Coming Up on WBPS: Keys to Driving Webinar Registration and Attendance

There’s a lot that goes into a webinar. Video, for example, take a camera and a confident speaker. Then there’s the audio, the slides (if you use them) the topic, the resources for download and engagement tools. But the most important webinar element is also the hardest: driving webinar registration and attendance.

Next week, our own Chief Webinerd, Mark Bornstein, will explain how you can drive registration and attendance to your next webinar with a few key tips. It’s called “Keys to Driving webinar Registration and Attendance” and it takes place on Wednesday, August 7, at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT).

So what will Mark discuss? Well, during this interactive webinar, he’ll cover:

  • How you can optimize email invitations
  • Strategies for A/B testing promotions
  • How you can craft the perfect subject lines and titles
  • The basics of building a long-term audience

Can’t wait for next week? Well, you’re in luck. We have a few tips and tricks you can deploy right now to boost your registration and attendance. Let’s take a look:

Four Tips To Driving Webinar Registration and Attendance

  1. Know When to Send Your Emails

A lot of marketing today depends on emails. So, it’s worthwhile to perfect your emails when promoting your event. And, usually, timing is the most critical factor.

Take the time to understand the best time of day and which day out of the week are best for your target audience (we cover a few of these elements in our ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report for 2019).

You’ll also want to extend your promotional period for your emails. A significant portion of registrants sign up for a webinar more than seven days before an event. So, plan on promoting your webinars at least two weeks before they take place.

  1. Revisit Your Landing Page

Landing pages are a critical, but often forgotten, part of the webinar experience. But how does one make a webinar landing page stand out? Easy: keep it simple.

When it comes to landing pages, you’ll want to highlight three things: what your webinar is about, when it’ll be held and where it’ll take place (online, obviously). A brief synopsis helps but so does good visual content. A short video, like the one here, can make your event more compelling and your audience more willing to fill out a form.

Speaking of forms. If you’re marketing your webinar to a returning audience, consider the one-button registration. You can learn more about that here.

  1. Engage with Partners, Sales and Social

Here’s one really well-kept secret to driving registration: get someone else to help you. Your sales team, for example, is an excellent resource you can turn to for support. Partners or like-minded organizations are another great opportunity to take advantage of as well.

Another angle to consider is partnering up with a like-minded organization. Promoting with partners provides a variety of benefits, such as sharing databases (or a portion), expanding the addressable market for a webinar and — provided they’re on the webinar with you — an engaging event that provides a variety of perspectives.

If you go the partner route, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for them to say “yes.” Provide then with a “social package” to use. These can include social images, messaging and hashtags to use. Whatever you do, don’t forget to include a special UTM URL for your partner to use.

  1. Send Reminders!

Right. So you’ve sent your emails, refined your landing page and, if appropriate, involved partners and sales. All that’s left is to run the webinar.

Except it isn’t. You need to send a reminder email to your registrants! Today, it’s very easy for professionals to forget about a digital event – especially webinars. Sending a reminder email the day of your event keeps your webinar top-of-mind for registrants and boosts attendance.

You should also segment a portion of your database to connect with curious, would-be attendees who haven’t registered yet. A friendly reminder the morning of an event can get someone to sign up in no time flat.

Webinar Best Practices Series: Before Your Webinar

Okay, so you have your fancy new webinar platform (hi, hopefully) and are ready and raring to put on your first event. Sloooow down.  First,  you need to get a few things in order. What, exactly? Here’s our (condensed) webinar best practices guide of what to do before your webinar.

INTEGRATE WITH YOUR MARKETING TOOLS

Your webinar is going to generate a wealth of data. Make sure you’re set up to quickly and easily spread those data-rich insights across your company by integrating your webinars with your marketing automation, CRM platform, social media channels and more. Direct access to your data will help you understand what your audience wants, so you can optimize future webinars.

