Webinars continue to be an important way companies connect to customers for education, marketing, sales, and customer support purposes. Yet most companies relegate these tasks to junior staff at the last minute, forgetting a key number of crucial steps and increase risk. While tools like Cisco’s Webex, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, and Microsoft LiveMeeting and Slideshare Zipcast, (Or Virtual events with On24, INXPO, Unisfair ) offer a variety of technologies, they don’t provide a strategy or a comprehensive checklist on the many components needed.
Get to know the Ten P’s
Master the Ten P’s, and notice that steps one through seven are actually before the actual webinar performance. The Ten Ps include: 1) Philosophy, 2) Purpose, 3) Planning, 4) Professionals, 5) Programming of Content, 6) Promotion, 7) Preparation and Practice, 8> Performance “Showtime”, 9) Pursuit, 10) Post Mortem
Detailed Guide for Download: How To Successfully Produce A Professional Grade Webinar, Webcast, or Teleconference
Download this excel sheet from slideshare by clicking on the embed below.
Review with your team, then assign team members and dates
Place this document in a central location so all team members can see, and conduct regular meetings to complete checklist
If you’re in the marketing or sales arena, the 9th P is crucial. Remember, once the event ends, your job is just starting and you must focus on “Pursuit” for sales followups, don’t just throw a lead least over the transom to sales.
Earlier this week, we hosted a joint webinar with Barbara French of Tekrati, Jonny Bentwood Edelman AR practice, and Carter Lusher of Sagecicle (Carter and Barbara were able to make it to The Hangar, see pic). The topic? To explore how social technologies impact the industry analyst space.
We explored definitions, major impacts, disruptions to middle men, impacts to research, influence and personal brands. There’s no doubt that like the media industry, the analyst industry has been impacted by these simple publishing tools, and we’re seeing new business models appear like Open Research, at Altimeter Group, and variations at firms like Focus.com. The trio debated concepts and we tied it up to give final recommendations to analysts and analyst relations professionals.
Specifically for analysts what are the impacts?
Analysts can use these tools to listen in and identify research efforts. They can also use it for primarily qualitative research.
Analysts can go direct to the product managers, and in some cases bypassing AR professionals.
Can develop personal networks, career brands, that carry with them further than reports under an umbrella brand.
Analysts finally realize they are also media in addition to their traditional roles.
Would love to hear your commentary after listening in to the discussion, what are topics that need to be dove into further?
We’re embarking on yet another research report to identify how some top brands are using the Facebook platform well.
While no longer a one-off effort, many brands are already using Facebook for customer communities, word of mouth marketing, and are starting to integrate it with their own corporate website. At the end of July, I’ll be publishing our findings, as well as grading some of the world’s top brands on their Facebook efforts. We’ll be conducting a heuristic evaluation (acting like actual customers) and rate and rank these efforts with a variety of diagnostics.
Now back to you, what criteria to you deem as key for brands to use in Facebook? I’ll kick off with a few: 1) Enable social features. Some brands have disabled the ability to have discussions or post information. 2) Encourage efforts that spread the experience to friends. Many brands are just talking directly to their members, but don’t explicitly enable the community to pass it on to others. 3) Engage in a dialog. The social web is about behaving in a way that consumers already are, and this means brands should also participate in the existing conversation. 4) While we have a list of over 10, we’d love to hear from you.
Update: The submissions are pouring in, to date, we’ve included, Vendor Contributors such as:
360i, AKQA, Awareness Networks, The Community RoundTable, Context Optional, Digital Evolution Group, Edelman Digital, Facebook, Horn Group, Janrain, Inside Facebook, Kickapps, Gigya, Lithium, LiveWorld, Ogilvy’s 360° Digital Influence, Razorfish, RockYou, SHIFT Communications, Spredfast, StepChange a Powered Company, Vitrue and Wildfire Interactive.
Webinars an effective way to engage prospects
Webinars are increasingly important to the online marketplace who doesn’t have time to attend a conference, peel away from the office, or wants to learn on their own time. In fact, webinars, webcasts, and teleconferences can also be a long term asset as it’s viewed multiple times, and will continue to generate qualified leads.
Yet most have the wrong mindset, fail to plan, and miss qualified leads
Yet, most webinar producers do it wrong, or they miss key steps in planning, or fail to follow up and ‘pursue’ attendees. A common mistakes? Not engaging with the distracted multi-tasking audience, and recognizing that webinars are now a two-way medium –even if chat features are not enabled in the platform. Those who seek to produce successful webinars should follow these “Ten P’s” and reduce risk and increase chances of success.
How To Successfully Produce A Webinar: Follow the “Ten P’s”
1) Philosophy: Most approach webinars realizing they are different than all other mediums. Despite being primarily one-way they have a social element as attendees will interact with each other in the provided chat features, or on tools like Twitter. Secondly, many webinar producers don’t offer helpful content to the audience, and instead treat it like a sales pitch. Lastly, speakers that are great on stage in the real world, may fall short and appear lackluster in an online faceless webinar.
2) Purpose: Many webinar producers fail to pick a succinct goal, in fact this is key as it will define how you measure success. Some objectives can include: Thought leadership, association, customer references, lead generation, sales material, accelerating the customer life cycle, or education.
