The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars


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This eBook provides webinar tips, tactics and techniques from some of the sharpest minds in B2B marketing to help you create, promote and deliver your best webinars.

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The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars

  1. 1. A eBookThe Power User’s Guide To Successful WebinarsTips, tactics and techniques from the sharpest minds in BtoB marketing SponSored By
  2. 2. The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars 2Interactive online webinars have emerged as the gold standard in BtoB DemandGen Report collected insights to address core areas including:marketing. Consistently ranking among the most reliable methods for BtoB • Creating compelling webinar content;engagement and lead generation, the format’s flexibility, functionality andconsistently strong track record of roI have made it a preferred media for • delivering that content in an optimal fashion;most marketers. • Experimenting with new short-form formats;Illustrating this trend, the 2010 Lead Generation Marketing ROI Studyconducted by The Lenskold Group and eMarketer, found 52% of • Integrating social media into webinar strategies,respondents felt webinars are the most effective way to generate high • Developing successful pre- and post-event campaigns thatvalue leads that are more likely to convert to sales. In that study, webinars support demand generation and engagement goals.beat out other vehicles in several measures. This ebook highlights webinar tips, tactics and techniques distilled fromHowever, because webinars are still a relatively new medium, some some of the sharpest minds in BtoB marketing. Insights from webinarcompanies still struggle to find the right formula for successful webinars. masters focus on maximizing registration, optimizing the attendeeTo help develop a blueprint for webinar success, DemandGen Report experience and employing specifically timed actions that yield betterinterviewed a group of “power users,” a mix of executives with extensive prospects and more marketing qualified leads.experience in hosting webinars, as well as a track record for drivinga steady stream of registrants, attendees and ultimately engagedviewers.
  3. 3. The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars 3Creating Compelling Webinar Content Conversely, webinars targeting “Start with your audience. prospects further along in Companies get so caughtFrom a technology standpoint, webinar platforms are fairly mature. their decision-making process up in telling their story theyHowever, for many marketers the art (and science) of producing quality work best when topics match forget that the audiencecontent is a dilemma that renews itself with each webinar project. A prime pain points with solutions. For should be the focus. Makecause is insufficient planning in the pre-content phase. Webinar specialists example, a webinar titled “3agree that marketing objectives, profiling audience composition and sure that what you’re Content Pieces That Doublepromotional tactics are top pre-content considerations. Web Site Leads” is likely to delivering is of value.” draw attendees with very“Before you do any content development, determine what you’re trying to Matt West, specific marketing needs. Senior Director ofachieve with the webinar,” said Matt West, Senior Director of Marketing for Marketing, Genius.commarketing automation provider, “Start with your audience. Whether the webinar objectiveCompanies get so caught up in telling their story they forget that the is broad or narrow, speakeraudience should be the focus. Make sure that what you’re delivering is of selection is an importantvalue. Nobody wants to sit through your one-hour infomercial.” decision. Experts agree that industry ‘rock-star’ presenters are a good investment, but are not a prerequisite for success. “It’s always best whenAs audience needs take shape, marketing objectives must be defined to the presenter is seen as a subject matter expert,” said David Lewis,meet those needs. For example, to drive lead volume, pair name-brand CEO of automation and lead management consultancy DemandGenpresenters with hot topics or notable research. “This is where titles like ‘5 International.Things Every Manager Should Know About…’ are most effective,” Westsaid. “This kind of webinar is good for finding people that are ‘above the “Let’s say you’re a software company and you want to showcase a newsales funnel.’ They’ll need to be nurtured longer before becoming sales- release,” Lewis said. “It’s certainly appropriate to use the actual productready.” manager as the subject matter expert. If the audience perceives that the presenter is not in sales – or marketing for that matter – you’re going to get more audience interest based on that person’s credibility.”
