A recent article in a German newspaper (“Handelsblatt”) inspired us to write this post. In it, the author states that there is no such thing as a perfect setup, in life or in business. If you ever sat in a plane watching the rudders in the wings, you’ll have noticed that they’re constantly working to keep the plane on course. The plane is almost never on its perfect course to the planned destination, instead it’s in a constant battle to adjust and not drift off its planned route due to outside influences. It’s the pilot’s skill that makes it seem smooth and easy. The same applies to our lives, careers, business, as it does to our webinar programmes – of which you are the pilot
Often we focus on getting the perfect webinar setup, on the assumption that anything that follows thereafter will therefore also be perfect. But unfortunately that is not true. In the case of webinars, we meticulously assess, evaluate and plan which webinar platform to choose, before going into the setup phase with the aim of getting that done perfectly as well.
And all of that is very important. After all, bad foundations cause unthinkable damage later on and that should be avoided at all cost. Picking a webinar platform that is reliable, proven and respected by your peers significantly reduces issues later on. It is the equivalent to an airline picking Airbus or Boeing to be the provider of their fleet of planes, versus a questionable builder of inferior planes.
What follows is a comprehensive onboarding plan that is executed between your webinar provider and the stakeholders in your organisation. The better this is done, the better your setup is prior to running your first webinar. Training and awareness of the platform’s capabilities in practice are important factors to create a great setup. But something is still missing.
Nothing happens in isolation
The fact that we do not operate, live or work in isolation, but a globalised world, means that your organisation and your webinar programme is constantly subjected to outside influences. All things around us change, develop, improve, and even deteriorate. The only constant is change. And as the plane’s pilot adjusts the plane’s course, so you must do the same for your webinar programme. If you merely create a well planned setup, set the course, and trust you will arrive at your planned destination, you will not succeed.
With that in mind, we have compiled seven aspects that require your constant attention and adjustment, in order to keep your webinar programme on track. Those who master this art of adjustment will be the ones who succeed faster and better than their competitors.
1, Adjust content strategyThis first point feeds (backwards) into your wider corporate and marketing strategy, but for this post we only focus on your webinar programme. Integrating your webinar programme into your content strategy requires an initial adjustment, followed by continuous adjustment thereafter, because running webinars in isolation is counter productive and steers your overall direction off course. Marketers will need to constantly adjust their content plans to react to market developments, corporate strategy, and requests by your customer base. Your webinars need to be part of that adjustment.
2, Adjust segmentation and targeting
Most marketers are probably guilty of not adjusting their audience segmentation often enough. In most cases, we set the criteria in our marketing automation tools with which we segment and target our database, and then ignore it for a year or more. However, webinars provide us with a lot more feedback and insight about attendees than other marketing assets. This is due to the level of behavioural data we can measure with webinars.
Interaction with the webinar and its features, such as polls, Q&A, surveys, content downloads etc, allows webinar organisers to learn more about their attendees’ interests and preferences. As a result, we need to adjust how we run webinars. Aspects such as webinar topics, duration, scheduling, cross-promotions, speakers, formats etc need to be adjusted to better meet our audience’s expectations. These aspects are never static and change over time, as your webinar programme develops and your target audience also adjusts to your organisation communicating in this way.
Your initial segmentation and targeting may be based on historic data or assumptions. But with fresh inisght, you are able to adjust based on up-to-date facts.
3, Adjust webinar formats
Adjusting your webinar formats allows you to better match your content delivery with your target audience’s preferences and sales readiness. This aspect is so important that we have dedicated an entire guide to picking the right webinar format.
The best webinar platforms offer a variety of webinar formats, including audio, video, live, on-demand and many others. These formats allow you to maximise the appeal and engagement for your target audience. Adjustments in this area are important, but should be done thoughtfully and not too often. Changing your webinar formats too often creates a lack of continuity for your audience. Your audience expects quality and continuity. Not providing these puts your audience off your content. Instead, thoroghly assess your content and webinar strategy and then adjust your webinar formats. Once this process is complete, it is unlikely that your webinar formats will change again quickly. But making the initial adjustment is key to improving your overall webinar programme performance.
