My colleagues here at WorkCast have a variety of interests, as shown by Andrew’s recent blog about how running webinars can be compared to Monopoly.  We do have a number of budding runners in our Durham office, so as one of them, I thought I’d get in on the act and see if we could look at how preparing to run a webinar can be compared to preparing for a marathon. 

So, what should you know before running a webinar?

We’ll start from the very beginning.  Before you even think about starting to train for a marathon, you need to look at your equipment.  Have you got a decent pair of trainers?  Do you have some comfortable running clothes that aren’t going to leave you frantically searching for the Vaseline?

It might be difficult to see how this can be compared to running a webinar, but actually, choosing your equipment is very important.  Have you got a webinar platform that fits your requirements? 

As with running trainers, this is not about finding the most expensive product.  It’s about finding something that is comfortable, fits you perfectly, and is robust enough to go the journey.  You don’t want your webinar platform, like your trainers, to fail at the last moment and leave you with egg on your face in front of your prospective clients. 

Think about your goals

Goal setting is a very common feature in training plans.  Quite often, you are encouraged to have an A and a B goal… some coaches even suggest a C goal.  This is to enable you to envisage where your training will lead you, but above all, having multiple goals will prevent you from giving up mid race if you find that you’re A goal is unachievable. 

You must set goals when writing your webinar strategy.  Expecting to get 80% attendance when running your first marketing webinar, or expecting to get £500,000 of sales in the week following your webinar is unrealistic and will leave you feeling like a failure.  We know that both of these things are possible, but highly unlikely. 

Having an A and a B goal will help you measure success in a more meaningful way.  Of course, in the same way that your running goals change,  these goals can too as you become more experienced at delivering webinars and have a more mature sales funnel.

Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail

It’s a bit of a cliché… but I can’t say it any better.  If you’re expecting to complete a marathon and have only trained yourself up to 6 or 7 miles then you are going to run in to trouble (ha ha… punny).  You need to look at a minimum 12 week training plan, try out your nutrition and hydration strategy and plan what you’re going to do on the day.  This takes the stress out of the run itself and leaves you knowing that you have done everything you possibly can to succeed.

The same can be said of preparing for your webinar.  Indeed it is possible to set up a webinar with only a week to spare… but do you really want to do that? 

Apart from leaving yourself no time to put together a meaningful marketing strategy, you are leaving yourself wide open to technical hitches and unprepared speakers.  Whether you are looking at delivering a managed of self-service webinar, the planning should be the same.  We suggest at least 4 weeks to market your webinar on various platforms.

If you’re doing a pre-record this should be done with at least 2 weeks to spare so that you have time to edit and approve media.  Carrying out a rehearsal with your presenters a few days before the live event is also highly recommended – remember that they are possibly more nervous than you!  Just like for your marathon, you don’t want to do anything unpractised on the day.

Understand that it’s a long process – your marketing funnel will not generate sales overnight

Running, like any sport, is not easy.  Running fast doesn’t happen overnight, and requires time, dedication and training.  You won’t see results in the short term and (from experience) you won’t feel any less tired or unfit no matter how much running you do.  This is mainly down to the fact that you will always strive to run further and faster. 

Just like running, converting sales won’t happen immediately.  Running webinars will help you learn more about your leads, and help move them towards your product on a gradual basis.  You won’t see a huge shift in the quantity of sales over a period of days or weeks, but you will see a gradual change in the quality of leads that are directed to your sales teams. 

Think about what’s going to happen after your webinar

Life after a marathon is bizarre.  You spend at least a quarter of your year training nonstop and dedicating inordinate amounts of time running around almost pointlessly.  What do you do after all that? 

“Rest!”, I hear you say.  You’re right, your body needs it - but only for a week or two.  You don’t want to lose your fitness, and it’s very easy at this stage to lose your motivation.  Start small and keeping the miles in your legs is best.  Most importantly, start thinking of your next goal.  Which race will you commit to?  Which race is going to allow you to continue to improve and stop you from losing your motivation?

Should you rest after delivering a webinar?

I suppose the answer is the same as the running answer.  A little, but not for too long.  You don’t want to tire your prospects with too many emails, but you don’t want them to forget you.  Send out the on demand, and let them digest that for a couple of weeks.  Have it hosted on your webinar channel so they can go back to it and even tell their friends about it.  Once you’ve given it time, you can market that webinar again, because the content is still there to be used. 

Of course, that’s not the end.  You need to move on to the next goal in your strategy.  Hopefully a one that will complement your previous work, and further enhance your sales funnel.

Hopefully the links I have drawn here have not been too tenuous!  I suppose the message I am trying to get across is that planning (or training!) is the key to success, and that stopping a while to look at your strategy can never be a bad thing.  I hope that you’ve found this blog post useful, and I would love to hear your experiences of planning and delivering webinars (or indeed training for a marathon!).

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