The Three Webinars That Rocked 2018

Looking for great webinar guidance? Get the freshest webinar tactics and strategies at Webinar World 2019.

We sit down at the end of every year to take stock of the webinars that were bigger, better and more engaging than the rest and compile them into one comprehensive, end-of-year smorgasbord of webinar goodness. We call it “Webinars That Rocked,” and we just held this year’s edition on December 12 (you can watch it on demand here).

While the Webinars That Rocked broadcast is over, the analysis isn’t. We thought it’d be a great idea to highlight why our top three winners, chosen by viewers like you, won. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the top three webinars that rocked 2018.

AutoTrader

AutoTrader is no stranger to producing excellent webinars. So it makes sense that it ranked high in Webinars That Rocked 2018. As evidence of its webinar abilities, the company submitted its “New Car Webinar” for review, as it fills a unique space in the automotive industry. This one webinar helps retailers, manufacturers and internal staff to familiarize themselves with trends and insights in the automotive industry. It’s a webinar designed to inform everyone  — from junior retailers to senior manufacturers — in the industry, which means it gets a lot of viewers.

Purpose

Each webinar needs a purpose, so AutoTrader uses its webinars to push for social change within its industry. The company asked a panel of its female experts to lead its webinars, respond to live attendee questions, share insights and much more. It’s one way the company is pushing for change within its industry and it’s seeing great success.

Interactive

AutoTrader made expert use of its webinars, making use of nearly every interactive widget, capability and more. One of its best webinars, ”New Car Webinar,” started with a live host who introduced attendees to the webinar’s topics and promoted social discourse before cutting to a pre-recorded panel discussion. But AutoTrader’s webinar ingenuity didn’t end with a pre-recorded panel. After the recorded video ended, the company cut — live — to the same panel for questions and answers with attendees.

Great Console

Finally, AutoTrader makes excellent use of its webinar console. It integrates its calls-to-action right into its console banners and toolbar, allowing attendees to register to register for the next webinar, subscribe to AutoTrader events, and book time with the company and more.

Octopus Investments

Octopus Investments is our second-place winner for Webinars That Rocked 2018. The company, based out the United Kingdom, helps investors make the right decisions for a variety of financial issues. For its submission, Octopus Investments shared one of its live webinars, “Grow Your Estate Planning Business.”

This webinar had two aims. First, to help Octopus Investments grow its roster of inheritance clients. Second, to make a topic as seemingly plain as inheritance planning, engaging.

The Broadcast

Octopus Investments made this happen with a combination of live and pre-recorded video. For its first section, the company gave a live introduction and primed viewers for the event. Then, the company cut to a pre-recorded, or simulive, panel filled with in-depth, but entertaining, discussions on estate planning. Finally, Octopus Investments cut back to its hosts, live, who’d give more guidance on estate planning and answer questions attendees may have.

Great Slides

Octopus Investments also made great use of something typically overlooked: its slides. Instead of presenting attendees with information-dense, wordy slide, Octopus Investments created clean slides that gave speakers the opportunity to tell a story that connects with viewers.

The company also gave its attendees a variety of opportunities to continue learning about estate planning through its resources, console links and more. The webinar always provided viewers with an easy-to-understand next step. They could explore the company’s website, review guides or even collect a certificate for watching the webinar, should they need one for continuing education purposes.

Asking The Important Questions

Last but not least, Octopus Investments did something exceedingly rare, but essential, in its webinars. It asked its attendees for feedback. At the end of the webinar, Octopus Investments pushed a survey to viewers, asking them what was explained well, what wasn’t and what topics they’d like to see covered in future events.

Promega  

Promega, a global biotechnology manufacturer, is our first-place winner for Webinars That Rocked 2018.  The company serves life scientists at every level, meaning it needs to ensure everyone — including scientists and lab technicians learning basic techniques — are on the same page. For scientists using is PCR products, Promega created a webinar entitled, “Ask The Experts: Ensuring a Successful PCR Every Time.” (PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction, which you can read about here.)

Making Use of What Its Resources

Promega’s webinar ticked all the right boxes. It broadcast its panel event live and simulive and made use of a variety of interactive tools, including real-time social interactions over Twitter, to Q&A chat and a veritable library of content listed in its resources window.

