Good morning, everyone (or afternoon, depending on where you are)! Thanks for joining us today to obtain a game plan for successful webinars. My name is Erin Blaze, Senior Webinar Marketing Specialist here at Marketo. As my title suggests, it is my job to plan and execute webinars, including the one that you are about to take part in. Since I have such a close eye on this topic, I thought it would be fun to share what I’ve learned and gathered over the past year or so. I’m joined today by my colleague, Lizzy, and she will be moderating throughout today’s presentation and will help me to answer any questions you may have about the content.
If you only take away one thing from today’s live event, is that it is being recorded. That’s right, we are recording right now and as a matter of fact, we will be sending you a link to the slides and recording via email later today. We’ll even be touching on how we plan to get those emails out the door. Thirdly, feel free to enter your questions for me in the chat tab and we’ll get to as many of them as we can! Lastly, please remember that we are recording today’s webinar.
Lizzy, did I mention we’re recording?
So, most of us are probably already of the opinion that webinars are a big deal. Otherwise, why are we here? Well, here are just a few reasons…
First, webinar content attracts new prospects and keeps them coming back. A live event almost always seems interesting, but if you record the event for those who can’t attend live, they will need to visit your website to watch it on-demand. Aside from recordings, webinars can easily be repurposed into additional content assets, such as blog posts. We’ll touch on that more later. In doing this, it can help establish your company as a thought leader in your space. The more quality assets you have on a particular topic – an hour-long webinar included – the more credibility you can gain. This reach also has the potential to be very broad. Live interaction with anyone, anywhere can be a very powerful resource. Lastly, but certainly not least, if hosted internally, webinars are a very inexpensive form of marketing that keep generating revenue over time. That’s never a bad thing..
To illustrate how valuable webinars are as a marketing program channel, I pulled this graph from a 2013 MarketingSherpa survey. As you can see, webinars rank at the top, in terms of program effectiveness. 49% of those surveyed indicated that webinars are “very effective”, another 43% said that webinars were “somewhat effective”, meaning that 92% of those surveyed saw success using webinars as a program channel. I think that’s very powerful.
Now that we’ve set the stage for webinar awesomeness, of which you’re probably already aware because you’re here, let’s dive into how you can really get the most bang for your buck by driving the most optimized webinars possible Again, feel free to ask any questions as they come to mind and we’ll try to get to as many of the as possible. But without further ado, today’s agenda: Webinar content – factors to consider when planning out the types of webinars you’ll put on Planning creative and effective promotions – how you’ll get your webinars noticed and drive registration through rockin’ emails Prepping for and executing live event – because that’s just plain important Creating your follow-up strategy – perhaps one of the most crucial yet overlooked steps in the webinar process Measuring success – how to look beneath the surface and see the true value of your webinar programs
Let’s look at webinar content. Most webinars fall into two categories: thought leadership, which is aimed at top-of-funnel folks. These webinars don’t usually focus on a particular product or solution, but rather provide content and ideas that are innovative for your industry.
Secondly, there are product-focused webinars, aimed at later-stage prospects who are familiar enough with your product to dive into product details and functionality.
As your planning your webinar, it’s important to determine which type your webinar falls into so that you can adequately determine who you will invite. For example, you would not want to invite your entire database to a demo of your product because most of those leads would not be ready for that kind of detailed information.
Once you’ve figured out the direction your webinar content will take, you’ll need to decide on how to segment your audience. Would large enterprise companies find a product demo interesting? Would your thought leadership webinar resonate with your B2C prospects? What about sales? Do you want to invite non-marketers to your event?
Now, as a member of your marketing team, it may be your responsibility to handle a multitude of programs, not just webinars, and plan for the coming month, quarter, or even the year. This can make it difficult to keep a cadence of fresh ideas. A demo here, a thought leadership piece there. Blah, blah. Don’t fret because you probably come up with new ideas a lot more often than you think. You just need to execute on them. If you have an idea, put a placeholder on your calendar and discuss it with your team! You never know what may take shape later. As a matter of fact, I once developed a webinar based on my fondness for café mochas, but we’ll talk more about that later Sometimes it’s not about the content itself, but how you market it. By that I mean, the word “webinar” is thrown about quite often. In fact, it could even be considered, “old news”. Just think about how many webinar invites you get. As we’ll discuss throughout the presentation today, it’s more crucial than ever that you set yourself apart.
