You have two approaches to choose between when launching your marketing webinars. The first involves designing webinars as one-way communication platforms. Although not recommended, marketers tend to approach webinars as “watch and forget” sessions, where they:
- See attendees as passive consumers of content
- Share product-centered information
- Focus on sales talk
- Reduce user engagement to Q&A sessions
- Prioritize the company’s interests over the attendees’ needs
Ignoring post-webinar activities is another defining element of this approach. Usually, marketers will send a post-webinar survey or a thank you email — and end it there.
They fail to dedicate time to continue nurturing the relationship they established during the session. As a result, marketers end up with a simple list of attendees who, in most cases, show no interest in further interaction.
The “watch and forget” approach is unsustainable. You can invest multiple resources into creating high-quality marketing webinars. But, if you keep pushing branded content without building authentic connections with your audience, you’ll yield a low return on investments.
The ongoing changes in buyers’ purchasing habits may explain this trend. According to Forrester’s research, “B2B buyers now demand an entirely different kind of relationship with your organization: They expect to be treated as equal partners, through experiences that are increasingly open, connected, intuitive, and immediate.”
People want to interact with brands that listen to, understand, and meet their needs. Rather than passively consuming branded content, buyers want to participate by engaging with companies actively. In other words, engagement marketing is a must.
So, instead of investing in creating “watch and forget” events, choose the second approach to webinars: designing them as conversation starters.
Build an Environment for Two-Way Communication
You may run webinars to increase brand awareness, build trust, attract high-quality leads, transform MQLs into SQLs, or acquire free-trial users. However, you can’t treat webinars as one-way communication tools to achieve these results.
Marketing webinars are conversation starters. When done correctly, they create the right environment for igniting and continuing the conversation.
This holistic approach to webinars lets you carefully design the interaction with your audience before, during, and, most importantly, after the session.
Webinars shouldn’t end once the session is over. Conversations-starters work thanks to their emphasis on post-event nurturing. These post-webinar activities will help you:
- Keep the conversation going
- Get to know your audience better
- Nurture a meaningful connection with your attendees
- Ensure consistent contact between your audience and your brand
- Build brand trust and confidence
Post-webinar activities are equally important as the webinar itself. They allow your team to engage in effective communication with the people who registered for your session.
Keep the Conversation Going
Your engagement strategy is incomplete without post-webinar activities. Before the event, you focus on broadcasting the event, connecting with your audience, and creating a point of conversation based on the topic of your session.
During the event, customer engagement involves multiple activities, such as:
- Interactive polls with stats
- Featured actions
- Handouts and gifts
- Q&A sessions
- Private and public chat
- Mentions and gestures
(Note: The webinar platform Demio offers an entire suite of engagement tools to guarantee attendee interaction during your webinars.)
However, what you do once the webinar is over can make or break your overall strategy. The conversations and connections you build before and during the webinar will slowly fade unless you keep the interaction alive.
Let’s say you’re interested in fostering a professional relationship with an industry leader. You’ve engaged with them in one-on-one meetings and are eager to see how this connection will develop in terms of work-related projects.
However, after the meeting, you cease communication entirely but still expect to launch several projects with that industry leader. In most cases, if you fail to nurture the connection through ongoing communication, you won’t be able to grow the relationship and derive any value from it.
This holds true for your webinar attendees. Webinar marketing is about engagement, but to generate positive results from this client engagement, you must push the conversation forward.
You do that by designing powerful post-webinar activities. This will transform the initial connection into a long-lasting relationship with your audience.
Drive Connection With Post-Webinar Activities
For most marketers, standard post-webinar practice is to send a thank you email that includes the session recordings. While there’s nothing wrong with this, the conversation will die if you limit your strategy to this single communication only.
Luckily, you have a wide variety of post-webinar activities to choose from or combine as you see fit. We’ve broken down a few below.
