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Posts Tagged ‘Webinars’

How Mr. Lube Canada Leveraged Data to Create a Personalized Customer Experience

May 15th, 2017
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Canadian chain of automotive maintenance service centers Mr. Lube was challenged with customer retention and relationship management across the various touch points.

Before her session at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017, Andrea Shaikin, (Former) Director of Customer Experience and Engagement, Mr. Lube, sat down with me in the Media Center to discuss how her team approached the challenge.

Andrea said that the first and biggest issue (as it is with many marketers) was data.

“We had so much data. It was unbelievable. Transactional information going back 40 years, but we couldn’t use it for customer information. We didn’t actually know what people were doing [because] our unique identifier was the license plate, not the person,” she said.

The team had no clue how to meaningfully interpret the data to give people the information they needed at the actual time when they needed it. The team had to find a way to do that, without changing too many of the systems for the financial reporting purposes.

Read more…

Content Marketing: 7 tips for content repurposing

December 11th, 2012
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“The Web expects you to generate a lot of content,” said Muhammad Yasin, Director of Marketing, HCC Medical Insurance Services.

“It expects you to generate regularly, with … quality content and to generate it prolifically while you are at it,” he concluded.

The demand is great, as Muhammad said. Sometimes, the Web can feel like a marketer’s very own Little Shop of Horrors, and content is the constantly hungry wail of “Feed me, Seymour!

Repurposing has been a useful solution to this constant demand for Muhammad, and many marketers are searching for a consistent plan for repurposing that will relieve both time and budget.

In fact, this post is a bit of repurposing magic – Muhammad and I spoke recently for the case study, “Content Marketing: Interactive infographic blog post generates 3.9 million views for small insurance company.”

I realized that he had a lot of knowledge to share about repurposing, but it wouldn’t fit into the case study. Ta-da – a new blog post is born, filled with seven tips to help you with your own content repurposing.

Read more…

Lead Generation: 3 basic tips for webinar newbies

June 28th, 2012
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Marketers rank webinars among email newsletters, Sales calls, whitepapers and thought leadership articles as top lead generation tools, according to the chart at right from the just-released MarketingSherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report (free excerpt at that link).

But Jeanne Hopkins, Executive Vice President, Smartbear Software, advises that if you’re new to webinars, proceed with care.

“Unfortunately, most people think that having a webinar is easy,” she says. “That’s because they don’t prepare enough. Webinars are very resource intensive if you want to produce results.”

And, if anyone knows, it’s Jeanne.

She was most recently vice president of Marketing for HubSpot where, under her leadership, the organization held webinars that attracted 25,000 sign-ups, 10,000 attendees and 3,500 new leads. She’s been a marketing executive since well before webinars came into existence, and leveraged their predecessor, the teleconference.

She draws from this experience to inform her three most important tips for novice webinar producers.

  Read more…

Email Deliverability: Global stats show North America leads — but we have work to do

November 1st, 2011
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I enjoy contributing to webinars. They give me a chance to immerse myself in research and talk shop. They also force me to shut off Outlook, Skype and anything else that might distract me, which is great when we have a good co-presenter. I can give them my undivided attention (which frankly isn’t possible when I’m an attendee).

Last week, I had the pleasure of co-presenting a webinar on email deliverability with Tom Sather, Director of Professional Services at Return Path, the webinar’s sponsor. Sather is a top-shelf deliverability expert, and he presented data from a global study his team conducted during the first half of this year. I was glad I paid attention.

Sather noted the average inbox placement rate (the percentage of emails sent that make it to the inbox) is somewhat low across the globe.

Global deliverability stats

  • 81% inbox placement rate
  • 7% spam placement rate
  • 12% missing rate

This data was compiled from about 140 ISPs across the globe, Sather mentioned. As you can see from the webinar slide below, emails in North America fared a little better in the study. Read more…

Webinar How To: The 8 roles you need to fill to make your virtual event a success

July 15th, 2011
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B2B marketers are increasing their investments in inbound tactics. Don’t just take my word for it. When we surveyed 935 of your peers for the MarketingSherpa 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, 60% said they were increasing investment in virtual events and webinars.

But what does it take to produce an effective webinar? A virtual event that will grab people’s attention and encourage them to leap into your funnel, as opposed to check their email while you ramble on?

