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Planning a Webinar: Strategy Comes First

03.30.2015 / Posted in Advertising, Content Marketing

Successful webinars require extensive preparation, and webinars used for marketing purposes are no exception. Before you start recruiting attendees, ask yourself: What do you hope to achieve with your webinar? Which format would best help you meet these goals?

To help you answer these questions, we’ve put together a webinar overview, outlining common webinar structures and breaking down what each style can help you accomplish.

Back to the Basics: What’s a Webinar?

A webinar is an event hosted online in real time. Webinars can cover almost any topic and generally feature live video, slide presentations with an audio voice-over, or a combination.

No matter the format, all webinars give companies an opportunity to directly interact with their target audiences without concern about geography. Further, if recorded, companies can also use webinars later as content marketing pieces.

Common Webinar Types

There are several webinar formats to choose from when you start your planning process:

  • Product Demonstrations: Take advantage of an opportunity to show off your company’s product or service. Prospective customers can see your product in action, helping them with their buying decisions.
  • Training: Offering training via webinars can be extremely helpful to your customers and foster feelings of goodwill with your organization. Not only can they see the ins and outs of your product, but the interactive setting of a webinar gives them the opportunity to ask any additional questions they may have. Prospective customers can attend training webinars as well, helping them understand your product at a deeper level before buying it.
  • Education: Identify and provide insight on an issue or problem that is important to your target audience. This issue may directly relate to your product, but educational webinars do not specifically focus on product sales or training. Webinars that address topics of interest to your target audiences are easier sells for attendees and position your company as an industry expert.
  • Ad Buy: Many publications and organizations will help you produce and promote a webinar to their subscribers and members as an advertising option. This type of webinar is ideal for getting in front of new audiences, as the group or publication will promote the webinar to its readers and community and, through association with a credible source, lend credibility to your company.

Keep in mind that these categories are not necessarily exclusive. For example, you could buy a webinar “ad” and that covers a product demonstration or you could start a presentation with educational content and segue into a training session.

Tailor Your Webinar to Meet Your Goals

When it comes to choosing the best type of webinar to host, it is important to take into account what would best align with your company’s marketing strategy.

Does your organization want to position itself as a thought leader? A webinar that incorporates an education element might be the right fit. If you’re interested in fostering relationships with current customers, an interactive training session may be just the thing to make them feel your company cares for its clients. Looking to increase brand awareness? Consider doing an ad buy to reach a new audience.

Of course, if your primary goal is to generate leads, make sure submitting an email address or other piece of contact information is part of the webinar registration process. This gives you the opportunity to follow up with attendees and registrants who may have missed the event and makes it easy to add new leads to your marketing automation system.

Start Planning!

Now that you have a better understanding of what types of webinars exist and what each can help you achieve, it’s time to put this marketing tactic to work for your company. Need help? Call FrogDog today!

 

Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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