How to Host Webinars on a Small Marketing Budget

How to Host Webinars on a Small Marketing Budget

February 16, 2017

by — Posted in Best Practices, Webinar Hosting Guides, Webinar Hosting Tips

Are you interested in integrating webinars into your content marketing strategy but feel limited by a small marketing budget?

Fortunately, you don’t need a large budget to host effective webinars.

Below, we’re going to give you simple tips for hosting a successful webinar, even if you have a limited budget.

Pick Cost-Effective Webinar Software

This should come as no surprise, but if you go with expensive webinar software, then you’re going be straining your small marketing budget before you even start hosting.

Luckily, it isn’t very hard to find affordable webinar software that fits your marketing needs and budget. There are plenty of solutions out there that are similar to, and often better than the most expensive webinar tools on the market. Webinar platforms like BigMarker offer plans and pricing that can fit a diverse range of budgets without compromising on features. Still, take your time with this decision. Consider the features you absolutely must have and don’t automatically go with whatever’s cheapest.

If you still can’t afford webinar software that supports the features you need, get creative. Try reaching out to the webinar company directly to ask if they’re running any promotions or if they would be willing to come down on price in exchange for a featured quote or case study to use on their site. It may not always work, but it never hurts to ask.

Choose Topics That You Can Cover In-House

One way to host your webinars on a small marketing budget is by choosing topics that you can successfully cover without spending a lot of money or time on to develop.

Brainstorm as many ideas as possible that wouldn’t require lavish graphics, paid experts, videos, animations, etc. and then do your best to make the most out of these topics.

Obviously, you need to make sure these topics will actually generate sufficient interest in your target market, but if you choose wisely, you should be able to cover your content in-house.

The point is that you don’t want to pick something like, say, doing an interview with an industry expert when you can’t afford to pay said expert for an interview. Some companies end up trying to pass off whomever they can afford as an expert and the results are often, at best, underwhelming.

topic-list-for-small-marketing-budget
Create a Robust List of Webinar Topics

Research What Has Worked for Others

Another way you can address this problem is by seeing what is already working within your industry. This could mean watching competitors’ webinars or looking at which of their blog posts get the most shares and engagements. Read through their comments for ideas on where they fell a bit short.

This is no guarantee of these affordable ideas, but they’ll definitely help your brainstorming sessions considerably.

Ask for Help with Your Idea

One more tip on coming up with ideas for your webinars: simply ask for help. If you already have a decent social media following, you should have no problem getting your followers to tell you what they’d love to see in a webinar. The best part is that it won’t cost you a dime to just ask.

If you don’t have a great social media following, your webinar hosting dreams are far from over. You’ll just need to do a bit more work. Namely, go on forums and social media pages in your industry and ask people that way. This can be a little more challenging to track, but the results will be worth it and, again, very budget friendly.

Do Guest Posts

The longer you have to plan your first attempt at webinar hosting on a small marketing budget, the more options you’ll have for making sure it’s a success.

For example, if you have a few months or more, begin guest posting on industry sites. Talk about subjects that will build your authority and generate interest. You should begin seeing a difference in your social media following and/or web traffic to your site.

Of course, both of these things could be leveraged into greater revenues, which might then be helpful where your small marketing budget is concerned.

At the very least, though, you should be able to transform this increased reach into an increased audience for your webinar.

Partner with an Influencer

Before, we mentioned that some people use expert interviews. While this often means spending money on getting them to show up, this certainly isn’t always the case. Before you settle on a webinar hosting idea, think about the experts in your industry who may be interested in partnering with you on the presentation.

You might find out that their price is way out of your small marketing budget, but it never hurts to ask. In fact, we wouldn’t even bring it up. Just reach out to various experts in your industry (non-competitors, of course) and ask about their interest in hosting a webinar on whatever topic they like best (provided it’s somehow related to your business).

No matter what kind of budget you’re working with, this is always a great idea. Experts will extend your reach by helping to increase exposure for the webinar you’re doing together. After all, they want people to know that they’re seen as experts, right?

This webinar hosting idea is also great because it aligns you with this expert. Even if they never endorse your company or your product/service, you still get the benefit of becoming associated with their expertise. Continue to interview experts and this will continue to happen.

partner-with-a-thought-leader
Partner with an Industry Expert

Go for Branding, Not Selling in Your Webinar

There’s a big misconception in content marketing – which includes webinar hosting – that the goal is to sell products. Many companies make this mistake. They have blog post after blog post that talks about their products and services without really doing much to actually educate their would-be customers.

Sadly, this doesn’t work. That kind of content is great for sales pages, but elsewhere, like with blogs and webinars, the idea is that you’re supposed to be helping the person on the other side of the screen. Successful content marketers know that the better you help your audience, the more likely they are to become customers.

If your webinar hosting plans revolve around pitching viewers a product or service, it’s probably going to be a waste of money and reduce your small marketing budget even further.