At MECLABS, we produce some pretty popular webinars. I’m not trying to brag about our crazy webinar skills. The truth is, we invest a lot of resources in these. And that’s why they’re good.

So when webinar director, Austin McCraw, presented me with an org chart of the roles that we fill during the average webinar, I thought it could be very useful to the MarketingSherpa audience.

Now, when I saw we invest a lot in these webinars, these are not full-time employees dedicated solely to webinars. Webinar director is not Austin’s official title. And on one webinar or another, I’ve filled every role we’re about to discuss. You will very likely have one person fill more than one role.

But I think this org chart may be helpful to you because it gives you an idea of all the bases you should consider covering for a successful, interactive webinar with your audience.

Producers

In Hollywood, the producer is the money man. The one investing in the film, but also ensuring it makes money (or, in Mel Brooks’ “The Producers,” loses money).

In the marketing world, the producers are likely marketing managers, product managers, and business leaders that fund the webinars with their marketing budgets, and seek to generate profitable leads or valuable lead nurturing from the webinars.

It is crucial to ensure producers are involved in the entire webinar process, so everyone is clear on the goal for the webinar and the value your company expects to derive from it.

Director

You don’t need Spielberg, but you do need one central decision maker. Webinars are live productions, and as with any live event, (even when it is virtual) things can and do go wrong. You need someone who is quick on their feet and has the guts to be able to call the tough shots. Your Internet connection died. The slides aren’t advancing. The audio isn’t working. What do you do? Quick, you have 12 seconds to decide before your audience starts dropping off the webinar.

Writer/Stage Director

A good webinar is filled with well-thought out content that guides your audience through a logical thought sequence, much like a film or story would. You need to not only create that content, but prep your presenters for exactly how to deliver it. Virtual stage blocking, if you will.

Technical Director

You can’t host a webinar without technology. And as with any technology, it helps to actually know how to use it. You’re far less likely to have a Skype chat pop-up that reveals company secrets live to the audience if you actually know what you’re doing and don’t have to ask “what does that red button do?”

Our setup for the MarketingExperiments Web clinic is quite complex, complete with a mixing board, handheld and wireless microphones, and an Apple computer running Final Cut Pro to capture the live audio for our Web clinic replays.

You don’t need to go to this level. But you do need to know, or have someone who knows, how to actually use the webinar platform.

Audience Supervisor

Sure, you could drone on for an hour about all the features and benefits of your product. Or, you could actually respect your audience (and capture their attention), by including them as much as possible in the webinar. That is, after all, the benefit to your audience of taking an hour from their busy day and actually attending a live event.

The audience supervisor not only tries to maximize interaction points with the audience, but also monitors the audience’s feedback and reactions to constantly make the course corrections needed to optimize the performance while the webinar is being conducted.

A good speaker naturally does this before a live audience, gauging the reaction – from boredom to engagement – and changing the presentation as she goes. This is harder, but not in possible, in a virtual event, so your presenters are going to need a little help and guidance.

Main Presenter

The main presenter is essentially a moderator. Someone who can act as an advocate for the audience. He’s Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson, Oprah Winfrey, Terry Gross, Bill Maher, Ira Glass. The kind of person that can relate what a technical expert is saying to novice listeners.

Another important skill is the ability to tie disparate parts of the presentation together into a natural flow with well thought-out segues. And, with the audience supervisor’s help, tie in audience comments, questions, and other interaction.

All very naturally. All part of the flow. All part of the show.

Presenters

Your practitioners and subject matter experts are why people tune in to being with. But they’re not necessarily expert presenters. And that’s one reason why you have everybody else in this org chart. To support these guys…your well-coddled stars.

The main presenter may certainly well be one of your subject matter experts or practitioners, but it takes the right set of skills and the right personality to pull both roles off well.

Monitors

The monitors support the audience supervisor and, based on your resources, they all may be one and the same. They engage with your audience using virtual platforms – responding to questions, probing the audience for feedback and interaction, providing supplementary resources, and solving problems. We’ve found that the Q&A function in the webinar platform, along with a hashtag on Twitter, are good platforms for interacting with our audience.

You should also have a technical monitor making sure the audio and slides of the webinar are streaming well and actually working. It could be someone in a different room or even a different city. Your other monitors should pick up on this if they’re listening to audience feedback, but it never hurts to know something isn’t working before your audience starts complaining.

