Webinars. They’ve been a part of digital marketing long before the pandemic forced many of us into remote work arrangements that relied heavily upon (tedious) Zoom meetings. 

Regardless of how we feel about our weekly ordeals in Zoom (or whatever medium for that matter), virtual events like webinars and online workshops are becoming crown jewels of business workflows, customer engagement efforts, and digital strategies. It’s not hard to see why. Webinars offer a safe, cost-effective way to workaround lockdown restrictions and continue doing business.  More importantly, it gives brands another medium with which they can engage consumers and sustain the relationships they’ve built offline and online.

If ever you’re planning on using webinars as a key part of your digital marketing strategy, make sure you do it right. Here are 3 simple rules you should know about webinars.

 

Know your platform and choose wisely

We all have preferences. Sometimes, however, your choice in medium might not be the best fit for the kind of event you’re planning and our budget. That said, it’s critical that you choose a platform that’s best suited to your event requirements.

There are plenty of platforms out there and combing through each one would be time-consuming. But for your sake, let’s just lump them together into three neat categories: beginner platforms, intermediate platforms, and advanced platforms.

Beginner platforms offer fast and affordable solutions for those who just want to check things out first or those who don’t want to blow their budget. Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Instagram Live are some examples that you may already be familiar with. All of these channels are free, easy to use, and provide you with a direct link to your target audience.

If you’re looking for a platform that better mimics face-to-face interactions and gives you more options to engage, intermediate platforms like Google’s Hangouts Meet and Zoom are great options. Their integrated apps and features offer a richer networking and engagement experience (if you’re willing to spend some cash) that you won’t get from Facebook Live. More importantly, both platforms are designed to facilitate user participation and interaction.

If Google or Zoom’s features still leave you wanting more, mix them up with other tools to create an advanced platform. Web tools like Slido, Whova, and GoTo Webinar let you do more with your online event by enhancing audience interaction with polls, surveys, Q&As, and quizzes. They also help in streamlining your online event management with analytics and post-event reports.



Promote and let people know you have a virtual gig

Audiences won’t just invite themselves — you have to let them know you’re hosting a webinar or whatever online event. The quickest way to do this is by posting announcements through your business social media pages. If you’re going this route, throw in an event-specific hashtag that people can use before, during, and after the event. 

If you have an existing email contact list, sending EDM is a no-brainer. Email platforms like Mailchimp and Active Campaign are excellent options to get you started. In addition to email, use your business social media page. 

Finally, check your network. You may have some influential followers and media partners that can help you promote the event. Just be sure there’s something in it for them as well.

 

Keep people engaged before, during, and after the event

Your webinar might not be an event for the ages, but it’s something you should record. Apart from documentation purposes, recording your webinar and other similar virtual events gives you ready, consumable content. The video can be cut, edited, and repurposed for digital consumption even after the event. Share it on social media, make a podcast out of it or turn it into a blog — whichever way you feel like doing it, your webinar can still be valuable long after the event is over.

Webinars and other virtual events can be great tools for engaging and sustaining relationships with your customers, adding value to your brand, and keeping your business going despite the limitations imposed by movement restrictions. If you’re planning to host a webinar as part of your digital strategy, these simple rules will go a long way in making sure you’re off to a great start.

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