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!

Coming Soon On WBPS: The 10 Common Webinar Mistakes to Avoid

Webinars have become the trusty Swiss Army Knife tool marketers require. Webinars are the foundation to any good marketing mix because they help generate pipeline, advance leads through the buying cycle and educate customers and prospects.

But, the use of such a scalable and personalizable medium has created competition for the time and attention of global audiences. Simply presenting a webinar isn’t enough.To break through the noise, you have to deliver great webinars.

What even makes a great webinar in the first place? If you pitted webinar marketers against webinar attendees, you’d get different answers. Most marketers are concerned with registrants, attendees and MQLs. Attendees care about content, engagement and overall experience. Either way, many webinars programs continue to run into the same set of issues.

Well, it’s time to replace fear of mistake with confidence of success.

Hosting countless webinars himself, Mark Bornstein has accumulated a wealth of webinar best practices. But even the best webinar programs can fall victim to common mistakes attendee experience. If your webinars are just falling short of success, join Mark on June 12 at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT) as he unveils his 10 Common Webinar Mistakes to Avoid in 2019.

Until then, here are two mistakes to avoid:

Mistake 1: Not having an on-demand strategy

  • Audiences help themselves to content when they want to today. You webinars should be there when they want them — even on mobile.
  • Nearly a third of webinar registrants attend on-demand. Some even miss the live event entirely. Don’t miss out on a third of your potential audience.
  • The increasingly global nature of business means international audiences are viewing your webinar content. Keep them engaged with available webinars.

Mistake 2: Leaving your audience out of the conversation

  • In too many webinars, presenters present while the audience simply listens. Think of webinars as two-way conversations instead of presentations.
  • Engagement becomes viewer analytics, providing insight into attendees, so provide opportunities for engagement.
  • Add polls, Q&A, social media tools, chat and other interactive elements.

Register now to join us on June 12 as we unveil the final eight mistakes, plus plenty more insight from the Chief Webinerd himself, Mark Bornstein.

How to Measure Webinar Success

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

Marketers are always asked to report on their performance, regardless of what approach you are taking. But in the context of scrappy marketing – and, in particular, when you’re running webinars – what numbers will you use to measure your performance? How do you know you’re successful? And what data points might provide inspiration for driving further results?

To help you, we’ve put together a few questions you either might get asked, or might ask yourself. Each guiding question has several points you can use to help find an answer suitable to you – as well as some suggestions on where scrappy approaches could help turn the dial.

How are webinars contributing to marketing’s goal?

Different marketing teams often work on different goals. But ultimately, most marketing is measured by how it impacts sales performance.

As such, here are a few areas to look at when assessing the impact of your marketing campaigns. If you haven’t yet connected your CRM or marketing automation platform to your webinar software, you should! ON24 Connect can help you do that seamlessly.

Chances are there are other channels that go into the touches for each prospect. To get a clearer picture, use your marketing automation or CRM to investigate what touches buyers went through in their journey. Even if you don’t have a full attribution model in place, this data will give you a good indication of how you are performing.

  • Marketing-generated opportunities by both volume, total amount and weighted pipeline value. Your company’s CRM will likely be the place to turn to for opportunity information. If you don’t already mark opportunity records as marketing-generated, export the list of opportunities your sales team is working on (including closed, lost, and open) and look to match these against your campaigns and webinars. Email addresses can often be an easy way of matching records.
  • Webinar-influenced sales-accepted leads (SALs). Assess which of the leads accepted by the sales team were influenced by a webinar.
  • Webinar-influenced marketing-qualified leads (MQLs). Look at the data within your marketing automation platform to understand how webinars are contributing to your MQL numbers.

Some scrappy ideas for influencing the above include:

  • Run scrappy campaigns against large target accounts. If you can open a large opportunity through webinars, this will help increase marketing’s contribution to pipeline. More information is in the Webinerd’s Guide to Account-Based Marketing.
  • Run scrappy webinars to further qualify leads – and get sales to join the session. If you need to influence the number of leads that sales is accepting, find out what information causes them to disqualify prospects (e.g. budget) and run webinars to screen for those attributes. Use both registration fields and poll questions to collect this data – and invite your sales team to answer Q&A in the background so they will be happy to pick up those leads directly.
  • Test calls-to-action in your webinars that boost lead score. While it’s tempting to adjust your lead scoring to boost MQL numbers, that tactic won’t do anyone any favors. Instead, try to increase engagement during your webinars in a way that contributes to building a prospect’s lead score – so more of them become MQLs.