So, here at Marketo, we’ve promoted webinars as “workshops”, “clinics”, and even “boot camps”. That said, make sure you have a solid understanding of the webinar messaging so that you can effectively promote it. Have stakeholders sign off on abstract/ title.
So, here at Marketo, we’ve promoted webinars as “workshops”, “clinics”, and even “boot camps”. That said, make sure you have a solid understanding of the webinar messaging so that you can effectively promote it. Have stakeholders sign off on abstract/ title.
So, here at Marketo, we’ve promoted webinars as “workshops”, “clinics”, and even “boot camps”. That said, make sure you have a solid understanding of the webinar messaging so that you can effectively promote it. Make sure to have stakeholders, such as your speaker, sign off on the title and abstract.
Finding speakers can sometimes feel like a daunting task. As someone who’s had to recruit speakers before, you may have experienced more of the situation on the left than on the right. Certainly, having a topic and audience lined up first, as we just discussed, will help you narrow down your choices. Every marketing team is a little different in terms of speakers they like to feature. Here at Marketo, we like to switch things up as much as possible to keep things fresh; however, it’s also realistic to expect that you’ll resuse some key “go-to” presenters – those who are either experts or highly recognizable names on a particular topic, or those who are dynamic or entertaining orators who are always willing and able to speak. As most of us have discovered, not everyone you know is a good fit for webinar speaking. That said, here are my tips:
1. Leverage topic experts in your own company - Don’t be afraid to ask around your office. The person sitting next to you right now may be a fantastic speaker and you just don’t know it. Plus, presenting on a webinar is a great way for the speaker to develop their own presentation skills and can help beef up their own resume! 2. Customers can be an excellent resource -These can be a fun way to have a third party showcase success using your product and can help them attain visibility (that is, you’ll probably have pretty good luck finding someone) -Though keep in mind these tend to be more appropriate for product-focused webinars since they feature more case study-type situations You may find opportunities to work with partners in your own space who are willing to co-present and maybe even co-promote your webinar. At Marketo, we actually have a monthly webinar series that features a Marketo LaunchPoint partner and a Marketo customer. If you’re interested in learning more about this, I’ll provide more information at the end of the presentation. Sometimes, you may just find yourself wanting to do something a bit different, something that will grab people’s attention and get your name out there. In this case, it’s often worthwhile to reach out and recruit well-known names in your industry to co-present on a topic of their choice. This past winter, we teamed up with sales strategist Kraig Kleeman for a series of webinars on Sales and Marketing alignment. It should come as no surprise that both of those sessions were two of our top performing webinars to date. Lastly, if you yourself are an expert on a particular topic or if you have a webinar slot on your calendar you having a hard time filling, don’t be afraid to volunteer! As I mentioned earlier, speaking on a webinar will only increase your credibility, confidence, overall awesomeness, like I’m doing right now.
Step #2. Promoting your webinar! We often see great outreach for physical events, but this works very well for virtual events too. Here we have a sample cadence of emails that can be sent throughout the webinar promotional process, which is similar to what we do here at Marketo (although, every webinar is a little bit different, and that’s OK).
At Marketo, we send: -At least two invites (sometimes three) that all drive to a master registration page -Oftentimes, if the webinar is tied to a product release or announcement of some kind, the first invite can timed alongside a press release. I also noted at the bottom here that it’s common for your final email to drive the most attendance (that is, as you ramp up closer to the live event). I personally have actually sent same-day invites before (“hey! Don’t forget to log in”). I highly recommend doing some A/B testing to discover what works best for your team and for your audience) In addition to your invites, you’ll also need -One confirmation email -At least one, if not two reminder emails
As you can see, you’ll also need to plan follow-up emails, but we’ll get to that process later.
We also promote webinars socially on: -Facebook -Twitter -LinkedIn -Marketo events page -Webinar registration page
Here, we have some examples from Facebook, LinkedIn and the smart form on one of our registration pages.
