The Field Marketer’s Ultimate Guide to Webinars that Don’t Suck

June 3, 2022
Meisha Bochicchio
Meisha Bochicchio
Senior Content Marketing Manager at Goldcast

Maximize Your Marketing ROI

Join 10,000 other marketers already getting the best tips on running engaging events that boost pipeline and create raving fans.

It’s official. We’re wiped out by webinars.

In fact, 53% of business professionals feel there are just too many webinars happening right now. And with so many brands treating webinars as a one-sided opportunity to pitch their products, can you really blame them?

Still, there’s no denying that webinars have been a pretty awesome sidekick for field marketers during the pandemic. But with so many webinars competing for your audience’s attention, it’s more important than ever for your webinars to cut through the noise.

Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the data on why webinars still matter:

With unmissable content, the right speakers and event engagement features that go far beyond the classic Q&A, hosting a wow-worthy webinar is still a great way to generate awareness and even pipeline.

In this ultimate guide to webinars that people actually want to attend, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to make sure your next webinar invitation is the one that gets accepted.

Ready to take your webinars to the next level? Let’s get started!

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • The basics: What is a webinar, exactly?
  • Why field marketers still choose webinars
  • 5 simple steps to webinar success
  • The #1 secret to a winning webinar 🤫

Source: 2020 BrightTALK Benchmarks Report

The basics: What is a webinar, exactly?

A ‘webinar’ is a pretty straightforward mashup of ‘web’ and ‘seminar’.

In its purest form and definition, a webinar takes all the elements from a seminar — a meeting of people, a topic discussion, a presenter and a visual display (either of the speaker or their presentation) — and moves it online to the web. 💡

What separates a webinar from a video presentation? Interaction. And here’s where it gets interesting.

As a viewer, you’re not just sitting and watching. Instead, you have the ability to interact with the speaker, your fellow attendees, or both.

But unfortunately, not many brands use webinars to their full engagement potential.

Because despite their rapid increase in popularity, many brands still view webinars as a one-way channel for content delivery, with a quick poll at the beginning and Q&A at the end. And the value for attendees? Truth is, that’s more of an afterthought in many cases.

But whether it’s knowledge sharing, relationship building or brand boosting that you’re after, a showstopping webinar can help get the job done.

And here’s why.

Why field marketers still choose webinars

As a field marketing pro, you already know the awesome impact events can have — from raising brand awareness, nurturing customer relationships and generating new leads.

In a word? Revenue.

Webinars, like their in-person counterparts, can deliver major revenue-focused benefits. But only if you approach them with the right mindset and strategy. But only if you’re ready to create real opportunities for attendee engagement, and leave the pitches and product-pushing at the door.

Here’s a recap on just some of the benefits an attendee-first webinar can offer:

Go to market at the click of a button

Webinars are a great opportunity to educate your customers: Explain your latest feature, demo your cool new product or even host a myth-busting Q&A.

And these days, there’s no excuse not to include your audience.

For example, you could host an exclusive small group session with the speaker after the main event, deliver a demo in-platform so audience members can ask their questions live, or offer booths that showcase your products inside the event (without being pushy about it).

With the right webinar strategy and format, bringing your product to market while including your customer in the process has never been easier.

Structure your webinar to fuel your brand

To establish yourself as a thought leader, you first have to present like one. A well-structured webinar will help you deliver an unforgettable brand story, even if you’re not the one telling it.

When partnering with a customer, vendor, or other co-marketing ally, you position your brand as a connector within the community and help widen the scope of your brand’s message and authority.

Engage with customers across the globe

Don’t wait until after the event to interact with your prospects and customers.

With the right platform, webinars can help you double down on your ABM strategy and take it global. With interactive chats, Q&As, polls and so much more, webinars make global relationship-building a breeze.

67% of people attend webinars to learn something. And while you may receive some attendee love for teaching them something new, you’re also generating organic Net New Pipeline from your webinar registrations.

Skyrocket your ROI

(Oh, and did we mention the $$$ you’ll save hosting a webinar vs. a live event?)

Sales happy ✅ finance happy ✅ prospects happy ✅.

Capture insightful data for better follow-up

While hosting the hottest webinar around can give your brand some major bragging rights, it’s the attendee-level insights that really help you prove your webinar’s value.

Armed with deep attendee engagement data, you and your sales team can craft personalized follow-ups and maximize your post-event conversions.

But how do you run a webinar that’s set to achieve all of this and more? Let’s take a closer look.

Webinar best practices for field marketers: 5 simple steps to success

We’ve all been there. Those webinars that promise you the world, then fail to deliver the goods.

You leave feeling deflated, miffed at the time you’ve lost and distrustful of the brand. And once that trust is gone, it’s next to impossible to get back.

Keep in mind that while getting people to your webinar is great — it’s the execution, not the attendance rate, that has to be your focus.

This simple five-step strategy will help you nail it.

Step 1: Tackle the right topic

Content is king, so you have to crack it. Rather than spinning your wheels trying to cover any and every topic, focus on solving a single problem and go deep. Remember, your audience is there to learn.

But how do you decide what to teach?

If you’re a field marketer with a clear ICP, you probably already have a pretty good idea of what your audience needs.

Look at things like: common pain points, shared experiences, and overlapping business aims. Then, leverage your existing account-level insights to drive interest and engagement.

  • Don’t forget: Once you’ve chosen your topic, choose a title that sums up your main theme in 1-3 powerful words.

Step 2: Focus on format

Gone are the days where a monotone speaker with a PowerPoint deck would attract an audience. Today’s attendees have options, and plenty of them.

