Webinar marketing basics
So, you’ve decided to host a webinar. You have set out your objectives, decided on a topic and invited a few industry experts to participate. Now, it’s time to think about your webinar marketing strategy.
Webinar marketing is nurturing an audience to attend an online event. It is usually a combination of organic reach and paid marketing campaigns. In this blog, we will discuss the following topics to help you ace your webinar marketing.
- When is the best time to start marketing your webinar
- What channels are effective to use
- What information to include in your marketing
- Tips & Best Practices
Webinar Marketing: What You Need to Know
But first – a quick refresher. A webinar is an online event hosted by a company or organization to a targeted audience usually for the purpose of information sharing and followed by a question-and-answer session. Check out our latest blog on Webinar 101: A Quick Guide to read more about the benefits, formats and best practices & tips on hosting a webinar.
Best time to start your webinar marketing
So how far in advance should you start promoting your webinar? The answer may vary depending on the nature of the online event, the availability of the audience for it and your target attendance count, among many other factors.
For example, if it’s an internal company training webinar where employees are required to attend, then informing them a week or two before the online event may be enough. There’s no need to announce too early, but still make sure to let target attendees know in advance so they don’t set other appointments or activities (or take a day off) on the day/time of the webinar.
- 3-4 weeks for small events
Most webinars reach out to an external audience. If it’s a typical or regular webinar you are promoting, such as a webinar series or a quarterly event or communication, a promotion period of three to four weeks may be enough. This may also apply to a one-off webinar, as long as the topic is very hot, you have a ready audience who is eagerly demanding for or anticipating this event, and/or you have a modest attendance target, like 30-50.
- At least 2-3 months for big events
If it’s a big-ticket event you are promoting, like an annual online conference with multiple important speakers presenting, held over two to three days, with a few hundreds of target attendees who will participate in partner-sponsored breakout discussions and networking activities, then you need a longer promotion period – at least two or three months prior to the event.
- Building momentum is key
Whatever size or nature of the webinar you are promoting, the key is to build momentum. Keep your audience aware of the exciting progress you are making in staging the event, ie updated speaker lineup, or sponsored activities they can join. Inform your audience of the benefits of attending the webinar, with a call to action that is growing in urgency as the event date grows near. During the final two weeks before the event, you can have a countdown messaging to make the audience excited and looking forward to attending your virtual event.
Effective webinar marketing channels
Now that you have an idea of when you should start your webinar marketing, what channels should you use? Here we list some of the most common, effective, and reliable ones to use:
- Email marketing
Most companies have a ready list or database of clients that they regularly reach out to for promoting new products and services, delivering customer support, etc. Sending email invitations to this list is one of the quickest and easiest way to let them know about the webinar you are planning to hold.
Marketers typically send a series of emails to promote their event:
Launch or introduction email
- – this is the first email in the series where you talk about the event with your audience for the first time. It is usually a short email with basic details about the webinar (date, time, topic). If registration is open, then the call to action is to register early. Other calls to action of the launch email are to save the date, reserve a seat and/or subscribe to more information about the coming event.
Reminder or follow up email
- – this email is sent to sustain the interest on the webinar and/or to follow up on the call to action (remind them to register if they haven’t done so yet). You can add more details of the webinar in the reminder email, such as the speaker lineup. Depending on the length of your promotion period, you can send one or several follow up emails but make sure you are not sending too many, or too frequently.
Last call email
- – this email is sent very close to the event date, if not on the event date itself. It serves as final reminder of the event. Also, an important purpose of this email is to make sure the audience has the webinar link and login details readily accessible, so they don’t have to search their inbox for an email you sent days or weeks ago.
- Website marketing
Most marketers create a dedicated website or even a simple landing page to support their webinar marketing. You can drive your various promotions to this site or page so your audience can get more information about the event, and/or to register and pay for a seat or ticket (if required). To drive even more hits or engagement to this event page, you may also post related blogs or articles that add more content and thus, provide more reasons for people to visit the page.
- Sales marketing
For some companies, their sales team is their main point of contact with their clients. Harness this relationship by engaging them to promote your online event to your clients. Make sure you arm them with talking points and marketing materials so they can promote the event effectively. If necessary and if your marketing budget can cover it, provide some kind of bonus or reward system for every client registration or attendee the sales team can bring to the event to encourage their participation.
- Partner marketing
If you are staging the online event with a partner/s, it is important that you also get them involved in the event promotions. Send an email invitation to relevant audience in their database, post event banners on their website or use their social media accounts to announce their participation in your event and encourage their followers to attend. Remember: the success of your event also translates to your partner’s success, so make sure you leverage their audience to extend your event marketing reach.
- Paid ads, display networks
Sometimes marketing to your existing audience is not enough. For an even bigger reach, turn to paid campaigns such as social media sponsored posts or ad networks. These campaigns can get you access to a much wider audience pool – but be careful of your spending. Make sure you specify your targeting parameters and you constantly tweak and optimize your campaign to get the best results.
Key information to include in your marketing
What you include in your marketing will depend on the promotion space you have, the timing of the dispatch or the posting and the availability of the information. But here’s a quick list of key information that your audience will look for in your webinar marketing activities and materials:
- Basic event details such as topic, date, time (and time zone, for international audience)
- Clear reasons or benefits for attending – what will they learn, why they need to learn it, where/how to apply this new learning
- Speaker biographies, in particular their expertise or authority in the field / industry
- Special discounts or offers, if any – for paid events, this can be discounts for early birds, group registrations, or student, NGO or other special group registrations
- Video teaser or trailer – if it’s a recurring event (for example, held yearly), you can use footage from the previous event and get testimonials from previous participants to encourage attendees to the coming event
Tips & Best Practices
Let’s end this blog with a few tips & best practices that seasoned organizers and marketers pay attention to when planning and executing their webinar marketing:
- Target your audience to get best results, and to avoid annoying your audience not relevant to the webinar
- Use multi-channels to maximize exposure
- Ensure message consistency and accuracy across all channels
- Track results, adjust & optimize – do A/B testing if possible
- Get referrals – add a Share link or an “Invite a colleague” feature in your invitations to make it easier for your audience to refer others to your event
Send reminders for attendance
- Lastly, do post event marketing – thank your audience for attending, share event content online and prime them for future events
Check out our GEN Blogs to keep updated on the latest news and tips on virtual events, including these related topics: