How Can Webinars Help Grow My Business?

The world of business changes constantly; however, one thing stays the same. Getting customers is the priority for a business to stay profitable. Simply advertising is not enough. A business needs to engage regularly with prospective customers. People like to consume content in different ways, especially video, podcasting and webinars. Offering useful content with webinars is a popular way to drive business and retain customers.

Many professionals get intimidated with the thought of using webinars. It seems confusing to set up and plan them out for success. They are like anything else we embrace. It takes time, a plan, and practice to use them effectively. Using certain steps makes the process easier and manageable. If you can find someone who is successful with using webinars, follow that person and find out how they plan and promote webinars. It’s always better to emulate success.

Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Plan the Content

This seems like common sense; however, it is extremely important when creating webinar content. It is best to have a calendar for marketing in place. This gives time to develop what promotional content gets used when it's time to promote the webinar. Know what marketing is already scheduled for an upcoming period. Are there gaps that a webinar fills? Know this before starting any content creation. It takes a month to plan, produce, and promote a webinar. A cohesive and intentional plan is the best foundation for webinar success. 

Understand who the content targets. Is it an introduction to a product or service? Is it a how-to? Is the content meant to answer questions for repeat customers? It is best to know what stage a customer is at when buying a product or service. This allows tailor-made content directed to the targeted group. Once known, specific topics get developed for each show to avoid duplication.

2) Where Is the Best Place to Promote the Webinar?

Many use social media sites as a promotional tool. This strategy works well.  A one-time email blast isn't enough. The best method involves one announcement invite when the date gets set, sent two to three weeks before the webinar date. Another email invite a few days before the webinar broadcast helps push last-minute registrations. 

If you don't have a large email list to promote to, there are other tools you can use.  Landing pages work wonders for creating hype. They have one clear message and one clear call-to-action: SIGN UP ! Landing pages can be promoted on social media with a link. Social media is also valuable because it is shareable. 

Blogs and bloggers are useful as a promotional tool.  Bloggers often have a large following. If you have a relationship with a blogger and it relates to the subject matter of your webinar, ask that person if they would be willing to promote it to their readers. Use your company blog to talk about the webinar topic and include invitations for readers to subscribe to view the webinar. It is smart to touch on topics in the blogs that will get covered in-depth in the broadcast. Social media sites like LinkedIn have a publishing platform. Write an article that talks about the topic of your webinar and share it with your connections.  Be sure to add a registration link to the article. 

3. Considerations Before Going Live

Many tools and platforms exist to create a webinar. Depending on the business and clients targeted, choosing the right one is important. Smaller businesses with specific markets may choose services like YouTube Live, Skype, or Google Hangouts to host. If a business has a strong Facebook presence, Facebook Live offers an option to connect with followers.

Websites like join.me and Zoom provide free services for webinar hosting. Many small businesses trust these sites for the quality service and tools they provide. The site, gotowebinar, caters to small business specifically. It costs more than the free services, however it offers services like polls and surveys which are useful for improving webinars.

Once the platform gets chosen, a few things need accomplished. Do a dry run of the broadcast. If it's your first webinar, you might do two or three practice runs. This helps take away any broadcasting jitters you may have. It also allows you to refine the content so problems don't come up during the live show. Practice makes perfect. Sometimes formatting issues occur. It is best knowing before the live show if a chosen platform has all of the things you need to wow your audience like white board and screen sharing features. 

Prepare for possible technical issues. Again, this seems like common sense, but gets overlooked many times. If a hard-line connection is available for a speaker, ask for a connection. It is better to dial in from a landline phone as well. Finally, use a headset if available. It lowers the background noise during a broadcast.

4. After the Broadcast Follow-Up

After a broadcast, the work isn't done. The point is driving business. Use a follow-up email to stay in contact with viewers. Sometimes a small poll or survey provides great feedback. The goal with webinars is to create trust and build your reputation as an expert. Maintaining relationships with follow-ups is a great way to accomplish that goal. If using a poll or survey, stick to a couple of questions at the most. Remember to add links in follow-up emails to drive customers further in the sales process.

5. Measuring Success

It may happen overnight, or it might take months. However, a webinar's success needs to be measured. The number of registrations, surveys or polls answered, and email links clicked are the metrics on which to focus. Feedback needs to be analyzed to create better broadcasts in the future. Even after the show ends, it is worth watching how many people come across and watch it. Many webinar software programs allow recordings. You can share a recorded version of the webinar to those who may have missed the original broadcast, or even better, something magical happened during the webinar and you now have the ability to share it on social media. 

Pay attention to the topics getting the most interest. These topics need further in-depth coverage for future broadcasts. Finally, use the information gained from metrics for creation of other marketing material and refining the target audience. This information is invaluable. The key with metrics is to do more of what works. 

Driving business with webinars may seem complicated and time-consuming but with most people preferring to consume video content, it's worth the time and effort. Before you know it, you'll have a library of useful video replays available. With the right plan in place, webinars are a valuable content vehicle for any business. Successfully build relationships with clients and keep them engaged. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the results.