The best time to do this reassessment is when you change your content strategy, as well as when you see the need based on attendee feedback.
4, Adjust webinar design
Think back to when you last changed your webinar design. Is it still in line with other assets and your overall corporate identity? The key here is not to change it for the sake of changing it. The principle of continuity that we discussed in the point about webinar formats also applies to your webinar design. If attendees don’t recognise your webinar design they won’t easily recall it either.
Webinar attendee feedback is just as important as the feedback from those who run your webinar programme. Both of these are regular users of the webinar interface and will notice aspects that work well and apsects that should be changed. Just because you change your webinar design, doesn’t mean that you don’t comply with your design requirements. This point is more about UX and UI than changing your CI.
5, Adjust use of webinar functionality
A webinar programme is a living thing. As we have already seen, many aspects require continuous adjustment. As your webinar audience and your webinar programme become more established, your programme also needs to become more sophisticated. Simultaneously, your webinar platform is likely to add new features and functionality to help you improve it.
What worked a year ago may not be the best solution today or tomorrow. By analysing webinar attendee interactivity and feedback, as well as considering updates to your webinar platform, you will be able to change the webinar functionality to be better aligned with what your webinar attendees extepect and need. Consider this: a webinar attendee in the top of the funnel research stage will have different requirements than a sales-ready prospect who is in the process of making a final purchase decision.
Your webinar functionality should reflect this and be adjusted accordingly. Failing to do so will result in sub-optimal utilisation of your webinar platform and ultimately will result in fewer leads and revenue.
6, Adjust webinar cadence
Adjusting the frequency with which you run webinars overall, and throughout the year, is important. Based on all points discussed above, combined with the growth and development of your own organisation, you will see an opportunity to run more webinars over time. This impacts how you segment and target your audience, allowing you to more accurately appeal to different personas and segments.
If you have never run webinars before, it is important that you adjust the requirements and processes involved with running webinars. Starting with 100 webinars per year is not the right approach for everyone, while increasing your cadence from 20 to 100 webinars is realistic for many SME and Enterprise organisations. This increase requires continuous adjustments, which – when done correctly – ultimately leads to a larger and more successful webinar programme.
7, Adjust KPIs
All marketers have a selection of KPIs which they track. Your first point of adjustment is to add the host of new KPIs privided by webinars to your tracking activity. When you first set out to run webinars, you’ll need to focus on a set of core KPIs to ensure that your webinar programme is developing as planned. These include numbers of registrants and attendees, as well as the conversion rates associated to these figures. There are others such as attandance duration, number of questions asked, poll results and participation etc that give you a deeper insight into the attedees’ behaviour.
While you should track as many relevant KPIs as possible, you will find that there are certain KPIs that add value early on, while other KPIs become more important at a later stage as your webinar programme matures. Adjusting when, how and what KPIs you track is important as you plan you innovate and develop your webinar programme. If you don’t adjust which KPIs you measure or how you measure them, you will never be able to move beyond basic insight. Mastering KPI management and reporting, leads to the kind of granular insight needed to beat other competitors in the marketplace.
It is important to understand that the need for adjustment is not unique to webinars. It applies to all aspects of life, both professionally as well as personally. And we have discussed it in this blog post because, of course, webinars are part of that. We hope that the above pointers help to better manage your ongoing webinar programme adjustment with the aim of improving it. When we stand still, we go backwards. Always adjust, always improve. Remember, adjustment in any aspect of life is not a sign of failure, but a sign of improvement.
Get in touch today for a free demo of the webinar platform hailed as “The best webinar platform for marketers” by Forrester Research. Call us on UK 0207 1939 748 / US 302-261-5178 or sign up here for a 14-day free webinar trial.