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How to Create an Effective B2B Webinar Strategy


August 18, 2023


August 18, 2023

Webinars are—and will continue to be—one of the most effective demand generation tools in B2B marketers’ arsenals. When executed well, they are great for introducing potential customers to your purchase pipeline and leveling up your thought leadership positioning.

Beyond engaging your audience, an effective webinar strategy offers meaningful data on the type of content that resonates with your ICP, provide you with a goldmine of repurposable content, and, of course, open the door for your sales team to build relationships with interested prospects. 

But good webinars don’t just happen magically—we’ve all attended talks with boring hosts, broken tech, or thinly-veiled product demo presentations. We’re here to help you avoid that fate.

In this article, we’ll outline how to build a high-quality and effective B2B webinar strategy that drives revenue for your business. We’ll cover how to host a webinar, ways to make webinars more engaging, and tips for repurposing your webinar content throughout your marketing campaigns.

Setting Up Your Webinar Strategy

Like most things in life, a great webinar starts with a solid and strategic foundation. Taking the time to get things right at the beginning will save you effort (and headaches) in the long run. You’ll want to figure out who you’re targeting, what kind of content they want, how your webinar will be formatted and distributed, and where to promote it.

How to set up a webinar strategy: 1) Audience, 2) Content, 3) Format, 4) Technology, 5) Promotion

Who is your webinar audience?

Once you know exactly whom you’re targeting, it becomes much easier to determine what will resonate with that particular audience. When it comes to building a B2B webinar strategy, you can craft your content based on the different attributes used to segment your target registrants:

Persona-based: Consider your company’s target personas. The different segments of your audience will perceive a particular topic differently. By narrowing your total audience by persona type, you can better understand how to craft your content in a way that resonates with the distinct interests and needs of all your webinar attendees.

Funnel-based: If the content you’re creating assumes varying awareness of your product, you’re likely targeting segments of leads who are sitting in different stages of their buying journey. Whether it’s through lifecycle stage, lead scoring, or a combination of the two, separating your target audience out by top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, and bottom-of-funnel contacts helps you create a webinar that targets different segments of your webinar registrants with the right amount of product information. Focus on each segment and craft your webinar in a way that appeals specifically to them, both through the title and the type of information presented. You should aim for a balanced approach that doesn’t scare people off with an overly sales-focused presentation, but with enough information that your product’s value propositions are communicated clearly.

Industry-based: 84% of B2B viewers attend webinars in order to stay up to date with trends within their industries. If your product serves one specific industry, a well-crafted webinar can elevate your colleagues as subject matter experts and position your company as the industry leading product. If your product serves multiple industries, you have the opportunity to repurpose content for each of the different verticals that you target.

Segmenting your different webinars by the different audiences that you’re targeting can help you address your prospects’ specific pain points. However, be mindful of the risks of over-segmentation. The smaller your target audience becomes, the fewer total registrants you’ll have for a given session, with even fewer actually attending. 

While there is a time and a place for webinars that reach as broad of an audience as possible, it’s important to focus your resources and effort into creating high-quality webinar content that is most likely to convert with a higher ARR (annual recurring revenue) audience.

What type of content does your audience need?

If you’re targeting prospects who are already engaged in varying lifecycle stages, it becomes easier to gauge exactly what kind of content you should provide. As we mentioned, breaking your audience out into top-, middle-, and bottom-of-funnel leads helps you make assumptions about what, if anything, they know about your product. 

From there, you can inject just the right amount of product information that will resonate with your viewer, in the format that’s best aligned with their needs.

Top-of-Funnel: A top-of-funnel webinar should always be relatively product agnostic. You should present your viewers with a problem that could be fixed without your product, but show that it would be much more easily and efficiently solved with your product. Avoid any product demos or pitches specific to your company. Focus instead on sharing industry trends, best practices, and guides to success.

A great example of top-of-funnel webinar content can be found from Quorum, a public affairs software company. Quorum’s primary users are government relations teams, who work to advance policy priorities within federal and state legislatures. Their webinar titled "Five Proven Ways to Introduce Your Organization to a New Congress" strikes a balance of targeting an audience that fits their ICP without pushing an overt sales conversation. Top-of-funnel webinars serve as the perfect tool to establish your company as a thought leader in your space while encouraging prospects to begin interacting with your content.