Related resources

Marketing Webinar Optimization: Five questions to ask yourself about webinars

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

Free webinar, Wednesday, July 20 — Copywriting on Tight Deadlines: How ordinary marketers are achieving 200% gains with a step-by-step framework (educational funding provided by HubSpot)

Free webinar, Thursday, July 28 — How to create engaging content for successful lead generation

The Indefensible Blog Post: Forget Charlie Sheen, here are 5 marketing lessons from marketers

July 5th, 2011
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I’m sure you’ve seen these blog posts before. They’re looking for a hook, so they throw a topical subject in the title to get you to click, and then share the deep marketing wisdom that you would naturally expect to learn from Charlie Sheen, The Bronx Zoo Cobra, and Justin Bieber.

I thought of this topic the other day because we actually did something I just knew we would never do on MarketingSherpa. We published those two proper nouns – Justin and Bieber – right next to each other.

In fairness, it was in an excellent email marketing case study about a very impressive trigger alert program, and Justin Bieber was only used as an example of search keywords this events company was targeting. But you better believe Senior Reporter Adam Sutton endured a relentless week of teasing for including the Biebs in his case study. There were the Photoshopped pictures. There were “Belieber” taunts.

Why? Because, and here is my indefensible blog post (with a hearty tip o’ the hat to Esquire magazine), marketers can’t learn anything from Justin Bieber. Or Lady Gaga. Or that kid who got his 15 minutes of fame for pretending to be in stuck in a weather balloon.

Think about it, what are 3 lessons from Charlie Sheen? 1. Be born to a famous dad. 2. Get a formulaic but highly rated sitcom. 3. Have an extremely weird but very public meltdown (using social media)

Does this really help your marketing campaigns? Get some ideas to generate more leads? Increase sales?

So, here’s the approach we take at MarketingSherpa. Perhaps the best people to learn marketing lessons from are…wait for it…actual marketers. That’s why we survey more than 10,000 marketers every year for our benchmark reports. That’s why we conduct more than 200 interviews every year for our free marketing newsletters. That’s why we invite dozens of marketers to present their case studies to their peers at our summits. And that’s why I’m writing this blog post today.

So, if I had to break down five marketing lessons I’ve learned from marketers, I would say…

1. Successful marketing comes from hard work, not “secrets” and “tricks”

Internet marketing is flat out hard work. The successful marketers I’ve seen go-to-market with a regimented marketing plan.

They understand what KPIs are key to their success – both the intermediate metrics that will help them make course corrections, as well as the key results that are critical to their business leaders.

They find ways to tear down artificial silos in their organization – between Sales and Marketing, between online marketing and offline marketing, between email marketing and social media marketing – to facilitate a cohesive funnel that drives customers to conversion.

They tame unwieldy, disjointed technology platforms to create tools that improve marketing campaigns and create clear, unified reports. They do this even though they don’t have a tech background. They do this even if it means having long conversations with IT about why Ubuntu is better than Windows.

But they don’t have “secrets to Internet marketing success.” And they don’t have “10 supercool tricks to boosting SEO.” They have war stories. And if you can get just a few minutes in their busy day to hear them, you just might learn something.

The battles are won in the trenches.

2. Your customers don’t care about your emails, your PPC ads, or even your TV campaign

They don’t even care about all that fun inbound stuff like your blog posts or YouTube videos. And they certainly don’t care about the latest features of your product, your mission statement, or your corporate structure.

They care about doing their jobs better. They care about having clean water for their kids. And they care about taking their wife out for a 12th anniversary dinner that she’ll never forget.

Never confuse a feature with a benefit. And never confuse a marketing “benefit” with what really matters to your customers.

3. Successful marketers have losses

This is marketing, folks. You don’t have to be one of the “crazy ones,” but you do need to push the limit on what your company thinks is possible.

As Theodore Roosevelt said, “There is no effort without error or shortcoming.”

If you don’t have losses – a “negative lift” on a test, a failed product launch – you’re not pushing hard enough. And if you don’t have losses, you’re not really learning anything. You’re just guessing.

The great thing about digital marketing is that it has never been easier to learn about your customers. You’ve got real-time data you can analyze and an endless possibility of tests you can run. Test two headlines you simply can’t decide between, two offers, two entirely different approaches against each other in a real-world, real-time environment and let your customers tell you which one is better. Test new landing pages against your top performers.

