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Considering webinars? 10 top tips and 2 alternatives.

By John Woods  |  March 27, 2020
If you’re considering the pivot from face-to-face events to webinars, you’re not alone. In the era of social distancing webinars are an obvious choice for facilitating interactions between customers, prospects and suppliers.

Here are our top 10 tips for running a webinar from home– and 2 alternatives to consider.

  1. A webinar is not a hard sales pitch. People have given up their time to learn something not to hear your sales spiel. Use case studies, ask a customer to join you remotely for a Q and A, share your expertise. Think of it as an opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader.
  2. Don’t give away too much! A webinar should open conversations, build trust and facilitate the next steps.  There should be a clear call to action at the end of the that moves attendees down the sales funnel.
  3. Check WiFi speed – have you managed a general video call before at home on your laptop that was relatively smooth? Test video quality from room to room and find where the strongest signal is. 
  4. Sound quality is even more critical than video. If possible, use a microphone.  If you don’t have one, sit as close to your laptop microphone as possible. Make sure you are in a quiet, calm environment. If possible having children, noisy housemates or pets around as they will distract you and your attendees.
  5. Always have a practice run! Ask someone to dial into the practise webinar listen in to check quality.  Plan it for the same time of day as the live webinar for the most accurate test. If you have no one to help, simply record your test run and make sure you are happy with the sound when you listen back.
  6. Familiarise yourself with your webinar software (we like Zoom and GoToWebinar).  Make sure you know how to mute yourself, start the webinar, end the webinar and take questions (and practice these steps!). 
  7. Prepare questions. You probably have a good idea of what kind of questions your customers tend to ask so have a couple prepared in case your attendees are reluctant to ask their own.
  8. Avoid using long videos in your webinar. They often result in a mixed experience for attendees, who have signed up to hear and interact with people not watch videos (which you can always send out after the webinar)  
  9. Don’t panic if something goes wrong. Stay calm, keep the audience informed and mute yourself for a few seconds to compose yourself if you need to. 
  10. Follow up. Always email your attendees to thank them for their time and post the recording on online (the content isn’t sensitive).  Not only does this allow your attendees to re-watch or share their with colleagues, it also is a useful resource for future prospects. (You can also listen back to the webinar yourself and make notes of any improvements you might want to make for future webinars. 

Not sure if webinars are right for you? If you’re not comfortable running a webinar, or if you’re (rightly) worried your customers are being bombarded with them right now, here are two alternatives:

  1. Short instructional videos: consider creating some short, helpful videos on your product, service, or area of expertise. Use the same tips above on sound quality and practice. Keep them under a minute or so and amplify them through your social networks, inviting prospects and customers to follow you and signup to receive future content.
  2. Interviews: if you have a friendly customer or influencer willing to be interviewed, you can use the same software and principles above to record your conversation and provide that content to your prospects and customers. Again, amplify it throughout your networks and consider creating short teaser versions to repurpose for more content.

And of course, if you need any help defining your webinar strategy, want some coaching or hands on assistance, or just have some general questions on webinars, please get in touch.

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Revising your marketing plan in a time of uncertainty? 5 best practice tips for digital excellence

By Jennifer Esty  |  March 25, 2020

Before you change your plans, read our 5 best practice tips for digital marketing excellence in this time of uncertainty.

LinkedIn

The social networking behemoth is now even more important for staying in touch with customers and prospects. Take the time to audit your Company Page and personal profiles of key colleagues. Make sure they are updated with relevant messaging, polished branding, and clear signals that you’re ready to connect and interact online.

Now is definitely the time to develop a rich content strategy and a team of online influencers to reach prospects in the absence of offline activity.

PPC

If you’re looking to reallocate marketing funds, PPC is almost certainly a good investment right now. Focus on intent-based, high value keywords and best practice basics like brand ads and remarketing campaigns.

Whilst search volumes for many B2B products and services may decrease for a period of time, being found for those searches is even more critical now and you will stand out even more (and pay less) if competitors have made the ill-advised decision to turn off all PPC advertising.

Read our blog on Managing PPC in the emerging Coronavirus situation for more tips.