  4. 4. The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars 4 Webinar Content and Title Checklist:Since most webinars feature a presenter addressing accompanying slides,industry experts also stress that the visual content must be compelling. • Use high-level thought leadership content to attract and engageAddressing PowerPoint issues, text-heavy pages, font choices, evocative a broad audience. Recognized industry experts, hot topics andvisuals, content/presenter choreography and other inherent hurdles are exclusive research tend to work best at this level.essential checkpoints for all presenters. • Titles for thought leadership webinars should be strategic (i.e., “Sales and Marketing Alignment: New Infrastructure Concepts”). • After big-picture webinar attendees identify with certain pain points, more tactical “how to” content gets into specifics. At this level, accentuate expertise by using credible subject matter experts rather than ‘rock star” presenters. • Titles for how-to webinars should address specialized prospect needs (i.e., “4 Simple Steps for Optimal Lead Scoring”). • Offers and incentives for either webinar type should be valuable to attendees and hand-raisers. Free white papers that complement webinar topics are useful and valuable; iPods and gift cards are nice-to-haves, but don’t add to perceived expertise.
  5. 5. The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars 5Optimizing The Attendee Experience Q&A functionality can also gauge “As people log on before a information recall in novel ways. webinar starts it’s a goodAudiences share common attributes whether they are seeing a concert, Neyland offered this example: idea to send out audience-attending a trade show or joining an online presentation. The ability to hold “Near the end of a webinar we’ll wide chats like ‘welcomeaudience attention using continuous engagement often decides the fate ask a question such as, ‘Earlier to the webinar,’ ‘we’ll beginof reality TV shows and webinars alike. When used correctly, core webinar in this presentation we identifiedfunctionality like polling, chat, hand raising and Q&A help insure desired in five minutes’ and ‘here’s the biggest pain point of webinaroutcomes. the Twitter hashtag for this creation.’ The first person to answer that question correctly discussion.”“As people log on before a webinar starts it’s a good idea to send out gets a free copy of the hottest Veronica Neyland,audience-wide chats like ‘welcome to the webinar,’ ‘we’ll begin in five new marketing book.” The idea Marketing Specialist,minutes’ and ‘here’s the Twitter hashtag for this discussion,’” said Veronica Citrix Online of engagement by incentive isNeyland, Marketing Specialist for Citrix Online, whose GoToWebinar appealing to viewers, and yieldsplatform has been a pacesetter in the online presentation space. useful data on content retention.“Another really great way to use chat is to have the moderator tell Involving the audience through polls has also proven a successful strategyattendees something like, ‘we have a speaker dialing in from Boston and to keep an attendee engaged. “Webinar viewers tend to get sidetrackedanother from Santa Barbara — please type into the chat pane where by their email and other distractions,” Lewis noted. “Having pollsyou’re calling from,’” Neyland noted. “We see a huge influx of replies from continually throughout the presentation keeps them focused.”little things like that.” The prevailing wisdom is that polls should add value on top of what’sThe Q&A pane is arguably the most-used webinar feature. Using the being presented. “It’s okay to do some up front, like asking ‘What kind offirst name of the person asking a question is a simple Q&A tip that takes marketing automation system do you use’ and then showing those resultsengagement up a notch. It seems obvious, but can be overlooked in live to attendees so they can benchmark themselves within the group,”webcasts.
  6. 6. The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars 6Lewis said. But he warned against self-serving polls that seek to qualifyattendees for sponsors without yielding any insights for attendees.Another best practice for survey presentations is to poll attendees with Using screen sharing technologythe same question that’s being shown on-screen. Audience results are to show something other thandisplayed alongside the main study. This not only engages; it generates presentation slides is a creativeinstant quantitative data that’s enlightening for attendees and sponsors. way to liven the presentationReal-time screen sharing between presenters is another feature that content and format and reducecan lessen monotony during a presentation. With real-time screen sharing, presentation fatigue.the presenter can use and show any application on the presenter’scomputer—from Internet web browsers to video players and photoprograms. A good presenter might choose to momentarily exit PowerPointand navigate to a web site or show a video to enhance and energize thepoint they are making in the presentation. Using screen sharing technologyto show something other than presentation slides is a creative way to liventhe presentation content and format and reduce presentation fatigue.When using audience interaction tools, the ability to measure how they areperforming is useful. GoToWebinar’s Attentiveness Meter is a dashboard-style feature that measures participation based on Chat, Q&A and otherattendee behavior. It is a data visualization tool that helps moderatorsprevent attention decay in real-time by taking actions that refocus viewers.