Sure, it’s scary, you might lose. But if you do it right, you’ll definitely learn.

4. Strategy is better than skill

This is something that I’ve heard Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, say in almost every meeting I’ve had with him. Drill it into your team as well.

Marketers are all too used to having a goal placed in front of them – double leads, gain market share – and churning and burning and blasting and using every tool they can think of to hit that number. Just…one…more…email send…will do the trick.

Sometimes it helps to step back and look at the big picture. Is it worth scrapping and fighting for a tenth of a point of market share with your fiercest competitors? Are you inundating your lists with offers?

Take the time to step back from the marketing machine and determine what your value proposition truly is. Don’t dictate your value to your customers. Discover what they find valuable about your products and services. Why do they put their job on the line to hire your consultants? Why do they part with their precious cash to buy your products?

As with any job, you can work harder, or you can work smarter.

5. Be the customer advocate

As a marketer, you spend almost every waking moment making a proposition to the customer. That makes every customer your customer. So make sure your company comes through.

Stay in constant contact with customer service, product development, services, manufacturing, and sales to make sure you are truly serving the customer. What are customers complaining about? What are you doing right? How can you make their lives easier, better, smarter, more fun, more fulfilling? Are sales reps over promising? Does everyone understand the value proposition of your brands? Do you all speak with the same voice? Do you walk the walk and live the brand?

Hey, that’s no easy task. But if you’re looking for easy tasks, you’re in the wrong business. See point #1 above.

Your customer is empowered like never before in the history of commerce. Today, you must assume that every customer is a publisher as well. How would you react if you knew the editor of The Wall Street Journal was eating in your restaurant, trying on a suit in your store, or purchasing your software platform? There is no quicker way to sink your brand and your marketing campaign, and the huge amounts of time and money you have invested in them, than by ticking off the editor.

You know what you expect when you’re the customer. Under promise and over deliver.

And to over promise to you, my audience, my customer, I dug up a sixth lesson. But instead of telling you one more thing I’ve learned from you, I asked author and behavioral expert, Beverly Flaxington, what she’s learned from marketers. Beverly has built her career around understanding other people. Here’s what she had to say…

6. Provide your audience the context

In too many cases, a marketer develops information and materials based solely upon the data and information about a particular product or service. The marketing material reads like this: “We do this. This is what we do. This is how we do it.” It’s a great deal of data without a lot of context around why it is important to the targeted audience.

The missing component is the “So what?” What’s so important about how you do what you do? Why should someone care about it? What is it going to do for them and how will it do it? This goes deeper than the idea of selling benefits. It actually asks the marketer to create language that speaks TO an audience about their needs, and helps that audience to easily make a connection as to why what the marketer is proposing is good for them.

As you develop materials or write marketing copy, ask yourself the “So what?” question as you make statements and provide information. Think in terms of “This is good for our audience because…..” The process can be very eye-opening because instead of assuming that someone will get why what you’re saying is so important, you can more likely guarantee they will understand!

Thanks for reading today’s blog post. Stay tuned to the MarketingSherpa blog next week, where we’re going to talk about what marketing lessons you can learn from Michele Bachmann, New Mexico wildfires, and Greek debt.

Related Resources

Evidence-based Marketing: This blog post will not solve your most pressing marketing challenges…yet

Loyalty Marketing: How to get customers to stick around (and keep buying)

The Last Blog Post: How to succeed in an era of Transparent Marketing

The Last Blog Post: Marketers must embrace change


Strategic social media marketing advice from your peers

June 9th, 2011
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To truly gain ROI from social media marketing, you need to take a strategic approach…as you would with any other marketing discipline.

So, at 1 p.m. EDT in today’s MarketingSherpa webinar (sponsored by Facebook) – Intro to Strategic Social Media Marketing: Get your business or agency started with an ROI-based approach – I’ll be moderating an hour-long session with Todd Lebo and Zuzia Soldenhoff-Thorpe from MECLABS and Tamara Rosenbaum from Facebook, to arm you with some ideas as you embark on a strategic approach to social marketing.