How ON24 Drives Demand with Webinars

There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes to make sure webinar data gets integrated across marketing operations… it gets messy fast. Our VP of DemandGen, Neal Amsden, gives an inside look at the nuts and bolts of our own webinar marketing operations, so you can get your own engine running fast.

DESIGN A PRESENTATION THAT RESONATES

We all know first impressions count—so don’t put your audience off with cluttered presentation slides filled to the brim with dull stock imagery and cheesy clip art. Keep your slides clean, with no more than three bullet points per slide. If you are going to use imagery, choose eye-catching photography that adds value to your talking points, and beware of low-res images that look grainy or pixelated.

How to Build the Perfect Webinar Presentation

What’s the first rule of a great webinar presentation? It’s not about YOU; it’s about your audience. Get the scoop on how to design your content around the people you’re trying to engage, and add interactivity throughout the entire experience.

EQUIP YOUR TEAM FOR SUCCESS

Nothing ruins a great webinar faster than lousy video or audio. Equip your team with the technology they need to create a captivating webinar. For audio-only webinars, invest in a good-quality headset and do your best to dial in from a landline or use the microphone on your computer. Even better, use your webcam to present by video during your webinars. A video presentation puts an energetic subject matter expert in front of your audience, humanizing your brand and making an emotional connection with your audience. Make sure you’re using a good quality camera with a built-in mic, and test it before you deliver a live event.

5 Ways to Integrate Video into Your Webinars

Death by PowerPoint or a live-streamed talk show? We agree, the latter! That means you’ll need to run a video webinar, which takes a little skill to master. Luckily, we have the Chief Webinerd himself sharing tips and tricks for adding video to your webinars.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

People are busy and getting busier every day. Asking someone to give up an hour of their time in the middle of a hectic workday can be a big ask. That’s why scheduling your webinar at a convenient time can make a big difference. Avoid times when your audience is likely to be away from their desks, such as commute times and the lunch hour. Don’t ask your audience to start their days early or stay late. Avoid weekends at all costs.

ON24 2019 Webinar Benchmarks Report

Take advantage of the lessons learned by the thousands of webinars running through the ON24 network every day and get a sense of optimal timing for your webinars.

Are Your Campaigns Stuck in a Marketing Rut?

During this month’s Insight50 webinar, we’ll discuss the phenomenon every marketer wishes to avoid but many still fall victim to – falling into a marketing rut. Our panel of marketing professionals will be answering all your questions and give you tips on how to avoid getting into a rut and what to do if it happens. Sign up to the session to get all your questions answered.

Has this marketing scenario ever happened to you? The B2B marketing campaign you’ve been running, quite successfully, has started to fizzle. Leads that were once pouring in, have slowed to a trickle and the engagement you once had with your audience has dropped off. Your marketing has fallen into a rut.

Avoiding falling into a marketing rut is something all of us marketers find challenging. There is a constant drive to keep campaigns fresh, to stay at least one step (preferably more) ahead of our target audiences while, at the same time, struggling to be heard over the constant noise created by competitors across several channels. Ahead of this week’s webinar here are just a few points to get you interested.

What are the signs you’re in a rut?

Chances are you won’t immediately recognize that your campaign has started to go stale. The changes might be subtle at first. Here are a few symptoms you and your team may notice:

  • Decreased engagement with your content or your emails
  • MQLs start to falter
  • Cost-per-lead or cost-per-acquisition goes up
  • Marketing-generated opportunities diminish
  • Conversions take longer and are more of a struggle

If your campaigns are starting to suffer from one or more of these afflictions, it’s quite possible your marketing is in a rut.

What can be done?

All is not lost if you fall into a rut. You may just need to shake things up a bit, marketing-wise. It could mean taking a fresh look at the accounts you are pursuing and deciding to approach new ones. Maybe it means, considering switching up who you are partnering with for your campaigns. Or finding new demand gen partners for content syndication. You may even explore trying new creative or even different channels.

