Host a Successful Webinar Every TimeBy Gini Dietrich

A couple of weeks ago, I did a webinar for Content Marketing Institute and ON24 on How to Host a Successful Webinar Every Time.

It was a take-off of Host a Successful Webinar with These 16 Steps that I’ve written about both here and in Spin Sucks, the book.

It was fast-paced and fun and we had a ton of questions. I mean, a ton.

So many that we couldn’t get to them all in the 15 minutes we had for Q&A.

CMI gracefully agreed to send me the questions so I could find a way to answer them.

Because it’s Canada Day today and Independence Day on Friday and not many people are working, I thought I’d answer all of those questions now to make it an easy piece to reference when you’re back at work next week (assuming you’re back at work next week!).

Host a Webinar that Generates Qualified Leads

    1. What about B2C? It’s true. Most of my experience, particularly when it comes to lead generation and using webinars to do that, is for business-to-business organizations. But what works for B2B always works for business-to-consumer. It doesn’t always work the other way around, but in this case, it doesn’t matter the organization. The steps work for all.
    2. What targeting a global audience, do you do two live events to cover Asia and EU/LATAM/US separately? I hate to admit we don’t do this. It’s a large undertaking to do a webinar (it’s easily 15 hours every month) so the idea of adding one more live event to what we already do is a bit overwhelming. BUT we do record the webinars so anyone can have access to it, on-demand, whenever they like.
    3. My company is located in the central time zone and our audience is all over the country. Should we generally market webinars using eastern time? We’re in central and we always market using eastern time. I don’t necessarily know that that’s a hard and fast rule. We do it because most people tend to know how eastern time affects them. Central and mountain time zones are lost on many.
    4. I heard you mention to add a URL on print mailer. Do you agree with Scott Stratten that QR codes kill kittens? Ha! I don’t. (Sorry, Scott!) Here’s why: Every time I travel outside of the country, I see QR codes everywhere. They’re used extremely efficiently to get lots of information to the masses. Heck, in Ctl Alt Delete, Mitch Joel tells a story of a North Korean grocery store chain that uses QR codes in the subway to deliver groceries to you (super innovative). North America is way behind, in this regard.
    5. What is your recommended timing for direct mail? This is regards to sending a postcard to your mailing list about your upcoming webinar. I’d do it a month in advance. And make sure you have a unique—and shortened—URL on there so you can track its effectiveness.
    6. Do you have any statistics on how many folks are watching your webinar replay? Yes! It’s about 60 percent of those who register. And some people (between 15 and 20 percent) watch them multiple times. We put our webinars on YouTube, behind a private link, so we get all of that kind of data.
    7. We started webinars this year. My boss isn’t seeing immediate ROI and may scrap the project after this year. How do I convince him that these things take time and momentum? This is so hard because so many executives want immediate results. They’re looking for overnight success and believe some of these marketing tactics will get them there. It’s getting worse with the fast-paced change of technology. But, there is no such thing as overnight success. This stuff takes time. You have to condition your audience to something like this that’s new. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It could take a year to see significant results, which is an eternity for an executive to wait to see results.
    8. Do incentives, like tweeting with a hashtag for the chance to win a gift card or book, etc, help make a webinar more successful? Heck, yes! People love free stuff so give it to them!
    9. I am about to do my first webinar so these tips have been really insightful, thank you. What would your advice be for preparing for your first webinar? Be patient! There are a thousand things that can—and will—go wrong. Your technology may screw up. Your host may get sick. No one may show up. It’s OK. These things happen. So be patient and be ready for anything to go wrong.
    10. How do you promote the recorded webinar? We only send it once via email to those who registered. We also keep it archived on the Spin Sucks Pro home page, in the downloads section, and it’s on the sidebar of Spin Sucks for a couple of weeks post-event.
    11. What’s PESO again? It’s paid, earned, shared, and owned media. Here is a nice blog post—and image—that will help.
    12. Is there a way to do the same thing with Hubspot? You can pretty much own the world with Hubspot…or any other marketing automation software, for that matter. So yes. If you use Hubspot, you can do all of this in there. And then some.
    13. Do you keep your recordings live in perpetuity? We do! They’re on-demand forever and ever.
    14. We work with hotels and hoteliers, we are great at generating content and have a fantastic online magazine, generating a global reach. We are looking to use webinars to remain at the forefront. Is it cost-effective, long-term? Yes. One of the most cost-effective tools you can use. Look at how many companies use webinars as a marketing and lead generation tool. It’s a big time and resource investment so if they didn’t work, no one would continue doing them.
    15. Is it better to take questions throughout the webinar to engage conversation from your viewers or save all questions until the end with a moderator? I waffle on this. The webinar software we use has a live chat function, which some people love and others despise. If I had to choose, I’d wait until the end so you don’t interrupt the flow of the webinar and so the host can get through all of his or her content.
    16. You said social media is not strong for generating registrations, is this typical or just representative of your company? It’s the case for every webinar we’ve ever done—for us and for our clients. It’s great for awareness building, but email marketing is, by far, the most effective. The blog post we write about the webinar here is second most effective.
    17. Do you find that Facebook advertising is effective even for your B2B clients? My company got rid of its Facebook page several years ago because it wasn’t effective. LinkedIn has been great for us, but we have not explored the possibility of Facebook ads. Yes! It works incredibly well. It works so well, it seems like you should promote more than just your webinars on your page. We’re averaging just less than $3 per registration right now, but it’s down from $7 at the beginning of the year. Our goal is less than $1 by year’s end. You get better at targeting and writing the content.
    18. What webinar software do you recommend? We use ClickWebinar, which is cost-effective for us. I also love Adobe Connect and ON24. I hate GoToWebinar. That’s what we used to use and it was expensive, didn’t allow us to play video, didn’t accept Keynote, and you couldn’t show someone’s screen and then switch to video. That may have all changed (we left them two years ago), but that’s why we left.
    19. Will you have a checklist available listing the items we went over today? Yes! You can find them in Host a Successful Webinar with These 16 Steps or you can buy Spin Sucks and get even more in there.
    20. How do you coach sales people to follow up with webinar attendees that look like qualified leads? This so hard! Most sales people are incentivized to bring in the whales and they don’t typically like to follow-up with people who aren’t their own connections. We have a client who, last year, we convinced to change the structure of the incentive program to include following up on the leads generated from inbound marketing. It took a little while, but it’s starting to work now. That’s the only way we’ve found it works: It has to come from the top of the organization and it has to include incentives.

Now it’s your turn. What questions do you have about producing, promoting, and hosting a successful webinar that generates qualified leads?

P.S. There will be no blog posts on Friday. I’m sorry you’ll miss Gin and Topics. I’ll miss putting it together for you. But we’ll be back next week!

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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