Partnering to share an audience and knowledge at the same time. Great for sales, great for list building.
Why it's a good idea
There are two different roles with webinar partnerships, the host and the guest. Here is why it’s a good idea for each side:
As the host, you’ll benefit from being associated with experts and thought leaders. Some will drive additional registrations. Having thought leaders associated with your brand and marketing materials can help you with trust issues in the marketplace.
As the guest, you’ll benefit from the list of registrants, and another vote for your expertise and authority. It’s a great way to build a list, and for some, to build a business (for example, an Evernote consultant partnering with Evernote for a webinar marketed to Evernote customers).
For both roles, it can’t be overstated how impactful it can be to have an hour in front of a qualified audience.
Contrary to popular belief, webinars aren’t just one-and-done. The webinar creates many different potential content pieces: videos, blog posts, transcriptions, ebooks, etc. Once a webinar is complete, you can continue to use it to drive leads by offering replays and breaking out the content into ala carte slices.
Selecting a Partner
The most obvious benefit is the sharing of audience, so having a partner with an audience to share is essential.
The best results come from choosing partners who:
- Can drive registrations and attendance
- Have a good enough relationship with their audience to be able to recommend services or products
- Are willing to handle splitting marketing duties
Best practices for marketing
The largest hurdle to having a successful webinar isn’t the content; it’s populating the attendee list. This is a “fill the top of the funnel as much as possible” effort since there are multiple stages with potential drop-off until success.
The most common way to drive registrations is to reach out to an existing database, typically prospects or current customers. Experts can be incentivized to bring their audience by providing a registration bounty.
The typical funnel is traffic -> landing page -> registration.
Once you have a landing page, there are a few unique ad types that have worked well for many.
LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms – Work great for driving registrations when you’re dealing with a b2b audience. Facebook also has something similar.
Google Ads using the countdown extension – If you’re able to get in front of an audience through search, we’ve had success using the countdown extension to push a little urgency.
On the b2b side (where webinars are most commonly used), it’s crucial to gently ask registrants if anyone else at their company wants to attend and give them a way to send invites. This is an easy way to grow the attendee list quickly.
Pro Tip: Retargeting
One of the best use cases for webinars is as a retargeting component. In our experience, many prospects who would not have converted otherwise, but were aware of the brand, could be moved to conversion following a webinar offered through retargeting.
Additionally, you should seek to segment users who have attended your webinars in the past. These can be great retargeting audiences (both pixel-based and email-based for lookalike audiences, etc.)
Post webinar campaigns
The other major part of the process is the post-webinar campaign. Spend some time remixing the content for different channels and assets:
- Blog posts (transcriptions, highlights, etc.) – Typically easier to create and helps extract some SEO value from the content
- Videos (series of clips, full replay, etc.) – Works well on social to drive registrations for replay and future webinars
The heavy lifting on these campaigns is the email flow. Since the event is in the future (and requires several stages of opt-in to complete), email is your best option to work on engagement.
Here’s a sampling of emails commonly used:
- Initial invite, several weeks before the event
- Followup to non-openers, 4-5 days after the initial email
- Last chance registration email (4-5 days before the event)
- Reminder #1 (24 hours prior, in case attendee didn’t add to their calendar)
- Reminder #2 (2-3 hours prior, includes log-in link)
- Post webinar thank you (link to the presentation and on-demand versions, ask for social shares)
- Sorry we missed you (to non-attendees who registered. Include on-demand version)
Metrics and KPIs
The general rule of thumb is the 20/20/20 rule. In our experience, it’s a bit conservative, but it is as follows:
20% of your visits will register, 20% of the registrations will attend, 20% will stay for the duration.
Here are the core metrics you’ll find actionable (and to work to improve):
- Registration page conversion rate
- Attendance show-up rate
- Watch duration
- Replay viewcount + duration
Hosts will also likely have business KPIs and goals (sales, funnel mobility, etc.). Experts will commonly want to measure new contacts for their database or sales.
The software for webinars can be expensive (from free to many thousands of dollars for thousands of attendees).
Additionally, paid acquisition can be expensive. A general range for a successful webinar is:
$100 + sweat equity on the low side to $10,000 or more on the high side.
Note that many publishers offer sponsored webinars to advertisers. From the numbers we’ve seen, typical rate sheets are around $20-$25 per lead, and in one example for a popular search industry site, $12,000 for an estimated 500 registrations and 50 attendees. You can almost certainly beat these numbers by hosting it yourself and driving leads through the above mentioned channels.
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Tech and Tools
The three most popular platforms for offering the webinar:
You’ll probably need an email service provider, and will certainly need a landing page creator (or your own site if you can create pages).
Real World Examples
Here is a huge list of webinars from Hubspot (one of the foremost webinar promoters). Take a look at how they partner, how they theme (what the webinar is about), and if possible, how they promote.
A good roundup of tips from Leadpages (who did over 200 webinars in 2014).
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I'm a developer, marketer, and writer based in Appleton, Wisconsin.