This article was updated in September 2022.
Running safe, in-person events can be an expensive and taxing undertaking, so many businesses are turning to webinars as a powerful marketing tool.
Implementing a webinar marketing strategy is a brilliant way to demonstrate expertise, build trust with prospects, and encourage sales. The key is to deliver valuable content (what makes that webinar irresistible to your audience?). You may have the top-rated webinar software and a strong topic, but that doesn’t guarantee people will come. You need a killer webinar marketing strategy that draws in an audience and ensures your efforts bear fruit.
Build an effective online webinar marketing strategy by:
- Defining your objective
- Identifying your target audience
- Optimizing your webinar landing page
- Creating a workback schedule
- Involving your sales and customer success (CS) teams
- Choosing the right channels and marketing methods
- Running post-webinar promotional campaigns
Continue reading for a deep dive on crafting a webinar marketing strategy that drives qualified registrations and transforms them into engaged attendees.
Define Your Objectives
Why are you hosting a webinar? What goals do you aim to achieve through it? For example, you might want to:
- Generate warm leads for your sales team to follow up with
- Build up an audience for your content
- Position your brand as a thought leader on your topic
- Nurture relationships with current customers
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 creating defined webinar goals for your upcoming event.
Identify Your Target Audience
If your goal is to generate new leads through engaged webinar attendees, then your target audience isn’t currently a customer. Articulate who these people are and how you’ll connect with them to form the foundation of your marketing strategy.
On the other hand, if the purpose of your webinar is to expand your audience base, work on your brand positioning, or nurture current customers, those audiences will all look different.
Buyer personas are a tool marketers use to paint a clear picture of who they’re targeting. A buyer persona might include:
- 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 with
- Social media channels they are active on
Include as much or as little information as necessary to construct an accurate persona for the audience you’re targeting for webinar registrations. Some things will be irrelevant, but capturing a clear image helps you produce a valuable webinar for your target audience.
Optimize the Webinar Landing Page
Once you’ve identified your webinar goals and ideal webinar audience, you can craft messaging that resonates with your audience. There are many channels discussed in the webinar marketing examples you’ll find, but an optimized landing page is a key component to any successful strategy that is often neglected. This is where you’ll drive traffic, offer information about your webinar, and encourage people to register.
By “optimized,” we mean your landing page design appeals to your audience and convinces them to convert or register for your webinar.
Appealing to your audience
Conversion optimization experts often turn to psychological principles to help optimize web pages. Basically, the idea is that you use language, positioning, and message types intended to elicit action from your target audience.
Some important 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 an effective element on your landing page. For example, you could induce urgency by announcing that spots are limited or by featuring a countdown clock after which there will be no more registrations.
- Self-determination theory - This makes us think, “I want what they have.” On your landing page, you might include testimonials to leverage this psychological phenomenon.
- Make it easy - Avoid hindering your own efforts when pushing your audience to register for your webinar. The registration form should be easy to find and simple to fill out. The more hoops a person has to jump through to sign up, the more likely they’ll abandon your registration page before completing the form.
Consider these psychological principles when writing your landing page copy, but also be direct. People want clear and concise information about what’s being covered in the webinar, who it’s for, and why they should sign up.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a huge topic on its own, so we’ll only touch on it briefly. Specifically, when optimizing your landing page, keywords and on-page SEO play a big role.
Again, we could write an entire post about keyword research, but the short version is: Make a list of relevant keywords for your page and try to figure out what someone might search for when their intent is similar to what you offer. Employ keyword tools to help determine search volume, such as Google Keyword Planner or Keywordtool.io.
Once you have a shortlist of keywords, choose one to place strategically on your landing page. You could include them in headers, meta descriptions, header tags, and page copy. You should also insert your keyword into your landing page’s URL.
Create a Workback Plan
A workback plan is a scheduling method that lets professionals assign resources and tasks in reverse order. Build a plan starting with the webinar launch day and include all the tasks you need to accomplish from end to beginning. This method works well for webinars because it enables professionals to:
- Meet crucial deadlines. Once you settle on the webinar launch date, you can work in reverse and decide when you should launch the landing page. Subsequently, you’ll identify the deadline for getting a “Yes” from your webinar speakers (if you invite any). Or, you can set the deadline for deciding the webinar topic and structure.
- Structure marketing campaigns more efficiently. How will you promote your webinar three days before it streams? How about one month? Will you use the same tactics?
Professionals often deploy different pre-event marketing strategies depending on the streaming date. Although you may begin your webinar promotional campaign one month before the streaming, you may become more active the week before its launch. A workback schedule will help you visualize the marketing timeline and plan your actions accordingly.
