If you’re looking to successfully market your next webinar you’re not alone. Webinars and virtual events are effective strategies to increase leads and build a business. But your promotion plan doesn’t need to be difficult or overwhelming – so long as you test and track your performance to build a custom set of best practices.

In this guide, we’ll talk about successfully marketing a webinar through strategic content planning, diversifying promotional channels, and project managing the show like a pro so you can engage your audience and drive registrations.

How to promote a webinar

Now that you have a general overview of webinar marketing best practices, let’s dive headfirst into the strategy, project management, and promotional channels demand generation marketers at Vimeo use to make sure webinars and events reach the right people.

1. Define your audience

To start, you’ll want to better understand your target audience or target persona. Are you targeting small business owners? Larger organizations? Current customers?

Before creating a webinar, you want to be specific when defining your target audience and work to prioritize quality over quantity. While broadening your audience may help attract more registrations, it may negatively impact your business in the long run if those registrations are not your target audience.

If you’re a demand generation or B2B marketer, consider how similar your webinar audience is to your company’s target audience. You can create your target audience or target personas based on specific parameters like company size, industry, function, and more. You set the requirements based on your product and brand. Narrowing down your target audience also helps you determine where your marketing spend goes.

2. Identify your goals

When planning out your webinar promotions, it always helps to work backwards from your business goal. Take time to map out key performance metrics like target webinar registrations, attendees, engagement, or sales activity that can be attributed to your event.

When you align your promotional strategy with business goals, you’re more likely to drive a bigger impact.

3. Factor in SEO

A little SEO research can go a long way to ensure you’re optimizing for search. Take the time to explore which keywords and phrases are most relevant to your content. This will pay off big time by increasing quality organic traffic to your webinar landing page.

Pro tip: Your webinar registration page also needs attention. Plan to optimize the content elements on and off the registration landing page. For example, you may consider optimizing your landing page header with target keywords similar to: “[Event title/keywords] webinar registration. You may also want to optimize your meta title and description with target keywords.

4. Create a compelling registration page

Typically, when a visitor lands on an event page filled with great design, an intuitive registration flow, and snappy copy that matches their needs, they’re more likely to get excited and register.

This is a great opportunity. Provide critical information for potential registrants and make them feel enthusiastic to register. Highlight key speakers, novel topics, and fun programming items. Allow the guest’s momentum to naturally carry them towards registration. Avoid roadblocks of any kind. Make the registration process easy to reason about and to complete.

To get your audience to the event, you’ll need to create a webinar landing or registration page. It helps to write your landing page copy and email copy at the same time to make sure your messaging is consistent.

5. Find great speakers

Great speakers from reputable companies help draw in the crowd. Remember: your audience likely wants to learn from the best in their industry. While researching topics, look for individuals or brands that are making noise and leading their field. Along with your powerful video solution, your speakers bring the content to life and help engage and convert your audience. 

Also, when thinking about how to create your webinar presentation and flow, consider including a designated webinar host or emcee. The host can direct speakers while keeping the momentum and energy up. We all have that one big personality in the marketing or sales department — bring in your employees to make sure they have time to shine.

6. Pick the right day and time to go live

As a general rule of thumb avoid Mondays, Fridays and holidays. Aim for late morning or lunch to go live. This timeframe avoids conflicts on both American coasts and is early enough for Europe to watch in the evening.  

A webinar should be no more than an hour. This should be enough time to cover the topic, but not so much time as to let the audience’s attention span wane. Don’t forget that the total session time should include the Q&A portion as well. A moderated Q&A can run as long as attendees are asking questions, so plan to include enough time at the end of your webinar.

7. Set a strategic promotional timeline and choose your promotional channels

Try to promote your webinar everywhere when you can and use your historical channel metrics to gauge which channels will drive the most registrants.

For example, if most webinar registrations come from email promotions, plan to include a series of emails to your target audience. If you see more registrations coming from paid social ads or organic social ads, remember to incorporate a strong social campaign. Just remember it’s always a best practice to leverage multiple channels in your promotions and retarget non-registrants (from your ideal audience) wherever and whenever possible.

At Vimeo, we like to promote webinars through email campaigns, paid social ads, and organic social posts. We also use in-product promotions, speaker promotions, and employee advocacy. 

The sky’s the limit! Experiment with a few channels and check their performance over time to understand which channels to prioritize in order to drive registrations or awareness.

8. Create a brief

Once you have a full grasp of your target audience, business goals, and promotional channels –  plan to create a project brief. A brief is a document that includes information like the project lead, points of contact, the webinar objective, concept, and key KPIs.

The brief can be as detailed or high level as you like and helps keep cross-functional teams or stakeholders aligned with your webinar and what you’re trying to achieve.

Pro tip: Depending on the complexity of your project you may want to have separate briefs that include one for the overall project, one for your creative team, one for your landing/registration page, and one for your emails or other promotional material.

9. Prepare copy, design assets, and tracking links for each promotional channel

Assets should be designed on a per-channel basis. Email copy, for example, is completely different from social copy. To start preparing all promotions, you’ll want to identify the promotional channels. Once complete, you’ll want to work with your team to optimize copy, design assets, and create tracking links for each.

