You know you need to be offering webinars. But how often must – or should – you schedule events?
You could look to other organizations within your industry for guidance. Better yet, use these five questions to figure out what training schedule is right for your association or company.
Are you offering free webinars designed to attract potential new customers? Or are you offering webinars that deliver in-depth training to an audience that is paying to get access – for example, via a subscription or licensing agreement?
If the former, consider your sales goals and webinar response rates. How many prospects do you need to bring into your organization each month – and how many leads on average do your webinars produce? A few quick calculations should provide guidance about how many events to be offering each month.
If you’re using the latter model, let your members’ needs and interests dictate your schedule. If your content area is large, you may find that weekly additions to your library of events is necessary. If your topic area is more limited, you may determine that a monthly webinar offering in-depth training on a narrow slice of content is more than enough to keep your customers delighted.
Filling webinar seats takes effort and multiple contacts with your list, particularly via email.
If you’re promoting other offers to your list – such as products, services, and other events – you may wish to hold webinars less often simply to avoid email overwhelm.
To adequately promote a webinar, you’ll probably want to send three or four emails. (Get suggestions for building your promotion calendar here.) Offering a weekly event would mean sending a steady stream of emails focused only on filling webinar seats. Promoting anything else would become trickier and increase the chances of email and promotion overload.
However, if webinars are the primary tool you use to sell your products, services, and other events – and you’re not sending many other emails — offering webinars more frequently may work well for you.
Good webinars take longer to develop than you may anticipate. If your content development team is small, sticking to a lighter production schedule is smart.
However, if you have a large pool of content experts, you may easily be able to produce events more frequently.
Don’t forget that in addition to your in-house resources, you may invite industry experts to serve as guest instructors. Many would welcome the opportunity to speak to your audience, as well as the credibility boost that comes from being a faculty member for your organization.
Creating and producing a quality webinar takes time, energy and money. To ensure that this becomes a smart use of your organization’s resources, it’s essential to have a plan for generating a positive return on your investment.
Do you design your lead-generation webinars to naturally lead attendees to a next-step investment – for example, buying a product or service? Do you have a plan to follow-up with registrants to ensure they watch the webinar, as well as a plan to remind those who attend to take the next step?
When offering for-fee webinars, do you have a plan for encouraging registrants to not only attend, but also to implement what they’ve learned? In other words, are you doing all you can to help them realize a positive return on their investment … which increases the chance that they’ll return to purchase seats in future events?
If you haven’t developed plans to maximize your webinar ROI, don’t go crazy with scheduling events. Wait until you’ve figured out how to turn them into revenue-producing tools.
Depending on how you slice and dice your database, you may find that one webinar is adequate to serve all of your members and prospects … or you may find that you need multiple webinars.
Let’s say that a national trade association has identified that it needs to offer webinars that cover regulatory issues, marketing and sales, customer service and human resources. If its members are large organizations, the attendees of its events are likely to be specialists in each area – for example, legal teams, marketing and sales VPs, customer service managers, and HR directors. In this case, a weekly webinar – one per month in each topic area – could work well.
On the other hand, if its members are very small companies, its attendees are more likely to be business owners who wear multiple hats. In this scenario, members might be overwhelmed by weekly webinar offerings and instead prefer a monthly event.
Whatever schedule you decide, the most important thing is to be committed to quality. A less-frequent schedule of high-quality trainings is far better than frequent, but poorly executed, events. When in doubt, start with monthly – or even quarterly events. Once you’ve fine-tuned your system and figured out what works best for your audience, you can scale up to more frequent events.