Webinars may rank 9th on the list of ways consumers initiate with brands:
- Social Media
But I think this list is a little misleading.
A lot can happen before a consumer initiates with brands.
Usually, the brand is the one doing the initiating well before the consumer even realizes it.
The brand does this by looking for what the consumer is searching for or interested in online. Then the brand creates content to answer those queries and earns the attention of the consumer.
This is usually done in the form of blog posts, videos, forum responses, podcasts and…webinars.
At this early point in the cycle the consumer is just looking for answers. They don’t even really think about the source…not just yet.
When they are helped they often get curious. That’s when they move to things like websites, social media and email.
But to earn attention and trust, webinars are a great tool.
If you’re looking to attract people to your next webinar here are some tips…
Many people in business get their start by partnering.
I just read David Geffen’s book.
He worked his way up int he talent management business. He couldn’t get Atlantic Records to sign Jackson Browne. The Atlantic exec just wasn’t into Jackson’s music.
But that exec believed in David Geffen. The exec offered Geffen a partnership deal. Atlantic would put up all the money for a new subsidiary label, manufacture the albums and distribute them. Geffen would do all the work to sign and develop artists and help them create music.
Profits split 50/50.
Win-win for both parties.
Instead of trying to do a webinar all on your own look for a cohost.
There are a number of different arrangements. It could be on your site. It could be on the partner’s site. You might have to do most of the work depending on how large of an audience the partner has.
Either way, cohosting is a good way to expand your reach.
2. Influencer Guest(s)
One step to the side of cohosting is the idea of having influencer guests.
Look for influencers with something to promote. A book. A new business. An old business. A new podcast.
If they have something to promote they’re looking for outlets.
They might be willing to be a guest on your webinar. They sit in and provide some insight and in return you get the appeal of having them on your webinar.
3. Guest Posting
You’ve seen this one hundreds of times.
Late night TV.
Opening acts on music tours.
It’s all about the exchange of content and entertainment in exchange for access to an audience.
When an actor goes on Jimmy Fallon the tradeoff is that Fallon gets content to entertain his audience. And in return the actor gets exposure for their new movie.
Listen to just about any podcast and there will be a host and a guest. Same thing. The podcast host gets content for their audience and the guest gets exposure. They’re not always promoting something, but usually they have a book or something they would like people to buy.
Mega artists can go on tour on their own, but they usually only play for like 90 minutes. Some play for more. Either way, it’s not always easy to justify a high ticket price for just one show. And many opening acts will play for free or very little. The stage is already set. Why not have an opening act or two to warm up the crowd?
Guesting is a great way to get exposure for yourself, your business…and your webinar if that’s what you’re promoting.
You have to go in with something to offer. In this case, a guest post.
Identify five blogs that accept guest posts. Check their feeds to see if they have multiple authors. Make sure their audience matches yours. But also look for corollary audiences.
See what topics have the most engagement on the blogs. Pitch 3 ideas to each. You’ll probably hear back from 2-3 for every five you send.
Write the posts and in your byline pitch your webinar.
4. Guest Podcasting, Videocasting
Same concept here. See above for the lead in.
But this time you’re reaching out to podcasts and videocasts or video series.
See what’s getting the most engagement. The guests that generate the most views, downloads, comments, etc.
See what they’re talking about. Look for a new angle on those popular topics. Send your pitch with three ideas for what you can discuss that would be interesting to each audience.
5. Chat, Group Guesting
Same concept as the two above, but this one is about being a guest expert on social media chats or in social media groups liked Facebook and LinkedIn.
Group moderators need to keep their audiences engaged. That’s a lot of work for one person. Many would love for a topic expert to offer to go in and offer answers during specified times.
Say you do it for an hour or two and at the end you pitch your webinar.
6. Social Media Listening
A lot of social media is about broadcasting.
I do it. I share a post every hour.
But there’s another side of social media. Listening.
You do this when you scroll through your social feeds. You see what people are sharing. You’re listening to their broadcasts.
But from a business perspective you can take this a step further.
There are people discussing the topic of your webinar. Asking questions.
Search for their questions, topics, etc. and reply your short answer. Then let the person know that if they would like more that you have a webinar coming up and provide the signup link.
You can do the same thing in online forums like Quora.
Let’s say you’re a dental practice. You have an upcoming webinar on taking kids to the dentist. It’s for parents.
Simply search “dentist” on Twitter and you’ll see people like this looking for answers:
What age do kids do well at the dentist?! Aj lost his mine before they even did anything. Just leaning the chair back sent him over the edge
— Tiara (@GeminiRN19) September 19, 2017
7. Create Original Research
Before you launch that webinar let’s see if you can get some content that’s both useful and something that would encourage influencers to discuss your webinar.
When I worked in the catalog industry our company belonged to this database company. We would send our customer list to them and so would a number of other catalogers.
The database company would parse and organize all the data. Then each company could make requests for names that fit certain criteria.
We never really knew whose names we were getting for the next mailing. Obviously not our own.
But that database also did something interesting. They would do anonymous surveys of the database members and send all the members the results.
It was interesting to know what semi-competitors were doing, thinking about, challenged with, etc.
Go on social media. Identify 25-50 influencers in your industry. See what they’re talking about or asking questions about.
Setup a short survey around the popular topic and reach out to the influencers telling them what you’re doing and how they can help by answering.
Announce the research in your webinar. The influencers may tune in to find out. And they might even tell their audiences to tune in as well.
8. Hashtag Hijacking
This is about jumping in on a chat on Twitter. Finding a weekly chat or monthly chat that happens around a certain hashtag.
The key here is not to just jump in and promote your webinar.
If it’s a Q+A hashtag chat (that’s what you want) then jump in and start providing answers. Answer as many questions as you can with your best answers.
They usually last an hour or so. At the end, after you’ve helped a number of people send out a tweet saying that people can get more from you by signing up for your webinar.
9. Social Media Profile Images
Simple, but effective.
You can obviously promote your webinar via social media. Multiple times leading up to the webinar.
But change your social media profile images to something that promotes your upcoming webinar.
People will notice it.
Your long-time followers will notice it right away when they see you in the feed with a new profile image.
10. Call In Favors
Finally, call in some favors with colleagues, partners and vendors.
Email or call them and mention your webinar. Ask if they could suggest it to anyone they think might benefit from the content.
A couple caveats…
I would only do this with people you have a good relationship. Meaning that you don’t ask for too many favors from them. It’s just a normal back and forth relationship.
And second, it’s not something you want to do all the time. Do it too much and people will ignore your requests.
A webinar is still a great way to earn attention and trust with your customers. Some of the info out there can be misleading. A webinar is a very early stage in the sales cycle, but if you do it consistently, and promote them with the tips above, you’ll build a stream of inbound customers.