We recently did our very first webinar. As guest hosts, it proved to be quite an educational experience. We got a good taste of how the webinar world works. Here’s a little more about how we got the gig and what it was like. 

How It Came About

We strongly believe in building solid relationships with other businesses, particularly when there is the possibility of a shared benefit for both parties.  That’s why we decided to reach out to TrustPilot in the first place. We recognized a commonality among the types of customers we both have, and we also realized we aren’t necessarily competing with each other for business. It seemed partnering up with them meant we could, potentially, acquire new customers by attracting theirs (and vice versa). So we decided to ask TrustPilot for a little help on an article, which you’ll learn more about in a minute. 

It started by asking for help

We started a partnership by simply asking

We asked if they would be interested in helping us with an article about reputation management. In that article, we coincidentally happened to have a section about TrustPilot. They gladly provided us with information about themselves, and even helped us promote the article to a larger audience.  

That encounter led to a guest post opportunity

After we published our comprehensive list of online reputation services on our blog, one of our friends from TrustPilot suggested that we continue our journey together. We love writing and receiving guest posts because we know it helps build great link juice. So naturally, we were all for it. We then helped them write a piece on referral marketing in e-commerce, and then they helped us write an article on customer advocacy.

That lead to a bigger partnership… the webinar

Up until then, we were pleased to have had multiple chances to work with TrustPilot. Then their Global Content Manager decided to hit us with a big one. He asked if we would like to do a webinar with them. There was no way we were going to turn down the opportunity because we knew it would be a great learning experience, and it would also offer us a chance to provide yet another beneficial resource to our customers (which we love to do).

What We Focused On

Since we were working together with TrustPilot on this webinar, we had to think through ideas that would resonate well with both sets of customers. We each have a wide array of types of businesses we help, so we could have gone in a few directions. Ultimately, TrustPilot thought of the perfect topic, that worked well for everyone.

How to outperform your competition with customer engagement

Both TrustPilot and Referral Rock rely heavily on customer engagement. Although we do it in different ways, we’re both helping businesses get reviews or referrals. Needless to say, the topic of customer engagement seemed to fit well for the both of us.

We covered things like why customer engagement is important, how to engage with your customers, and how doing so can help your business. We also discussed referral marketing by diving into the details of how good service and engagement lead to referrals.

Since it was a joint webinar, it was important for each speaker to relate the main topic to their business. This way, the audience was able to see how customer engagement can feed into many funnels for a business.

What The Webinar Meant For Us

We knew going into this that webinars are generally a good thing for business. In that, they can help build exposure for your brand, as well as give customers helpful insights on why what your business is doing or providing is important and how it relates to the topic at hand. Simply put, webinars provide information and clarity. But they offer an opportunity to prove your worth, too. Even though we didn’t know what to expect every step of the way, we were excited to try it out.

For us, the webinar was a big deal for a few reasons. We not only had an exceptional learning experience, we were also able to meet potential customers and solidify a relationship with an awesome business, TrustPilot.

There was the potential to be seen by future customers  

The webinar allowed us to meet new people

This is one of the reasons why we were so excited that our first webinar was a copiloted event. TrustPilot is a pretty big name, and they definitely brought a lot to the table for us. Though we are smaller, we were able to spread their name to new people as well by bringing in interested listeners. So the hope was that we’d both at least a couple of new customers from the event.

What Was The Most Difficult

The most difficult thing was not knowing exactly what to expect. Fortunately for us, TrustPilot did a great job explaining what the entire process would be like. Along with what part we would be playing in the setup and delivery of the webinar.

Getting our customers to sign up  

Getting customers to sign up for our webinar was difficult

Going on this journey we didn’t expect it to be so challenging to get people to sign up. To start, TrustPilot had many more signups than we did, so we felt like the pressure was on us to deliver and meet them halfway. We went in thinking that sending a simple newsletter letting people know what the webinar would be about would be enough to get people to sign up. Though we did collect a few sign-ups that way, they didn’t really start to roll in until we used our social media sites to spread the word.

One of the most important things we learned is that there is an ideal timeframe to promote your webinar. If you start to promote too soon, people may not remain excited about it, but you also can’t promote too late because you run the risk of people having plans by the time they find out about it. So, with the help of TrustPilot, we planned a pretty solid promotion strategy.

Here’s how we prompted signups

  • Mention in the newsletter (and provided a CTA to register) – this specific newsletter went out exactly one week prior to showtime. It was followed by a shorter, reminder newsletter a few days later.
  • Use a Facebook ad – We got a Facebook ad to run for a few days before the webinar date.
  • Emails to customers – Starting a few days prior to the webinar we sent out an email to customers with a countdown to the webinar (You still have 2 days to save your seat).
  • Talk about it on Twitter – We provided a link and a quick description of the webinar, every day during the week of the webinar.
  • Dropped a few lines on Linkedin – We created a little post on LinkedIn the week of the webinar to simply state what the webinar was about and then provided a link to register.

Figuring out all the components

Lucky for us, TrustPilot is a webinar hosting pro. They had their own slide templates and schedule for how everything should go down. They also have a preferred webinar hosting software, gotowebinar, which made it easy to co-produce and present on our end. 

  • First came the outline – Since this was TrustPilot’s show, they started the outline, and let us help collaborate.
  • Then came the slide deck – Again since TrustPilot was the host, they already had a way of doing their slides. This made it very easy for us.
  • That led to learning about the webinar software – Since we were guests, we were introduced to the webinar software TrustPilot uses.
  • Which led to a practice run – To pull everything together and get the flow of the webinar down, the speakers did a practice run through.
  • Then finally the main event – We finally pulled everything together for the live webinar. Watch it here, if you missed out the first time.

What We Learned

Webinars take some serious planning. Even though we were the guests of this webinar, we got to see how much work and coordination goes into planning the whole shebang. We also found that co-hosting a webinar makes it more dynamic. Two presenters can tell their story, what works for them, and what doesn’t. This makes it a more holistic experience for the viewer. Plus, it makes it easier for the presenters to recollect their thoughts as the other presenter is speaking. 

We learned that two presenters work great for webinars

A lot of people register, but not everyone shows up

This is a sad truth. There were a bunch of people that registered that didn’t actually join in on the live version. However, this isn’t really a bad thing, because we found out that many people like to register so that the video and slide-deck get sent to them, after the fact. Since most webinars are hosted during business hours, this totally makes sense.

Promoting a webinar takes a lot of effort and a willingness to use multiple channels

Especially if it’s your first one and your customers aren’t accustomed to you doing them. Like we mentioned previously, we originally thought a newsletter would suffice. However, our subscribers didn’t respond as expected. So, we had to kick it up a notch and use other channels to promote the webinar. And even though we promoted, we still didn’t hit our registration goal.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there was a lot to do, and a lot to learn. This webinar, however, proved to be a great experience for us. Now that customers know we’re expanding to the webinar world, they might be more inclined to sign up the next time around.  Who knows what’s next? Maybe we will start our doing our very own webinars.

Posted by Megan Mosley

Megan Mosley is a writer for Referral Rock. You can find her poking around online or tweeting about marketing, small businesses, SEO, or even sharing funny memes. She is addicted to coffee and uses it as a fuel to keep her going through the day.