Middle-of-Funnel: Once a contact has taken enough action that you’re confident in their product awareness, it’s time to shower them with middle-funnel content. In this stage, webinars offer a platform for focusing on customer stories and common pain points that your product is integral to solving.

This Census webinar is a good example of that—we can assume that an individual watching knows what CDPs (customer data platforms) are and why they’re important. This webinar is a useful resource for prospects who likely know what Census is and what problem it solves, and are interested in learning more about the product’s capabilities.

Bottom-of-Funnel: Bottom-of-funnel webinars are a great tool to retain your loyal customer base or help your sales team bring leads across the finish line. These can be demos of new products and features, or hands-on workshops to help your customers better leverage your product’s capabilities.

What’s the webinar format?

Once you’ve determined the funnel stage you’re targeting with your webinar, it’s time to start crafting your content. Choose the webinar format that makes the most sense for your audience, topic, and content.

The most common webinar format is speaker presentations. These involve 1–2 speakers presenting information with the aid of a slide deck. These are usually highly rehearsed and leave little room for engagement beyond a short Q&A at the end. This style is a valuable way to impart information—particularly at the top of the funnel. But there are also other options to present webinar content that offer greater opportunity for interaction. 

Fireside chats allow speakers to candidly share their thoughts, ideas, and visions for the future. For your presenters, it offers a chance to break away from pre-prepared slides and talk tracks. For your audience, it’s a ticket to access subject matter experts’ thoughts on industry trends and predictions. These often also include lengthy Q&A sessions to foster meaningful conversations between the audience and speakers.

Alternatively, workshops give viewers a hands-on and interactive learning experience led by subject matter experts. Workshops provide an environment where participants can actively engage in exercises, practical demos, and problem-solving activities to develop new skills or enhance existing ones. However, it’s important to be mindful of when exactly you choose to run a workshop webinar, as they require active participation, might not suit passive learners, and can be challenging to craft effectively for participants with varying skill levels.

Panel webinars are similar to speaker presentations or fireside chats, but include 3–5 well-rounded participants. The idea is often to share different points of view, or offer multiple answers to one question. These may be rehearsed with a slide deck, or be presented as more of a Q&A with a dedicated moderator.

Regardless of which webinar format you choose, remember that no webinar should ever be an entire session of your speakers talking at your audience. 92% of webinar attendees want a live question and answer session at the end of a webinar. Always factor in time for your audience to interact with speakers and ask questions. (Bonus points for building in engagement opportunities throughout the webinar through polls, conversations with others in the chat, etc.).

Which webinar program or technology should you use?

When it comes to webinar tech, there are many options to choose from. The main consideration for hosting your webinar is what resources you already have access to, how developed your marketing ops team is, and whether you have budget for additional tools.

Most teams already have either Zoom or Microsoft Teams in place for daily meetings. Did you know that you can also use these tools to host your webinars? Depending on your CMS, you can set up integrations between HubSpot, Marketo, and other providers and your webinar platform of choice.

In recent years, the webinar software industry has become saturated with players like ON24, Contrast, Livestorm, and GoToWebinar whose products provide many nice-to-have features, like in-webinar demo requests, upgraded branding capabilities, and more customizable webinar studios. While some of these features can help elevate your brand and provide a better viewing experience for your audience, it’s important to consider pricing and integration capabilities above all. 

You may also be familiar with virtual event tools like Hubilo, Airmeet, and Hopin that are similar to webinar platforms but often come with even more features, like the ability to run multiple concurrent sessions. These became ubiquitous during the pandemic and work great for larger virtual events, but if you’re just beginning to explore one-off webinars, you likely don’t need to enlist their services just yet.

At the most basic level, you’ll need the following to run an effective B2B webinar strategy:

  • A landing page with a form or way to register for the event (usually on your website or using the registration page within Zoom)
  • An email tool to communicate with registrants before and after the event (usually Gmail, Hubspot, Customer.io, or similar)
  • A place to host the event (like Zoom or GoToWebinar)
  • A way to store registrant information (usually a CRM)
  • And ideally, a post-event outreach platform (like HubSpot, Apollo, or Outreach)

What’s your webinar promotion strategy?

Before you can get started on promotion, you’ll want to nail down a date for your webinar. Be sure to avoid major holidays, Mondays, Fridays, and times that are too early or late for your target audience. According to research, Tuesdays are the best days to host webinars, with Wednesday and Thursday trailing close behind. On these days, the majority of viewers prefer sessions to be hosted earlier in the day, around 10 or 11am. Give yourself at least three weeks of cushion time to promote for your webinar—you’ll want to have enough time to pivot and test a new strategy if you’re struggling to drive registrants.