  7. 7. The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars 7Experimenting With Short-Form Webinars Lewis recommends “The 30-minute webinar is 15-minute webinars with tight great for very focused topicsIn his recent webinar, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, author, storyboarding for clinics on — it’s 20 minutes of content,speaker and former Apple executive, Guy Kawasaki, offered this simple “spot topics” that people can and 10 minutes of Q&A.”formula for webinars: “10 slides; 20 minutes; 30 point font.” Kawasaki’s view at the start of the day,presentation actually totaled 62 slides, but the notion that ‘less is more’ or while eating lunch. “You’d Jeanne Hopkins,was clear. There are new developments in webinar marketing that are use something very short like Director of Marketing,embracing such ideals, starting with duration. Hubspot that to get a higher response rate.” DemandGen InternationalThe use of 30-minute and even 15-minute webinars has been on the is testing a prerecordedrise. These short-form presentations are gaining favor as marketers 12-minute format, whichconfront the twin issues of content overload and attention scarcity. extends to 22 minutes when“The 30-minute webinar is great for very focused topics — it’s 20 minutes done with a live presenter.of content, and 10 minutes of Q&A,” said Jeanne Hopkins, Director ofMarketing for inbound marketing solution provider, HubSpot. “Too manycompanies try for 60-minute webinars when they don’t have enough ofthe right content. And sometimes the speakers [in longer webinars] are notconscious enough of the audience’s time.”Lewis likened short-form webinars to a time-tested TV model. “If you thinkabout the actual content of a sitcom – 22 minutes – it reminds you thatthe more you rehearse and refine your presentation, the more worthwhilecontent you can pack into shorter webinars,” Lewis said.
  8. 8. The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars 8Building Effective Promotional Campaigns With today’s marketing “Multichannel promotion is ecosystem supporting a vast a smart strategy, but emailemail remains the primary promotional tool for webinar enrollment. As a number of webinars each day, is the best tactic for webinarmarketing platform, webinars have matured while best practices for driving companies are getting more invitations if you want toregistration have emerged. creative during initial outreach. reach the most relevant“Multichannel promotion is a smart strategy, but email is the best tactic One expert noted a unique audiences at scale.”for webinar invitations if you want to reach the most relevant audiences at strategy for the invite phase ofscale,” said Katie Martell, Director of Buzz for NetProspex, a provider of a webinar. “One component Katie Martell, Director of Buzz,verified crowd-sourced prospect data. “Just by regularly sending webinar we added was an ‘include NetProspexinvitations to targeted audiences, your brand will be perceived as a helpful, your ideas or questions’ inputvaluable partner that’s ready to solve pain points.” option,” said Sally Lowery, Director of Acquisition and Retention at email service provider iContact. “We invited registrants to Webinar Promotional Checklist: send in a few relevant points or case study items two weeks prior to the Use a compelling subject line (avoid too much marketing speak); webcast.” Lowery said it turned out to be the largest webinar she has done to date, drawing more than 2,000 registrants. Make a clear “what’s in it for me” statement with the invite; and Many marketers believe that intriguing subject lines compel the curious Develop an email template that has large headlines, easy to find to click. “Phrases like ‘You’re Invited’ can pull very well,” Lewis said. “It’s registration links, and renders well on mobile devices. human nature to like being invited to things. If an intriguing e-vite comes from a person – not a company – I’m going to open it to see what I’m invited to. ‘Please join us,’ ‘We’d like you to attend’ and ‘This might interest you’ are all variations on this simple tactic.”
