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5 Steps for Executing Successful B2B Webinars with Marketing Automation

We live in a strange and wonderful time in which we can learn just about anything via webinar. Want to become an SEO expert? There’s a webinar for that. Curious about winemaking? Answers are a quick webcast away. Want to learn how to massage your pet horse? Yes, there are even webinars for that. As you can see, there’s an audience for pretty much any topic you can dream up—so why not use that to your advantage?

According to ReadyTalk, 62% of B2B marketers use webinars for lead generation, and for good reason: webinars generate between 20-40% of all qualified B2B leads. When you pair webinars with marketing automation, the results are even more impressive. For example, SignUp4 saw registration increase by 12% when they integrated their webinar program with Pardot. That’s massive—so if you’re not taking full advantage of webinars in conjunction with marketing automation, take note of the following five steps for a winning strategy.

1. Planning

First things first: you need a topic for your webinar. Of course, the topic you select will depend on your goal. Do you want to incentivize current leads to make a purchase? Then you may want to give a live product demo. If you’re looking to generate leads, however, you’ll probably want to focus on thought leadership content.

One way to make sure you’re providing the most relevant content is to communicate with your sales and customer support teams. Ask them what prospects and customers are struggling with, and plan a webinar around those topics. You can also take a look at these tried-and-true webinar ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

Once you’ve come up with your topic, it’s time to think logistics. A few questions to ask yourself:

  • If you don’t already use a webinar platform, which one best fits your needs and integrates with your marketing automation provider? (Pardot syncs with ReadyTalk, WebEx, GoToWebinar, and ON24.)
  • Who will be hosting your webinar: someone from your organization or an external speaker?
  • How long will your webinar be? According to BrightTalk, the average webinar is 42 minutes long (and the average viewer stays for 36 of those minutes), but be open to experimentation to see what works best for you and your audience.

2. Promotion

According to BrightTALK’s 2015 Webinar Benchmark Report, 84% of registrations happen Monday through Thursday—and 14% of them occur on the day of the webinar. With that in mind, make sure you’re promoting your webinar at the optimal time for your target audience. Consider sharing your registration landing page via social media, a blog post, PPC ads, and email invitations sent to relevant lists in your database. Then when someone registers, your marketing automation platform will automatically sync with your webinar host to send them a thank-you email.

Tip: For a closer look at how to market your webinar using Pardot, check out this step-by-step guide.

3. Execution

If you’ve successfully planned and promoted your webinar, this is the easy part. Of course, you can’t plan for every contingency—like losing Internet connection or having to evacuate the building for a fire drill (true story)—but for the most part, the webinar should go off without a hitch.

4.  Follow-Up

With marketing automation, all webinar leads will automatically be entered into your database along with behavioral information, so following up with your leads is simple. Of course, you should send a thank-you email with a recorded version of the webinar to all attendees—but don’t forget about the registrants who weren’t able to attend. Use automation to send them a “sorry we missed you” email along with the recording.

So, what’s next for these leads? That’s up to you. Your marketing automation platform can automatically score leads based on their registration, attendance, and interaction with follow-up emails. You can also choose to add them to or remove them from a list, put them on a drip campaign, or assign them to a sales rep.

5. Repurposing

The final step to executing a killer webinar is to repurpose it. Put a recorded version on your website or blog to continue generating leads indefinitely, and stretch the content even further by blogging about it or posting the slides to SlideShare.

What are your tips for a winning webinar strategy with marketing automation? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.