How are webinars engaging our prospects?

There are many ways to measure webinar engagement – from simple figures such as attendee count, through to more granular metrics such as drop-off rate. Here are a few to assess.

  • Attendees and qualified attendees. This is a simple number – how many people watched your webinar? How many of those were qualified and fit your target prospect profile? But a word of warning – be careful that this number doesn’t become used as a vanity metric.
  • Engagement score. ON24 provides a simple to understand engagement score that uses participation, engagement and use of webinar features. This number can give you a benchmark to further drive performance.
  • Resource use. How many assets did your prospects engage within the webinar console?
  • Average viewing time. How long did your prospects stay tuned into your session?
  • Attendee feedback. Don’t forget about qualitative metrics. What do attendees say about your webinars? You can also poll them for this information.
  • Repeat viewers. How many of your prospects have viewed more than one webinar?
  • Account coverage. For your target accounts, how many decision makers have tuned into your webinars?

Many of these figures can be found within the ON24 Intelligence console – as shown below. Looking at the data, we can see that while average viewing time was strong, the engagement score could be improved – as well as running some marketing to increase on-demand viewing.

ON24 Webcast Intelligence Screenshot

The good news with all these tactics, there are scrappy ways to amplify success – many of which only require small tweaks. To drive up your engagement score, look at increasing the number of engagement options within the session or try different a different presenter. Put more resources on your webinar console and signpost them during the session. Take polls, but hang on to the answers to increase average viewing time. Ask for feedback in the Q&A. Tell attendees to sign up to the next webinar, or watch an always-on session. Run campaigns for specific accounts.

How successful is our webinar promotion?

As well as the success of the webinars directly, look for webinar metrics connected to influence sign-up and attendance rate. Figures to look at include:

  • Registrations and qualified registrations. How many people signed up? Of those, which registrants fit your target profile?
  • Attendee conversion rate. How many of those registering actually showed up?
  • Cost-per-registration / cost-per-lead. If you paid to drive registrations, what was the average cost?
  • Registration page conversion rate. What percentage of people are converting on the registration page?
  • Conversion rate from channels. Which channels are performing better than others?

Taking a scrappy approach to improve these could include:

  • Making use of third-party sites and syndication to boost registration counts. If you need more people signing up, working with a partner that has a large audience can help.
  • Experimenting with landing page copy. What could you do to make signing up irresistible? Feel free to experiment and do something new.
  • Try different channels. If you’re stuck on using just email, change things up. Add social promotion, incentivize your sales team, get your friends to share it! As an example, Twilio used Facebook ads to boost its audience by 30% – a channel overlooked by many B2B marketers.

How will you use this data?

This isn’t a question that demands numbers, but highlights a key aspect of success with any marketing. You need to find out what works and how well it’s working to close the loop on your efforts and make next time even more successful.

The quicker you can get this data and change your approach, the faster you will see improved results.

Want to benchmark yourself against other ON24 customers? Then check out our Webinar Benchmarks for 2019 report.

How To Make Scrappy Marketing a Habit for Success

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

Over the past few weeks, we’ve covered a number of posts on how to put scrappy marketing into place – from brainstorming for ideas through to promoting your webinar after it’s finished.

However, like all good habits, the long-term benefits only come from a consistent approach. So how can you make sure your efforts stick and last over time?

Here are a few ideas you can put into practice to keep results high.

Make Every Webinar Always-On

There are a lot of ways to get the most of your after it’s gone live.

While old webinars can be passed off as brand new, before even doing this you can simply make sure that each webinar you produce is available to access as an always-on session.

The latest stats from ON24’s Webinar Benchmarks Report show that more than one-third (36 percent) of attendees only watch always-on sessions, with the majority of this group signing up a week after the webinar ends.

