Three Ways You Can Use Existing Webinars to Drive Customer Engagement

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

One of the principles of scrappy marketing is making good use of what you have.

Webinars are a great way of engaging potential customers, as well as nurturing your relationships with them, but they take a lot of work to make. How can you get as much mileage as possible out of them?

In an earlier post, we discussed methods you can use to extend the lifecycle of a webinar. This post focuses on ways you can use webinar recordings to engage your on-demand audience.

Create a webinar hub

On-demand webinars are a huge part of your audience – a potential third, according to ON24 research. How can we serve them better?

Creating a central place on your website where all of your webinars are based is a great place to start. Make it attractive, make it accessible, and above all, make it searchable.

This needs to be a place where visitors can start a long journey with you, so, for example, after viewing a webinar, they can be recommended some of your related content, such as a white paper or case study that was discussed on the recording.

Creating a webinar hub helps you draw parallels between the different kinds of content you host while catering for the bingers who like to watch several webinars on the trot or a whole series at once.

The choice is yours on whether to ask visitors to sign up once for access to all of your webinars, or to gate each video individually – you’ll have to weigh up user experience against your desire for leads.

Syndicate your webinar content

Third-party sites can be great places to host your webinar content. By placing lead forms and calls-to-action on other sites, you can capture an audience that you otherwise wouldn’t have reached.

You can also reach additional viewers organically by making parts of your webinar content available on video sites such as YouTube, Vimeo and SlideShare. These platforms can help grow your audience further by making your webinar content more searchable and accessible, although you should weigh up the benefits of reach versus capturing leads.

Again, it’s up to you whether you publish your webinars as full videos, create shorter chapters to create series, or just post shorter clips of the best bits. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to link back to your webinar hub for those who want more.

Cut webinars into bite-sized pieces

Breaking longer recordings into shorter, easier to digest clips makes your webinar content so much more versatile. Not only do they present a lower barrier to entry for the rest of your content (an hour-long video may prove intimidating), but you can be more targeted with how you share them, as a shorter clip is likely to be far more focused in its subject matter than a 60-minute webinar that covers many topics.

Research by ON24, which found that half of webinars have audiences of between 100 and 199 people, suggests that webinars are tending towards smaller, more niche audiences for mid to bottom of the funnel prospects, so it makes sense to specialize where you can.

Shorter clips can also serve as teaser videos in your webinar promotion – post them on social media – organic or paid – to generate interest in your longer on-demand webinars.

Want more tips? Check out our guide on the Keys to Building an On-Demand Webinar Strategy.

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 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.

Build Webinars with Clients in Mind

This post was originally published on which-50.com.

Schneider Electric builds its webinars based on partners or end-users and then pulls together content accordingly, according to Chris Quinn, its VP of Marketing.

Quinn said from that stage the company may involve multiple of its own teams to bring content together.

“For example, a seminar targeting water and waste water end-user customers included three of our businesses plus a customer who talked to a case study implementation.

“The webinar enabled us to attract people from right around the country in a cost-effective way compared to an on-ground or physical event approach — and also shows respect for customer time constraints. We reached 120 customers, which was above target.”

Quinn said Schneider Electric is a broad business covering many market segments and the company’s customers know it for a particular aspect of what it does.

“So a challenge for the company is to find practical ways to help them understand the broader problem-solving capability and solutions that we can bring to help them,” he said.

Extracting Value From Customers

When designing a program that focuses on extracting more value from existing customers, Quinn said it has to start with the customer first, then the company collaborating across teams to pull together the right content and style.

“Having a customer talk to their experience is always valuable and we generally include plenty of time for Q&A.

“We have successfully applied live polling on a few occasions to drive engagement. Most of the effort is required in the planning phase and it depends on strong collaboration, including external participation,” he said.

Types Of Webinars

There are various types of webinars and all have a specific role to play.

As one example, Quinn cites the waste water webinar as one designed to engage customers and help them understand the broader role the company can play.

As another example, Quinn said, the company had recently hosted on “targeting specifiers (electrical consultants) on the topic of digitised electrical distribution — an emerging space where we have leadership credibility.