Innovative Use of Slides

Promega stood apart by using its slides to push out questions and polls. A great tactic, but it asked, from a marketing perspective, a risky question right at the start: “How likely are you to contact Promega Technical Services?” Attendees could all say, “not at all,” which would be a bad look. But the company had faith in its presentation, from its experts and console design to the resources attendees would review. At the end of its webinar, the company pushed the same poll again. This time, it saw a tremendous boost to the number of people who’d like to contact the company about its services. It clearly delivered on what its viewers wanted.

Because Promega took risks, on top of doing everything else so well — from clean slides to helpful resources — it made our top spot as the webinar that rocked 2018. Congrats Promega!

Keep an eye on the ON24 blog for more insights and inspiration from the Webinars That Rocked 2018. Curious to see what a great webinar can do for you? Check out Webinars That Rocked on demand here.

Five Tips Legal SMBs can use for Surprise Webinars

As a part of SMB Week, we’re highlighting the webinar tips, tricks and hidden secrets any small organization can deploy for better webinars. This article was originally published on jdsupra.com.

Most webinars are part of your firm’s long-term strategy: they’re programmed and planned out well in advance. So what happens when big news that you need to translate for your clients breaks on short notice? More to the point, how can you develop and deliver a meaningful webinar in 24 hours? Here are five suggestions:

1. Work with Seasoned Attorneys

You need subject matter experts of course, but your webinar will go more smoothly when you’re working with lawyers who are familiar with the format, who have done webinars before, who are comfortable with the pace, the provider, the ways questions are asked and answered. Attorneys who’ve already presented webinars for your firm will be able to focus their limited preparation time on the topics to be discussed rather than how the webinar works.

2. Send Personal Invitations

Mass emails announcing presentations on important topics can work when time is on your side, but on a quick turnaround it’s better to send personalized messages to those contacts most affected by the issues you’re discussing (your profiles of clients and past webinar attendees will tell you who those people are).

Craft your message to make it clear that you know the topic is relevant to the invitee – because they’ve attended similar webinars in the past or downloaded a white paper on a related subject, for example – and remember that the goal of your webinar isn’t to transmit knowledge, it’s to build and enhance relationships with the people in a position to hire your firm. Personal invites can do that.

3. Don’t Overthink the Slides

One of the most time-consuming tasks for developing a webinar is the preparation of slides. That’s because, by and large, people tend to try to cram too many ideas onto their slides, to list all the points they’re covering, to fill up the blank page with words. When you’re on a short deadline, the best way to get around this is to stick to the essentials and limit your bullets to the principal points of the discussion. Use the words – and images, if you can – to accent your presentation instead of recapping it. Leave attendees with concepts they can remember.

4. Invite the Media

Clients and potential clients aren’t the only ones who benefit from your insight and perspective on timely legal developments. Journalists too will appreciate your timely explanation of the impacts that changes in the law, for example, will have on the companies and individuals for whom they are writing. You’ve probably already got a list of reporters who cover these issues, those who’ve quoted your lawyers in the past or called you for background or attended your press conferences. Invite them to your webinar (with a personalized invitation, of course).

5. Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good

You’ve heard it before, but that doesn’t make it less true: seeking perfection can get in the way of producing something good. When you’ve got less than 24 hours to develop, publicize, and stage a webinar on a breaking issue, you have to be realistic about what you can achieve. That doesn’t mean settling for a sloppy presentation or a glitchy webinar, but it just might mean letting go when things aren’t perfect.

* * *

With immediate analysis of current developments, your lawyers get out in front of the issues affecting your clients’ ability to do business. And with a well-produced webinar, you develop valuable collateral that later audiences can access on-demand, when their schedules permit and when they’re ready to act on it. That’s a win-win for everyone.

Is there anything that you would add to this list? I’d love to hear about it.

For more information about how ON24 helps legal firms conduct top-tier webinars, check out the legal section of our website. 

