What does a high-quality webinar look like? And, more importantly, how do you build it?
We spoke with SAS to discuss an excellent webinar the company produced called “Ride the Wave of Retail with SAS Analytics.”
Today, we’re breaking down how SAS produced and executed the event to provide a full picture of how other companies are creating valuable digital experiences with ON24 Webcast Elite.
In every way, Ride the Wave of Retail with SAS Analytics was representative of pandemic agility. SAS, a data analytics solutions company, was slated to participate live at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual conference.
But, one week before the event, SAS made the decision not to attend in person.
The decision left their marketing and webinar teams with the challenge of pivoting to a digital experience that would happen during NFR but was nonetheless a stand-alone event.
The first task for the webinar team was to work closely with SAS comms to ensure that NRF attendees knew about the switch and retained enthusiasm for attending the digital version of SAS’ conference participation.
Here are six takeaways from SAS’s event planning and delivery that led to a high-converting digital experience.
1. Show the Audience What They Can Do Before the Event
The first thing that attendees of Ride the Wave of Retail saw on their webinar console was a box of housekeeping items. As soon as people arrived, they knew exactly what they could do with the platform.
It doesn’t matter how thoughtful and well-delivered your content is, if your audience can’t figure out how to use the software, they won’t have a good experience. You can also play a pre-recorded housekeeping video in the lobby before the webinar begins.
Think of your webinar like attending a movie at a theater. Attendees arrive early to your event and they’re just sitting there. You shouldn’t necessarily hard sell any services or products, but the pre-event time gives you an opportunity to set the mood, expectations, and hype for the main experience.
2. Include your Webinar Console in your Branding Efforts
Make sure webinar team/manager talks regularly with your brand design team. That’s because a webinar is just one of many marketing channels for your company and one of many touchpoints for your customers.
Your branded webinars should look the same. Your console should match your title slides, which should match the registration page, the email, and the social posts promoting the event.
The goal is to create a seamless brand experience no matter where or how customers encounter your business. Make sure that your design always tells someone that they’re in the right place.
3. Turn On Your Camera
SAS’s attendees could see the slides and the presenter for the duration of their presentation. This is important! Because SAS was replacing an in-person event, the company had to provide an engaging, human experience as best as possible. When’s the last time you attended a live event and the keynoter’s voice boomed from behind a curtain?
Digital experiences are about connecting with the people you can’t see in the audience; you can’t do that if they can’t see you either.
4. Integrate Video throughout the Event
We love that SAS played a hype video before the webinar started to get everyone excited about the agenda. Your own hype video need not be heavily produced, and you certainly don’t need to have a large budget to make it.
To get your attendees ready for the experience, consider running existing video content that’s evergreen in topic and representative of your company’s values and mission.
But don’t stop there! SAS broke up the webinar format by playing videos throughout the event.
By varying the agenda and presentation format, you decrease the chances of a disengaged audience. Keep the content dynamic and the visuals happening at a steady pace, and give people a reason to stick around so that they don’t miss anything.
5. Don’t Tell Them, Show Them
The SAS will be the first ones to tell you how proud they are of their software and interface. But you don’t have to take their word for it because they use their webinars to show you exactly how easy, elegant, and powerful their platform is.
Screenshare is the easiest, most efficient way to teach someone during a webinar. Too often we get tempted to overproduce a slide deck to communicate the awesomeness of our company, product and team. That’s not a bad thing, but a real-time screenshare can seriously bolster the best deck.
Don’t be afraid to move beyond the slides and showcase your software to demonstrate your points and validate your claims.
6. CTAs All Day
We hear it all the time: won’t I overwhelm and annoy my audience if I plaster MOFU and BOFU CTAs all over my webinar?
Nope, you will not. If someone is attending your webinar, they’re interested in your product or service. They’ve taken time out of their jam-packed day to hear what your team has to say. So say it all.
Your webinar console is designed to surround the attendee with information. Include as many relevant resources in the Resources tool as possible. Why? Because no matter what, your attendees are still engaging with your content.
Don’t be afraid to add a healthy dose of high-ticket CTAs (e.g., book a call, schedule a demo) throughout the event. Traditional marketing wisdom says that those “big” asks should only come after you’ve held your prospects’ hand down a tidy buyer’s journey from awareness to the decision stage.
We don’t have to tell you that’s not the way the funnel works anymore. Customers are shopping on-demand, which means that you can assume every webinar attendee is at a different buying stage.
Some people will still be considering your solution, but others will be champing at the bit to talk to someone on your sales team. Make that easy for them to do!
Final Thoughts: Measurement
In addition to creating the best digital experience for your attendees, rich and dynamic webinars give your team the best opportunity to convert attendees into excited customers.
In the old days, webinar metrics were relegated to data about registration and attendance. When the event was over, you had no data about what the attendees thought about the experience, which topics resonated the most, or at which point you lost them entirely.
ON24 Intelligence gives you a comprehensive dataset, including information about how long an attendee stayed, if they asked a question, and if they downloaded any resources.
This information is crucial for building future valuable webinars, and more importantly, it’s a critical dataset for your sales team. Before they even speak with a prospect, they’re already versed in the prospect’s interests and digital preferences because of the data-rich environment enabled by your stellar event.