Webinars can help pull you out of the rut

One of those new channels that can help to brighten up your B2B marketing is webinars. They are an easy way to freshen up your marketing and get in touch with a new audience or re-engage with an audience that may have strayed.

By their nature, webinars allow you to engage with your audience from the get-go and if the topic is something that is relevant to them and addresses pain points they are experiencing, they will engage. Not to mention they are always-on so new prospects can be directed to this content even after the webinar has aired.

To find out more and ask your questions, make sure to sign up to our Insight50 webinar on innovating free from the marketing rut.

Webinar Best Practices Basics: Driving Registration

Running a webinar more than just running a webinar. You have to convince your audience to register and attend as well. Driving registration to your webinar is a complex topic, but we’ve boiled the main points down for you below.

PLAN AHEAD

What difference does a week make? A lot. Our benchmark data shows you can increase your registration by 42% by promoting it more than seven days in advance of your event. To avoid overwhelming a prospect’s inbox, we recommend emailing the first invitation 14 days ahead of the webinar, a second invitation seven days in advance and a third invitation either the day before or the day of the event.

Driving Webinar Registration Best Practices Guide

Creating a compelling webinar takes art, while getting your audience there takes science. That may sound daunting, so we’ve gathered best practices and secrets that have helped companies build their audiences from tens to thousands by optimizing email, leveraging social media channels and offering teaser content along the way.

EMAIL IS ESSENTIAL

While other marketing tools help widen your reach, up to 80% of webinar registration is generated by email promotions. Send your first invite two weeks in advance, the second invite one week ahead and the third the day before or the day of your live webinar. Experiment and test by mixing up your email formats: HTML will deliver a consistent brand experience, but a plain text email can feel more personal.

Using Paid Promotions to Drive Webinar Registration

At ON24, we run a LOT of webinar campaigns. That means we do even more promotion. Get an inside view of our own paid promotion strategy to help get outside your database and engage new audiences.

SIMPLIFY REGISTRATION FORMS

You’ve caught your audience’s attention enough to get them to click through to your landing page and register for your event. This is no time to scare them off with a cumbersome webinar registration form asking for a ton of information. Ask only for the basics: name, company, title, company size and email address. You should be able to gather plenty of additional details about each of your attendees through their interactivity with engagement tools inside the webinar. Polls, for example, are a great way to get more in-depth information about your prospects and customers, without having to ask for it inside a form.

Keys to Driving Webinar Registration and Attendance

Get a step-by-step guide to improving your registration results and making sure those sign-ups convert to attendees. Our Chief Webinerd, Mark Bornstein, will walk through all the most recent tips and show detailed examples of the tactics that can help grow your audience.

Webinar Best Practices Basics: Planning and Strategy

From lead generation to product demos, webinars serve a lot of functions. But before you get started, you gotta learn the fundamentals. In this blog post, we’re going to cover the webinar best practices basics for planning and strategy. Let’s get started.

Before you start creating, decide what you want your webinar to be. Ask yourself where your audience is in the buying cycle. If they’re top of funnel, your webinar should focus on thought leadership and lead generation. For a mid-funnel audience, think positioning and influencing. The bottom of the funnel is all about demonstrating and closing. Just know what you want your webinar to achieve before you hit the broadcast button.

Know Your Audience

Now that you’ve set your goals, it’s time to move onto the next webinar basics stage for planning and strategy. Here, you need to focus your efforts on audience personas, so you can really tailor your content to resonate with the right people. Think about who you’re trying to reach with your webinar. Is your target audience a prospect, a customer or a partner? Are they executives or practitioners? Do you want to target specific industries? Write it all down, along with any other key demographics. Once you know who you’re creating your webinar for, you’ll have a better picture of what your content should be.