Three Things Your Audience Wants from Your Webinar

We all know what we want from our webinars: more leads, more exposure for our company’s thought leaders, and more chances to share our message. But what about the people who attend those webinars? Ultimately, our webinars are only successful when everyone gets what they need — and giving your audience what they really want means understanding why your audience is attending, and ensuring that you cater to their content needs.    

How do you do that? Easy! Just follow these three tips for giving your audience what they really, really want:

Create an engaging experience

Sure, you could just let your audience stare at slides for an hour. But where’s the fun in that? Instead, you should think about every webinar as an opportunity to craft an immersive, engaging multimedia experience. Put your presenter on camera and add video clips or screen sharing to your presentation. Build in time for interactive tools like polls and surveys.

Every time you can get a response from your audience — whether it’s a click to download more content or a simple smile — you’ve succeeded at engineering a valuable fan experience.

Give your audience a chance to be heard

The number one mistake people make with webinars is assuming that the presenter is the only one talking. False! Everyone who signed up for your webinar is there for a reason: they want to know more about how your products will make their life easier, they need answers they haven’t been able to find anywhere else, they want to catch up on the latest trends in your space, etc. But unless you listen to them, you’ll never know what those exact reasons are and they won’t come back for more.

Q&A is the easiest way to give your webinar audience a voice (and most of us do that already), but it’s hardly the only option you have. Integrate social media tools into your webinar environment so that attendees can ask questions and share their experiences with a broader audience, but without leaving your event.

You may even want to include idea storming or group chat tools so that the audience can share their excitement, questions, and expertise with one another. Attendees will walk away from your webinars feeling like someone was really listening. And that’s always a great feeling!

Bonus points if you pass on these questions and conversations to the rest of your marketing team so they can pinpoint common themes around which you can develop related content. Pass this information to your sales team too so that they can send related content to qualified leads.

Make sure they feel like they’ve learned something new

These days, it seems like everyone is constantly juggling a million items on their to-do lists. So when someone carves out an hour from their busy schedule to attend your webinar, they expect to get something truly valuable from it. Keep that in mind as you’re planning your presentation: are you covering the same old ground, or are you exploring new trends, revealing unexpected results, and sharing new tips to make them smarter and faster at their job. 

Everyone who comes to your webinar should walk away knowing something they didn’t know when they signed up. Don’t solely use your webinars as a platform for pitching your products. Instead, focus on best practices and actionable advice that your audience can put into practice right away. Doing so establishes you as a trusted expert, leaving your audience with nothing but positive feelings about you and your webinar.

Of course, this is just the beginning!

Freshen Your Webinars With Tweaked Formats

How awesome are your webinars? That shouldn’t be a hard question, but for too many of us, too much of the time, it makes us stop and wonder if people are snoozing through them. Do you feel like you’re producing fantastic, useful content, but for some unknown reason it’s not connecting with your audience?

If you keep delivering the same webinar over and over without shaking up your format, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you’re leaving your audiences yawning instead of fist pumping. Fortunately, with a few easy tweaks, you can deliver a webinar that’ll make your fans sit up and take notice. Let’s consider seating arrangements. Sometimes all you have to do is shake up your webinar format to create a more engaging, interactive experience — and here are five ways to do just that:

The Chat Show

When you have a really great presenter, they don’t have to be an expert on everything. Instead, put them in the anchor chair and bring in subject-matter experts as guests. Your high-energy host can set the tone and keep things moving along at the proper pace, putting even camera-shy guest experts at ease. Meanwhile, the subject matter experts can share critical information and field audience questions in real time. It’s the perfect blend of education and entertainment. Imagine a Jimmy Fallon-type presenter hosting a webinar… your audience will for sure tune in and be engaged with this format.

The Panel Discussion

If you want to bring in several different expert perspectives, you may want to trade in the chat show for a panel discussion. In this format, the presenter becomes the moderator, leading a panel of subject-area experts in a lively conversation about the subject of the webinar. The moderator should come prepared with discussion topics, but the audience can contribute significantly, either by submitting their own questions or responding to in-event polls. This style can create a lively debate if you bring in presenters with differing views, making for a potentially very exciting group chat box. 

