Using Webinars to Boost Sales At VAR Organizations
Webinars are a great way to demonstrate a VAR’s expertise to a targeted audience: Existing customers and prospective customers. However, in our conversations with VARs we have found that many are reluctant to host their own webinars. They are either unfamiliar with the procedures involved, or simply lack the necessary technical resources and expertise. Here are some quick tips to help VARs host webinars.
Don’t make it sales focused
This is the biggest mistake a VAR can make when hosting a webinar. No one is going to sign up for a webinar titled “Why our Product is the Best” or “Why you should Buy our Product.”
This type of webinar only helps the VAR.
The types of webinars people will want to attend are the ones that have some benefit to that person, besides buying the VAR’s product. Therefore, one of
the best ways to generate a large audience for a webinar is to feature a topic that is both interesting and relevant to the target market.
VARs should think about who they want to attract to the webinar, (titles, company size, and vertical) and then research theissues facing these industriestoday. Once you’ve learned about a few major problems that your target audience is dealing with, find a way your product fits in, and that is your topic. For example, Astaro has hosted several webinars targeting the healthcare industry discussing how hospitals can take advantage of the HITECH Act. The presentation had a section on security but Astaro’s products weren’t the main topic. Though catering the topic of the webinar to your audience is a good start, another way to attract even more viewers is to…
Do Promote in multiple ways
Marketers have become over-dependent on email, and while this is still a great way to invite people to webinars there are plenty of other ways to drive attendance. In addition to email you can post a link for registration as a Google Ad, as a Tweet, or on your Facebook wall (don’t have Facebook or Twitter? Read this post on how to use social media for marketing). Be creative, and post a link to the registration whenever and wherever you can. That said, you should still…
Do Refine and add to your email lists
Of course you should always send a registration link to all of your clients and prospects via email. Be sure to refine your list so that only the relevant targets receive the email, and add to it by purchasing new lists if you don’t have a large enough database.
Do Have guest speakers from multiple organizations
To have outside speakers involved. Your organization may not have a lot of expertise on the topic that draws in the most audience members, so bringing in a well-known guest speaker can help you earn some credibility on a difficult topic. Furthermore, having an expert present can help improve and expand your webinar’s content. Talk to your vendors to see if they can provide a speaker or if they know of anyone who can speak on the topic you are considering. Having more than one speaker can make the presentation more interesting.
In some cases you may be forced to pay for a guest speaker. The money you spend will be well worth it because the speaker will probably want to promote the webinar for him/herself as well, helping you reach an even larger audience.
Do choose your platform
There are several great webinar platforms that allow VARs to host webinars, create registration pages, and compose invitations for meetings. Some good choices are Go-to-Webinar, Cisco WebEx, or Microsoft Live Meeting. Ask your vendors what they are using and see if you can take advantage of their subscriptions. Upon starting the webinar, you’ll want to…
Do allow your audience to participate
Allowing webinar attendees to ask questions makes the webinar more engaging and may bring up opportunities to mention your product. However, when a webinar is live, permitting uncensored questions can be risky. In order to ensure the webinar stays focused and appropriate, use a platform that allows audience members to pose questions directly to the meeting organizer via a chat feature. Then have the moderator read the questions that are appropriate.
Do follow up
Like any good initiative, you should always follow up with attendees, as well as those who registered but did not attend. Only after you’ve followed up can you determine if your webinar was a success by comparing the results to your goals.