Running physical events can be a very expensive undertaking, so many businesses are turning to webinars as an alternative.
A webinar can be a brilliant way to demonstrate expertise, build trust with prospects, and potentially make sales. The key is to always deliver valuable content - what makes that webinar irresistible to your audience?
Of course, you can have the best possible content, but that doesn’t mean people will automatically come. What you need is a killer webinar marketing strategy that draws in an audience and ensures your efforts don’t go to waste. Here are some tips for marketing your next webinar:
Define your Objectives and Audience First
Why exactly are you hosting a webinar? What goals do you aim to achieve through the webinar? For example, you might want to:
- Generate warm leads for a product or service that you sell
- Build up an audience for your content
- Position your brand as a thought leader on your topic
- Nurture relationships with current customers by providing value
You may have more than one goal, but these objectives determine both your content and your target audience. It’s important not to skip the step of defining your goals.
Defining your target audience
If your goal is generating new leads, then you’re looking for a target audience that isn’t currently a customer. Articulate what these people look like and how you will connect with them to form the foundation of your marketing strategy.
On the other hand, if you’re providing the webinar to build up an audience, work on your brand positioning, or nurture current customers, those audiences will look different.
Buyer personas are a tool that marketers can use to create a clear picture of who they are targeting. A buyer persona might include things like:
- The location of the person
- Age, gender, and level of education
- Relationship status and whether or not they have kids
- Job role
- Income range
- Their goals and motivations
- Their key challenges
- The social circles or groups they hang out in
Include as much or as little information as necessary to create an accurate persona for the audience you are targeting. Some things will not be relevant but creating a clear picture helps you appeal to those people.
Have an Optimized Landing Page
Once you have identified your webinar goals and ideal webinar audience, you can craft better messaging to attract that audience. A key part of any webinar marketing strategy is to have an optimized landing page. This is where you will drive traffic, offer information about your webinar, and encourage people to sign up.
By “optimized,” we mean that your landing page has been designed to appeal to your audience as much as possible and that you use keywords that will help with SEO for your page. Let’s look more closely:
Appealing to your audience
Conversion optimization experts often look to psychological principles to help optimize web pages. Basically, the idea is that you use the sorts of language, positioning, and message types that are geared to elicit action from your target audience.
Some key principles include:
- Pain-pleasure - People have a basic instinct to seek pleasure and avoid pain. This heavily influences decision-making. On your landing page, you might directly address a source of pain for your target audience and provide a solution to alleviate that pain.
- Loss aversion - Humans are more motivated to avoid a loss than to pursue a gain. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a manifestation of this and can be used on your landing page. For example, you might create urgency by announcing that spots are limited or by having a countdown clock after which there will be no more registrations.
- Self-determination theory - This makes us think “I want what they’re having.” On your landing page, you might include testimonials to meet this psychological principle.
Consider these psychological principles when writing your landing page copy, but also remember to be direct. People want to know detailed information of what is being covered in the webinar, who it is for, and why they should sign up. A mistake we sometimes see is when companies leave out vital information (date and time, for example!).
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a huge topic in itself, so we’ll touch on it briefly here. Specifically, when you’re looking at optimizing your landing page, keywords play a big role.
Again, we could write an entire post about keyword research, but the short version is this; make a list of relevant keywords for your page and try to figure out what someone might type into Google when their intent is similar to what you have on offer. You can use keyword tools to help determine search volume, such as Google Keyword Planner or Keywordtool.io.
Once you have a shortlist of keywords, include them strategically on your landing page. You might use them in headers, meta descriptions, header tags, and page copy. You could also include them in the URL for your landing page.
Market Where Your Audience Is
Now that you’ve identified who you want to sign up for your webinar and have an idea of their motivations and where to find them, it’s time to market where they are. Pick and choose your marketing methods for your audience, but here are some strategies that work:
Email marketing can work on a couple of different fronts. One is where people who are already on your contact list are an ideal fit for your webinar, in which case, it’s a no-brainer. Emails are free to send out and get results when done well.
People already on your list may know other people who are an ideal match for your webinar. It doesn’t cost you anything to send out an engaging email and encourage them to share it, or invite others.
Also, you may have partners, or you may outsource marketing to a third-party who have contact lists that are a good match for your audience. Sometimes partner referrals are powerful, especially when they are well-established and have the trust of a wide audience.
This can be done on your own website (free), and on the websites of partners or others who have a similar target audience (may not be free). Website marketing includes tools such as banner ads, pop-ups, and video teasers. You may even include relevant pieces of content that naturally flow into signing up for the webinar.
In any case, it’s important that you have a good “hook.” You will usually have less room than what you do on your landing page, so you need clear headlines and succinct communication of the benefits of signing up.
If you’re advertising on partner websites, or through say, content syndication, then it’s important to have clear criteria for the websites you will advertise on. At a minimum, they should cater to a similar target audience, but not be direct competitors. Aside from that, consider who best reflects your own values and reputation too.
Social media advertising
The key for social media promotion of your webinar is that you need to know where your audience is on social media. If you happen to be targeting under-25’s, you may not find them on Facebook!
Social media posts can be time-consuming and paid advertising obviously costs money, so you’ll get better ROI from focusing on just one or two key channels and doing them well. It costs nothing to post about your webinar, pin posts or tweets to the top of your feeds, or advertise in the cover photo of your profile.
Paid advertising on social media is a great way to get better results because you can use the segmentation options available in the advertising tool. This allows you to hone in on specific audiences who are a match for your webinar.
Other paid advertising
Here are a few other avenues for paid advertising, which you might consider based on your audience and budget:
- Google pay-per-click
- Content syndication platforms, such as Outbrain or Taboola
- Industry publications your target audience reads
- Direct mail campaigns
- Third-party agencies who specialize in event and webinar marketing (such as Banzai)
When you’re running a webinar event, “create it and they will come” does not work for drawing in an audience. People are constantly bombarded with offers, both online and offline. You need a good marketing strategy to cut through the noise.
Importantly, you don’t want just anyone turning up to your webinar. If it’s really not for them, then it will be a waste of both your and their time. You need targeted attendees, and the place to begin is by knowing exactly what they look like.