Webinars can be a great way to generate leads for your company. They also are a great way to position yourself as an expert in your field. Attendees, assuming they fall within your target market and are not job seekers or consultants, instantly become a lead because they’ve shown an interest in your product/service. Most of these leads, however, will be in the early stages of the sales cycle, but still, by raising their hand, they’ve given you an invitation to begin the conversation.
Before embarking on a webinar, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Who is the target market for this webinar?
- What topics are of interest/value to my target market?
- What are the goals of the webinar?
- What is the plan to track and follow up with responders?
- Who is going to speak at the webinar?
- What is my invitation strategy?
- What date and time is the webinar? This question is especially important if you plan to invite people from different time zones.
The success or failure of your free webinar depends upon the content, especially the topic. Unless you’re targeting your install base and attempting to cause them to upgrade to a new version of your product, the topic should be not be focused on your product or solution. Rather, the topic should be focused on something geared toward the business needs of your target market.
What are some of the questions, concerns and themes your sales team is hearing from prospects and customers? Is there a new market shift or driver that’s causing anxiety among your target market or that is dominating the airwaves? Is there a new regulation coming down the pike that your target market needs to know about? The answers to these questions will help you decide upon a topic.
The content of the webinar needs to answer the questions that will be posed by your target market:
- What’s in it for me?”, and
- Why should I give up an hour of my time?”
The invitation, especially, needs to answer these questions. If you’ve run webinars in the past, you could list some of the questions that were posed in previous sessions. Doing so gives the invitee a sense of the sophistication of the attendees and how in depth the conversation gets. You could also list the titles of who should attend. In addition, you could provide a couple of testimonials from prior webinars.
The content needs to be valuable and delivered in an educational/soft sales approach. In terms of an agenda, I’ve seen webinar agendas that first talk about the problem/pain felt by the target market, followed by a discussion of the solution (i.e., how the sponsor’s product or service eases the pain) in a case study format (i.e., having an actual customer talk about how the product and service enabled he/she to succeed), followed by a q & a session. I’ve seen ones that don’t even talk about the sponsor’s solution; these ones stay completely focused on the market driver. I think either one is fine because both focus on the target market’s pain points.