With only three days left in 2014, we’re running out of time to start planning our marketing strategies for the new year — but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s too late to start coming up with new ideas!
As 2014 gives way to 2015, one area we’d like to encourage marketers to focus on is their webinar strategy. We are huge proponents of webinars at Pardot because of their ability to reach prospects and clients with a minimal investment in resources. Not to mention the fact that you could host a webinar in your pajamas, if you’re into that.
But we know that planning a webinar series can be a daunting task, whether you’re new to the webinar game or not. From lining up speakers to brainstorming topics, there’s a lot to think about! To help you start planning your next successful webinar, we’d like to offer a few ideas that have worked for us — and our clients! Take a look at the list below to get those creative juices flowing (and keep in mind that many of these can apply to other types of content as well).
1. Host an educational how-to series.
Your audience, just like you, is always looking for ways to improve. Take advantage of your position as a subject matter expert and thought leader to educate on topics that you know well. Break these down into beginner, intermediate, and advanced topics to appeal to a wider audience.
2. Conduct a product demo.
Not every webinar needs to be tied to thought leadership. For more middle- and bottom-of-the funnel prospects, consider hosting monthly or quarterly product demonstrations. The frequency of these webinars will depend on the length of your sales cycle, but they provide a great option for prospects who want to check out your product, but don’t want to work with a sales rep yet.
3. Share a case study.
Sure, it’s nice to hear what your product can do from you, but it’s even better to hear what it can do from the people who are actually out in the trenches using it (and it’s more credible!). Ask a few of your customers with inspiring stories to share some of the pain points they were dealing with before using your product, and how your product helped them find success.
4. Live chat with partners and thought leaders.
As nice as it is to think that your audience will always turn up to hear you speak, the largest draw of webinars is often external speakers that are brought in to share their expertise. Work with your partners or other connections within your networks to schedule webinars around topics you might not normally cover with your internal speakers.
5. Host training sessions.
It’s important to think about your current clients (and not just your potential ones) when you’re planning out your webinar schedule. Keep in mind that it is 6-7x more costly to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one, so you always want to dedicate a portion of your resources to retention, and this includes webinars. Online training sessions and quick feature walk-throughs are great ways to show that you’re still investing in your current clientele.
6. Have regular Q&A sessions with your users.
Similar to hosting training sessions, another relatively simple way to cater to your clients is to schedule regular Q&A sessions. Encourage users to send in questions that you’ll answer on-air, and then leave a little bit of extra time at the end for additional questions.
7. Share your roadmap.
A great webinar idea that appeals to both current and prospective clients is a roadmap webinar. While your current clients want to see what they have to look forward to, potential clients want to see that you’re making an investment in R&D, and how your newest feature sets stack up to your competitors.
8. Promote offline events with online webinars.
This idea works two-fold. If you have any upcoming events that you’ll be attending or sponsoring, build hype with a webinar series focusing on related topics. You can even incentivize your audience by giving away prizes to those who attend more than 60% of your webinars AND stop by your event booth. On the flip side, webinars are great for post-event recaps too. If you had a speaking engagement and are hoping to get more exposure, use the same presentation in a webinar after the fact.
9. Discuss research and benchmarks.
Did your company recently conduct a survey or collect data for research purposes? Share that data in a webinar! Or, if you’re not conducting your own research, you can always discuss recent benchmarks that are relevant to your industry, with a few valuable takeaways for your specific audience.
Looking for more ideas? Take a look at our Webinar Handbook by clicking on the banner below.