Now that we’ve had a look at an example of a successful promotional cadence, let’s dive into what makes a webinar email eye-catching so that you can drive as many people to your event as possible..
Let’s start with invitations. Your invite email is likely the first glimpse your audience will have of your webinar content, so make it count!
To highlight the importance of your promotional content, a bit of background from my experience as a webinar specialist.
On average, 12.87% average open rate 4.02% click-thru rate
The bottom line is, people are busy and inundated with emails, including invitations to webinars. So, most of invitees who actually take the time to open your invite will simply scan it. So it’s extremely important that you take advantage of the email real estate and be creative!
With this reality in mind, here are a few tips as you go about planning your promotions. 1. Schedule your invites as soon as you finalize webinar date. This will help keep things on track and prevent invites from slipping .the cracks. It’s easy to let time get away from you when you’re planning weeks in advance. Plus, if you have a busy marketing team that’s sending out a lot of emails, this will secure your place on the calendar. This brings us to… 2. Make sure to coordinate with other members of your team. You don’t want an invitee to your webinar getting an email promoting an eBook on a similar topic on the same day. That wouldn’t be good for anyone.
Lizzy, but the way, I recently discovered that Thursday and Friday have had the best click-to-open rates
Tip #3! As I’ve touched on, people scan! Let’s face it. You may be an excellent writer but not all writing styles are appropriate for marketing emails. I myself come from an editorial background and it took me some time to hone this skill. I definitely used to be the guy on the left, though I never did master Latin. My key point is to make your emails short and sweet!
Here are a few examples of Marketo emails that performed well. As you can see, they’re formatted a bit differently, one including a banner and one without, but both utilizing space well with brief, yet effective copy. I recommend bolding or highlighting keywords within your copy to further assist in grabbing people’s attention and placing focus on what the audience will get out of the presentation.
Notice how most of the calls to action are above the fold, meaning toward the top of the email where they’re easily seen.
At Marketo, we always include a speaker photo.
Speaking of specialized art for each webinar, it isn’t totally necessary, this brings me to rockin’ email tip #4. As you noticed on the previous slide, fun art isn’t necessary; however I would strongly recommend it. It grabs attention while adding an element of fun and whimsy to each topic. At Marketo, we have an awesome in-house design team that assists us in creating these banners.
As long as we’re talking about emails that can set your webinar apart, let’s side step a little bit to talk about webinar themes and special offers. This is an example of a webinar we did back in March. I personally enjoy coffee, specifically iced single grande sugar-free mochas, and always wanted to do a webinar in which we offered coffeehouse gift cards to anyone who attends. The coffee theme went from there and evolved into what became “Coffee with Marketo”, a chance to “sit down” with an expert from our product team (in this case, the famous Mike Berger) to discuss Marketo functionality and how to evaluate different solutions. Also, since it was designed as more of an open forum in which people could ask questions, rather than a slide-heavy session in which Mike talked the whole time, we promoted it as a “Q&A webinar”. Similar to the boot camps and workshops highlighted earlier, this helped it stick out.
As you can see, everyone who attended got a Starbucks gift card, which helped drive attendance. As a side note, whenever you offer anything as a reward for attending or registering for an event, you should always check with your legal team to make sure there aren’t any special terms or conditions you need to make clear. You can’t see it on my screen-shot here, but we did list on the reg page that this offer was available to US residents only.
Now, going off the beaten path with your webinar themes can be a lot of fun. But, we still need to be cautious. Often times, when you’re working with several team members on a webinar project, the message of the webinar can get lost and promotional messaging can stray from what the speaker actually intends to present on. Always make sure that the marketer responsible for creating the copy and sending the emails is on the same page as the speaker. It may be a good idea to have the speaker review some of the promotional copy before it’s live; however, be mindful that this can also cause a lot of rounds of editing. Remember, as the marketing specialist or manager, you know what’s best for promotions and it’s up to you to strike a balance between making sure that your email and reg page copy is accurate, while also taking creative ownership and making it interesting!
Now, let’s move on to confirmation and reminder emails. I thought it would be appropriate to provide you with an actual example of what I created for this very webinar. You should have all received this email here containing the webinar date and time, calendar/ Save the Date file and access to the webinar.