Once you have your webinar planned, it’s time to turn your attention to demand generation. Your efforts to drive registrants should focus on both engaging with contacts who are already in your database and pulling in new leads who you can introduce to your content and/or your product.

Engaging with your existing database should be a fairly straightforward process. By sending emails to your contacts—segmented by the strategies previously discussed, posting on social media channels, and encouraging your colleagues to post as well, you can drive interest with the individuals who are already familiar with your product and already interested in what you have to say. When running webinars alongside other organizations or industry influencers, you should look to your partners to help with cross-promotional efforts. 

As you continue to refine your webinar strategy, it’s worth considering whether to invest capital into driving new leads to your content. Depending on where your audience is most active, LinkedIn lead generation ads or Facebook lead ads provide the opportunity to target leads at the accounts you’re interested in pursuing, as well as any lookalike audiences.

In general, you’ll generate low-cost leads across a broader audience using Facebook, and higher cost leads who fit a more narrow ICP on LinkedIn. Determining the best advertising platform for generating webinar leads always comes down to testing channels, optimizing your ads, and scaling the strategies that work.

Sponsoring industry publications and communities to broaden your reach can be a valuable means of driving new leads who are familiar with your industry and product. Seeking out newsletters, Slack communities, Facebook groups, and Meetup groups can provide additional avenues to share—paid or otherwise—your content with a wider audience.

Promoting your webinar is similar to promoting news, events, content, or products. Focus on your proven channels, and expand into new opportunities where applicable to your audience and the webinar topic. And for B2B, leaning into industry friends and partners is always a good idea.

Running Your B2B Webinar

Now that you’ve set up your webinar, decided on a topic, created the webinar presentation, secured speakers, and promoted the event, you’re ready to prepare for the actual event.

How to run a B2B webinar1) Prepare for your event2) Communicate with registrants.3) Encourage engagement. 4) Develop post-event processes.5) Repurpose webinar content.6) Measure success.

Preparing for your webinar

It’s important to ensure that your speakers are set up for success on the day of your webinar. Use this (non-exhaustive) checklist to start thinking about all of the bases you’ll want covered:

  • Have an in-platform dry-run to ensure everyone knows how to use the technology (and to test their wifi, speaker, environment, and screen-sharing views).
  • Make sure all presentation content is completed, designed, and reviewed with ample time to spare. Confirm all speakers are prepared to speak to their slides and that transitions or hand-offs are clear.
  • Double check that your slides contain content that encourages your viewers to interact and share their thoughts and questions.
  • Provide guidelines for lighting and background noise. (Yes to good lighting, no to background noise.)
  • Share registration information with your speakers so that they can tailor content for common job titles or industries.
  • Create back-up questions in case of a slow Q&A section. It’s common practice to have a few pre-planned questions for the presenters, just in case—it looks bad to end a session and have no questions or interaction from the audience.
  • Have speakers log in at least 15 minutes early on webinar day. Send calendar invites to block the actual event time, plus 15 minutes or more on each side to ensure they are clear of distractions.

Communicating with registrants 

Getting people to register for your webinar is key—but your work doesn’t stop there. It’s important to nurture your registrants and make sure they receive follow-up content that encourages them to attend, all the way up until the day of your webinar.

Typically you’ll want to send a reminder email to all registrants 24 hours, one hour, and even five minutes prior to the start of your session. During the webinar, you might opt to send an additional reminder to those who haven’t still haven’t joined, but this isn’t necessary. Post-webinar, you’ll want to send a recording to all registrants—more on this below.

As you see the registration notifications pile up in your inbox, you may be wondering how many registrants is enough? Our (potentially) controversial take: there is no right answer. While it’s important to target as much of your TAM (target addressable market—all the individuals who might be a good fit to purchase your product) as possible, it’s equally important to recognize that webinars are the gift that keeps giving and aren’t totally dependent on live participants. Even poorly attended webinars can be repurposed, re-shared, and/or re-run in as many ways as you like, allowing you to continuously share it with your ICP as “new” content. Having a small live audience doesn’t mean the webinar isn’t a success—you just need to know how to give it new life in different content formats.

In a perfect world, everyone who registered for your webinar would show up. But in reality, attrition is natural. It’s not unusual for around 50% of your registrants to actually attend.

