By Jessica Vionas-Singer

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“Webinars are extremely powerful for drawing in and keeping in touch with prospects. They showcase your brand’s expertise in your industry and give your company a human voice, literally.” – Drew Hendricks on Forbes.com

I remember the first time I was really involved in putting together a webinar. My boss was running around like a chicken with its head cut off, stressing about every little detail. (I tried to remain calm.)

It can be a stressful affair. For many companies, a webinar represents the only time they present to a large audience of leads, customers, industry experts, and, sometimes, press. And usually, it’s live, so if you screw up, it’s pretty public. Technical difficulties are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what can go wrong.

Although putting together a webinar may never be “as easy as pie,” even getting started on the right path can be daunting if it’s your first try. However, webinars are one of the greatest tools in a marketer’s box for all stages of inbound marketing:  

Attract – A particular topic will pull in audience members who may have never heard of your company before (you just have to promote it using channels on which new people will hear about it).

Convert – By registering, new visitors will become leads.

Close – Other types of webinars, such as product demonstration or case studies, can be utilized to help move opportunities down the funnel to the goal of becoming a customer.

Delight – Product training, behind-the-scenes at your company, sneak peeks, and so on, can enthrall customers and make them evangelists.

 

Depending on its content, a webinar can also appeal to people in all stages of the buyer’s journey:

Awareness – Educational webinars will often explore the problem or pains associated with a topic.

Consideration – Case study webinars or product comparisons guide prospects as they sift between the various options available to them.

Decision – Product demonstrations help leads determine if your product is the right one for them.

 

Finally, although blogs and e-books are two of the cornerstones of inbound marketing, different people prefer different ways of consuming content—and webinars are one of the mediums you can offer to individuals in your target audience who are more drawn to audio/visual formats than text. 

 

Goal

You’ve decided to host a webinar. Great! But where do you even start?

That’s actually easy: You start where you would with any new marketing initiative—by determining your goal. That goal could be:

  • To attract new prospects by hosting an educational webinar on a topic related to your industry
  • To turn leads into opportunities by giving a webinar showcasing your product
  • To move opportunities along the funnel by having a case study webinar
  • To increase customer retention by providing a training webinar

Once you’ve determined the overarching goal of your webinar, take it one step further and make it SMART (Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Realistic – Time-bound). A SMART webinar goal may look like:

  • To attract 100 new prospects by hosting an educational webinar on a topic related to your industry by August 31
  • To turn 10 leads into opportunities by giving a webinar showcasing your product by the end of the quarter
  • To move 2 opportunities along the funnel by having a case study webinar by May 1
  • To increase customer retention from 80% to 85% by the end of the year by providing training webinars monthly

Once you know why you are having a webinar, figuring out what’s next will be much easier.

 

With that short introduction, I hope I’ve convinced you that your company should include webinars in its marketing mix. Download the complete Marketer’s Guidebook on Hosting a Webinar, which will walk you through how to get started, what tasks to consider, and some common pitfalls to avoid.

Marketer's Guidebook to Hosting a Webinar
Jessica Vionas-Singer

About the author

Jessica Vionas-Singer is a Marketing Strategist at SmartBug Media where she leads the strategy and implementation behind inbound and content marketing activities to help a portfolio of clients exceed their sales and marketing goals. She fell in love with marketing at her first job at a technology company specializing in credit evaluation software. Prior to joining SmartBug, Jessica was the Director of Marketing at a B2B company that built software for analyzing genetics. Her background includes more than 15 years of marketing experience in content creation and lead-driving tactics, online presence and blog creation, social media engagement, budgeting and project plans, webinar and trade show event management, public relations, comprehensive promotional campaigns, and analytics. Jessica has a BS in Sociology from Montana State University – Bozeman. Read more articles by Jessica Vionas-Singer.