Webinars are a top notch lead generation tool. Whether you’re sending invitations to an internal list, or outsourcing to an external vendor, there are important steps that should be followed to ensure that you’re not only bringing in a healthy number of registrants, but also doing everything in your power to make sure those registrants actually attend your webinar when the time comes. Post-webinar execution and follow-up is also a critical element that can’t be ignored.

Let’s take a look at some ‘best practices’ that you, your marketing automation service provider, or external vendors should be implementing:

Define Your Audience

A shotgun approach to sending out webinar invitations will yield results, but targeting your audience accurately will bring you much better registration numbers and cost effectiveness, especially if you’re being charged by a vendor for the number of contacts your email will be sent too. Try to segment your invite distribution to your internal list by product line or product feature interest. If going through external vendors, industry specific vendors are an obvious choice, but see if they can also further segment your invite distribution to match contacts likely to be specifically interested in your webinar topic or product offering.

Reminders

Depending on how far off you webinar is, a good guideline is to send two or three invitations, spread out a week or so apart. After the initial invitation is sent, the follow-up invitations should include “Reminder” in the subject line. The final invite might say “Last chance to register…”. Make sure contacts that have registered are filtered out from receiving reminder invitations.

Repeat the Details

Make sure your invitation includes all the vital components:

  • Topic description
  • Speaker bios
  • Date/time (note time zone differences)
  • Duration of webinar (noting Q/A session after if applicable)
  • Registration buttons/links at the top and bottom of the invitation
  • Links to related, previously recorded webinars near the footer (if applicable)

Capturing Your Responses

Your landing page should repeat the vital components of your invitation as a reminder and a second chance to lock in a registrant. Your registration form should ask ONLY for the necessary information you need from attendee. Asking someone to fill in too many form fields is a sure-fire way to frustrate them and have them opt out of registering for your webinar. If your webinar has multiple sessions, you should include a drop-down session field that includes date/time information, so they can easily select the session they are interested in. Once they complete your form, they should be taken to a confirmation page noting that they will receive an email confirming their registration, with all of the webinar details.

Confirmation

Once someone has registered, make sure your marketing automation instance sends the appropriate confirmation email which includes the webinar details, link to log-in to the webinar, and any password/audio pin information. You should also include an option to ‘add this webinar to your calendar’ via .ICS file, etc. Don’t count on your registrants to remember when the webinar is scheduled. You will end up with very few attendees on the day your webinar is conducted.

Thank you

After your webinar is complete, it’s important to send a thank you webinar either the same day, or at latest, the day after the webinar. Your thank you email should include a link to the slides from the webinar (.PDF) and a recording of the webinar if available. You should send your thank you email not only to the attendees of your webinar, but also the registrants that didn’t get a chance to attend. Don’t lose this opportunity to engage with them even if they weren’t there for the live webinar. You might have a ‘neutral’ email subject line of “Thank you for your interest in our webinar” which speaks to both attendees AND registrants.

Follow-up

After you’ve collected the leads (both attendees AND registrants) from your webinar, these should not only be passed along to your lead qualification or sales teams, but you should also follow up with your sales team to gauge the value of your webinar and the topic in terms of attracting leads from your target audience.

Putting these best practices into motion will help ensure successful webinars from the planning stage all the way through the follow-up and reporting stages. This ensures a thorough and thoughtful experience for prospects and customers.