospects at various stages to generate more qualified leads, or you can also use webinars to demo your product/ service to potential customers.
You can also use webinars to educate existing users on how to use your product/service. Depending on your use case, it’s essential to keep the objective in mind.
Types of Webinar for Beginners
Different types of webinars have different approaches to script writing and visualisation. It is crucial to understand the type of webinar you aim to conduct before planning for its execution. Below are some of the most popular webinar types:
1. Lead Generation
Such webinars target a specific audience that comes under your buyers’ personas. It focuses on a single CTA: conversion. Most lead generation webinar attendees are from your email lists. They are already aware of your brand and present at the top or middle of the sales funnel.
The webinar’s content revolves around addressing the pain points of the targeted audience and helping them reach a solution that involves the brand’s services or products.
2. Product Demo
Webinars for product demos are a great way to show off all the features and benefits a product can offer. It is highly effective for converting sales qualified leads into paying customers by showcasing your product in action. With the right content, the webinar allows you to efficiently differentiate your product from competitors and answer specific queries of high-potential leads.
Retention webinars are a great way to engage paying customers to keep the churn rate in check. These webinars can be about new updates, launches, tips &tricks, or a query session where you answer specific problems users might be facing. The aim should be to know you’re paying customers well to win over their loyalty, word of mouth (referrals), cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
4. Thought Leadership
To establish brand awareness, mere presence and posting on social media channels won’t work. Through thought leadership webinars, you can educate and attract a broader audience to increase brand presence in the market. The topics of these webinars must be related to the latest trends, tools, insights, etc.
The idea behind a thought leadership webinar is to increase the reach of a brand and build an email list to get started with.
Suggested Tools for Webinar Beginners
Well, there are lots and lots of them. And they have been popping up left, right and centre since the start of the pandemic. I am not going to review any of them, but I can offer you something which will help.
I have compiled a sheet of some of the major webinar software players in the market and highlighted their features in a simple format so you can easily decide what works best for your use case.
In this beginner’s guide to webinars, you will get a full view of how webinars are conducted and then can decide for yourself a tool based on your needs.
How to Conduct Webinar for Beginners? Step-by-Step Process
Let’s dive deeper into the 6 step process:
The first thing you want to do is plan your webinar. It means defining the what, who, when, and why. And once you define the 4-Ws, you can then set everything up.
You need to identify what the subject/content of the webinar is going to be. It should be driven by the webinar host, which is you, and something relevant to the company and/or current business goals.
The next step is to identify the target audience for the webinar. I will highly recommend building a persona of the ideal demographic:
E.g. Define industry sector, job titles, geographic location, age, gender, etc.
- When / Where
Once you have identified your target audience, the next step is to define when the webinar should be held. With your audience in mind, define when would be a good time for them to attend.It is essential to leave a big enough window of opportunity to target the audience identified. At this, define the date, time, and possibly the location/platform.
If you have planned the date and time of the webinar, then you need to work on the given questions.
a. What is the goal of the webinar?
b. you planning to sell a course or nurture a lead into a prospect?Webinars could also be completely educational; e.g. in the SaaS tool, you could have a webinar to educate your existing customers to learn about new features.
In addition to showing expertise, you should include a ‘takeaway’ in the form of an ebook/presentation, a unique offer, or a discount for your participants. In a B2B setting, you could offer a free consultation to participants.
Now you have defined your 4-W’s, let’s talk about the final step in the planning process, which is the actual webinar setup. At this stage, you can define granular details e.g.
- The topic, headline, benefits, etc.
- If you are planning to invite guest speakers, you can start emailing them.
- You can also mark a launch date and time in your calendar at this stage.
- It would be good to also think about the promotion and loosely define some channels you will use to market the webinar.
Now, after you plan your webinar, let’s build it.
Depending on your chosen platform, you can use a built-in registration page or a third-party tool like Unbounce to create a landing page.
I prefer using Unbounce because it allows the ability to have a fully editable page to include bespoke sections and branded elements to improve the quality to maximise signups.
On the page, I like having two sign-up buttons. The first one is for the actual webinar event, and the second is for people who can’t make it on the day but want the flexibility to get the session recording. That way, as a marketer, you can maximise your chances of generating more leads and later nurture them via email marketing.
The Thankyou page
Regardless of what funnel you build to drive participants to your webinar, there is one single page that always gets viewed. Yes, I am talking about the good old thank you page.
Right after somebody signs up for your webinar, they always get to see the thank you page. You can build a rapport with your audience by putting a video on the thank you page.
Here are a few tips to increase participation:
- Add a video to build rapport.
- Reinforce the objective/goal of the webinar.
- List all the lessons/topics you will cover in your webinar.
- Link to your social channels.
- Thank you pages are key in building a relationship with your audience.
Build campaign assets
Next up is building campaign assets. Depending on the channels you want to use, you need to create various assets.
