The main purpose of any webinar or Virtual Conference is to provide information to your target market – the people you want to engage with your product or service. So the first thing you need to decide is whether you will be talking to your existing audience or if you want to reach new people. 

If you’re targeting your existing audience you can directly promote your webinar to them and offer educational and/or interesting content. A webinar can further build on your relationships, position you as an industry expert, and allow people to see your company in a new light. 

If you want to reach a new market, the best way to find the most relevant people is through external marketing. This could include social media promotion or other channels like advertising in industry newsletters, allowing you to precisely track how many registrations it drives. Using social platforms like LinkedIn also allows you to identify a new audience based on factors such as job title and location, so you can find exactly who you want to attend your webinar. 

Chris Bland, Managing Director of publisher, marketing agency and event company Monkey Media, said that when planning webinars, the most effective thing to do is to go back to the core principles of marketing: content and audience.

“Webinars are a great way to interact with your customers in real time, and get new leads by establishing your business as an authority on a particular topic. Like any form of marketing, it should always come back to the question of what is your message and who are the people you are trying to reach?,” Chris said. 

“So far we’ve held webinars and virtual conferences that reach various segments of our established audiences in the utility, infrastructure, energy, and pump industry sectors through promotion in our related magazines, websites and social channels.

“So we can curate content based on what we know our readers are already interested in and provide them with valuable information. If we want to do a webinar on a topic in which we don’t already have an audience, LinkedIn has been a great source to find the people we’re looking for.”

Monkey Media has run several Virtual Conferences in 2020, including Digital Utilities, Disaster Management, Asset Management for Critical Infrastructure, Flow Technology, and Smart Cities.

Monkey Media Managing Editor, Laura Harvey, said virtual events also tend to attract a lot more people than a live event as it’s easier for people to tune in on their computers than having to organise travel and accommodation to attend live conferences. 

“For example, at our Smart Cities Conference, we’d normally get around 300 people for a live event, but by making it a Virtual Conference, we had more than 1,000 people registering,” Laura said.  

Once you’ve decided who your target audience is, it’s important to engage with them before and after the event to foster the relationships. Before the webinar, think about setting up an automated newsletter that sends them useful information on the topic. During the webinar ensure they can participate in the conversation using Q&A chat functions to send questions to speakers, or through poll questions.

This is the first in a series of blog posts about running a successful webinar. Read tip two about creating your webinar content here

If you’d like more information about Monkey Media running a webinar for your businesses, or sponsoring a future Virtual Conference, get in touch at [email protected]