Now that events are online for the foreseeable future, it is time to rethink your marketing strategy. With no BNI groups, no cocktail parties, no golf tournaments, and no events to sponsor, how are you going to keep top of mind? You’re not meeting new prospects, and you’re also not meeting any new referral sources. For those of you “word of mouthers” out there – there are not a lot of meet and greets for people to evangelize at now.

We may all be a little zoomed out, but that does not mean you can ignore a free and easy way to engage with your community in the form of webinars.

Webinars seem like a lot of work. They need not be. There are easy ways to get this done, even if you are not a design expert, a great public speaker, or a marketing specialist. Here are a few ways you can quickly create great webinars and improve your attendance.

Think like a vendor

Vendors are constantly vying for your attention with webinars. Think about the content that attracts you. What best practices can you borrow from the webinars you get invited to every day?

    1. Collect and qualify leads. Use your webinar registration list to qualify leads – add questions like “how many computers do you have in your primary office location?” or “what is your biggest IT security concern?” Making these questions mandatory for registration does some preliminary research for you!
    2. Cut your work in half! Invite your partners to share their expertise. Tie it in to how technology improves things. Remember – webinars are about educating and engaging, not about selling. Your goal is getting leads that you can begin moving through your sales funnel. You don’t have to talk about IT at all. Create topics that are universally attractive to business owners in the space you support.
    3. Double your leads. Let your partners and clients that participate in your webinars recruit prospects as well. Four companies inviting prospects and clients to an event can be four times better attended. Everyone shares the lead list after the event.
    4. Registration is most valuable. Remember: we care if they register. Attendance is not necessary to begin your marketing process once you have their contact information.
    5. A simple formula to follow:
      1. Introduction of presenters and companies represented on the webinar
      2. Housekeeping
      3. Introduction of the solution you’re discussing.
      4. What it was like before.
      5. What happened.
      6. What it’s like now.

Add value

Think about the topics that might be relevant in your community right now and offer free webinars to anyone who will take one. Teach children about online safety. Teach parents how to set up controls for their kids’ school laptops. Teach associations about MFA. Teach gyms how to choose and use apps that help them manage their new normal at the registration desk. Your goal is to be a community contributor, not a salesperson.

This isn’t just about direct leads. Referral networks are getting harder to build right now – you want to interact in new circles and spaces with new people – because your people will not be seeing any new people right now. Virtual environments are not ideal, but networking is still necessary.

Have fun with your format

Instead of approaching your next webinar like a stuffy 45-minute board room presentation, think of it like a fun happy hour with a ten-minute talk. How can you create a room where people do more talking than you?

Consider polls, contests, gift card giveaways, and building interactive or collaborative documents with peers.

Remember, if it’s your first time presenting on a webinar, you’re using a new hardware or platform, trying new features on that platform, or if you’re delivering new content, a dry run is important.

To learn more about this topic, join this upcoming webinar, hosted by Carrie Simpson, on Thursday September 10 at 2pm (ET).

Photo: peterschreiber.media / Shutterstock

Carrie Simpson

Posted by Carrie Simpson

Carrie Simpson is the founder of Managed Sales Pros, a lead generation firm dedicated to providing new business opportunities for MSPs. Carrie teaches IT firms how to build, manage, and grow their sales pipelines. You can follow Carrie on Twitter @sales_pros and connect with her on LinkedIn. 

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