Brian Massey just wrote an impassioned article about features he wants to see from online service providers to support better conversion of guests to leads, leads to customers. He included some webinar features in his list, but I thought I would reinforce and expand on the webinar-specific items we need if we are going to take advantage of best practices when using webinars as a marketing tool.
1) Allow Customizable Registration Pages. This one really peeves me. I wrote out the entire issue last year. None of the self-service webinar providers allow true customization of registration pages. Sure, some allow you to add some fields, but nobody lets you position them, add graphics and text where you wish, and so on. I want the same functionality I have available in the free SurveyMonkey software.
2) Follow Lead Source Tracking From Start To End. Some webinar vendors do allow lead source tracking. This lets you use a slightly different URL to get to your registration page when you promote it through various channels. It tells you which marketing methods got you registrations. This lead source needs to be attached to the user in all reports showing attendance, time in session, polling, comments, and feedback. I have seen too many reports that include lead source only in the initial registration report.
3) Identify The Attendee In Post-Event Surveys. If the webinar product includes the ability to create a post-event survey/feedback form, it needs to automatically identify the attendee in the feedback report so they don’t have to enter their name and contact information again. If the webinar software doesn’t include a survey building utility, partner with a third-party survey tool to programmatically transfer the attendee information to the form when it is logged. Attendees know we have their information from the registration page and the webinar login page. Why are we asking them for it again at the end of the event?
4) Allow A URL For All Thank You Pages. Brian has this one well-covered. Not just thank you at the end of the webinar (most technologies do allow a redirect), but thank you after registering (where most technologies show their own webinar-branded confirmation page).
5) Allow Total Control Of All Email. I can’t believe in this day and age that webinar vendors are still forcing their content into emails sent on my behalf. I want to specify the subject line, the From account, Reply-to, and every single word of text (and HTML) in the message body. That goes for registration confirmation, reminder, thank you for attending, sorry we missed you, event cancellation, event time change, and anything else you send out. Sure, give me a starting template or sample. But get your name and your content out of my emails!
6) Create Better Q&A Management/Reporting. The questions and comments entered during a webinar are incredibly important for proper lead conversion. Nobody gives me the amount of control I would like as a moderator. I want the option to label comments with “Answered in session”, “High priority followup”, “Low priority followup”, “Answered privately”. I want a spreadsheet formatted report that I can open in Excel and sort by time, by attendee, by status label. I want the contact email to be associated with every comment. Stop giving me just a big text document log showing name and comment. Oh, by the way, I need all comments logged, including those that were deleted during the session. Just add a label showing “Deleted”.
That’s a start… What else should we add to the list?