Have you ever planned and conducted a webinar completely by yourself. Have you designed a registration process and a marketing strategy? Have you thought about the necessary resources and software used? No? Neither did we! And yet gridscale has succeeded in holding a successful webinar on our new partner panel. To help you avoid potential mistakes and difficulties, we have summarized our experiences for you in this article!
The idea: Present the new Partner Panel
Since we will launch our new gridscale partner panel in the near future, we wanted to bring the new usability and features closer to our (potential) customers. A webinar seemed to be the most suitable format for us, because first of all we could contact our customers directly and present the new design and the new features live and directly visually. Format found! Content is clear! Well, then we’re ready to go!
When planning a webinar, there are several levels that should be planned very carefully (if not, there will be “operational disruptions”). In addition, clear goals, expectations and defined responsibilities (aka “One who’s wears the hat”) are extremely important.
The levels are:
- content planning
- a marketing or marketing concept
- technical planning
- Planning gridscale Webinar
The content planning of the webinar is of course the first priority. Because if the content of the webinar is not well done, for example if there is no red thread, the technical implementation and the marketing can be as good as that: The result will not have the desired effect. But before the script is written, some questions should be clarified. The most important of these questions is: Who is my target group and what are their needs? In the case of gridscale we have identified two target groups:
1st target group: Existing customers
needs: Get to know the new functions and the new usability of the Partner Panels in order to be able to continue working well and even more efficiently. The advantage for this target group is that they are already familiar with the product. The need for explanation is therefore limited to everything “new”.
2nd target group: potential customers
needs: Potential customers want a holistic explanation of the product. This not only goes beyond the new functions, but basically includes all the functions and operation of the Partner Panel: the need for explanation is therefore much greater here.
This results in two requirements for the content of the webinar: Firstly, it must be fundamental enough to pick up potential customers virtually from “zero” and secondly, it must be concentrated enough on the new features and the new design to avoid boring existing customers.
Of course, concrete content is based on the various innovations of our partner panel: these already set the tone. In order to better illustrate the different aspects, we decided on a presentation based on a concrete example of a fictitious customer. This enabled our expert to show the new functions using practical examples. This means that XYZ has certain requirements and a corresponding structure and working method, which can be optimized with the new features of the gridscale Partner Panel.
Of course, it makes sense to orient the exemplary company with its specific problems and requirements as closely as possible to the target groups and to plan the business case as realistically and in as much detail as possible.
Now we have defined the contents and their structure and built a “customer story” around them in order to increase comprehensibility and practical relevance. At the same time, this story and its contents also set the tone. So: content concept? Check! We continue with the question of how we want to market our great content.
The Marketing Concept
As soon as the content concept is ready, the marketing concept should be adjusted to the content, the target group and the internal objectives. It may sound simple, but for a webinar like this it is more complex than you might think. The basic requirements are easy to define, aren’t they? Branding, Landing page, Mailings and marketing on all meaningful channels. Point, that was it! Really simple, isn’t it? But when and in what form do I advertise it on social media channels, for example? Please don’t do it too early otherwise it will be forgotten again, but it won’t help just before! Do I concentrate on the brand, the experts or the content? Of course, every marketer knows these questions and they arise again and again in different situations. But depending on who you ask, the answers can be very different!
Here are the answers we found.
The central anchor point of all our marketing measures was a landing page to the webinar with further information and a registration option. All other marketing activities were geared towards the landing page and “paid in” to it.
In the end, we advertised our webinar via four different channels. The inbound marketing measures included a news ticker/banner on our website gridscale.io, the landing page mentioned above and organic contributions on our social media channels. We deliberately decided against the use of paid advertising. We also excluded Google Ads as an advertising channel because we could not address our target group specifically enough there. Since the webinar was primarily planned to be informative with an advertising background and we also wanted to address existing customers to a large extent, the cost/benefit factor for paid advertising would not have been sufficient.
As outbound marketing we discovered the good old mailing for us. Here we were able to directly address our existing customers and also potential customers (who, for example, had already signed up for a newsletter). Also the further communication regarding reminders, registration confirmation etc. did not run surprisingly via mailings.
We also advertised our webinar offline with the help of flyers. These were distributed by our sales department at central events. This gave interested parties the opportunity to use a QR code to go directly to the landing page and register for our webinar.
Even after holding the webinar, we will continue to use the content and insights gained. After registration we offer the webinar free of charge as On Demand Webinar.
The following is a summary of our marketing measures:
- Mailings to potential and existing customers (Outbound)
- Social Media Application: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Xing
- Inbound marketing on our website through news ticker and landing page
- On-Demand Webinar Mailing and LP afterwards for customer retention and lead generation
- Flyer with information distributed at suitable events
The technical planning
During the technical planning there were restrictions and advantages caused by our system (creation of the LP with WordPress, internal tool for link tracking) and external factors such as functionality, data protection and costs.
One of the biggest challenges for us was the evaluation and definition of the appropriate tools. Which mailing software fulfils the functions we wanted? Which webinar tool offers a good mix of functionality, professionalism and price? But of course first things first: What tools do we need at all?
Obviously an online video and web conferencing software. Here we decided on Zoom, which was already known to us as a communication tool from other projects. All we needed was an upgrade to the webinar version. We used Zapier as an automation tool for web applications. Zapier automates the exchange of data between the individual tools (for Zoom and Mailchimp).
We had already dealt with Mailchimp before and had already used it for newsletter mailings, so the decision was not difficult. Also given was our internal link tracking tool, the CMS of the landing page (WordPress). As a form tool we considered Typeform but finally decided against it.
Learning: Use a survey tool like Typeform at the end of your webinar to get direct feedback from the participants. We didn’t use it due to lack of time and resources.
Disclaimer: We don’t get any money from the different companies for the nomination and they are just one of many ways to implement a webinar. The market here is quite large and offers a wealth of alternatives.
Last but not least, the DSGVO is of course always an important point with regard to the decision for or against a certain tool. As soon as one of the products on our list was not DSGVO compliant, it was of course immediately out of the race!
The mix makes the difference
Good with air up. Since perfectionists are at work with gridscale, we would give ourselves the school grade 3 (satisfactory minus) after careful consideration and a thoroughly democratic vote. There were problems mainly in the time planning and in the area of marketing. Further aspects we still have to work on are the technical quality (e.g. sound quality) and the professional atmosphere of the webinar.
These may be trivial, but these are exactly the points that determine the success of a good webinar. The rough construction is relatively simple, but the result will not remain in good memory if the complete concept is not coherent. Also good contents can be burned by a bad conversion. Because, as much as we talk about target groups and customer types, a webinar is seen by people and they react not only to facts, but also to “soft” factors. If the Reminder Mails are not well timed or it are too often, one can annoy the humans at the computer and drive them out, before the Webinar took place at all.
So be careful! Technology has to be right, content has to be right, marketing has to be right but only in orchestrated interaction will it be a good webinar!
Nicolas Tuschen | Teamlead Online Marketing
Nico is Online Marketing Manager with focus on SEO and is responsible for (organic) online marketing at gridscale. At the same time, he is a good example of the fact that by studying literature one can not just become a taxi driver. He discovered his passion for SEO by chance, but since then has consistently expanded it: from startup, agency to publisher, from B2B to B2C, from offpage to onpage.