The good news is most webinar platforms offer the ability to share replays. You can gain useful insights from the replay feature and measure who skipped your live webinar in favor of the replay, who returned for a second viewing, and who’s engaging as a new registrant after the live session. 

In fact, 40% of webinar viewers opt to engage with on-demand content over live content. The bottom line: regardless of when someone views the event, your webinar strategy should focus on creating high-quality, repurposable content that can be targeted toward as broad an audience as possible.

Encouraging engagement during the webinar

Once your webinar is live, it’s important to maintain engagement with your audience and hold their attention. According to a 2019 report, 67% of webinar attendees say that the most important thing is for presenters to be passionate and engaging

For a webinar that’s both passionate and engaging, make sure to talk with your audience, not at them. Involving your viewers in the conversation can be as simple as asking where they’re tuning in from or as involved as inviting them to go camera on and share their own insights. You want your webinar to feel less like a lecture and more like a dialogue.

To keep your audience engaged throughout the session, your slides should be engaging enough to prompt questions from the audience. One way to gauge interest mid-webinar, is to launch a poll halfway through to inform the flow of the remaining conversation. 

For example, if you’re demoing your product to an audience at the bottom of the funnel, it may help to know what industry they’re working in so you can tailor the potential use case you’re showing them. Toward the end of the webinar, give them the opportunity to opt into a sales conversation—if they’re ready, you can route them directly to your sales team. If not, you have the opportunity to present your question in a way that allows you to gauge where they are even in the buying journey.

A sample question to close out a webinar might look like the following: 

Would you like someone from our team to reach out with more information about Acme, Inc.?

  1. Yes, I’d like to see a demo
  2. Yes, I’d like to see some more resources
  3. No, I’m not interested

Tip: Have a plan for when and how your sales team follows up with the people who raise their hands during the webinar.

Keeping your viewers engaged throughout your webinar is likely the single biggest indicator of whether or not they’ll return to watch your subsequent sessions. By ensuring a smooth and enjoyable webinar experience, you’re not only building respect for your content, but also for your brand—a positive association that’ll go a long way with your prospects.

“Are you gonna send the recording after?”

The most common webinar question is whether the materials will be shared after the live event ends. Make sure your registrants have the recording as quickly as possible after the live session and encourage them to share it with their teams. 

While the type of webinar you’re running should ultimately determine the type of outreach you send registrants after the fact, the most important thing is to ensure it actually happens, either in the form of business development representative outreach or marketing nurture campaigns.

Sharing a recording of your webinar provides a prime opportunity to offer additional relevant content with your registrants and encourage them to stay engaged with your brand. And for any registrants who are new leads, this is a great way to continue the conversation. Make sure they regularly receive relevant information from you, as well as invites to future webinars.

Repurposing webinar content 

One of the biggest advantages of running a webinar is the ability to repurpose content. Repurposing your webinar not only allows you to get more out of your content, it also serves to establish your company as the subject matter expert on a given topic.

Here are a few ways to use webinar gold to keep serving your marketing and content engine:

  • Pull heavy-hitting quotes and share them as snippets
  • Use quotes, images, and individual slides as social posts
  • Publish the presentation deck
  • Post the webinar recording to YouTube or as an on-demand webinar on your website
  • Write a recap of your session for your blog
  • Allow your speaker to pen a guest blog post
  • Use the session topic as inspiration for an ebook

Regardless of which tactics you choose, there’s ample opportunity to extend the shelf life of your webinar content.

Measuring the success of your webinar strategy

How do you know if your webinar strategy is effective? It ultimately depends on your goals, and what you hope to achieve with your webinars.

One KPI is lead generation, or how many new prospects you add to your database specifically through webinar registrations. Or maybe you care more about specific event metrics like number of registrants, attendance rate, drop-off rate, etc.

Standing up an effective webinar strategy isn’t a one size fits all approach, but these B2B webinar best practices can provide a framework for building up your programming session by session.

Need help building an effective, lead generating webinar strategy? Drop us a line at growth@rightsideup.co to talk to our B2B experts.

Satya has spent most of her career helping scale marketing teams everywhere from Fortune 500 companies to high-growth startups. She's currently helping build the demand gen function at Census, a data activation platform for marketers and data teams. Offline, you can find Satya at the bouldering gym, playing with her dog, or strolling through DC in search of a new restaurant to sample.

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