But before we share our research, we asked your peers what advice they would give fellow marketers to help you transform your efforts from random acts of marketing to a strategic approach. Here are a few of our favorite responses…

Relationships are based on an open and honest conversation

The best advice I can offer is to look at social media as an extension to your Acquisition, Engagement, Retention, and Growth strategies. The majority of companies look at it as a function of PR – what about marketing, sales, and support? Isn’t a happy customer worth more than a random fan?

Don’t forget the most important part of social media: listening. Look at all the companies that pride themselves in having thousands of followers/fans but in turn only “listen” to a couple of hundred… that’s more of a monologue isn’t it? Don’t measure your success by the number of people listening to you.

Relationships are based on an open and honest conversation. Listen, and only then “talk” about things that are relevant to your audience. Do it in a timely way. Measure reactions to your conversations.

Using social media as just another channel to “get your message out” is not the way to build the dialog needed to create and nurture a close relationship with your prospects and customers.

– Roberto Lino, Skype Enterprise Global Head of Ecommerce, Skype



Research, strategize, and then get going

My top 3 tips for success in social media would be…

1. Do some research to find out where your customers are having the conversations before trying to join every single social site. Monitor what’s being said about you and your competition.

2. Go in with a strategy!!!

Who will be in charge of this effort? How many times a week will you tweet? What kinds of content will be useful for your audience?

3. Start small so you make sure you have time to keep it up. What we find is many companies have such limited resources to devote to social media marketing that time is wasted in the wrong groups, content is too weak, and schedules get too busy and the first thing to drop to the bottom of the priority list is the social stuff. Consistency is key when it comes to social media, so it’s important to find a way to keep it up.

I look forward to hearing everyone’s advice and joining the webinar!

Michelle Etherton, Creative Director, Nurture Marketing



A dissenting opinion

My advice to marketers is to not transform your efforts from random acts of marketing to a strategic approach. Social media is all about being random and experimenting. Show up. Participate. Be random.

Social media marketing differs from traditional marketing in that you don’t just set it and forget it. Successful social media marketing requires interaction. It requires actively networking, meaning you are responding to others and your status updates are more than predetermined calculated scheduled posts.

By being random, you will find new and unique ways to gain ROI. I think you take all the fun out of social media marketing if you are rigid with strategy.

Lara Nieberding, The Data Digger



Related Resources

Free webinar, Today June, 9th 1-2pm EDT — Intro to Strategic Social Media Marketing: Get your business or agency started with an ROI-based approach

Social Media Marketing: You value (and earn ROI on) what you pay for

Social Marketing ROAD Map Handbook

Inbound Marketing newsletter – Free Case Studies and How To Articles from MarketingSherpa’s reporters



Social Media Marketing: You value (and earn ROI on) what you pay for

June 7th, 2011
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Free. Look inside any copywriting book or on any marketing blog, and it will tell you that “free” is one of the most powerful words in marketing. However…how often are you, as a marketer, susceptible to that magic word?

For most media we use – from PPC ads to television spots – we recognize that an investment must take place. Yet social media, with its tantalizing lack of an invoice, seems almost too good to be true. Thanks to the power of technology, you no longer have to spend money to make money!

Some say the best things in life are free…

Well, the attitude may not be that severe, but take a look at this quote from the 2011 MarketingSherpa Social Marketing Benchmark Report

“I do not look at social media marketing as something I invest in. I advertise on Facebook and consider that an online advertising expense like Google AdWords. I consider the time I spend creating, maintaining and promoting my Facebook page as “free” because I do the work myself so the costs are all soft, not cash. I know this approach isn’t really accurate and may not help me understand my costs, but it’s how I think of it for now.”

This marketer is not alone. According to the Benchmark Report’s lead author, Sergio Balegno, “On average, 15 percent of organizations think social marketing is free and wish to keep it that way. When we segment this group by primary channel, we find that B2B marketers are, by far, the least likely to believe this misconception. Social marketing is a time-consuming practice requiring significant staff commitment to execute effectively.”

…but you can keep it for the birds and the bees

As Sergio says, all of that social media buzz comes at a price. But, you may say, what is the harm in viewing soft costs as, essentially, no costs? There’s no outlay in cash, so what’s the difference?

The savvy CMO is looking for money (that’s, what he wants). Specifically, ROI. So it takes an attitude shift. From my experience, when people (and especially marketers) don’t pay anything for a product, service, or media, they don’t value it. And if they don’t value it, they don’t invest in it. And if you don’t truly invest in a tactic, you will never nail the ROI.