Google My Business

If your business has changed or reduced opening hours, make sure you update your Google My Business (GMB) listing to let customers and prospects know.

GMB has also introduced a “temporarily closed” status if you have physical shops or offices that you wish to mark closed during the lockdown.

Similarly, if your main contact numbers have changed, updating them on your listing is vitally important.

Analytics

With so many of your customers and prospects working from home, your IP tracking software probably isn’t offering you a lot of help right now.

However, the LinkedIn Insight can give you rich insights into who is interacting with your website and landing pages, and gives you an opportunity to create remarketing lists for LinkedIn campaigns. If you don’t have it already, the tag is easy to create and deploy.

Website

Including a business continuity message on your site will give customers and prospects reassurance that you are open for business—or can set their expectations on response times or any changes in the services you can provide.

Also, with traffic likely to be lower and overall activity reduced, now might be just the time to make those important changes or updates to your site. You’ll lower any risks during deployment and are likely to have more time to focus on strategic improvements, better content and increased conversion—all ready to provide a best practice customer experience when it’s business as usual again.

Need more help?

If you need any help with your digital strategy, Sharp Ahead are offering a free 30-minute consultation to qualified B2B companies. You can book one online today.

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Managing B2B PPC in the emerging Coronavirus situation

By Jennifer Esty  |  March 16, 2020

The Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is a fast-changing situation at the time of writing (16th March 2020). While it will take some time for the full impact to become clear, it is obvious that it will have both immediate and longer-term impacts on businesses of all sorts.

We manage PPC activity, especially paid search (e.g. Google Ads) and paid social (e.g. LinkedIn Advertising), for many B2B clients. So we need to consider the impact of COVID-19 on B2B PPC across a range of businesses.

Based on our experience to date here are some tips on how B2B PPC managers should be responding to the COVID-19 situation.

Be proactive

One advantage of PPC is its controllability – changes in campaign setup have an immediate impact. So PPC managers are well placed to react to the emerging COVID-19 situation.

Don’t assume that a campaign setup that has performed well in business-as-usual will be adequate for the days ahead. Set aside some time to actively review your PPC activity and to make adjustments where needed. And be ready to repeat this review frequently as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

Consider adjusting budgets and activity levels – but don’t panic

Most businesses will experience negative impacts from COVID-19. So it is tempting to reduce PPC activity levels in order to save money. But that might be the wrong response.

If your business is DIRECTLY impacted by COVID-19 – for instance if you operate in the hospitality sector – you know that your clients and prospects will be reducing their spend or stopping doing business with you. It is likely that bottom-of-the-funnel lead gen campaigns, at least, will have dramatically worse performance. So absolutely you should consider reducing or pausing these sorts of campaign. Either conserve the budget to save costs, or switch emphasis to invest more in activities like brand reinforcement with existing customers.

But if your business is not directly impacted, the position is less clear. Your clients and prospects will be continuing to trade and continuing to look for suppliers. Decision makers may be working from home and will have more “laptop time”, which can provide a good opportunity for research. So lead generation campaigns may even work BETTER for these types of businesses. Monitor your campaigns closely but don’t rush to reduce spend. You may even consider spending more, if you see evidence of better engagement.

Look for new negative keywords in paid search

The pandemic is driving huge spikes of activity in search behaviour. Look at this example from Google Trends for the search “face masks”:

[source: Google Trends]

If your product or service accidentally overlaps in some way with these new high-volume searches, you may suddenly find you are wasting your budget on bad searches. So proactively check your search term reports for COVID-19-related queries and add negative keywords where needed.

Adjust messaging in ads and landing pages

Your clients and prospects are likely to have concerns about your business and its approach to the situation. Don’t jump on the bandwagon. But if you have something substantial and important to say about how your business is responding to COVID-19, even if it is just to reassure, use your PPC media to communicate it. Some good channels:

  • Add a sitelink to paid search ads with details of your COVID-19 response
  • Show a remarketing display ad
  • Add a splash message to PPC landing pages
Speak to an expert

If you are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on your B2B PPC, or any other aspect of your B2B digital marketing, speak to an expert at Sharp Ahead today. We offer a free 30-minute remote consultation.