“We did two webinars in this space — one was thought leadership/vision and the other was a technical presentation that went into the practicalities of how to get involved in this emerging space.”

Schneider’s most recent webinar was on smart grid for utility customers, targeting technical people from electrical utilities all around Australia. Smart grid, according to Quinn, is also described as “pipeline acceleration”.

He said the company did this webinar based on the opportunities it observed in the past through various tactics, and found that movement in the sector is very slow.

“We pulled the report and invited customers with the help of the sales team.

“The content for this webinar was real examples directly from one of the customers and partners using the solution,” he said

The result from that was 212 people registered, and 142 people attended.

He explained, “From the sales cycle point of view, it’s hard to comment at this stage. However, the engagement level was very high. We provided five different resources (224 downloads) and three videos (64 views).” The Q&A portion yielded 25 questions or interactions.

Want to learn more about how webinars work in APAC? Check out Webinar World Sydney right here.

Three Content Delivery Tips That’ll Make Your Customers Feel Happy

When evaluating brands, studies have shown that emotions drive buying decisions. So, every marketing strategy should aim to invoke emotion on a personal level. It’s a difficult task, but marketers need to focus on how their target audiences feel.

Here are three ways ON24 can help give your target audience that special feeling.

Engagement Should Be Personal

What does your audience want? Prospects and customers want to feel special and not just “one of many.” They crave content, but they only want content that pertains to them and helps them in their journey.

A recent Gartner survey found companies risk losing 38 percent of customers with poor personalization. The problem: while personalization is important, it’s also difficult. That’s why ON24 Webcast Elite and  ON24 Target makes building personalized content experiences based on accounts, personas or industry, easy.

With robust content insights on viewing time, comments and more, ON24 allows you to track content performance to ensure you choose the right content for each target audience. Coupled with high-touch, customizable CTAs, you can provide personalized content journeys and engagement points with your brand.

Mix Up the Content Delivery

Content is more than static words or images. To bring your stat static content to life by mixing up the  experience’s delivery! Webcast Elite enables you to dynamically engage with audiences through live or recorded video streaming and tools like Q&A and group chat.

Providing various types of multimedia assets keeps your audience engaged with your brand for longer. ON24 Engagement Hub provides an always-on resource that delivers content how your audience wants it (à la Netflix binging), it also doesn’t limit you to one type of content.

Having a mix of webinars, videos and case studies available in your Hub lets prospects better engage with your content. By putting your best content all in one location, you create your own mini-Netflix experience, putting audience members in control.

Listen

It’s that simple. People want to be heard. However you’re communicating with your audience, you need to create a connection. ON24 products offer interactivity tools—such as polls, surveys, an ideation tool to encourage group engagement and ratings and comments — all to engage with your audience in unique ways. Give your audience the opportunity to be more engaged and create more of a conversation.

Remembering “the feels” will help improve your interaction with prospects and customers, no matter the communication method you use. See how ON24 helps you create engagement that matters.

5 Ways to Drive Webinar Registrations At Speed

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

With so much competition for your audience’s attention, driving webinar registrations is becoming even more challenging. How do you convince people to spend an hour of their working day with you? You’re going to need a compelling proposition, as well as a kick-ass promotion strategy.

Let’s say you have a great webinar idea that’s super topical, so you need to get it out there, fast. You know that generally, the longer the promotion cycle, the better, but what if you don’t have time? In this blog, we look at five scrappy ways to drive webinar sign-ups, and at speed.

Use email marketing to drive sign-ups ahead of time

Still one of the biggest drivers of webinar registrations, it’s important to get email marketing right. But how do you accelerate the process while retaining effectiveness?

As detailed in our guide on webinar promotions, it’s usually best to at least three emails in a webinar promo cycle – the first least two weeks before the webinar, another one week before and a final one on the day (or on the day before). With a shorter window for promotion, however, you’re going to have to keep things interesting so that your audience doesn’t fatigue.

Pull out different angles of interest for each email that follows the first, perhaps personalizing the messaging and creative to different segments of the email list. Alternatively, emphasize the appearance of one of your panel members, according to who the segment would be most interested in.