→ Send Knowledge-Packed Follow-Ups
Instead of a generic “thank you,” create a post-webinar email that includes the following elements:
- A thank you note for attending the webinar
- The webinar recordings with a timeline, highlighting the topics you tackled during the session
- The webinar presentation (if you used slides)
- Your guests’ presentation (if you had any)
- A summary to ensure people will remember the main highlights of the webinar
- Any relevant content piece(s) related to the topic discussed during the webinar
All these attributes will help your attendees make sense of the webinar, structure their knowledge, and memorize the main highlights.
You can close your email with a specific question or invite your attendees to ask you questions. Add a note saying you’ll read and reply to all emails you receive. This way, your attendees will feel encouraged to open the conversation and ask you questions.
→ Ignite Community Conversations
This post-webinar activity works well if you’ve built a community around your brand. Like the knowledge-packed follow-ups, you can publish a webinar-related post on your community space. This post could have the following structure:
- A brief description of the webinar
- The recordings of the session
- A quick recap, including the main insights people can derive from the webinar and any relevant illustrations, if desired.
- Additional resources (if any)
Another option is to write a post detailing specific insights you identified or provided during the webinar. Subsequently, you can ask your audience to share their thoughts about it.
The main goal of this post-webinar activity is to engage both your webinar attendees and your community members.
→ Discuss With Your Audiences on Social Media
Similar to community conversations, you can reignite the dialogue with your attendees by discussing specific webinar-related topics on social media. You can do that by repurposing webinar content to create posts that include elements such as:
- Presentation slides
- Clips and shorts from the webinar
- Short audio clips
- Screenshots from the webinar
- Quotes from your guests
- Insights or facts
- Webinar highlights
Then, publish these elements on your company’s and personal social media profiles. As we mentioned earlier, engaging your webinar attendees and general brand audience on social media works best if you already have a strong online presence and people like to engage with your posts. Otherwise, your webinar-related content may remain unnoticed.
→ Offer Post-Webinar Gifts
Apart from knowledge-packed emails, you can also engage your attendees by sending them a post-webinar gift. Whether it’s a discount code, a downloadable, or free access to a future event, surprise your attendees with offers and gifts.
Additionally, send people reminders to access the handouts offered during the webinar. Or, if people don’t use your gift, follow up to let them know what they’re missing. This way, you’ll ensure an ongoing interaction between your audience and your brand.
→ Invite People to Future Webinars
Another way to engage your attendees is by inviting them to future webinars. Send them an email highlighting their interest in a specific topic (derived from a previous webinar they attended) and indicating the value they’ll receive from the new session.
This effectively nurtures your leads and moves them through the marketing funnel. For this tactic, you’ll want to design a webinar strategy based on a broad subject you can gradually narrow down via new sessions.
→ Bonus: Reach out to Registered Attendees Who Didn’t Attend
Not all webinar registrations translate into active attendees. In fact, most webinar registrants skip the live session. However, your non-attendees deserve your attention as well, given their interest in your webinar topic. By engaging your non-attendees, you have the potential to:
- Convince them to attend your next live webinars
- Transform them into non-paying users
- Move them through the pipeline and convert them into customers
After all, they registered and provided their contact information to access your content. Although they weren’t part of the initial conversation, you can still connect with them. Engage your non-attendees by sending them an email that may include:
- The webinar recordings
- Gifts and handouts
- Webinar presentation(s)
- Any relevant information that may ignite their interest
Moreover, invite your registrants to attend your next event on a related subject. This way, you’ll showcase the value of your brand and the educational material you share, which will transform some of the non-attendees into live webinar participants.
Two-way communication is the most (if not only) efficient strategy for fostering enduring relationships with your leads, prospects, and customers. While most marketing activity is based on one-way communication, webinars are excellent conversation starters. However, igniting conversations with your audience also needs a post-webinar strategy that includes follow-up activities to achieve long-term success.
To leverage the power of webinar marketing, keep the conversation going by engaging and interacting with your attendees long after the session. Additionally, webinar platforms such as Demio can help you automate certain post-webinar activities like follow-up emails, handouts, and invitations. You have a wide variety of options to choose from, so take advantage and expand your post-webinar repertoire.