For most Convince & Convert readers, it is almost common knowledge that webinars are an invaluable content marketing product designed to bring in high-quality leads for your sales team. However, there’s a certain mystique surrounding webinars: should they be high-end in terms of production value to convey equivalence in professionalism to the product itself? Should they be low-fi recordings with off-the-cuff experts to provide a behind-the-scenes look on how to truly win with the product? Should they be pre-recorded and scripted? Should they be a question-and-answer free-for-all?
How should a company go about creating an effective webinar?
Like all mediums, webinars are complex, and the right answer depends heavily on the product and team using them. For initial setup, the following guide on how to create a webinar is instructive in determining a rough format. Once the rough format is decided on, a company can decide on how to ensure the webinar is effective by touching on the relevant psychological triggers necessary to induce the end purchase.
However, there are some gaps in the overall setup process, which this article hopes to augment. Namely, a company needs to be cognizant of who is being targeted and how best to influence those people. Then, how to make sure they are aware of the campaign in the first place.
Stay on target
When it comes to psychological triggers of purchase, you first need to have a much deeper understanding of who exactly you’re trying to influence. Take into account the various culture, social, personal, and psychological factors that might come into the purchasing decision, but also the decision to click the initial registration button and to show up.
Without delving too deep into this piece of the puzzle, consider where your target audience is located.
- Are they going to be available to join your webinar when it’s scheduled? If the product being sold is designed for their job, normal work hours make sense. If it is a side hustle, consider kicking it off after 5pm or so.
- Are there language considerations? If the target audience is of a radically different socioeconomic status, consider the platform and minimum technical requirements for the webinar to make it as frictionless as possible.
- What’s the age range of the audience? Is the product geared towards an older audience? Younger? Hip, casual, conservative, professional?
- Why is the audience joining you? Is it to learn? Is it out of motivation to succeed, or even fear?
Once the various sociological and psychological profiling is complete to the point of having a more solid grasp of exactly who the target market is, a company can devote resources to find the ideal influencers to make it a success.
To dispel the obvious myths, influencers are not just about Kim K and her sisters hawking the latest facial cream on Instagram. While that is still an absurdly successful use case, every marketing medium and product combination can benefit from the right influencers. It’s just a matter of choosing the right influencer type for the campaign.
Influencers can generally be bucketed into three main categories:
- Aspirational. For ease of definition, aspirational can be thought of as the Kim K celebrity example above.
- Authoritative. These influencers are key for webinars. Authoritative influencers are the trusted subject matter experts, even in a narrowly defined field.
- Peer. Peer influencers would be akin to your colleagues and industry peers, from the B2B perspective.
Why do we care so much about authoritative influencers for your webinar campaign?
Using the usefulness matrix above, we can determine what influence type is best suited for the sociological and psychological profiling work performed earlier on the target audience.
Reach matters. of course, but given the educational nature of webinars, the ability to inform in a trusted and relevant manner that is geared towards commerce is the winning combination. Peer influencers also rate quite highly, which we can layer on in a later step.
For example, Jay Baer hosts webinars for Convince & Convert’s client, SharpSpring. Jay is an authoritative influencer in marketing and marketing technology, and also helps drive registrations for the virtual events through email, social and word of mouth marketing.
How to use authoritative influencers on your webinar
The article could have been as short as that previous sentence and still would not have been a waste of a company’s time. If a company can pay a renowned expert in its field to host a webinar on how they have had success using YOUR product, you’ll make sales.
If you can’t get authorities, you can incentivize some walkthroughs from existing customers to prospective customers, aggregating the peer signal.
Host, co-host, or syndicate?
In the short example above, the recommendation is to pay the expert to host a webinar for his audience and followers regarding how to use your product as the expert sees fit, co-hosted with you for co-citation proximity (this is the leeching authority trick).
As a follow-up step, syndicate the webinar out to your prospective audience via email with the ability to participate in a follow up company-hosted webinar series where your sales staff interact in more of a Q&A nature. Since trust has already been established with tacit expert approval, the subsequent webinars can move deeper into the sales channel.
Bring on the wolf pack
In the penultimate stage of the process, the goal is to result in multiple prospective customer touches and funnel starts.
Use an on-going webinar series to keep people in the funnel
One simple way to do this is by recording an ongoing webinar series for those prospective customers, using your top product users as the weekly/monthly/quarterly experts. This series is recorded and then syndicated through the following authoritative channels: YouTube and blogs. As these peer-level users are already in love with your product, you can comp their usage of it as compensation in many cases. Famed influence professor Cialdini would refer to this as unity: the desire to remain in the wolf pack.
Encourage peer influencers to promote your webinar
This can be as simple as pushing for peer influencers to share the webinar signup details over Twitter and Facebook, utilizing a series of relevant hashtags and a brief personal story of why they’ll be attending the webinar. Make this easy for them by providing standard promotional copy in a Google Doc.
Drive registrations with email
Another overlooked influencer syndication method is e-mail. Convince & Convert is great at email marketing with Jay’s personal updates that seamlessly interweave a narrative with a branded goal. When a relevant email influencer is used to connect their audience with your upcoming webinar, wonderful things can happen, which is why companies like Intellifluence are willing to throw money at such influencers. They can drive amazing signups!
Get some press
Finally, to tie the entire webinar campaign neatly with an influencer bow, consider running a targeted press relations campaign to extend your perceived authority on the subject and garner some additional eyeballs to your work. The goal of this step is not to submit a generic PR Newswire report and hope for the best. For the best results, target the journalists that have actively written on your industry and/or on webinar marketing in the past. You are now doing something amazing, which their audience could benefit from knowing about.
Become the expert
If you’re just starting out in your content marketing journey and this entire process seems daunting, don’t despair. You can become that authority yourself by taking the initial step and writing on the B2B subject matters you know about. In due time, you’ll be the expert being paid to share your thoughts on a webinar.