  9. 9. The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars 9 According to the May 2011As for the technical formatting of email invites, some marketers choose Responsys study, Email onto use the customizable templates provided by the webinar solution. The Move: The Future ofOthers prefer text-only email invites for their casual style and to-the-point Mobile Messaging, thereappeal. The general guideline is to use the format most likely to resonate has been an 81% growthwith a particular target audience. in mobile email viewershipResearch from Marketing Sherpa’s 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark in six months betweenshowed 67% of people do not display images by default in their email October 2010 and Marchsystem, so HTML emails may not render effectively. Industry experts 2011.recommend marketers do A/B split testing with both HTML and text emailinvites to see which performs better with their audience.The growth of mobile is also presenting new opportunities and challengesfor marketers. According to the May 2011 Responsys study, Email on TheMove: The Future of Mobile Messaging, there has been an 81% growth inmobile email viewership in six months between October 2010 and March2011. Email viewership on the iPad alone has increased 15% during thatperiod. Because it’s increasingly likely that recipients read messages on aniPhone, Blackberry, or other mobile devices, marketers should considerthat images and other HTML features won’t render correctly in theseplatforms.
  10. 10. The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars 10Making Webinars Social Social Media Integration Checklist:Increasingly, marketers are finding that social media adds a new and Including social sharing buttons on email invitations;dynamic element to webinars. “Social media has become a major avenue Customizing hashtags to boost webinars timed to coincide withto promote webinars,” Neyland noted. “It doesn’t bring in the most major industry events (i.e., #dforce for Dreamforce);registrations, but social is definitely the fastest-growing channel for webinarpromotions.” Pulling in additional attendees during the webinar with live tweeting; andThe use of social media in webinars typically begins with the email inviteand promotion. Emails often include “share it” links for Twitter, FaceBook, Encouraging attendees to use your hashtag to share ideas fromLinkedIn, etc. Another social tactic is to create a hashtag unique to the the live webinar, and have those tweets include a link to theevent, which is then promoted via social channels. During the live event webinar.that hashtag is posted again. “I’ll have several screens open so that # #I’m posting interesting things the speaker just said, while following thepostings of others under that hashtag,” Neyland said. # # # # # # # # # # # # # # ## # #
  11. 11. The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars 11 “The main reason peopleExtending The Life Of Webinar Content participate in live webinarsOpinions vary regarding live versus on-demand (recorded) webinars. Some is because the topic is hotfeel that topic relevance diminishes sharply after the live event, making a or urgent. But if you’vecase for content freshness and frequency. Other marketers strongly believe constructed a webinar well,in a webinar afterlife in the form of corporate website archives and open it should have a shelf lifeInternet repositories like beyond the live event.”“The main reason people participate in live webinars is because the topic David Lewis, Ceo ofis hot or urgent,” Lewis said. “But if you’ve constructed a webinar well, it DemandGen Internationalshould have a shelf life beyond the live event.”If webinar content is valuable enough to those who miss a live event,Lewis said goals can be met (and even exceeded) with the on-demandoption. In fact, one facet of on-demand distribution is very appealing froma data perspective. “Those who download a recorded webinar are farmore likely to provide a real email address because that’s the only waythey’re going to receive the file,” Lewis said. This makes sense, given thata higher incidence of bogus contact information is associated with livewebinar registrations.
  12. 12. The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars 12Registration Vs. Attendance: CampaignManaging the Variables • 3 email invitations sent to a list of 60,000 prospectsSimilar to tradeshows, conferences and virtual events, webinar sponsors • email invites began three weeks prior to event, ending one daymust reconcile registrations with actual attendance. Online presentation before the event (does not include event reminder emails)pros generally concur that attendance in the 35% to 50% range ofregistration is acceptable. Many marketers have developed equations to Resultspredict the registration-to-attendance gap. These usually derive from • 89% deliverability = 54,000 emails delivered (6% hard bounce, 5%past performance, plus estimations of brand and content appeal. soft bounce)“Webinar registration is affected by email deliverability, open rate, and • 25% open rate = 13,500 emails opened (average across threeconversions on the registration landing page,” Martell said. emails)Using actual campaign stats to illustrate her point, Martell pointed to the • 15% click-through to registration page = 2,025 visitsfollowing case for tactical audience targeting. • 32% conversion = 648 targets complete and submit registrationObjective: Register 650 prospects using a well-defined contact list. form“Usually half of registrants attend the live event, with an additional 10% • 520 total webinar viewswatching the recorded broadcast when it’s made available,” Martell said.“In this particular scenario we had more than 420 live attendees [morethan 50% of goal], and more than 15% watched the on-demand version.”