The Coffee Talk

When it comes to casual and engaging webinar formats, you can’t beat a coffee talk. All you have to do is bring together three or four well-informed experts, give them a topic, and the webinar content creates itself. Coffee talks have a natural, conversational flow that feels fun and authentic. Your audience will want to get in on the conversation, so make you sure you provide plenty of opportunities for them to engage, such as Q&A, polls, surveys, or group chat boxes. The best part about this format is you likely won’t have to create any supporting slides.

The Interview

Standard, lecture-style presentations are a time-honored strategy for delivering information to an audience. But why not mix it up a little? The question-and-answer interview format makes the audience feel like they’re getting the inside scoop. By moving your expert from the presenter’s podium to the interviewee’s chair, you may get a fresh perspective on the content. The interview format is a natural fit for guest speakers like customers, partners, analysts, or industry experts.

Live Case Study

There’s nothing like a case study. It gives prospects a chance to see how other companies are using your products and services and hear, first-hand, what they can expect from you. So why not turn your best case study into a webinar? Invite a satisfied customer to share their experience with your webinar audience. The presenter can guide the conversation, while video and screen share can be integrated into the webinar to help the customer share their story in a more visual-forward manner than you would normally be able to present a case study.

As long as you keep your webinars fresh and engaging, they will continue to be your best tool for engaging customers and prospects at any stage of the funnel. By simply moving around the seats and experimenting with alternative webinar formats, you may find that your webinars are easier to follow and your audience learns more and retains it longer — not to mention the fact that you get more effective branding for your company and both internal and external experts. 

 

One Big Webinar Marketing Mistake and Three Ways to Fix It

Last week I went to an awesome event with one of my friends and met someone very special. He was the host, ever charismatic and engaging. He talked, I listened. I talked (in the Q&A portion), he listened. There was a genuine conversation. I demonstrated interest by asking questions and even did a little Google search before going. Heck, I even sent a few live tweets with the event hashtag because it was *that* cool. So imagine my surprise when after the event, I heard… nothing. Well, it’s only been a week so I’m still waiting. He’ll follow up, right? I mean, he has my email address and phone number. He knows how to contact me…

Imagine the above situation within the context of a webinar. Your attendees are demonstrating their interest in your company and products, but are you following up with them afterward? In relationship marketing, first dates are good but recurring dates are more important — because your end goal is to convert prospects into customers, developing a long-term relationship with them. Likewise, driving one-off registrations to an event is great, but you want to keep them coming back for more (content, webinars, white papers, demos, and eventually a sales call). Below I’ve outlined three ways to follow up with your attendees after that critical first date/webinar to make sure that you’re not leaving a hot lead, cold.

Tell Them You Liked Spending Time with Them

While you have an engaged, captive audience in a webinar, you should tell them about your next one. Take the opportunity to let them know where and how to engage with you next — is it on social media, through a white paper download, at a physical event, or other webinars? Make sure they feel invited and special by personalizing it!

Say Thank You

Did you have a great time hosting that awesome webinar? Follow up with your attendees by sending a thank you email with a link to the on-demand replay. They may have missed out on some key moments or want to share it with their colleagues. Another option is to send them a link to something related to what you talked about during the webinar. For example, as a follow-up to How to Build the Perfect Webinar Presentation, we created and sent a related infographic on the same topic entitled How to Build a Killer Webinar. Just like you’d send someone a link to that funny YouTube video you talked about during your date, you should keep your prospect engaged and entertained with relevant content.

Pick Up the Phone

Webinars provide a wealth of analytics for modern marketers, enabling us to know what attendees engaged with the most, how many polls they answered, whether or not they asked any questions in the Q&A portion, etc. The engagement score that they get can be integrated into your marketing automation and CRM systems, enable your sales team to know when the prospect is ready for a sales call. Poll responses and questions posed in the Q&A will help your sales team know exactly what to talk about during the call.

Following up on leads after a webinar is essential to your sales and marketing team success. Don’t let your webinar attendees feel the same way as the above (slightly pathetic) situation that I illustrated. Ask them out, make them feel remembered and special and they’ll want to see you again and again!