Create Killer Content

Now the fun part begins because it’s time to brainstorm webinar topics and content ideas. Start by focusing on your audience’s pain points and business challenges. Then, review the performance of your existing content to see what’s already performing well. Look at industry trends, hot topics, the latest innovations and new regulations. Get insights directly from your audience’s by conducting pre-and post-webinar surveys, live chats, webinar Q&A and social listening.

Build a Dream Team

Brainstorming works better with multiple brains. The size of your team will vary depending on the scale of your webinar, but at the very least, you’ll want to assign three key roles: a producer to make sure the technical components run smoothly, a promoter to spread the word through all relevant channels and a presenter to build the presentation deck and deliver the webinar.

Run Your Webinar

Alright, it’s time to run your webinar! Gather your content and your team and craft a few slides to speak to. Be sure to run through your presentation once or twice to familiarize yourself with the flow of the webinar and make any necessary adjustments. Relax and remember to have fun.

Not sure if you can memorize this short guide? No worries. Download our 5-step Checklist for Webinar Planning infographic and print off a copy to reference.

Coming Up On WBPS: Crafting Webinar Programming

What if your company could produce its own news channel? One with several programs covering everything from industry changes and news to best practices and subject matter expert punditry. Providing such a channel could give your audience a wealth of information to consume, cement your organization as a thought leader and drive a lot of leads to your sales team. That’s the power of serialized webinar programming.

On July 10 at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT), ON24’s Chief Webinerd, Mark Bornstein, will show you how to make it happen in “How to Create Engaging Webinar Programming.” During this edition of Webinar Best Practices Series, Mark will show you how to move past the typical PowerPoint-driven presentation and towards more engaging serialized webinar programs.

During this event, you’ll learn:

  • The basics of serialized webinar programs
  • How to shift form PowerPoint programming to conversation-based content
  • The elements of webinar channels and how you can build them
  • How you can apply webinars across each stage of the buying cycle

Looking for some tips ahead of time? Check out these blog posts:

Your Checklist for a Successful Webinar Program — For Newbies!

WBPS: Spice Up Your Webinars With Video

Webinars: The New News

Four Quick and Easy Webinar Formats You Can Use Right Now

Insight50: Three Key Points Ahead Of Our Scrappy Marketing Webinar

To discuss ON24’s latest theme of scrappy marketing, our upcoming Insight50 session will be exploring just that – and answering all your questions on how to put scrappy marketing into place. Sign up to the session to get your questions answered.

We’ve been discussing scrappy marketing on the ON24 blog so, in case you somehow missed it, here’s just a taste with the first post of the series.

What is scrappy marketing? Simply put it is a mindset that looks to drive results quickly by being creative and standing out from all the rest of the noise. It means setting aside the habit of thinking your marketing needs to be polished and perfect and, instead, getting into the habit of just getting it done and out there.

Changing habits can be difficult but once you’re consistently applying them to your marketing, you’ll start to reap the benefits. So how should go about putting scrappy marketing into place? Ahead of our next Insight50 webinar, here are a few points to encourage you to learn more.

Scrappy marketing drives results – fast

By letting go of the thought that every bit of marketing you do has to be done to perfection, you are able to get more out there, quickly. This means you are connecting with your audience more frequently. So, while the bigger players are spending more time and money polishing up their marketing, yours is already in front of your audience.

Scrappy marketing also gives you the advantage of learning by doing. By quickly getting campaigns out, you are able to gather the performance data and learn what works and what needs to be improved upon.

Don’t forget, being a little rough around the edges can actually work as an advantage. People love the underdog and so do businesses. It’s that lack of perfection that will make your marketing more relatable and establish a connection with your buyers.

But scrappy marketing needs team buy-in

There may be members of your team that will resist this different approach but having everyone on board is essential to its success. To get your team’s buy-in, you can create urgency by showing them the threats and opportunities and then build an alliance, not just with your marketing team but with an array of individuals at different levels of your organisation and who have different capabilities. Don’t be afraid to use data to gain support. Sometimes numbers speak louder than words.

