Marketing Fun Friday: Setting Up a Successful SMB Webinar (Part 1)

Posted by on August 23, 2013 in Internet Marketing, Marketing [ 0 Comments ]

small business marketing

Small businesses are often looking for ways to stand apart from larger companies. Content marketing is one way businesses can outperform their larger counterparts. 70% of SMB (small to medium-sized business) marketers see content marketing as their primary self-assigned task, according to a BtoB Online report, “Defining the Modern Marketer: SMBs Driving the Results.” What BtoB found is that webinars and virtual events are more commonly used by SMB marketers than by marketers overall, 35% versus 28% (Tweet this!). If you want to get started with running your own webinars, here are a few steps you need to take before your virtual presentation or discussion. Part two will cover during and post-webinar best practices.

Related: The Top 3 Digital Marketing Trends of 2013

Pre-Webinar Strategy

Webinars are one type of content marketing that can showcase the small business brand, products and services. However, there are a lot of actions that must be done before your webinar even begins. From marketing the event to build attendance to finding the right topic for your audience, you’ll need to develop a course of action for pre-webinar efforts. Develop a pre-webinar strategy that can apply to this webinar and future webinars as well.

  • Decide on a singular objective: Each webinar needs its own goal. Your goal could be to acquire new users or it could be to provide how-to’s to current customers. Decide on an objective FIRST.
  • Choose a Topic: What is it your audience is most interested in? Using analytics or customer feedback, you can determine what topic will appeal to your target attendees the most to meet objectives.
  • Define webinar roles: Who will take on which responsibilities? You’ll need a team to schedule and setup the webinar and coordinate with others to ensure deadlines are met. Additionally, you’ll want to get marketing involved for promotions. At the minimum, you’ll also need a presenter and moderator.

Building Attendance

A webinar won’t be successful if no one attends. To get the excitement and attendee list up, you need to promote and market this learning opportunity to your target audience. Adobe reported that attendance rates of 30 to 40% are common for free events, so it’s crucial you get as many sign-ups as possible to increase the actual number of attendees.

  • Use social media to promote your webinar. Target your audience with social advertising or connect with consumers who are looking for the information you’ll be sharing directly on the networks. Another option would be to set up Facebook or Google+ events.
  • Send out the information to your email subscribers. If you’re running a webinar, it’s likely you already have an email list.
  • Tease the event in blog posts or forms that ask people to submit questions. Teasers and interactive forms can get a buzz started and keep it going until the event actually takes place.
  • Send confirmations. Sending an email reminder to someone who just registered that allows them to easily add the event to their calendar is a must.
  • Send reminders. Sending a 24-hour reminder before the event can refresh the memories of those who registered far in advance. A 1-hour reminder before the event encourages attendees to wrap up their current projects so they can tune in on-time.

Related: Get help with your email efforts from an email marketing expert.

Webinar Preparation
Plan event timings. For each element of your presentation or webinar, determine what percentage of time should be dedicated to it. Your webinar shouldn’t be more than an hour and you should place your best speaker, if using more than one, last. When timing is decided, deliver a copy to each presenter, speaker and your moderator.Part of your webinar strategy is deciding who will take on which role. Now that you know who is doing what and how you’ll build your attendee list, it’s time to prepare for your webinar even further. Careful preparation is a must for any successful business event.

  • Rehearse the event individually and one or two times through as a team. You’ll want to develop a back-up plan and rehearsal events can be a good indicator of whether a thorough or brief one will be needed.
  • Test your technology the day of the event. High audio quality is a must. Make sure your voice is coming through loud and clear on the other end. If you’re using video, whether it’s a live stream or a screen-sharing session, make sure the user on the other end can read text and follow along.

Related: 10 Video Ideas for Your YouTube Business Debut

Now that you know the basic steps to take before starting a webinar, stay tuned for next week’s Marketing Fun Friday post which covers more “day of” preparation and performance tips.

(Image: Kookkai_nak via

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