3) Planning: There are many decisions and steps that need to happen in this crucial phase. From deciding if the event should be recorded in advance, or done live, when to schedule the event (taking into account a global audience and conference and travel sesaons) and then selecting the right platforms between Adobe, Microsoft, WebEx, and Go To Meeting. One biggest fail point is not having the right hardware and software (including compatible browsers) and waiting to the last-minute-scramble to get this done. The truly savvy producers will integrate the webinar with existing community and tie with direct marketing systems and then funnel leads to the CRM system.
4) Professionals: There are many talent considerations to make during this performance. Just as you would bring forth the best speakers at your customer conference, you should apply the same thinking here. Your internal team will include the following duties, but keep in mind, often one person will conduct multiple duties such as: Internal Stakeholder, Webinar Producer, Coordinator, Marketer, Community Manager, and Technical Support of both the platform, hardware, and software. The performance team will include any of the following: Speaker, panelists, emcees, and should have a backup speaker.
5) Programming of Content: Once a kickoff meeting has been set in place, the internal and performance team should discuss content. The producer should offer details about the event, goal, audience, and suggest topics. Decisions around this being a one-off event, or an ongoing series needs to occur, as well as the presentation style (keynote vs panel, or some type of hybird). The hosting company needs to clearly think through the risks of ‘pitching’ wares as it will have both negative and positive impacts.
6) Promotion: Most webinar producers don’t fully think this through, however successful webinar producers create a template of marketing content that can be used in multiple mediums, create a registration form that both collects opt-in leads as well as polls the audience for the actual event, applies an integrate marketing approach by alerting prospects via email, web, account teams and even advertising. In the most sophiticated examples the producer and marketer has developed a way to benefit by early engagement and word of mouth by polling the audience to submit questions and using social events features like Facebook and LinkedIn events. Tip: get your speakers to promote, for example, I always tweet out to my followers about my upcoming webinars.
7) Preparation and Practice: Like a real world performance, the speakers should both practice in advance by doing a dry run. While the entire set of content doesn’t need to be rehearsed specifics on the logistics, hardware, software, and connections tests need to be completed. Assume some aspect of the technical side will go wrong at the actual performance, so it’s key you reduce risk by having a rehearsal in advance.
8] Performance: This is it, we’re now at “Showtime!” One key mindset is to remember to engage with the crowd by sourcing questions. Savvy producers will have an emcee who can guide speakers or panelists that go astray, and also be the voice for the attendees who are asking questions in the chat room or even on Twitter. Savvy producers will poll the audience at the start of the event (or use data from the registration form) and also pose a post-performance poll, asking for satisfaction in near real time.
9) Pursuit: This is the most overlooked opportunity by producers. Rather than patting yourself on the back after the webinar, the greatest opportunity lies in “facilitating action after your call-to-action.” Do this by: sending a thank you to the attendees in email, and ask if they want to be contacted directly by your account and sales teams. Also, engage with those who were very engaged in the event, both in their explicit behaviors and duration of paying attention. Furthermore, publish the slides and recording, and make it easy for prospects to contact you to learn more. Then continue to funnel qualified leads to your sales team, showing in order of priority those that have requested to be contacted, and those that were highly engaged.
10) Post Mortem: Have an internal meeting to recap what was done well, and what needs to be improved. Develop a report for your primary stakeholder based upon your decided purpose, and send a thank you to the speakers. Lastly, congratulate yourself for producing a successful webinar!
Most webinar teams are successful at planning and promotion, but often fall short at preparation and pursuit. Make your webinar outstanding by using these 10 phases as a high level checklist.
I’ve a much more detailed worksheet for clients who hire me as a professional speaker for their webinars. It breaks down in detail each of these items into 60 specific items with insights and recommendations, which we can use as a working document in our planning, contact me for more information or learn about my speaking.
We finally completed our final third webinar in our social strategy trilogy. It’s been great sharing our insights and widely releasing it to the community, and I hope you enjoy this final segment. The topic? Getting your company ready internally through research, processes, organizational models, policies, resources, and more.
The Market Took to the Social CRM Use Cases
The Social CRM report by the Altimeter Group is a hit. Within 30 days it has received over 30,000 views, been touted as the “Most Viral BtoB Report,” and brands and SCRM vendors are aligning their roadmaps with the use cases. There were over 800 registrants for the webinar, and we had nearly 300 attendees, over 135 of the registrants said they wanted to be contacted by a SCRM vendor. All of these numbers indicate that there’s interest in this new market, and we’re glad to help illuminate the pathway. (Update: If you want to give a primer to your CMO, send them my latest Forbes column on the topic)
Watch the Recording and Use The Slides
Our belief in Open Research means we try to collaborate with the market on conducting research, then sharing a great deal of it so the market can build on top of it, improve it, and we can continue to learn. Yesterday, we hosted part 1 of the SCRM webinar series, and have made the slides and the recording available.
Above: The webinar recording. My voice was a bit soft due to technical reasons, however at 14 minutes in I switch headsets and it clears up.
We also polled the attendees about their readiness to deploy:
When are you planning to invest in a Social CRM Solution? (41% of attendees responded, but this was at the end of webinar, so we don’t know how many were still online.)
A) Not at this time (25%)
B) In the next 30 days (14%)
C) In the next quarter (14%)
D) In the next year (9%)
E) Not sure (35%)
This means that 28% of the attendees were interested in investing on Social CRM solutions.
This is just the starting point, harness these other resources to become successful.