What will you get OUT OF all the work you’re putting INTO your upcoming webinar presentation? Most likely, you’re hoping to establish yourself as a thought leader or a credible voice on issues related to your webinar topic. Ultimately, you want to develop more business leveraging your expertise. Great news: the webinar presentation is the first step. Now let’s get real and insert one word into that last phrase: the webinar presentation is *just* the first step.
All the upfront work put into the webinar is super-important, and I’m a firm believer that the actual content of the webinar is the most important thing.
That said, whatever you do, make sure you have a plan for post-webinar follow-up. Yes, your presentation may have been *great*, but don’t expect to be inundated with new business just because you did a webinar. Competition in the webinar space is exploding, with one popular platform reporting the number of webinars hosted in March 2020 is up over 4x compared to March 2019 (Source: ON24).
How you follow up will depend on whether your organization ran the webinar, or you were a guest presenter on a 3rd party hosted webinar. In the latter instance, you don’t have control over the information gathered from attendees, although most of the time information is shared. Either way, make sure attendees are opted-in to receiving messages from you. Email addresses, names, companies, job titles, time spent on the webinar are all useful data that, if collected, will help you segment your list to optimize future communications.
Send out an email to your attendees within 24 hours. Depending on your industry and your webinar subject matter, you may want to point them to other helpful resources you’ve created, including:
- articles or blog posts
- your newsletter
Put yourself in the shoes of your attendees and think about what they might find useful, with the background knowledge that they were interested in the subject matter of your webinar.
You may be able to segment your attendee list in ways that allow you to point different people to different pieces of content. For attendees who you believe are further along in the buyer’s journey, you may want to invite them to schedule a call with you. For particularly promising leads, consider reaching out to them on a 1:1 basis via phone or email. Or connect with them on LinkedIn with a personalized message.
When you send follow up emails, remember that we all get a lot of email these days, so make sure yours stands out. The subject line has to pop, and you may consider using eye-catching tools such as video email (It’s easy! Read more here.)
Let’s talk more about one specific, and often overlooked method of follow-up: retargeting.
What is retargeting?
Retargeting is the practice of showing an ad to someone who previously did X. In our example, X = attended your webinar.
Why retarget your webinar attendees?
Simply put, people often need multiple touchpoints and exposures to your name before they are ready to buy. Your webinar was an important, highly focused touchpoint. Your follow-up email pointing them to additional relevant and helpful information is another. And retargeting ads are a subtle, yet psychologically important exposure to your brand.
A lot of ad dollars are spent in a scatter-gun approach where you hope you are putting your brand in front of someone who might be interested in your services. One very positive thing about this sort of advertising is that it is very precise and highly focused. You know you are spending money to reach people who are very interested in your offering… otherwise they wouldn’t have signed up for your webinar. In fact, retargeting generates 10x the click-through of a standard display ad (Source: Wishpond).
How can I execute a retargeting campaign?
- Select where your attendees will see your ad. You can run ads on discrete platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or broader platforms like Google or Bing. In B2B and professional services, LinkedIn is often the most logical platform, as it is a destination for business-related information gathering. The data supports this, as LinkedIn’s lead-gen conversion rate is 3x that of Twitter or Facebook (Source: HubSpot). (The rest of the steps assume a LinkedIn campaign, but the principles are the same regardless of platform.)
- Sign in to LinkedIn and create a Campaign Manager account.
- Set a clear objective. LinkedIn allows you to opt for objectives such as brand awareness, consideration (this includes things like website visits, liking your company page, or viewing one of your informational videos) and conversion (form submission, downloading ebooks, or making a purchase).
- Upload your list of attendee emails. In LinkedIn, you may need to augment your list with a “lookalike” audience who share important characteristics with your uploaded list. LinkedIn’s campaign building tools will help you do this.
- Select the type of ad you will run. There are a variety of options ranging from ads that appear directly in your target audience’s feed to ads that appear in your prospects’ inboxes as direct messages. The ads can be static or dynamic (personalized based on profile). Using material that may be familiar and valuable to your audience—such as a downloadable that you featured in the webinar presentation, or an offer to download the slides themselves—can be a good strategy.
- Set your ad budget and how you will pay (per impression, per click or per send). How much you spend is completely in your control.
- Tweak and optimize based on your ad’s performance. All the ad platforms provide voluminous data so that you can dig into what’s working and what needs to change.
You may want to try a few different campaigns and see which approach is most successful. Obviously your ad messaging and creative need to be compelling and consistent with your brand. Retargeting is a powerful way to reinforce your brand to people you’ve already interacted with via your webinar and your follow-up messaging.
Webinars are a tremendous business development opportunity. In the current environment where the supply of webinars is high, developing business from your time investment requires going the extra mile with helpful follow-up interaction, and keeping yourself visible with a retargeting campaign.