- Set up a notification timeline for attendees. It’s smart to work in reverse when planning your communication strategy for attendees. A workback plan will help you decide how to structure your notification timeline and visualize the messages you’ll send them one hour, 24 hours, three days, and one week before the webinar.
To create a workback plan for your webinar, you’ll have to decide the streaming date and then work in reverse to identify the important dates in terms of:
- Concept, such as the webinar program, and guests if applicable, main topic, webinar structure (do you need a Q&A session?), and more
- Logistics, including the rehearsal day and the webinar platform setup
- Marketing or the tactics you’ll deploy to promote your webinar, using a backward timeline
- Communication or the timeline for the email notifications your attendees will receive prior to the webinar
When constructing a workback plan, you’ll have to anticipate how long certain tasks will take. Once you run a few webinars, you’ll know exactly how much time to estimate for each assignment.
Involve Your Sales and CS Teams
We’re accustomed to viewing webinars as a marketing tool only. However, the purpose of yours is derived from your overall business goals. When designed correctly, webinars can serve your entire company, including your sales and CS team members.
Before kicking off planning sessions, schedule a meeting with your sales and customer success teams to discuss and align your overall objective(s) for the webinar. During this meeting, you can identify marketing, sales, or customer success goals such as:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Attracting high-quality leads
- Transforming leads into free trial users
- Converting free trial users into paying customers
- Scaling the product onboarding
- Cross-selling or upselling your product
Regardless of your intent, you need to discuss and agree on it with your sales and customer success teams, then start to plan.
Moreover, working closely with your sales and customer support teams will help you extend the reach of your webinars. For example, you can involve your colleagues in your marketing campaign by asking them to promote your webinar with their close contacts, which may include prospects, company accounts, and existing customers.
Choose the Right Channels and Marketing Methods
The next step is to find the best channels to promote your webinar (in other words, identify where to be active to connect with potential attendees). For example, if you have a strong mailing list, you should focus on building a robust email campaign. If you’ve built a thriving community on social media, work on designing a marketing campaign for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. It all depends on your existing audience and your methods to connect with it.
Email marketing can be impactful on a number of fronts. It allows you to connect with people who are already on your contact list and are an ideal fit for your webinar. Emails can be quickly sent and return almost immediate results.
People on your list may know other individuals who also would find value in your webinar. Send an engaging email and encourage them to share it or invite others.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to incorporate emails into your webinar marketing plan template:
- Feature your webinar in your monthly newsletter.
- Email past attendees inviting them to attend.
- Craft emails for your sales and CS teams to send inviting their top customers and prospects.
- Add the webinar to your team's email signatures.
- Create nurture emails promoting registration for on-demand webinars.
- Co-market with partners to send an email to their qualified contacts.
This can be done on your website and on those of partners or others who have a similar target audience. Website marketing includes elements such as banner ads, pop-ups, and video teasers. You may even feature relevant pieces of content and blog posts with a clear call to action to register for the webinar.
Whatever tactics or content you include, it’s important you have an attractive “hook.” You’ll usually have less room than on your landing page, so you need clear headlines and succinctly communicate the benefits of signing up.
It’s crucial you have clear criteria for the websites you’ll advertise on (e.g., partner websites, content syndication). At a minimum, they should cater to a similar target audience without being direct competitors. Additionally, consider who best reflects your values and reputation to find appropriate partners.
Social media advertising
“How to promote a webinar on social media?” is an oft-asked question for many marketers. The key is knowing what channels your audience uses. If you’re targeting people under 25 for instance, you may not find them on Facebook.
Social media posts can be time-consuming, and paid advertising requires a significant budget, so you’ll achieve a higher ROI by focusing on only one or two key channels. 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 another great way to yield strong 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
- Webinar marketing software that specializes in audience acquisition like Reach
Run Post-Webinar Promotional Campaigns
Webinars should continue even once the session is over. After all, on-demand webinars can produce results months after their initial streaming date. This is especially true for evergreen webinars, which are built to generate value regardless of when people access them.
However, your leads may be unaware of your existing on-demand webinar collection. That’s why you need to run post-webinar promotional campaigns to attract new viewers. You can use the same marketing tactics as live webinars to promote your previous ones. Apart from these methods, you can also:
- Create an email campaign and send it to people who’ve never attended one of your events or those who registered to attend but failed to show up
- Send an email to attendees who left early nudging them to watch the entire webinar
Your webinar marketing strategy is incomplete without a strong post-webinar promotional campaign, so Find ways to generate consistent results weeks and months after your webinar ends.
When it comes to drawing in an audience, the adage “create it and they will come” is a fruitless belief. People are constantly bombarded with offers, both on and offline, so you need to stand out to attract their attention. Build a webinar marketing strategy using the tactics in this blog to cut through the noise and reach your target audience.