If you want to win and keep their attention, you have to mix it up.

  • Try a talk-show setup — prompt conversation with a charismatic moderator.
  • Prep a panel — recruit experts with differing views, experiences and skills.
  • Do a demo — a picture speaks 1,000 words and so does a well-executed demo.
  • Create a case study — bring a client to the table to share their success story.

And if you only have the resources for a solo show, make sure it’s a masterclass. Be the expert your attendees need. Shake up your content presentation. And make it engaging.

  • Don’t forget: Give complex formats extra practice, planning and production time to avoid awkward moments on the day.

Step 3: Make it a two-way conversation

No matter which topic and format you go with, your best bet for a winning webinar is to always make it a two-way conversation.

Whether it’s interactive fireside chats, inviting attendees to ask live ‘on-stage’ questions or even hosting a dedicated dinner-making experience led by a celebrity chef, the options to wow your audience are endless.

If you really want to uplevel audience engagement at your next webinar, look for ways to:

  • Offer multiple sessions and roundtable discussions featuring live and pre-recorded content
  • Personalize the attendee experience from registration to follow-up
  • Empower your team to respond to audience engagements in real time
  • Don’t forget: For a truly revenue-driven events program, always let the sales team know which key accounts attended the webinar, and how they engaged.

Step 4: Double-down on data

If you want to keep your webinar program running, your webinars can’t just be successful for your customers. You also have to speak the boardroom language, namely: ROI.

As an expert field marketer, you know the struggle to prove event ROI is real. But with virtual events, you finally have the data to back it up.

Get holistic data on attendance numbers, average viewing time and session views.

Then really power up your ABM approach with powerful account-level insights: Who asked what questions? Which sessions did a particular customer attend? What resources did they download?

From there, you can seamlessly integrate your virtual event data into the rest of your marketing tech stack, so that when sales eventually seals the deal, you’ll be able to directly link your event to closed-won revenue.

  • Don’t forget: Make access to deep data a non-negotiable when selecting your platform.

Step 5: Prioritize the platform

When it comes to in-person events, location is everything. When it comes to virtual events, platforms take priority.

If you really want to nail your next webinar, look for a platform that offers multiple engagement features, insane data analytics, first-class branding opportunities and seamless integrations.

And don’t settle for less.

  • Don’t forget: Ask yourself what’s important to your webinar strategy and hone in on those features and data capabilities.

Alright. By now, you’ve got everything you need to kick off a successful webinar and get the internal buy-in to keep the attendees and revenue coming.

But what’s really going to separate your webinar from the rest?

We’re glad you asked.

The secret to success? Create more interaction during your webinar

Whether your event is in-person, hybrid or virtual, one fact remains the same: Your customer is priority #1.

And building, maintaining and nurturing that relationship is crucial.

Because although it’s true that interacting in-person vs. virtually is inherently different, it shouldn’t be any less engaging. And with the right virtual event platform, it doesn’t have to be.

When trawling through those event platform demo pages, be sure to locate these must-haves features.

Multiple networking opportunities

Communication is key. And it has to be accessible for every one of your webinar attendees.

Your webinar platform should allow for networking between the speaker and attendees, between the attendees and your sales team, and among the attendees themselves.

Because while 80% of attendees join virtual events for educational purposes, the next biggest reason is networking. So give the people what they want — and better yet, give them options.

Here are just a few of the event platform features that can help make it happen.

  • For Callum Donnelly of Waylay IO, booths were the ultimate game-changer when it came to demoing the product and converting attendees.
  • For Smartling’s Adrian Cohn, the chat was constantly buzzing as a clear attendee favorite.
  • And for NS1’s Cait Law, the exhibitor space was easily converted into an interactive Help Center for attendees to strike up a conversation with sales.

These are just a couple of options to stir up greater engagement at your next webinar. Whichever features you choose to deploy, networking can transform your webinar into an unforgettable experience, so whatever you do — don’t skip this step!

Relevant data for relevant webinar follow-up

Live chat, virtual booths and dedicated attendee Help Centers are awesome, but the networking shouldn’t stop there. In fact, the most important element to your webinar success often happens after the webinar.

For the expert field marketing team at Drift, event follow-up conversations are fueled by the deep insights their platform automatically collects on each attendee. Because the more personalized your outreach, the more likely the conversion.

Lead scoring insights

Interaction and engagement doesn’t just mean talking.

Ask your attendees for Q&A submissions, send out real-time polls, and provide a content hub for them to download useful materials. Let them know you’re thinking about them, even if you can’t facilitate individual 1:1s.

The more your attendees give back through these mechanisms, the longer they stay on the webinar, and the more engaged they become.

From there, you can use these touchpoints to decide where in the pipeline to place the prospect. Here’s a glimpse at how Karli Williamson, Senior Events Manager at Gremlin used event engagement data to qualify attendees as MQLs for a fair distribution plan with her event partners:

“We map out our scoring ahead of time: 25 points for this, 50 points for this,” says Karli, “Then each sponsorship level receives different lists. We're really particular about who crosses that MQL threshold.”

Unleash your webinar to the world

Done right, webinars are an opportunity to drive brand awareness and show customers just how much you can help them. And when you boil it right down, a well-executed webinar is all about making the right choices in the preparation stage.

From your content, to your platform, to your engagement levers and data usage, we hope this guide helps you create a standout webinar strategy that delivers more data, revenue and respect.

Keep your audience front of mind and put yourself in their shoes. Would I be interested in that topic? Would that session spark joy? Would I have fun navigating that platform?

Aim for a firm ‘yes’ to all of the above, and the attendance rates and revenue will follow.

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