At this point, I should mention that the webinar platform we use is ReadyTalk. With ReadyTalk’s integration with Marketo, we’re able to create instant, personalized access, seen here as the Access URL.
This level of personalization also allows us to have instant attendee information immediately following the live event, but we’ll talk more about that later.
Again, these are very important for your promotional process and if you have marketing automation, are also very easy to create and clone.
While we all try to make our emails perfect, everyone makes mistakes! Sometimes, emails are sent out with incorrect information or unpopulated tokens.
If you do send out an email with an error (ie: wrong date or time), don’t sweat it. Depending on the marketing automation solution or email service provider you use, sending a correction email is super easy! In Marketo, using the cloning feature I touched on earlier, you can quickly and efficiently clone an email from your program, update the information, and add in a sentence or two calling out the fact that it’s a correction.
In Marketo, you could even set up a trigger to automatically send that correction only once someone opens the bad email. This would scale back on the number of people who even notice you made a mistake.
Lastly, my advice is to take the opportunity to make the correction email funny and even poke fun at yourself. We’re all human and people get that. Bottom line: just own it and make it right.
By now, some of you may be thinking, “how do I do all of this? How do I create and use all of these assets with limited time and headcount? How do I make the production of all of the emails… scalable?” Excellent question. Well, obviously here at Marketo, we do use our own product to help us achieve all of these all of these multi-step processes. For example, we are able to clone from program templates which makes the upfront work a lot easier.
Now, I’ve recommended that you create quite a few emails. This may look scary but in Marketo, once you have your program cloned (which in other solutions maybe called campaigns), you can begin either creating your emails from scratch, or, depending on the subject matter, and type of email, cloning from emails in other programs. Reminder emails are a good example of emails that are easy to clone because they don’t contain a whole lot of text and have little to no art.
For these, as well as invite or follow-up emails, content can be auto-populated through tokens. Tokens only need to be updated once, when the program is first created.
I don’t want to overwhelm you so I won’t get into much more detail than that. The message here is to use the tools you have to make your process repeatable and scalable so you are not reinventing the wheel each time. If you run as many webinars as we do, that’s a big deal!
Now let’s talk about what needs to happen as the event day draws closer. Dry-run with speakers: this could potentially be a technical dry-run with your webinar platform, such as ReadyTalk, a full-on content rehearsal or both. Just make sure everyone is comfortable and knows what to expect on event day. Speaking of knowing what to expect, it never hurts to send your speakers a calendar invite. You may think that your awesome webinar that you’ve worked so hard to promote is obvious to everyone involved, but people are busy and you need to make sure the speakers show up and are on time I recommend requesting slides from your speakers 3-5 days in advance. This will give you time to provide any feedback you have to the speaker and make edits, if necessary. You never want to get a deck on the morning of the webinar that contains a slightly different title than what you’ve been promoting for weeks. Also, if you’re working with internal speakers, I suggest booking a small, quiet conference room that is equipped with a handset or a headset. Polycoms are great for conference calls, but not webinars. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even put a sign on the door of the room letting people know to keep the noise volume down. Number five, it’s often a good idea to let sales know the webinar is going on. This will give them time to clear their schedule for any follow-up calls they may want to make. Lastly, be sure to send your reminders no later than the day before AND have a follow-up plan ready.
For event day, here are some practical tips I recommend giving your speakers.
4. Mute yourself if not speaking. This is a big one. I actually have a funny story about this. I was moderating on a webinar with a colleague and a speaker from another company. While my colleague was speaking, the co-presenter did not mute his line and ended up washing his dishes in the background. You could actually hear the clanking of the dishes and the rinsing of water. This was obviously very distracting to my colleague and confusing background noise for the attendees. Mute yourself, guys.
Some other obvious points that are not obvious to everyone I’ve encountered. Have water on hand and please, please, please no gum or lozenges. Believe me, your attendees will notice it.
Fast-forward to the end of your event. You’re done, congratulations! But wait, you’re not done yet.
Following up after a webinar is mission critical. Not everyone is aware of this.