With many people working either non-standard hours or across time zones, the timing of a live webinar will never work for absolutely everyone. By making sure that each webinar is available as an always-on session, you can encourage both viewers to binge-watch your webinars and provide a place to experiment with scrappy approaches to driving always-on sign-ups.

Build in Reminders and Routines

Previously we covered how you can make your marketing team more agile, getting them to buy into the scrappy mindset. Following those steps will help remove barriers to productivity, get them to experiment and work at speed.

However, keeping this up requires habits and processes. Productivity guru James Clear mentions that habits (whether good or bad) typically follow the same process – a cue triggers a desire to take action, which leads to a response and a reward.

As such, you should look at what cues and reminders you can set up as triggers for routines. As an example:

  • On a certain day of the week, you publish content covering a particular theme.
  • When a blog article is published, your team members promote it on social media.
  • When a webinar is scheduled, your sales team gets notified so they can send it to prospects.

The reward in each case should be tied to your goals – but you may also wish to incentivize your team to drive further success.

Take Advantage of Reusable, Repeatable Formats

There will inevitably be days when members of your team aren’t feeling as productive as they would like or have a lot of other priorities depleting their mental energy.

Trying to reinvent the wheel each time will simply lead to reduced performance. Instead, you should look at what reusable and repeatable formats you can run that follow a given formula. The formula should be structured enough that it requires minimal effort to put things into place.

Furthermore, if you schedule these reusable formats, it makes planning your demand generation and marketing activity (and predicting results) far easier, leaving you with more time to experiment on different approaches.

While running webinars initially may take more time than other marketing approaches such as sending out an email newsletter or posting something on social media, there are also webinar formats that are quick to run – such as panel sessions, demos and interviews.

But an important point – make sure to experiment within these regular formats. Always be looking for interesting ways to liven them up or novel approaches to generate better results.

Make Scrappy Marketing Part of Your Identity

Once you are doing scrappy marketing regularly, it should become part of the way you generate results for your business. But there’s always the risk that outside pressures might make you revert to old ways.

As marketing is always evolving, failing to experiment and try things out – particularly with limited resources – will eventually make you less effective.

Being proud to be a scrappy marketer will help you maintain that curious and energetic edge that will give you a lead over others. When things inevitably change, your scrappy mindset will help you make the most of the situation, reaping rewards when others fail.

Why B2B Marketers Need to Drive Webinar Engagement

B2B marketers are faced with a crowded, attention-sucking environment. There’s a lot of digital noise out there, so it’s important to make the most out of opportunities proven to drive engagement. As it turns out, webinars are a great opportunity. According to Demand Gen Report’s annual Content Preferences Survey, 64 percent, or two-thirds of respondents say they’re willing to spend 20 to 60 minutes in a webinar.

But simply running webinars isn’t going to be enough. For B2B marketers to get the most out of webinars, they need to build events with engagement in mind — from polls and surveys to panels and pre-event questions. In fact, Demand Gen Report hit this point home in a recent article, “B2B Marketers Look To Modernize Webinar Experiences By Promoting Two-Way Engagement.

Click the links below to learn how webinars engage:

Making Way for Two-Way Dialogue in Webinars

Demand Gen Report’s Brian Anderson sat down to chat with several webinar experts to discuss how B2B marketers can craft webinars with engagement in mind and collected several great tips. Among those tips is providing opportunities to drive two-way dialogue in webinars.

When folks talk about two-way dialogue in webinars a few common tactics come up. Q&A sessions, polls, surveys and chat rooms are all common tools that can easily be deployed.

Combine these tools with varying webinar formats — such as expert panels, product demos and video briefs — and you have a great recipe for two-way conversations with attendees. Presenters can watch a webinar’s chat feed and respond to questions in real-time. Polls can give them a better understanding of where audiences are at and tailor the program to suit the audience.

Prepping Webinar Engagement

But two-way dialogue extends beyond the actual webinar. For example, marketers can empower their audience and allow them to dictate the topic and questions within a webinar by asking registrants to contribute questions before the event takes place.