Now, if you market it as such, that’s a bit different. If you are explaining to viewers that it’s basically going to be an advertisement for something you’ll be selling them, you’ll have a much easier time finding success. However, you also have to expect that far fewer people will be interested.

Make Sure People Can Watch Your Webinars On-Demand

More and more, webinar platforms are making it possible to record your presentation live – if you want – but also to give people the opportunity to watch it on-demand whenever they please.

Some people prefer this simply because they don’t want to host it live. They may be new to webinar hosting and want some practice first, so recording a presentation and letting people play it when they desire makes the most sense.

In terms of your budget, though, you’ll get the most return if you don’t force people to be around at a specific time to watch your webinar. Many of your viewers will be otherwise detained at this time. For those from other parts of the world, it might be an inconvenient time to get to their computer.

Take Advantage of Your Free Trial

Don’t spend a dime on webinar software before testing it out. Most webinar platforms offer free trials of their service that allow you to host test webinars without entering a credit card. Take advantage of your free trial by scheduling and hosting as many test sessions and dry runs as you can to make sure that your goals for a webinar will be met by the solution you choose.

Even after you’re satisfied with the webinar software you chose, host a dry run. In fact, you may want to do two or three.

At the very least, though, one rehearsal is necessary to ensure that you like how it turns out. You should go back and watch it on your computer, checking for the audio levels, ensuring you’re being articulate and watching how the visuals worked.

Then, try watching it on an iOS and Android device. Assuming you’re using a mobile-friendly webinar software, you’ll want to confirm it shows up correctly on these devices. “Mobile-friendly” webinar platforms don’t always live up to their names.

Plan Content Around the Webinar

Earlier, we mentioned how blogs should be aimed at helping your audience and that, usually, this means giving them educational, actionable information.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use this type of content to promote your webinar hosting efforts, though.

For instance, leading up to the event, you should create posts that cover similar topics as the one you’ll be talking about in your webinar. You can bring that up as a type of call-to-action at the end of your post.

Therefore, once you’ve established yourself with your audience through a truly helpful piece, you can bring up that you’ll be holding a webinar on a related topic in the near future and then giving them a link to click on in order to register.

You can also do this after your webinar. If you recorded it, the same practice applies. Give your audience something truly helpful and then provide them with the link if they’d be interested in learning about a similar topic.

Furthermore, you can repackage some of the content you used in your webinar into a blog. If you allowed for interaction, you may even have been inspired to create a blog post based on some of the questions or responses you received. Those who attended will appreciate that you went back and create entirely new pieces of content based on what they had to say.

Not only are these ways of marketing your webinar completely free, but they stand a real chance of actually increasing your ROI, as well.

Don’t Pay for More Attendees Than You Need

Most webinar hosting services come in packages depending on the number of webinar attendees you’ll need to support.

If you have never hosted a webinar before, it may be challenging to guess how many you need to anticipate having. Of course, you could wait on committing to any webinar package until after you have people sign up. The problem is that, on average, only about 30-40% of those who sign up will actually attend. For this reason, it might be impossible to make an accurate estimate.

The good news is that, if you guess small, you’ll save your small marketing budget and you can always host another webinar later.

It will also look good for your company if you have to tell people that you can’t accept any more webinar registrants because of so much demand. Ask for their email addresses and tell them they’ll be alerted the moment you hold an encore performance.

Monetize Your Webinars

If you’d really rather have a more accurate number of those who will actually be attending your webinar, you could always charge tickets to attend. This way, you’ll know which package you need to purchase from your webinar provider.

Sure, it’s possible that fewer people than the amount that paid show up, but, if they’ve already paid, that shouldn’t be too big of a problem.

This tactic is also great because, well, it can help with your small marketing budget. As you probably could have guessed, you’re really going to need to come up with a compelling idea for your webinar if you want people to pay you to attend, but this is hardly impossible to do.

Companies across every industry have made money from their webinars by charging. In each case, it has meant successfully choosing the type of topic that gets people to loosen up their purse strings.

Even though webinars involve a number of moving parts and can promise enviable results for your company, that’s no reason to assume they can’t be accommodated by your small marketing budget, too.

While it’s true that there are all kinds of webinar hosting solutions and services currently out there, if you just follow the tips above, you’ll be able to make the most out of this popular form of content on your small marketing budget.

 

Start Hosting

If you are in need of affordable, feature-rich webinar software, BigMarker is an ideal solution for all your hosting needs. With plans starting at just $19/month, we can accommodate your company’s small marketing budget without compromising on the features you need to host amazing webinars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

https://www.techwyse.com/blog/content-marketing/webinar-hosting/

http://www.moneycrashers.com/create-host-webinar-benefits/

http://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/14-steps-to-hosting-a-successful-webinar/

https://smartblogger.com/your-first-webinar/

http://www.techsoup.org/support/articles-and-how-tos/10-steps-for-planning-a-successful-webinar