  13. 13. The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars 13Following Up: you sell,” noted West. “If you do have a lead nurturing solution, a simple Thank you or Sorry we missed you email just isn’t enough. You need toConverting Webinar Attendees To Customers keep fine-tuning messages to get closer to a sales discussion. AdjustingThe complexities of webinar preparation, content creation and presentation messaging based on how prospects respond to each successive post-are more complex than many other forms of marketing, because webinars event communications is a recognized and effective nurturing tactic.often carry higher expectations from the sales team regarding number ofleads generated. Though logical, those expectations can fail when follow-up strategy is inadequate. Post-Event Qualification Lead ChecklistThe good news for marketers, however, is the interactive functionality of Use registration and webinar poll questions to score/prioritizewebinars helps to qualify and prioritize which attendees are the best leads;prospects. Converting attendees to qualified leads should begin withlooking at which attendees were most engaged during the live session Conduct a post-webinar survey, gathering questions and(Chatting, hand-raising, Q&A participation, etc), and then extend to post- attendee information for lead qualification;event follow-up using incentives and nurturing emails. Immediately follow up with attendees who asked questions, as“You have to start with a clear objective before you can begin classifying these prospects exhibited interest in your product/solution; andwhether we’re generating leads or looking for up-sell/cross-sell After the webinar send a follow-up to attendees with a specialopportunities to an installed base,” Lewis said. “Too few marketers give offer and a link to download the slides. Make sure this emailenough thought beforehand about what kind of respondents they’re going comes from a salesperson that can field any immediate get from specific webinars, and what to do with those respondentsafterwards.”“If you don’t currently have a process for nurturing leads, develop webinartopics on the assumption that attendees are in the market to buy what
  14. 14. The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars 14ConclusionThe value of webinars to educate, engage and generate leads has been well established. Thebarriers to hosting effective webinars tend to be in the content, promotion and follow-up phases.Setting objectives; developing the right content; and doing thorough post-event attendee/leadqualification can help organizations address these challenges. The following checklist notes primaryconsiderations to help marketers create better webinars: Webinar content should be educational, laced with ‘big picture’ ideas and strategic titles to fill the top of the sales funnel; Once prospects are engaged, webinars should drill down on pain points with tactical information and useful how-to examples; Webinar functions like Chat, Polling and Q&A should be used to galvanize audiences, provide insights in real-time (for sponsors and attendees) and sustain a dialogue with prime prospects; Not all webinars need to be an hour long. Experiment with 30-minute and other formats, depending on content depth; Social media is increasingly useful in webinar promotion, engagement, and to drive consumption after the live event; and Marketers should offer both live webinars and recorded “on-demand” versions, as each appeals to different prospect types.
  15. 15. The Power User’s Guide To Successful Webinars 15 About GoToWebinar® Webinars Made Easy® GoToWebinar is an easy-to-use do-it-yourself webinar tool designed to increase market reach by enabling presenters to connect with up to 1,000 attendees online. WithCitrix Online GoToWebinar, you can reduce travel costs, generate more qualified leads at a lower cost7414 Hollister AveGoleta, CA 93117 and enhance communication with customers, prospects and employees. All You Can1.805.690.6400 Reach® – for one low monthly flat About DemandGen Report DemandGen Report is a targeted e-media publication spotlighting the strategies and solutions that help companies better align their sales and marketing organizations, and411 State RT 17 S ultimately, drive growth. A key component of our coverage focuses on the sales andSuite 410Hasbrouck Heights, NJ marketing automation tools that enable companies to better measure and manage their07604 multi-channel demand generation