Elle Woulfe, PathFactory’s Vice President of Marketing, uses this tactic when promoting webinars. According to Woulfe, the results are good, telling Demand Gen Report that collecting questions ahead of time helps prepare webinar panelists and encourages registrants to attend so they can see their questions answered.

Woulfe also tells Demand Gen Report that webinars can pull in even more questions and engagement when co-marketing panel webinars.

Making More With Webinar Leftovers

Finally webinars, it turns out, are content-rich opportunities. That is, they can easily be re-cut, reused and recycled into additional content. Podcasts, small videos, ebooks, YouTube videos can all be derived from a single webinar and can further engagement as time wears on.

Old webinars are actually really solid sources of engagement, too. In fact, according to the ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report 2019, 36 percent of all webinar attendees only attend on-demand webinars. That’s a third of your overall attendees — and plenty of opportunities to drive more engagement.

For example, marketers can run old webinars as a simulive event — where a team member sits in on a replay and answers any questions that come through on chat. Marketers can also provide unique polls for attendees watching an always-on event or provide attendees with new, relevant information.

At the end of the day, B2B engagement is about knowing where audiences are most likely going to interact and reaching out to talk with them. Understanding your audience’s pain points is essential, but so is making it easy for them to share their concerns and questions with you. Find those opportunities within your webinar events and take advantage of them.

How to Pass Off an Old Webinar As Brand New

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

Do you have a webinar in your archive which could do with being promoted again, or that you just think deserves a wider audience? Have you thought about rerunning it, as if it were brand new? How would that even work?

The good news is that your old webinars are likely to be a treasure trove of content that can help get you results. The hard work has been done, and as scrappy marketing is about doing more with less, refreshing your previous content can be a key pillar of a scrappy program.

There are a number of different approaches you can take in repurposing your old webinars. Some ideas include:

  • Running a new webinar with existing content. This is where you take your notes, slides, promotional material and other assets but run the session completely new. This can be particularly valuable if you think a tweak of the title might bring in more viewers, but want to use your content again.
  • Running an old webinar as simuliveFor this type of session, it’s easy – your recording from the previous session is presented as if it were a live, scheduled event. There’s no material difference between running a webinar live or simulive. All of the interactivity offered by polls and chat and are retained, and it still ‘feels’ live, although you should check it first to make sure that there is nothing to impact the experience. Product demos work particularly well as simulive, especially as you can have your sales team on hand for chat and typed Q&A.
  • Mixing old recordings with live content. There are two different ways you can blend this approach. The first is to take video recordings from your previous webinars and put them in as video clips and run a live webinar session either before or after these clips. This can be valuable if you’ve had a speaker that can’t present again, but you still want to use their words and presenting. The other method is to run what ON24 calls a “Sim-2-Live” session – this is where you run a simulive webinar, complete with all functionality, before rolling over to a live audio feed.
  • Promoting pre-recorded webinars as an “always-on” session. This is where you take your old webinars and host them for people to view whenever they are available. This can be particularly useful in building out evergreen content, syndicating them on third-party sites, and serving customers in different time zones.

Whichever approach you take, here are the stages you should go through to make your refreshed webinar a success.

Review your old webinar along with any related materials

Before you promote your old webinar, watch the recording and review any related assets.

This is particularly important if you plan to run your old session as simulive or Sim-2-Live. In this case, keep a careful eye out for dates and times. Check any slides don’t have a date on them that is in the past. If you happened to do a screenshare, check that there is no giveaway date or time in the menu bar.

For an “always-on” webinar, these dates are not as important, but you may want to reconsider their use on slides going forward to keep them as evergreen content.

If you’re running a brand new webinar using old content, have a quick look over your materials to see if anything needs a refresh.

Set up your webinar ready to go

Whatever type of webinar you will look to run with, make sure you get everything set up ready to capture registrations.

Use your webinar console to set a date and time for your session, or to publish it as an always-on asset.

For practical guidance on this, the Webinar Best Practices series can show you everything you need to do.

Drum up interest on the topic through social media and other channels

Start posting existing content that’s related to the webinar, such as blog posts, to social media. Look at using other tactics to start driving traffic and building authority.

