Believe it or not, most business owners with regular webinars don't know why they have a webinar in the first place. Answers range from, “It’s just a good way to engage with customers” to the more infinitely more frustrating “We think it’s really good for marketing.”
Webinars are a powerful tool for winning over investors, impressing the media, wooing new clients, and promoting a brand. But they're not guaranteed to do any of that without a succinct strategy and the right technology. With the right setup and established objectives, they're destined to fail.
When it comes to your potentially failing webinar, these three mistakes could be the reason for your inability to get the right engagement:
Everything must have a purpose. You wouldn't hire a new employee without a job description and a thoughtful list of goals and accomplishments for them to achieve. The same is true of webinars. Vision is crucial to achieve success.
“Before you decide to set the date for one, make sure a webinar is really the right piece of marketing creative based on your goals,” said Amanda Sibley, campaign manager at Hubspot. “Think about what value webinars bring. Do these values align with the projects you're working on, or would your time be better spent on a blog post or ebook?”
Start with a clear goal in mind and work backwards from there. This will help to make a lot of small decisions along the way. If the goal is to raise your brand’s profile in the industry and establish yourself as a thought leader, maybe host a webinar series of interviews with influential people. If the goal is to create a lead generation pipeline, maybe focus on creative product demonstrations or informative Q&As about news related to your area of service.
“Doing a webinar is easy. Just do it on Google Hangouts,” says every uninformed person ever.
Sure, Google Hangouts works, but if you're going to do something, you might as well do it right. Doing it right means using the best technology to create the best experience that will better empower you with data to actually convert viewers into partners, customers, and investors. Data is the difference maker.
“If the only number you have from your webinar is how many people registered, you are missing a whole wealth of data that can help you precisely target interested consumers,” said Matt Ley, president of The Streaming Network.
A good webinar platform can track dozens of engagement metrics, from how long a viewer watched and how many questions they asked to links they clicked on and polls they took. The Streaming Network tracks 24 different data points to identify hot leads.
A webinar should have KPIs. Without KPIs to rate its effectiveness, how do you know if it is working? By combining a clear vision with actionable data, results should follow. Success can many of forms and it's up to you to decide what success looks like.
For one entrepreneur, success is leads that turn into sales. For another, it's greater brand awareness and an opportunity to network with other professionals. The important thing is to actually look for results, because you are almost definitely not going to get it right the first time. Lack of results will tell you to keep tweaking.
“Webinars are a powerful tool for accomplishing a whole range of business objectives,” said Ley. “But they have to be done intentionally, which means having a strategy and using the right technology.”
Take a look at your webinar and ask yourself the hard question: is my webinar accomplishing anything? If not, address these mistakes before it's too late.
Photo: Flickr / Evan Caroll