On the flip side, you don’t understand the true costs either. Even soft costs are costs. For example, you have the opportunity cost. A sole entrepreneur must decide whether to engage in Twitter for an hour or call some customers and see if their needs are being met. A content marketer at a major company must decide whether to invest in writing a blog post or spending some more time testing and optimizing the Web site.

In the above-referenced Social Marketing Benchmark Report, there was an interesting chart about how CMOs perceive Social Marketing ROI…

Almost half of marketers that are taking a strategic approach to social media marketing are realizing a measurable ROI.

Yet, as you look at the bottom of the chart, all too many marketers (especially those who haven’t reached the strategic phase) just look at social marketing as a freebie, not a marketing discipline.

So, in this week’s MarketingSherpa webinar (sponsored by Facebook) – Intro to Strategic Social Media Marketing: Get your business or agency started with an ROI-based approach – I’ll be moderating an hour-long session with Todd Lebo and Zuzia Soldenhoff-Thorpe from MECLABS and Tamara Rosenbaum from Facebook, that we hope will give you basic info to help you begin to take a strategic approach to social media marketing or give you ideas to optimize your current approach.

Oh, and did I mention? The webinar is absolutely free.

Related Resources

Free webinar, Thursday June, 9th 1-2pm EST — Intro to Strategic Social Media Marketing: Get your business or agency started with an ROI-based approach

Study: Marketers Reporting Social Media ROI of 100, 200, Even 1,000 percent
— via Forbes

In Social Media, Your Return Represents Investment –via Fast Company

Social Media Marketing: Facebook news feed optimization

Social Media Marketing: How to optimize the customer experience to benefit from word-of-mouth advertising

Online Advertising: How your peers optimize banner ads

March 29th, 2011
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Online display ad spending by B2C marketers increased 57 percent over the last two years…which means more competition for your ads to get that click, and more pressure to deliver ROI on your ad spending.

To help you get the most from your banner ads, we’re hosting a webinar this Thursday, sponsored by TRUSTe, to teach you “How to optimize your banner ad performance while complying with new privacy regulations.”

But before we share our discoveries, we wanted to hear what you had to say. Here are a couple of our favorite tips for optimizing display advertising…

Match your ad closely with the landing page

Create a landing page for this ad, don’t send people to your homepage and make them figure out what to do next or where to look for their answer. Your ad attracted them for a reason – usually to solve a problem, so make sure you offer a solution that they can find easily before they lose interest:

  • Make sure your ad matches the look and feel of the page they will be landing on – from wording used, to matching the colors of the display ad with the landing page. You want to ensure the person who clicked on your ad knows they have arrived at the right site.
  • Reinforce your message from the ad through headlines and copy on the page, as well as images.
  • Along with your solution, make sure both the ad and the landing page have a call to action that clearly tells the visitor what step they need to take next in order to complete the desired action. Whether it be signing up for a newsletter or adding something to their shopping cart, a direct call to action promotes user activity.
  • Test. Don’t assume your first ad you created is working out well. Always test and see what you can do to improve the ad and landing page. When you have determined a winning ad – test a new one, make it a continual process.

Rebekah May, Founder, Whole SEO

 

First ask “Why?”

You need to know why you’re running display ads long before you start. So many companies have said “we need to try banner” with no idea of whether they want to run a branded campaign or a direct response campaign, and whether they want to run on a CPA, CPC or CPM basis. Display will flop dramatically if you don’t have a goal.

And then make sure that whatever your goal is, you must design your creative around it. There’s no point putting a brand ad out on a direct response campaign (or vice versa). I’ve seen people create banners that are so pretty but have no call to action, and then wonder why they get no clicks.

– Carl Eisenstein, Founder, DropDigger



Related Resources

How to optimize your banner ad performance while complying with new privacy regulations — Webinar, Thursday, March  31, 2011, 1-2 PM.

Sherpa 101: Online Display Ads, Part II – Copywriting, Design Tips & Ad Networks + How to Counter ‘Banner Blindness’

Online Advertising: The 3 obstacles you must overcome to create an effective banner ad

This Just Tested: PPC vs. banner ads?

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

November 17th, 2010
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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

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