Engage in Partner Marketing to Increase Your Reach

Striking up a strategic partnership with a business with similar customers to yours – but that crucially, does not have a competing offering – can significantly extend your reach.

With more brains behind the campaign and a wider audience to target, you’ll make a greater impact. You can also take advantage of each other’s strengths – for example, if they’re great at content, have them take the reins on creating assets for the campaign, while you get busy with SEO, if that’s your thing.

As a case in point, this scrappy marketing series is a partnership between NetLine and ON24 – so you’re reading an example of this in action!

Use Your Sales Team – and Incentivize Them

When you have a webinar to promote, and at speed, it’s got to be all hands on deck. This is where the assets you create to promote the campaign really come into their own. Share them with your sales team, along with some email messaging that they can send to their prospects. Sales will have a nose for who will be most interested in the webinar, so get them involved as soon as possible.

Also consider using your marketing budget towards sales bonuses for driving registrations. That way they will have even more of a reason to reach out.

Promote via Paid Social

When time is of the essence, it may be necessary to take the paid route. First up, you need to know where your customers like to hang out. Are they more of a LinkedIn, or a Twitter crowd?

Consider sponsoring organic posts on LinkedIn so that they will be shown to a wider audience. Choose those that have already been performing well to give them an extra push. The platform also lets you target ads to specific audiences based on demographic information, job type, or what skills they’ve declared. These ads will appear in the sidebar when the user logs into LinkedIn.

Driving webinar registrations on the double requires creating a sense of urgency. In your creative, use images that include people (bonus if their gaze appears to be in the direction of the call to action), as well as the name of the webinar, the date and the time it will take place.

If you do decide to promote your webinar on LinkedIn, consider taking advantage of lead gen forms, so that when a user clicks the call to action on an ad or sponsored post, the form they need to fill to register for the webinar has already been filled with information from their LinkedIn profile – easier for the user, and more accurate information for you.

Facebook also offers lead ads, and also lets marketers build custom audiences, so that you can target ads to prospects who, say, may have attended past webinars, or have visited a few pages on your website about the webinar topic.

Use Display Networks to Reach Prospects Across the Web

For access to the widest audience the web can offer, turn to ad networks. Google Display Network as an example, which reaches more than 90% of people on the internet, lets advertisers serve relevant ads to prospects while they’re browsing websites, checking their Gmail or – which could be very useful while promoting a webinar – when they’re watching a video on YouTube.

The network also lets you target existing customers or find new ones by placing ads on sites that you have chosen, and that are relevant to the customer. It also lets you retarget customers who might have expressed an interest in the webinar, for example, by visiting its landing page but not signing up.

Why Webinar Marketing Fuels Demand Generation in 2019

B2B marketers are in a strange place. There’s more money going into marketing than ever before, but marketers are more uncertain than they’ve ever been. Marketing budgets, according to a recent report by Demand Gen Report, are going up by 20 percent or more. But a joint ON24, Heinz Marketing report found that 67 percent of marketers consider their content strategy somewhat or not at all effective.

So what is effective? Demand Gen Report examines what works in “What’s Working in Demand Generation In 2019?” The report found that marketers can effectively balance their approach to new strategies, like account-based management and peer-to-peer review sites, with traditional tactics like direct mail and webinars.

Webinars, in particular, are an effective way to connect with prospects across all stages of the marketing funnel. According to Demand Gen Report’s “2019 Demand Generation Benchmark Report,” 58 percent of demand gen marketers say webinars are the most successful tactic for top-of-funnel engagement. Nearly half, 48 percent, say webinars move prospects through the rest of the marketing funnel — from mid to bottom and closed — effectively.

How Webinar Marketing Empowers Digital Results

Why are webinars an effective digital approach? It may be because marketers are using webinars in more conversational and personalized formats. Jon Russo, CMO and Founder of B2B Fusion, says webinars are becoming a “must do” channel.

Our own Mark Bornstein offers his own theory as to why webinars are a useful tool:

One of the biggest changes we have seen in webinar marketing is the move to more conversational formats, such as panel discussions. [Buyers] don’t want to be lectured to; they want to participate in conversations where panelists are talking to each other but also including the audience in the discussion. This type of conversational marketing increases audience participation and content retention. It’s for your audience but also good for you as the more you interact with your prospects, the more you learn about them.