Once you’ve got your team’s buy-in, encourage innovation and don’t let them be afraid to fail. Test quickly and learn from your mistakes just as quickly. This can help you from having big failures later on.

Scrappy marketing helps you close the loop

Part of the problem new companies have with new initiatives is that they tend to spend too much time arguing and stressing over what might be considered the minutiae of a campaign which only services to delay it going to market and receiving feedback from customers.

Scrappy marketing makes it possible to get things done quickly so it’s out there in front of your customers in no time. In turn, you receive feedback quickly so that you can start adjusting and improving where you need to for your next launch. Each time you run through a cycle, you are able to improve what you are doing but at a much quicker pace than if your team was trying to perfecting and polishing everything at once.

To find out more and ask your questions, make sure to sign up to our Insight50 webinar on scrappy marketing.

5 Common Webinar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

There are a lot of opportunities to make webinar mistakes during production. The wrong link gets shared to an audience, a power outage takes place, a speaker has to drop out for some unforeseen reason or — and this does happen — the host locks themselves out of their studio or office.

Whatever the reason, webinar mistakes happen. Knowing how to respond to them when they transpire is important. That’s why, last week, our own Chief Webinerd, Mark Bornstein, took to the studio to lay out 2019’s top 10 webinar mistakes and how to avoid them.

We’ve collected five of those common mistakes — in no particular order — for you to review. Let’s take a look now:

1. Repeating Yourself, Repeating Yourself, Repeating Yourself

Webinars need promoting and that means emails — a lot of emails. Unfortunately, a lot of organizations believe email copy is an exercise in repetition and will send you the same email several times while expecting a different result. Einstein had something to say about that.

Instead of sending the same email over and over again, vary its message and vary where the reader is in the sign-up cycle. For example, you can give a high-level overview of an upcoming webinar during your first email send and a personal message from your presenter for the second send. Your third and fourth emails should address audiences who are “on the fence” — those who’ve clicked through an email but haven’t registered yet — shortly before a webinar takes place.

2. Plain Consoles

It’s not the 1990s anymore, so basic grey backgrounds and dated-looking webinar consoles aren’t going to cut it. Plain webinar consoles are just that: dull looking, basic and about as interesting to interact with as a damp cloth. Change it up and make your consoles something your audience looks forward to.

Designing a good console isn’t as hard as it sounds. If your organization has brand guidelines (and it should) a simple solution would be to grab your brand logo, grab your brand colors and create a console based on those two elements. Another simple technique would be to grab any company imagery — so long as it’s not distracting — and use that as your webinar console. Whatever you do, just don’t make it boring.

3. Toxic Slides

Speaking of design. If you’re using slides during your webinar — and the vast majority of you are — make sure they, like your console, aren’t boring or toxic. What do we mean? Well, we mean slides that have too much text, slides that have fonts that are far too small and slides that more design elements in it than a reasonable person can process.

What’s the secret to detoxifying your webinar slides? Simple. Use fewer. In fact, the main element of any webinar should be the presenter and what they have to say — not the slides. If you use slides, they should be easy to read or contain a single image for the presenter to talk to. Remember: attendees want to hear what you have to say — not interpret your slides.

4. No Strategy for On-Demand Webinars

Okay, so you’ve run your webinar and you’re sharing your results with sales. It’s over now right? Wrong. Webinars don’t end after a live production. If anything, on-demand webinars are just as important element in your program as the live event.

With on-demand webinars you can broaden your audience (up to a third, according to the ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report 2019) and cement your company as a proactive thought leader. How? Well, you can build out a webinar series, organize on-demand events by topic and even use them to provide a continuing education course. Really, it’s up to you.

5. Panic

Tripping over a few words in front a crowd isn’t great. But not being able to recenter yourself and move on is worse.  You get a shot of adrenaline and things spiral out of control from there. Panic is a common mistake when it comes to presenting a webinar and, really, any type of public speaking. It’s so common it even has a name: cognitive tunneling.