Taking such an approach helps you achieve two things: firstly, it renews interest in the subject of your webinar, and secondly, it allows you to gauge the level of interest. This can help you decide which of your old webinars you will look to promote the most, which can be particularly important if you have limited budget or resources.

For live and simulive sessions, start promotion at least two weeks out

It’s best to promote your webinar over a longer period, ramping up intensity as the date of broadcast draws nearer. We suggest starting promotion at least two weeks before the day it’s due to go out, based on data in our Webinar Benchmarks Report.

If you want to take the paid route, take advantage of retargeting tools and lead gen forms offered by both LinkedIn and Facebook, which you can integrate using a platform like Zapier. Retargeting tools let you target those who have demonstrated interest in your content before, while pre-filled lead gen forms reduce the friction of signing up to the webinar, through whatever device.

You can also syndicate your webinar through demand generation platforms and third-party sites. Services like NetLine can automatically connect with your webinar and marketing automation platforms, making sure you get accurate data and a great experience for registrants.

Reap the results

If you have your webinar as “always-on”, your efforts will now start yielding registrants. Check how your promotional efforts are going and make any tweaks to keep the stream running.

For new recordings, simulive or Sim-2-Live, the date and time of the session will be the proof of your efforts. Assess how it’s worked and use that insight for your next revived webinar.

There’s no reason you can’t repeat this cycle again for any of your webinars to save you time and drive results.

For more tips, make sure to register for ON24’s session on How to Bring Your Webinars Back From The Dead.

How to Market Your Webinar After It’s Finished

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

Let’s say you just ran a webinar, and it was great. Your speakers knocked it out of the park, the discussion was lively and informative, and your audience asked some inspired questions. What now? Do you just shelve the project and move on? After all that work?

The lifecycle of a webinar doesn’t have to end with its broadcast date. In this post, we’ll suggest scrappy ways of extending the life of your latest webinar by six months and beyond by making it into an on-demand webinar.

Up to 48 hours

After the stream is stopped, the panel has been thanked, and the mics are packed away, the first thing you need to do is send out a link to the recording of the webinar – not just to those who attended, but to anyone who registered who may not have shown.

Don’t worry about those streaming your webinar having a lesser experience – most interactive tools, such as chat, polls and CTAs – will still work on an on-demand webinar. Your on-demand viewers will still get answers to their questions, they just won’t be in real time.

One week

Even though the webinar is over, it’s important to keep promoting it, and social is a great way to keep the momentum going. Post links to your webinar with the call to action ‘Watch now’ along with some eye-catching imagery on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s fine to keep it informal – that’s what we expect on social media.

Change up the message by drawing out different topics of the webinar and giving these their own social campaigns – say, SEO this week, paid search next week – so it doesn’t go stale, and that you can capture different audiences.

Six months… and beyond

Even when the webinar is well and truly in its long tail stage of popularity, you can continue to put it to work by making sure it’s always on. In fact, you can continue to promote the webinar by creating the following pieces of content that can point back to the on-demand webinar. Some ideas include:

  • Tweets: Was there an interesting poll result during the webinar? Tweet it out with a link to the webinar page.
  • Blogs: Write a blog post, perhaps a round-up of what was discussed in the webinar, or a series of blogs, each based around one of the webinar’s themes. Drop a link to the webinar in the sidebar.
  • Slides: If you have permission, post the webinar slides on SlideShare to reach a larger audience.
  • White paper: A longer piece of content, this could draw and expand on the themes raised in the webinar. Keep it relatively short.
  • Infographic: This could sum up everything that the webinar covered on a single screen. If you don’t have a design team, hire a freelancer to create this for you.
  • Put it in other webinars: Use the resources section of your webinar platform to link back to previous sessions. By doing so, you can encourage the type of ‘webinar bingeing’ that makes it easier for your audience to further their buyer journey.
  • Syndicate on other sites: To get new leads from a new audience, try syndicating your webinars on third-party sites and publishers. One bonus is that if you’re using a performance-based model for syndication, you’ll only pay for the leads that sign up.

