Justin Bridegan

New to B2B Webinars? Learn 6 steps for creating an effective webinar strategy

Fellow marketing managers, commiserate with me for a moment. I’m sure you’ve been in a similar situation. You’re given a new marketing initiative that you know little to nothing about. For some it might be Twitter. For others, maybe landing page optimization. My intimidating hill to climb, was the webinar.

While preparing for today’s MarketingSherpa webinar about email relevance and deliverability, and researching for the past couple of months on webinar creative practices, it became more evident to me that a clear marketing strategy was needed in order to produce better webinars in the future.

Highlighted below are the six tactics that I found successful for creating a clear webinar strategy and currently impact the way I plan, create, and promote MarketingSherpa webinars. And if you’re a MarketingSherpa member, we even have a complimentary Sample Webinar Plan that you can download.

Step #1: Know your deadlines and deliverables
Early communication with the sponsors, clients, and presenters is key. Email them and introduce yourself laying out a timetable for future meetings and deadlines. Once you know the key dates and information (webinar date, presenters, and topic), work backwards from the date of the webinar and set up target dates for completion. Important dates to remember include:

  • Landing page setup and review
  • Launch calls
  • Presentation deadlines
  • Dry runthrough

I highly recommend you set up a launch call to review these deadlines and discuss any concerns as well as present an overall webinar outline for a suggested topic.

Step #2: Map out an effective marketing plan
Once you have confirmed the target dates and deliverables, you can begin to create a marketing plan. This plan should include your plans on promoting the event (emails, banner ads, social marketing) along with key dates and deadlines. The difference between a good plan and much better plan is in the details. The more specific you can be with target audience, goals, and call to action, the more effective your plan will be. When this is completed, send it to all the parties involved (including your sponsors and presenters if applicable) so they can see the plan details and discuss plan specifics.

Step #3: Create relevant webinar copy for target audience
Relevancy is the key. If your audience feels that the webinar subject and email copy is relevant to their needs then you will be more successful in engaging prospects. As Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director (CEO), MECLABS always says, “Clarity always trumps persuasion.

Shy away from vague statements like “leading,” “best” and “most.” Be specific. For example, “Homepage Design: The five most common pitfalls and how to overcome them” Subject titles and copy that are specific may be enticing to a smaller audience, but most of the time this audience is highly interested and therefore a better lead. Always include a good call to action and use this line of thinking when creating copy, “If I am the ideal prospect, why should I attend your webinar?”

Step #4: Apply marketing promotions across all channels
Using a number of highly targeted email blasts from in-house and sponsors lists, along with banner ads, you can bring in a significant amount of attendees. However, when marketing for our last webinar 2011 Top B2B Marketing Practices: From Lead Generation to Marketing Automation, it was the social media activity (Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs) that drove an additional 200-250 attendees within a week of the webinar. When tweeting, make sure to begin to establish the Twitter hashtag you plan to use to live tweet during the webinar.

Many companies do a number of webinars a month and using every avenue possible to create buzz is crucial to a webinar’s success. I’ve found that the sweet spot for marketing is two weeks to the day before the event.

Step #5: Preparation precedes power – practice and execution of the webinar
No matter what webinar platform you use (GoToWebinar, WebEX, ON24) it is imperative to learn the basics of these programs before you begin using them. Spend some time watching the “best practices” training presentations, and reading the FAQs and how-to sections many of these platforms offer.

Knowing the tips and tricks of how each of these platforms function will be critical to avoiding “Uh oh” moments. Familiarize yourself with the important functions, like polls, registration questions, follow-up emails, and reminders.

Also, familiarize yourself with Twitter. Establishing a Twitter hashtag, and having at least one person from your company live tweeting during the webinar, is a great way to drive conversation and interaction and also gauge the sentiment of your audience in real-time.

Bottom Line: Your preparation will give you the power you need to execute the webinar and the practice will give you the peace of mind.

Tactic #6: Follow up and review – continuing the conversation
Once the webinar has concluded, it’s important to keep the conversation going. Sending a follow-up email containing the slide presentation and any special offer material you promised is only one part of the conversation. The second important part is keeping them engaged with other webinars, articles, books, classes, and events that apply to the topic of the webinar. Think of Amazon, “Those who attended a webinar like you also found this interesting…”

It’s also important to review how the webinar went. Spend an additional five to ten minutes getting feedback from the speakers and monitoring the Twitter hashtag after the webinar concludes. This feedback will help you in making improvements in future webinars.

Related resources

Marketing Webinar Optimization: Five questions to ask yourself about webinars

B2B Marketing: Take established tradeshow best practices and adapt them for an online audience with virtual events

Members Exclusive: Download your complimentary Sample Webinar Plan

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Lead Generation, Marketing, Sales Lead Generation



  1. November 17th, 2010 at 11:12 | #1

    Nice Justin – MarketingSherpa also highlighted a case study that we were involved with that’s available with a detailed plan and screenshots on the MarketingSherpa Website (http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?ident=31672) titled “Webinar Promotion that Delivers: Use Email, Social, Viral Referrals and Video to Boost Attendance, Drive Lead Gen.”

  2. November 17th, 2010 at 11:20 | #2

    Hello Justin,
    Very interesting information. I also want to mention that the leadtime is also key. From my experience between 6 and 4 weeks is best.
    In addition there are additional simple things you can do to maximise your sponsors’ exposure pre/during/after the webinar, like polls and post webinar surveys. I’ve found that this is really valuable information for lead generation or customer validation purpose.

  3. November 17th, 2010 at 15:06 | #3

    Thanks.

    Nathan,
    You are correct, there are many more resources available on the MarketingSherpa site related to webinars with detailed information that can help. Please check out our article database.

    Ricardo, yes I agree leadtime is another critical factor. In my experience polls are a great way to engage the audience as well, along with a quick survey at the end. It’s always a good idea to use those questions that weren’t answered and create a blogpost with some additional Q & A. That will give the sponsor another opportunity to way in as well.

  4. November 25th, 2010 at 05:05 | #4

    Justin,

    I am fully agreed with Ricardo on the sponsors’ exposure on pre/during/after the webinar survey methods. It’s very crucial thinks for the overall market research. Anyway, this is a brilliant post and highlighted case studies in MarketingSherpa is spectacular.

  5. December 5th, 2010 at 21:28 | #5

    Thanks, SEO Online services for your comment. I appreciate your feedback.

  6. March 26th, 2013 at 16:24 | #6

    Hi, very interesting blog, so thanks for that. Trying to get started with webinars. We have lots of unique business information and we want to start running webinar to showcase our data. We also run seminars with keynote speakers. Is it really true that these are now being replaced with online webinars? So, people will choose to stay in their office as opposed go to a hotel to participate in a webinar?

  7. March 27th, 2013 at 12:44 | #7

    Hey Niamh,

    Thanks for the feedback. First let me say that there has been a big push for online webinars and finding ways to engage with the audience from your desktop. However, I do think there will always be room for live events, networking, and one-to-one interaction. As nice as the webinars, they cannot replace what many go in person to experience. The way I would approach a webinar is to think about it this way: Is this webinar about providing value to them or is this a business need? You will have alot more attendees to your webinars if you focus on their needs and pain points rather than showcasing your data. It’s all about the experience for them and if you put on a good show and provide value the data will be secondary to the engagement you offered.

  1. December 15th, 2011 at 12:03 | #1
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  3. July 1st, 2013 at 02:02 | #3