Email copy, which assumes a largely opted-in audience, should be to-the-point and specific. An email recipient likely already knows your brand and what to generally expect from your communications. As such, tailor your email copy to account for this familiarity and to focus on value – what value can your webinar provide to one who is likely versed in the space?

Social copy needs to grab attention with even less character space than your email copy. Your social audience may or may not be as familiar with  your brand and needs to be incentivized to get them to stop scrolling. Tailor your social media copy accordingly and adopt a welcoming tone with some great graphics or video.

Regardless of the channel, ensure your tracking links are set up to account for different attribution channels. Use different tracking links or tracking requests for email, social, and other channels.

Get creative! You’ll want promotions that are relevant for audiences that engage in each channel.

10. Launch your promotions

When planning for your webinar promotions, it’s important to strike a balance between promoting early enough to maximize the number of registrants while also being cognizant of not promoting too far in advance that people forget they’ve signed up in the first place.

A good rule of thumb is to start webinar promotions three to four weeks out from the go live date, adding more time for larger scale virtual events.

At Vimeo, the team usually starts promoting with the landing page, first email, and paid social. Organic social promotion typically launches closer to the event date to create a sense of urgency.

Afterwards, we’ll wait about a week and a half to two weeks before pushing the second email promotion out. A last minute social post before the event is also helpful for last minute registrations.

11. Stagger your email campaigns

Emails are a great, cost-effective way to reach people and drive registrations. To maximize your campaign: plan to stagger your emails. No one likes to be inundated with multiple messages from the same sender or brand. 

Also be mindful of other email campaigns or automated cadences like reminders that are happening in other departments within your company. Check with your operations, CRM, or campaign teams to make sure your promotional emails fit in with your overall email calendar.

As you plan your promotional period, we’d recommend staggering emails every other week. At Vimeo, we try to give ourselves that padding between weeks to be as mindful of subscribers’ experiences as possible. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out some of our webinar invitation ideas.

The exact date and time you send your emails matters as well. Take your audience’s email preferences into consideration before sending out your campaign. For example, enterprise audiences may be less likely to open emails first thing Monday morning or Friday afternoon. Other audiences may prefer emails on different days or times.

Pro tip: Take a look back at your success metrics for all of your organic social, paid social, email, and other channel promotions to see if there are certain days or times when your campaigns perform better. Use those findings as a starting point and iterate from there.

12. Add variations to your paid ads

If your strategy includes paid social, consider running ads throughout the entire promotional period. Launch your campaign as soon as you get important assets like design and copy. It’s hard to pinpoint when people will view your ads, so it’s helpful to run ads as long as possible to cover your bases.

In addition to a longer promotional period for paid, you’ll also want to plan for variations in your paid social ads. This includes both creative and copy variations. 

Without variations in your promotional ads, you run the risk of having your audience seeing the same creative over and over again, if you don’t have a few variations, you’ll likely hit frequency caps on social platforms. Creative variations help your campaigns have a longer shelf life, and make sure your audience is served your ad content multiple times.

13. Leverage organic social for awareness and last minute registrations

While organic social engagement likely won’t drive the most registrants, it will likely capture some last-minute registrants who otherwise would have missed the boat. It’s also great for building generalized exposure and awareness.

While you should definitely plan your promotions a few weeks in advance, you need not launch your organic social campaigns too far ahead of the event. A regular webinar with a few guests and an hour long session will likely only need three – four weeks of promotion time. However, a cornerstone event or virtual event may need some advance notice, but ordinary webinars would benefit from an engaging post two weeks out and a last minute reminder for any stragglers.

14. Focus on user experience when considering in-product or onsite promotions

If your product allows for it, in-product promotions like banners or pop ups are another channel to consider when promoting your webinar. In-product promotions are generally best when they err on the side of helpful and subtle rather than urgent or obtrusive. Be sure to check with other teams to ensure any in-product promotions do not negatively affect user experience or conflict with other messaging or product goals.

Similarly, you’ll want to be mindful of which events to promote onsite. Larger virtual events like virtual summits or multi-day conferences or event series may require more promotional channels and additional lead time.

15. Get speakers in on the action

Partner with your speakers to generate more awareness about your webinar and brand. You can explore paid opportunities to increase your webinar’s visibility. Promotion in a speaker’s brand’s newsletter, a post to their social page, or backlink to a relevant article can all help generate noise about your event.

16. Leverage employee advocacy to get your team to promote day-of

Not unlike speakers, your fellow employees are great at spreading buzz via both word of mouth as well as via their social networks.

Plan for a little bit of employee advocacy by writing up snappy social copy. Drop it in an email or Slack channel so your team can easily copy and paste, send it to their contacts, or post it on Linkedin themselves. 

It’s best to get employees involved no more than 48 hours in advance, making this promotion tactic great for some last minute registrations.

Go live with your next webinar

Originally written by Alysha Parker on September 15, 2021. Updated by Carine Alexis on December 17, 2021.