Finally, as the original air date of the webinar draws further away, you might start to consider running it again as a simulive event, say, after about six months. This will allow you to reach a different audience and build on the insights offered by the webinar on its first airing.

To find out more about how you can make your webinars deliver results for longer, check out our guide on the Keys to Building an On-Demand Webinar Strategy.

How To Build an Improvised Webinar Studio

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

Webinars can be run using potentially very little equipment, potentially with no more than a computer with a microphone or even just a phone dial-in for guests.

If you’re new to using webinars, there’s plenty of information on how to host webinars on our Webinar Best Practices series which will help you get started.

But if you’re looking to ramp up the number of webinars you hold, want to lift the experience for attendees, or want to save yourself time when it comes to setting them up, building an improvised webinar studio can help you become more effective even with a scrappy marketing budget.

Such an approach has been taken by car sales site AutoTrader, as the team looked to replace in-person meetings with live webinars. As described by AutoTrader’s insight director (which you can hear about on-demand), their path to running webinars took an incremental approach, starting by adding just a cheap webcam to their sessions, before eventually investing in a dedicated studio with top-notch hardware.

So what are the steps to help putting a basic studio in place? Below are a few suggestions that you can action.

Find a quiet room to commandeer

To help set up an improvised studio, look around to see if there is a spare room you can set up to help run these sessions. This will allow you to leave any decorations or equipment you have in one place, saving you valuable time as you prepare each session. For wherever you choose, make sure it’s quiet enough that your attendees won’t have to hear any background noise.

If you can’t get exclusive use of such a room, look at ways you can store any hardware or decorations in there. Get a small cabinet (ideally with a lock and key) so you can quickly bring out what you need.

Get a wired connection in place

In busy offices, wifi can frequently drop out, leaving your audience with a potentially sub-par experience.

Look to ensure there is a wired connection available in any room you choose. If there are any ports free on the wall, check that they work, as you may have to ask IT or building services to activate them.

A wired connection will give you the fastest and most stable speeds, minimizing the risk of any mishaps that could happen during a session.

Make a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign

Whether or not you’ve repurposed a room, you don’t want anyone walking in while you’re running a session.

Make sure you have a sign that you can put on the front of your door to make sure no one walks in unannounced. It doesn’t need to be fancy – even a simple piece of paper will do the job.

Get a dedicated camera – or at least raise your laptop

The latest Webinar Benchmarks Report showed that the use of video is up among marketers. It’s proven to increase engagement and help you form a stronger connection with your audience.

Getting a separate camera can help you deliver video that is better than that of a laptop’s webcam. Even with a cheap model, a camera can be set at a level that means you’re not hunched over and looking down at a screen, which might be the case if you’re relying on a laptop.

If you can’t get a webcam, try putting the laptop you’re using on a stand to bring it closer to eye level. At the very least, it will avoid the likelihood of making it look like you have a double chin.

Decorate on the cheap

If you’re going to appear on camera, it makes sense for where you present to look as good as it can. But it doesn’t need to be expensive.

If you have any pop-up banners that you use at tradeshows, these can act as a good looking backdrop to any session. Likewise, any other subtle decorations such as pot plants or side tables can liven up what otherwise might be meeting room that isn’t the most photogenic.

If you have a television screen on the wall, this can also help improve visuals. You don’t even need to put any slides on it – just a logo might help lift the visuals in your session.

Improve the lighting

Once you’ve got a basic set up in place, you may wish to improve the lighting to further lift the quality of your sessions.

There are a wide range of lighting solutions now available that are surprisingly low cost. LEDs and softboxes range from the basic to professional levels.

If you are looking for an even scrappier approach, try adding greaseproof paper to desklamps to add diffuse lighting.

Get better sound with dedicated microphones

Almost any microphone – even those on most laptops – will sound better than using a low bitrate phone line. But if you’re not very close, it can pay dividends to get a dedicated microphone.

Many types are available at a wide range of price points. From USB microphones used for podcasting, to lavalier mics that you can wear, to boom mics that are either standalone or attached to a camera, all can help improve the sound quality and lead to a more engaging session.

