The art and science of webinars


Over my career, I have managed and executed hundreds of webinars. At one of my prior employers, as head of their marketing department, we executed 213 paid client webinars in one year! Should you charge for your webinars? And if you do, how much do you charge? That depends on your marketing goals. If your main goal is to promote a product or service, or to build your audience, you may decide to offer your expertise for free, thereby maximizing the number of people who participate.

The benefits of hosting a free webinar:

  • You will get more registrants – but keep in mind it’s not always quantity that matters, but the quality of attendees that matters.
  • It’s easier to implement.

The drawbacks of a free webinar:

  • You won’t make any money upfront.
  • The attendees have no “skin in the game,” no strong sense of urgency to actually show up and attend the webinar.
  • Sometimes “free” is perceived as having a lower value than something that comes with a price tag.

The benefits of hosting a paid webinar:

  • You make money with each registration.
  • Your speakers are more likely to promote the webinar through their network/channels if they can earn a commission.
  • The webinar might be perceived as more valuable if attendees must pay to gain access.

The drawbacks of a paid webinar:

  • The more you charge, the fewer attendees you are likely to have.
  • Implementing them is more complicated – you will have to set up a way to take and process payments within the registration process.

It is truly an art and science to create, manage, promote and successfully host webinars. At Pivot, some clients ask us to help them develop their webinar marketing strategy and manage the entire event process for them; others just need Pivot to support them on the promotional aspects. So you want to host a webinar? Here are five common pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Not devising a winning webinar marketing strategy. Devising a winning marketing strategy is the fundamental first-step and the roadmap that everyone on the team (who helps orchestrate/execute your webinar) will follow. A must.
  2. Not thoroughly planning and lack of solid project management. Planning and project management is pivotal to flawless execution. Typically, one person should be designated and responsible for overseeing all the components of the webinar A-Z. That person should have rock-solid project management skills.
  3. Trying to do too much with one webinar event. Sometimes marketers just try to do too much with a single webinar. They think covering everything for everybody will draw in more attendees. Webinars should be targeted with relevant, useful and engaging content that specifically addresses the attendees’ needs.
  4. Not using your content as a webinar lure. The webinar registration form and promotion of the event should tell attendees “what you will get” or “what you’ll learn,” and convey the creditability of the speaker(s). An audience will typically ask themselves before registering for a webinar, “What’s in it for me, and with my crazy schedule, is this worth my time?”
  5. No webinar performance metrics in place – you don’t know what worked, and what didn’t. It is important to consistently analyze the performance of your webinars and the various mediums used to promote the event to ensure the webinar delivered the results you wanted – measuring what worked, and what did not!

HubSpot recently posted a great blog on the 11 Steps to Make Sure Your Next Webinar Is a Total Flop. Read it here.

Laura HollowayThe art and science of webinars
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