If you don’t follow up with your registrants and attendees, you lose a golden opportunity to keep your brand and content top of mind…
So, have a follow-up game plan lined up a head of time; including having your emails built and your slides uploaded to the appropriate webinar platform and social sharing sites. This will allow for swift follow-ups.
At Marketo, we shoot to follow-up within three hours of the webinar’s conclusion. We’re able to do this due in large part to our integration with ReadyTalk which sends attendee information to the webinar program in Marketo with the touch of a button. Once the update is complete, all there is left to do is edit the recording, which can also be done quickly and easily within ReadyTalk.
In case I neglected to mention this earlier, we always provide both the slides and recording to all webinar registrants.
This is just a quick illustration of how effective fast follow-ups can be. This particular graph references virtual trade shows but the point remains the same. For both email open and click-to-open rates, the first vendor to follow up has advantage over the third vendor. We see a particularly large advantage with the click-to-open rate.
Bottom line: act fast to keep your event top of mind.
People are busy and you need to strike while the iron is hot
In addition to providing the slides and/or webinar recording, another way to take advantage of the follow-up is to include secondary CTA’s, or calls to action. I’ve included a few Marketo examples here. They can range from a simple Act-Now process, which upon clicking a “Contact Me” link, a trigger campaign is activated and notifies the Sales team to reach out immediately. Another example is to provide a secondary asset, such as an eBook or report that relates to the webinar topic. My example here is from a Sales and Marketing Alignment study was co-written by one of our co-founders. We ran a webinar detailing the primary findings of the study, then distributed the actual report within the follow-up email.
As noted earlier in the presentation, it’s often very important to keep sales aware that webinars are going on, particularly late-stage or product-focused webinars.
If you know you have a certain number of those webinars coming up in a given month, shoot an email to the head of sales giving him or her a heads up of when the webinars will be occurring. Then, when the webinar is over, send them any relevant details they may want in order to follow-up with certain leads via phone.
Before we breeze into Step 4, I wanted to provide an example of how webinars can be repurposed into different types of content after the webinar is done and the follow-ups are sent. One of the primary ways we repurpose webinars at Marketo is through blog posts. This is an example of a very successful webinar we did with ModoLabs, one of our LaunchPoint partners. The topic, Getting Ahead of the Herd through Mobile-Optimized Marketing generated a lot of traffic on the blog and as you can see, was shared 731 times and actually went on to become an eBook. So, in this case, the webinar was highly effective in reaching multiple audiences through multiple channels.
Now on to step 4. Measuring success. As we can see with these cute rabbits here, success is not always what it appears on the surface.
In my opinion, one of the most important things to remember when you’re looking at the numbers and metrics associated with your program, is that webinar success is more clearly defined as time goes on. The number of attendees is important, but it’s not the entire story. As we touched on at the beginning of the presentation, webinars are great for nurturing prospects and customers over time, contribute to multi-touch opportunities and multi-touch pipeline.
To expand on that, this chart is a great illustration of how good webinars are for us at Marketo! As you can see, Marketo webinars – or those that are hosted internally – are the third best program channel in terms of multi-touch pipeline attribution and opportunities created. For those of you who haven’t heard that term before, let me expand on that. With multi-touch attribution, marketers can understand the influence of every campaign that touched a deal. During the course of a lead’s lifetime, they are touched by multiple programs. Maybe they entered your database via a live event, and later downloaded an eBook and attended a webinar. In this buying journey, the pipeline would be credited across all of the campaigns, instead of just that which captured the name.
So, here we see that, in terms of opportunities created from multiple touches, webinars contributed to over a thousand of those and contributed to nearly $40, 000,000 in pipeline, again, the third largest contributor among the channels.
Finally, to show it in more black and white terms, these charts drive home the importance of looking beyond the initial registration and attendance numbers. The first box is a screen shot from a Marketo program summary page. This is an example of ‘good’ measurement. Many of you are probably reporting in a way that is similar to this and it is useful. Here we can see for this event – the # of people invited, registered, attended and no shows.
The second grid is to me the holy grail of reporting – and this is showing the program’s impact on pipeline by going down one more level to not only the number of opportunities and pipeline driven, but actual number of closed/won deals that lead to bookings. This is where you really get the attention of your senior team because it is very clear from a dollar value the impact of the event.