You have a webinar in 5 weeks. What do you?
If you’re like many marketers I know, you may begin building out the tactical marketing plan. E-mail here, calling there, create some ads in between. Build out the plan! Makes sense, right?
My friend, the ancient Chinese war strategist, Sun Tzu would always say, "Patrick, tactics without strategy is the noise before webinar defeat.”
Sun Tzu is telling us that we should begin by looking at the bigger plan--the annual marketing/growth goals--before developing a plan. This makes sense.
I’d Hate to be a Runner and Not Know Where the Finish Line Is…
If you’re developing a tactical marketing plan for your webinar before looking at where the event fits in the bigger picture—you are that runner! There are lines we can look at to help us create objectives.
A company's growth goals are typically very specific. These goals may include overall sales revenue, new clients, or the number of current clients up-sold. While you can use these goals to feed your webinar goals, you most likely cannot use the exact same goals because of how long the sales process might be.
You’ll need to come up with mini-goals for the short term and keep track of the bigger ones, like sales, over the long term. Questions you can ask to help come up with the mini-goals can include:
- Who are you targeting?
- What would you like the next step to be?
- Where does this webinar fit in the overall marketing plan?
- How many registrations would help contribute to that plan?
Based on these answers, you can determine what a reasonable qualified registrant goal should be and maybe even next-step goals (like how many meetings are set after the event).
With these goals in place, you can begin estimating how the metrics of the campaign will play out. This will allow you to determine if webinars are as cost efficient as your other campaigns. Are they?
To the Plan!
With goals in place we can begin building the plan that will maximize our change of achieving victory. You may consider using:
OKAY. There are a lot of ways you can promote a webinar. Which is great because we know, the more tactics we use, the greater the chances of cutting through the clutter we have. And we also know that layering tactics compounds their effectiveness.
So, as you’re creating your plan – think about how you can layer your tactics for the biggest impact. Let’s look at some of these tactics in more detail and how using them can help generate more qualified leads.
So much work
“But Patrick, all these tactics? How do we get that going? So much wooorkk.”
Yes, webinars can be a lot of work - especially if you’re just getting started. Most likely, you’ll find they are well worth it. That said, there are steps you can take to make sure all this work gets done right and you and your team look great!
The key to webinar marketing is very simple: Don’t Panic.
Seriously though, it’s about understanding that much of it is a game of project management. We’ve learned there are a few key components to a webinar marketing engine that purrs:
- Develop a schedule, share it with all stakeholders, get buy-in
- Think carefully about the timing, how does it all go together – what items are at the highest risk of slowing things down? Focus on those
- Schedule required resources (sales, IT, design, etc) to avoid ‘domino’ marketing failures that jeopardize the overall event success
Even a webinar campaign that is only utilizing e-mail for invitations will be well served with a detailed plan and thorough understanding of the resources required to make it happen.
Learn, rinse, and repeat
The final step to ensuring your organization makes the most of online events is the debrief call with all resources a day or two after the live event. As little as a 15 minute call can make a dramatic impact on the long-term success of your webinar program.
During that call you can further benefit if you have someone who was responsible for tracking against goals. Make sure to use a registration system that allows you to track registrations by lead source – so you can measure ROI and make adjustments as you move forward with other events.
The biggest threats to sustained webinar success are:
- Not making the time to take a step back and see where it fits into the overall plan
- Not creating a detailed project plan (not just marketing)
- Not leveraging the knowledge generated from each event and bringing it forward
Take a step back and help your webinars take a step up!
Patrick R. Cahill
is a principal at Rally Point Webinars who specializes in marketing, business operations, and CRMs. Click here to email Patrick