These could include:
- Image Ads for Google, Facebook or LinkedIn
- Email Signature images
- Banners for blog sidebar/footer
- Email newsletter headers
No matter what creative asset you create, just keep in mind to keep it consistent across various channels and, most important, on-brand.
Reporting & Dashboards
Tracking and keeping an eye on the webinar campaign is critical. This will help you tweak your campaign and improve for your next one.
As the starting point, you can track metrics like:
- No. of clicks from your ad/traffic source.
- No. of page visits
- No. webinar sign-ups.
And once you go live with your webinar, you can track:
- No. of the people who attended.
- No. of the people who did not attend.
- No. of the people who then went on to buy the product/book a discovery call.
You can use a tool like Databox to pull up these numbers from Facebook/Google Ads or Google Analytics/Webinar Platform.
You can also use the dashboard to view all your marketing spend and webinar signups in one report. To track exactly where participants sign up, I recommend using – UTM parameters.
UTM Parameters are great if you want to track exactly which channel is driving more sign-ups and leads. One of our client campaigns had more signups via Facebook vs LinkedIn.
While in a different one, we were killing it on LinkedIn. Every industry and every product is different so keep experimenting with different channels.
You might think, why take all this hassle?
Well, you can only make these improvements when keeping a close eye on our campaigns daily.
I recommend building a reporting dashboard if you plan to run webinars regularly. You can use dashboards to view all your marketing spend and webinar signups in one report.
To track exactly where participants sign up, I recommend using – UTM parameters.UTM Parameters are great if you want to track exactly which channel is driving more sign-ups and leads.
One of our client campaigns had more signups via Facebook vs LinkedIn. While a different one had amazing results via LinkedIn. Every industry and every product is different so keep experimenting with different channels.
You might think, why take all this hassle?
Well, you can only make these improvements when keeping a close eye on our campaigns daily.
TEST TEST TEST
I want to stress you should always cross-check webinar dates/time zones. I had experiences where the timezone was either messed up, or due to DST changes, the email reminder was sent at the wrong time.
Messing up the date or time could easily make or break your webinar campaign.
Link up Webinar page to Webinar software using Zapier
Using any third-party registration page builder won’t automatically add signups to your webinar platform. To solve this, you can use an app called Zapier.
Zapier is an automation tool that connects one app with another app. In this case, we can capture the lead’s information, e.g. name, email, etc., and pass it on to other apps like GoToWebinar, and Zoom.
Using Zapier, you can also add multiple apps together. For example, we can send leads to CRMs like ActiveCampaign or Hubspot using the same Zap.
Using Zapier, you can also add multiple apps, e.g., notify your marketing team about the new sign-ups using a team chat platform like Slack within the same zap.
You have finished building your webinar landing page and have your creative assets all ready to go. The next big step is promotion. Here are the six ways you can promote your upcoming webinar.
- Launch organic social media campaigns and make announcements on platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Ask your friends/colleagues to like the post or re-share it on their profiles to spread more buzz.
- You can add a sticky bar on your main website to announce the upcoming webinar if you have a website. You can use a free tool called HelloBar to create this sticky widget.
- You can also use exit overlays to show a popup that notifies your website visitors just in time when they are leaving the page.
- You can launch paid campaigns on platforms like Facebook. Google or LinkedIn to reach a bigger audience set.
- You can pudate your email signature to include a link to your upcoming webinar.
- If you have a list, you can send out an email campaign and invite your contacts to the webinar.
Congrats, your webinar campaign is generating signups.
- Before you go live, you can do one final social media push and invite your followers to sign up and join. Just 1-hour before the webinar starts, you can send an email reminder to all the participants who have signed up to join the webinar.
- And finally, just 10 mins before the webinar start, you can send out a final email with webinar platform login or connection details.
- If you are a SaaS, you can use in-app notifications to notify users, e.g. with tools like Intercom, Drift, and Dashly. You can easily set them up and invite your existing customers.
6. FOLLOW UP
Once your webinar is delivered, you can upload the recording to YouTube and share it with all webinar registrants, especially the sign-ups who only asked for the recording.
Send a follow-up campaign to the attendees with any additional info you shared, e.g. slides/presentation/checklists. The follow-up email should also include a reminder of the offer/hook you presented in the webinar.
Review all the marketing activities (facts and figures) to establish what worked and what you can do better.
Based on the KPIs you want to track, you can easily gauge the success of the webinar campaign by comparing metrics. You can even send out a survey to participants. Any feedback is great feedback. Looking at the KPIs and user feedback, you can improve your future campaigns.
Ready to Host Your Webinar
All right, guys, there you have it – the beginner’s guide to webinar campaign creation.
To make things easier, I have created a webinar software comparison chart and a checklist that can help you stay on the right track. Click here to check out the resources and download them.
From the planning to the last review before launching the webinar campaign, every step works differently but towards the same goal. When followed correctly and in the right order, you can attract valuable traction and achieve your marketing goals.