5 Ways to Boost Webinar Attendance

I have a confession to make: last week I forgot to take out the trash, ordered takeout more times than I’d like to admit, and sent my laundry out to be cleaned because I didn’t have time to do it myself. I was just too busy to do it all. Likewise, your fans — people just like you and me — are busier than ever. We’re constantly being pulled in a dozen different directions, bombarded with industry news and marketing messages, when all we really want is something that will help us get our jobs done faster and smarter. In such a busy and noisy marketing world, how can you make sure people take the time to come to your webinars? The answer is deceptively simple: your webinars need to be relevant, informative, and most of all, convenient. Here are a few easy tips to get you started:

  1. Make The Title Pop

Think about the last webinar you attended. With all the invites that pour into your inbox, why did you not only register for but also attend that particular one? Chances are, you signed up because the title spoke to you. If the title of a webinar promises to deliver information you need or actionable advice, you are much more likely to register and attend.

Keep that in mind when you’re naming your own webinars. Craft a title that directly addresses a common pain point and lets people know that they’ll walk away with tips they can immediately put into action. Webinar titles like “10 Secrets for Creating Great Webinar Content” or “5 Signs Your Webinars are Falling Short” tell people exactly what they can expect. And that translates into more people attending your event.

  1. Get More From Your Registration Page

Too often, marketers think of the webinar registration page as nothing more than an abstract and a form fill. But if you don’t take your reg page seriously, why should your fans?

Make sure you have calendar links on your registration page so it’s easy for people to add the webinar to their calendars. This gives them an easy and fast way for them to block out the time in their work calendars so no one books a meeting at the same time as your webinar. You wouldn’t agree to a professional development meeting and not add it to your calendar — treat your webinars the same. Adding buttons that automatically drop the webinar on someone’s Outlook or Google calendar is a quick and easy way to help ensure they attend.

  1. Don’t Be Antisocial

If you’re not promoting your webinars on social channels, you’re missing out on a huge potential audience. Just remember that social audiences have a different set of expectations, so you might have to nuance your message a little bit. Use different copywriting based on the platform (more light-hearted on Facebook, short-form with a point of view on Twitter, and a more skills-focused approach for LinkedIn).

Be sure to establish a hashtag for your webinar or larger webinar series (and check that hashtag to make sure that no one else is using it or that it’s not currently being used in a different, inappropriate context!). Then get creative about how you promote the event: tease key tips that will show up in the webinar presentation, ask provocative questions about the pain points the webinar will address, create a teaser video, or throw out intriguing stats or quotes that are related to the subject of your event. And, finally, try posting at different times to appeal to your audience. A well-crafted tweet a few days before the webinar may help drive registration, while timely day-of messages counting down to the start of your event will probably encourage more spur of the moment attendance (like how Periscope works by promoting the “I’m doing this now. Tune in now” mentality).

  1. Send a Reminder Email

This is such a simple one, but it is so shocking how many people forget to send a reminder email! Sometimes I get so busy that I forget to little but important things like buy groceries or take out the trash, so imagine how easy it is for people to forget about your webinar. No matter how excited someone was when they signed up, you need to take the opportunity to remind them.

Segment your database and email sends so that the day of your webinar anyone who has not registered yet receives a “last chance” email. And all the people who have registered should get a friendly reminder with a link to the event a couple of hours before you start delivering your webinar. This keeps your webinar top of mind as they’re starting out their day, helps fans prioritize their work for the day, and makes the event link easily accessible.

  1. Get Sales Involved

You want more people to come to your webinars. Sales want a good excuse to reach out to prospects. This is a textbook win-win situation and is key to any good some good sales and marketing alignment strategy.

Draft a simple email template for your sales team and encourage them to reach out and personally invite their most promising prospects to your webinar. Sales will appreciate having a reason to continue the conversation with a strong lead, you will enjoy an engaged addition to your webinar audience, and the prospect gets all your tips and webinar content. If the webinar helps move the prospect down the funnel and encourages them to buy, then your webinar can be directly attributed to revenue generation. How great is that?!

People are busy. Make it fun and easy for them to attend your super relevant and informative online events and they’ll be sure to keep coming back for more! If you’re looking for more tips to drive webinar registration, check out 7 Ways to Enhance Your Webinar Promotions.