Experiment and improve

Whatever you start with when building an improvised webinar studio, don’t worry about starting small. Running webinars frequently will help you figure out what works and what doesn’t, and allow you to make gradual improvements that lead to becoming a webimaster.

For more ideas, check out our on-demand session on How to Engage Your Webinars With Video.

4 Quick and Easy Webinar Formats You Can Use Right Now

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

The webinar’s primary purpose is to convey useful information to the viewer. If done well, it’s a format that can do wonders for engaging customers, but stick with the same formula and you run the risk of switching them off completely.

However, some types of webinar can take a lot of time to produce – particularly if you’re still learning the best practices. But if you’re looking to take a scrappy approach to your marketing, you want to drive results quickly. So what formats work well and require less effort than others?

Here are four webinar formats you can quickly pull together to start getting results quickly.

Run a panel discussion

What it is: A discussion among about three subject experts, moderated by the presenter.

How to do it: Find a few favorite contacts who are reliable, knowledgeable and great at communicating. They might be clients of the company or industry experts. The presenter, although moderating the discussion, should also be well-versed in discussion topics so that they can guide discussion, and think of different angles on the fly.

The discussion will be more lively and could yield more interesting insights, including offering several different approaches to a single problem, if the panelists have differing opinions. A diverse panel will make for a greater depth of discussion and have broader appeal.

Before going live, create a list of discussion topics to keep things moving and on track. Let the panel know in advance so they can prepare for the questions you’ll be asking.

For more information, read our tips for running better panel webinars.

Schedule a product demo

What it is: A look at how certain features of your product work, presented by an expert.

If your customers have a common problem that can be solved by your product, a product demo could show them how to solve that problem, while showcasing your product to a clutch of new potential customers.

How to do it: Base the webinar around a particular, concrete, problem that the solution can help users solve, rather than giving a whistlestop tour of the product, which might come off as a pitch. This approach will also help the webinar sell itself, as offer of how to solve a problem is a far more compelling proposition than a generic tour. The approach may also alert potential customers to problems they might not even know they had.

Find someone on your team who knows the product back to front, can clearly communicate complicated concepts and who won’t be thrown by unexpected questions from the audience.

ON24’s Mark Bornstein terms these sessions ‘The Deminar‘. Taking this approach allows you to have a conversation as you present, and therefore act as great bottom-of-funnel webinars.

Webinars like these have great simulive potential – that is, you can run them again and again as live ensuring that new customers also get to see them. And by putting your sales team on Q&A duty, you can have them engage in real-time even when you aren’t actually presenting. For accounting firm Sage, their daily “Coffee Break Demo” sees more than 20 sign-ups a day on average – meaning they generate as many opportunities from this automated session as all their other webinars combined.

Interview Your Boss, a Co-Worker or a Client

What it is: A chat with one of the company’s highest-ranking personnel, such as the CEO or Chief Product Officer, or with one of the company’s clients. Remember, this can be recorded in advance.

How to do it: Recruit a member of your team who is comfortable in front of the camera and may have some interviewing experience.

Draft a set of about 10 questions to put to your interviewee – you won’t need to ask all of these, in fact, you’ll probably only have time to ask more than in 45 minutes, but 10 gives you some room for maneuver. You might talk to a client about how they’ve used your product or service, or a member of your C-suite about upcoming opportunities, threats and trends in the industry. Make sure to engage the audience too, and field their questions as much as possible.

Share these with the interviewee in advance so that they can prepare, and make any suggestions – as they’re experts, they may have great ideas for discussion you may have missed. Read our article on interview webinar tips for more guidance.

Do a Content recap / revisit

What it is: A new look at an old subject which may have been rendered relevant with recent events, such as a change in legislation.

How to do it: Bring together all the material from the old webinar, including slides, audience data and ad creative. Update anything that has gone out of date.

You’ve got a headstart on promotion here – target all those who watched the webinar last time, and refresh the ad creative that worked best if you decide to take the paid social route.

Our webinar on “Bring Your Webinars Back From The Dead” provides more guidance on how to do this effectively.