Cognitive tunneling is a common phenomenon where our attention, as a speaker or presenter, is funneled away from where it should be and towards whatever our brain fixates on. As Charles Duhigg describes it in his 2016 book, “Better Faster Smarter: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity,” cognitive tunneling is “a mental glitch that sometimes occurs when our brains are forced to transition abruptly from relaxed automation to panicked attention.”

The key to avoiding a panic-induced breakdown is simple: recognizing it when it happens, taking a breath and moving on. But that’s not always easy to do. Don’t try to hide it if you find yourself in a moment of panic or get locked up during a presentation. Instead, address the issue and move on. Your audience will understand. After all, they’re human too.

We all make mistakes. Even experts. But being aware of the most common mistakes and how to combat them is crucial to running a program of any kind. If you’d like to learn more about the most common webinar mistakes in  2019, check out our Webinar Best Practices Series episode, “The 10 Common Webinar Mistakes in 2019…And How To Avoid Them.” And remember: relax and practice, practice, practice.

The Lean Webinar: Three Steps To Improving Your Webinars Over Time

This post is the final post in our series on scrappy marketing – an approach can help you achieve better results in less time.

One of the most talked about business books in recent times has been The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. The book looks to address a key problem for young companies and new initiatives – that too much time is spent on ideas and products before they get feedback from customers:

Too many startups begin with an idea for a product that they think people want. They then spend months, sometimes years, perfecting that product without ever showing the product, even in a very rudimentary form, to the prospective customer. When they fail to reach broad uptake from customers, it is often because they never spoke to prospective customers and determined whether or not the product was interesting.

The same could be said for marketing. Too often in the past, teams have spent hours or days arguing over the copy, finessing messages and creative, cycling through a process of revisions and feedback that makes campaigns take too long to get to market.

But today, change happens too quickly. Instead, marketers should be taking an iterative approach, putting more value on getting results and feedback over making things ‘perfect.’

This is one of the key benefits of scrappy marketing. By getting more done in less time, you’ll get more data on what works and what doesn’t. This can then be fed back into future campaigns and activity. Over time, each cycle of your marketing activity will become better.

So, as you go forward with your scrappy marketing journey, we’d like to make the case for The Lean Webinar. It’s what many ON24 customers have been doing instinctively over time and feeds into how they progress through four stages – from webi-newbie, to webi-basic, to webi-pro and webinerd.

Summing up our earlier posts from the scrappy marketing series, here are the three steps you should follow to progress your journey.

1. Build Your Webinars Fast

Earlier we covered how you can get quick campaign ideas, accelerate your marketing and webinar formats that are quick and easy.

You should put these steps together to make sure you can get webinars out to your audience at pace. If you’re still struggling for time, see if there are any old webinars you can repurpose. Delegate more to your team and give them the freedom to experiment.

To get attendees, revisit tactics to drive webinar registrations at speed, and make sure to use third-party sites and syndication partners.

2. Measure Your Results

Once you’ve run your webinars, look at their performance to find out how you performed against your goals. Our checklist for content marketing brainstorming has guidance here, along with our post on how to measure webinar success.

The good thing about running webinars is that they will collect a range of metrics that you can use to assess your performance.

3. Learn and Apply

Once you have your results, review the figures and ask where there may be opportunities to drive further performance. This should become a regular marketing habit.

Taking a scrappy approach means that you don’t have to look to overhaul your entire campaign if it’s performing in certain areas. Instead, look for quick tweaks where you can improve performance.

Some ideas you might want to explore include tips to improve webinar engagement, turning your webinar into a podcast, or driving always-on webinar viewing. You can also look to make your webinars better by building an improvised webinar studio.

In isolation, each of these changes might not initially add up to much. But put together, these incremental steps will help build results over time.

Good luck with your journey to becoming a scrappy webinerd!