With engaging, conversational content, marketers can gather the data they need to refine messaging for targeted audiences and accounts, enabling popular strategies like account-based marketing.

Learn more about webinars

Webinars Formats That Drive Conversations

Panels

A panel of knowledgeable experts provides an excellent opportunity for attendees to interact and learn from industry thought leaders. Depending on the audience, panels can be as casual or as formal as necessary. Just know what panel webinars entail — they can require a lot of organization.

Presentation webinars

Presentation webinars may seem like a one-sided affair, but modern webinar suites offer a range of interactive tools like polls, surveys, Q&As and chat rooms. It’s very easy to put an in-house expert, or spokesperson, on a webinar to showcase updates, introduce new products and answer questions from attendees.

Interviews

Some attendees want to learn from experts. So, conduct an interview. Interviews are a great format allowing organizations to sit down with an industry leader and draw out a better understanding of an industry trend. Audiences, too, can ask questions through the chat tool or collectively decide on a theme with polls.

Live Case Study

Case studies allow prospects to fully evaluate product and solutions based on how other organizations use a given service. Webinars provide an excellent medium to share case studies, especially when a satisfied customer shares their experience and interacts with an audience.

Webinars provide a range of opportunities for marketers to engage with prospects (and customers) at every stage of the funnel.

3 Tips for Running an Expert Interview Webinar

I recently wrote about different webinar formats you can use to keep your audience engaged. One of my personal favorites is the expert interview because it gives you a fabulous opportunity to bring your audience the unique experience and knowledge of an authoritative voice while allowing you at the same time to showcase your own skills and understanding of the issues.

Equally important, preparing for and leading an interview gives you a chance to spend valuable one-on-one time with a guest who matters as much for your own practice as he or she does for your participants: a government agent or regulator, an industry leader, or an executive from a key client, for example.

Finally, building your webinar around an interview lets you move away from the traditional slide presentation to lead a dynamic discussion around issues facing your audience. It is, above all, a conversation, which provides you with broad freedom to explore questions in depth without becoming weighed down by bullet points and linear logic.

So how to make sure your expert interview is memorable for participants and guests alike? Here are three ways:

1. Remember your audience

Yes, you want to make the webinar interesting and fun and engaging for your attendees, but a story about the time your guest went surfing amid sharks off the coast of Australia – as entertaining as it may be – isn’t going to help participants revise their workplace policies, for example, to account for legal recreational marijuana use in their state.

Never forget that your audience signed up to learn something and that it’s your job to make sure they do. It’s ok to go off topic from time to time with anecdotes, as long as you don’t take too long to get back on.

Takeaway: prepare your questions, and the structure of the conversation, with audience needs in mind.

2. Let your guest be the expert

You may have the broadest knowledge about the topic you’re covering, but when you’re interviewing an influential guest, you’re no longer the star of the show.

Let your interviewee do most of the talking. Ask them relevant questions that allow for meaningful answers. Listen to their responses so you can follow up when you think your audience needs more detail or explanation.

And above all, try not to interrupt your guest unless it’s absolutely necessary: to get immediate clarification on a particular point they made, or allow them to correct misstatements. You can follow-up and probe deeper into the issues when they’re done talking.

3. Fine-tune your questions (while also allowing the conversation to go anywhere)

Good questions make for great interviews: the way you frame the issues, the way you tee up responses, the way you elicit insight and perspective. And the best way to make your webinar a success is to ask questions that allow your guest to provide valuable and perceptive answers that get straight to the core of your audience’s concerns.

Spend time fine-tuning your questions. Edit them down to the essentials, then edit them down again to make sure you get quickly to the point while providing essential context. Have a colleague put them to you so you can hear what you’re actually asking rather than what you think they say.

During the interview, it’s a good idea to use your questions as a guide to the conversation rather than as a strict outline that you must follow: the discussion is likely to take unplanned directions that lead you down paths that are relevant to attendees.