7 reasons why marketing a webinar like a whitepaper misses the mark

Webinars and webcasts are popular peeps at the content marketing party. Too often, however, marketers are leaving money on the table by not exploiting webinars’ uniqueness in the content mix.

Here are a few missed opportunities and alternatives for success:Content Marketing to the Target

Miss #1: Lead qualification at a deeper level

You “get the lead” when someone registers for your webinar. Like any landing page decision, you’ve got to decide whether to just ask registrants for name/email address and trust your lead maturation process after the fact or if you can get by with asking them for their mother’s maiden name and National Security Agency profile.

Bullseye! What about the opportunity to collect polling data, survey responses, qualitative responses to freeform questions or anything else your conferencing platform collects?

Miss #2: Mini-cycle lead nuturing

Trust from a prospect isn’t instant. It’s why they give you fake phone numbers and santaclaus@genericemail.com email addresses. Unlike a whitepaper (or any other content marketing asset), this is a live event. Person-to-person (prospect-to-presenter) trust can develop.

Bullseye! Offer up a second chance to opt-in later in the webinar with more real, actionable contact information.

Miss #3: Ability to adjust content on the fly

Have you ever said something, had someone respond that they don’t understand, and then you found a better way to explain it? Yup. Have you ever covered a topic in a manner that you thought was complete only to get asked a question about something you didn’t cover? Yup.

Bullseye! Mediocre presenters don’t get this part, but let’s shoot for idea. Sometimes the value of participating in a live event isn’t the core content, it’s the ability to adjust on the fly.

Miss #4: Ability to promote interaction with the expert

You’ve got the world’s greatest Javascript whisperer on stage. To the audience, it’s one thing to learn from her, it’s a whole other thing to be able to ask a question of the expert that personalizes the response for the person asking the question.

Bullseye! “Join us for this live webinar and extended ‘stump the expert’ Q&A time with Julie the Javascript whisperer.”

Miss #5: Ability to promote the next event in the series

NOTHING promotes the next webinar in the program like a live tie-in delivered tastefully during the webinar you’re on.

Bullseye! Bake it into the moderator’s script. Bonus: Include a link to that next webinar in the follow up email.

Miss #6: Ability to exploit a short-window opt-in

Different organizations handle webinar registrants differently, so this may not apply. If, however, a webinar registrant doesn’t automagically get subscribed to your master list or lists, you still have the registrant’s permission to communicate to them through the webinar lifecycle.

Bullseye! Quit sending out those sterile, auto-generated confirmation, reminder, and follow up emails. Customize them to also ask for a Twitter connection or remind them of the next time you’ll be in Cleveland.

Miss #7: Exploiting Twitter during the webinar

Whitepapers might get retweeted once by an individual, but a webinar is a conversation. A couple active tweeters can touch their audiences a pile of times with your hashtag.

Bullseye! Even if you hate Twitter, you better get on the train.

The bottom line

It is implied earlier, but let me be explicit: A boring presenter who’s light on virtual stage acumen isn’t going to help your cause.

Webinars and webcasts worth listening to, worth tweeting and retweeting, worth the audience’s time to interact and participate and learn that they can trust you are a joint responsibility between presenter, producer, and promoter.

And they’re the single best thing you can do to differentiate your webinars, deliver leads that are deeper than what you get out of a whitepaper, and make a difference as a marketer.

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