In a remote working world exhausted by webinar fatigue, how can you make your next virtual event stand out by re-branding it?
Another webinar? You’re kidding right?
Working remotely means we’ve all been stuck at home and relying heavily on social platforms like LinkedIN to stay connected to our business communities and colleagues.
One of the bigger impacts of the pandemic was the postponement of live face-to-face events. Companies turned to webinars (and platforms like Zoom Webinar, Adobe Connect, Webex Webinars, BigBlueButton, Livestorm, WebinarJam, GoToWebinar and WebinarGeek). As they did so, LinkedIN and inboxes were suddenly swamped with webinar invitations. Within 6-months, webinars had lost their lustre and attendances fell off a cliff. Now, in 2021, even so much as mention a webinar and everyone attending a marketing planning meeting groans.
Virtual events can still make sense
It’s easy to throw baby out with the bath water when emotions are running so high. And let’s be honest, some of the webinars businesses put on are hardly top draw. Watching a presenter mumbling through a PowerPoint slide deck with not even their presence being visible on the screen can produce cringeworthy results.
Yes, running a webinar after 18-months of on/off lockdowns is a difficult sell, but virtual events like these CAN still work well.
Freshening up your webinar
Before you mourn the demise of yet another marketing weapon, don’t fear: There’s still an opportunity to breath life into this youthful but rapidly aging friend.
It’s time to get creative if you want your online virtual events to stand out. So, what can you do to freshen up the stale image of webinars? Here’s a possible 1/2/3 rejuvenation plan.
#1. Tighten your audience cohorts
A big challenge when planning a webinar is knowing who’s likely to attend and what they’re likely to want to know. Over the last few years, webinars have been a relatively blunt and poorly targeted instrument for marketers. They have become the blunderbuss answer to running events. Focusing invitations to smaller, more expertly curated audience cohorts is going to increase your attendance.
Consider focusing on a discipline, an industry, and activity, a problem, a role… something that lets you run more, smaller events with much more targeted content, rather than attempting to serve everyone. This way, it’s easier to focus down your messaging to appeal to your audience, make them feel this event is ‘for them’ and perhaps even giving them an exclusive ‘behind the curtain’ view of your offer.
Better to do more frequent, more targeted events than fewer, larger webinars that end up serving nobody particularly well.
#2. Bring more value to participants
Common sense says, if the idea of your virtual event isn’t appealing to your audience, then you need to increase its appeal by bringing out more value. But how? Here are two thoughts:
Create a more inclusive agenda
Your prospective audience doesn’t want to attend a sales pitch. They don’t want to be battered by PowerPoint. What they want is knowledge and information, delivered by thoughtful and experienced people, based around evidence, fact and case story anecdotes. More than anything, they want to hear something useful to them that they don’t already know, that offers a clear justification for committing any time invested.
In my experience, the best way to achieve this is to make your program more inclusive. Consider asking customers to speak, or industry experts. Perhaps you can create more of a round table. In this way, attendees can hear different voices, a variety of perspectives on the topic, more fact, more evidence.
Make your virtual event part of an information ‘package’
One trick we use regularly with our clients is to help them fashion webinars as a component of something bigger. It’s great when you can give your clients a more immersive experience. Precisely how you do this requires some thought and strategising, considering the conversational journey you’re going to take your audience on.
What matters is the customer doesn’t see the virtual event as the start and end of the learning experience, but a first step on their journey to wisdom on your chosen subject. For example, if your webinar speak to a particular problem, perhaps the next step can be that all attendees receive a training voucher, a free toolkit, or an implementation plan supplemented by an hours’ free consulting time.
#3. Don’t call it a webinar
Our most impactful suggestion we’ve left ’til last on this list, and in many ways it’s the simplest thing to implement. DON’T CALL IT A WEBINAR.
Write the word WEBINAR on your invitation and you’re going to have to compete with all those memories people have of tawdry online events that have broadcast over the past 18-months. You’re going to have to fight against all of those prejudices that have built up over recent months.
There are lots of terms you can use to describe a live event. It doesn’t have to be called a webinar.
It could be ‘YOUR BRAND’ LIVE
A reveal (or behind the curtain reveal)
A live breakfast briefing
A deep dive
A coffee break
A blast or a bash
What we think
Think webinars are dead? Think again.
Under a fresh brand, delivered professionally on the latest technology, nuanced by a broader panel of presenters, supported by more case stories and evidence, enriched by a bigger and broader package of content yielding more value to attendees YOU CAN MAKE WEBINARS WORK.