Recently, someone asked about tips and best practices for supporting a product launch webinar on the Product Marketing Alliance slack channel. I initially responded with key recommendations for a smooth product launch webinar and decided to expand upon them here.
While product launches are a key responsibility for a product marketer, I want to emphasize that a product launch is more than the webinar itself. A webinar is one of many tactics that can be used as part of a larger product launch strategy. With that out of the way, here are 20 tips for your next product launch webinar.
Plan Your Product Launch Webinar
1. Determine the W’s of your webinar
- What is the webinar
- Who is the audience for the webinar - prospects, customers or both
- When will the webinar take place
- Why are you doing this webinar - is this for demand generation, brand awareness, customer retention, etc?
2. Align on what success looks like for the webinar - Depending on why you’re having this webinar, your metrics for success may be different. For demand generation, your goal may be the number of net new prospects (registrations). If you’re "driving" upsell/cross-sell opportunities with existing customers, the goal may be the total pipeline generated from the webinar.
3. Loop in your product management and CS teams to ensure alignment on the W’s of the webinar. Make sure to identify one representative from each group who can support and manage any requests.
4. Confirm your speakers - based on the product launch goals, align on who will present during the webinar. It’s tempting to have product management present, however, be mindful of your audience and the story you want to tell. Besides PMM, I’ve found that the sales or solution engineer has the right mix of messaging and product knowledge to be a presenter.
Promote Your Webinar
Once you’ve planned your webinar details, it’s time to start promoting your webinar.
5. I recommend promoting the webinar at least 3-4 weeks in advance to your target audience. With that said, you could promote a webinar in as little as ten business days.
6. Email marketing - typically, I like to send at least three emails, one per week: initial invitation, still time, and last chance.
- For prospects, incorporate this in your monthly newsletter and dedicated marketing email. Draft an email that sales can use to invite prospects into your funnel.
- If this is for customers, create a dedicated email from your CS/account managers to invite selected customers to the webinar.
7. Website - add the webinar to your resources section. If you have pop-ups on your website, add a promo to key pages related to the product launch, such as the home page, blog postings, or product pages.
8. Social Media - in addition to promoting it on your corporate social media channels, draft promos your employees can share on their social networks. For example, LinkedIn has a feature where you can recommend content for your employees to share.
9. Email signature - for a prominent product launch, consider updating employee signatures to promote the webinar. Note, if the webinar is for customers, then limit this to those who support customers only.
Tell a Story. Not a Product Demo.
10. Incorporate the key messages and benefits into the presentation- As product marketers, we are responsible for the messaging and positioning of our products and solutions. Clearly map out the key messages and benefits in your presentation. Often, we jump directly to the “product demo” and overlook reinforcing the messages and benefits. Here’s my recommended presentation outline:
- Cover slide - the main takeaway should be the title of your presentation.
- Agenda - Provide a clear outline of what will be discussed to set expectations with your audience
- Speaker Intros - Highlight who your presenters are to engender trust in their knowledge to the audience
- Industry landscape and challenges - if this is a major launch for your organization, I recommend setting the scene as the pain point for your audiences and that there is a gap today.
- Introduce Product Launch - transition to what you’re launching and why your product is positioned to address these gaps
- Key benefits - highlight how your product will address the pain points on point D in a way that others in your industry cannot.
- Live product demo - at this point, transition to a product demo.
- Summary slide - summarize the key points to reinforce why your product is the best.
- Webinar survey - before ending the webinar, push a survey to your audience. While the main goal is to get feedback on the presentation and speakers, I always add a question to drive demand gen - “Would you like to learn more about this product? Yes or No.”
11. Map out the product demo outline and story - Your product management team may be tempted to do a detailed product demo. Instead, partner with your presenter on the script and demo progression. This serves two purposes:
- First, you’re showing the key features and functionality that support your messaging for the product launch
- Secondly, you can use this demo script to train sales on how to discuss the product with prospects
Prep, Prep, and Prep Some More
12. Conduct a webinar rehearsal on the proposed platform - The purpose of the rehearsal is to ensure your speakers are familiar with the webinar platform. You don’t want to “wing it” at the last moment.
13. Check sound - Check the audio levels of each speaker. Ideally, you want to use a headset to reduce potential “echoing.” For wireless headsets, make sure the headsets are charged in advance of the webinar!
14. Check the video quality- Have speakers attend the rehearsal from their proposed recording location to check the lighting and overall environment. The best location is having speakers face a window for wrap-around lighting. Otherwise, a ring light or strategically placed desk lamps can help.
- Note - Overhead lighting will cast harsh shadows on your speakers
15. Create a list of "seeded" questions to navigate the conversation - you'll most likely come up with 80% of the questions your attendees will ask.
16. Test the Q&A functionality - Make sure your webinar platform has the ability to manage questions without sharing with the audience. I wouldn't allow attendees to ask questions via video or audio unless you have a fully transparent culture and are confident you can manage incoming questions.
17. Create a run of show - this is a detailed schedule of how you want the webinar to proceed. Map out the timing for every step to set expectations with everyone, such as:
- When speakers should log onto the platform
- When do you begin broadcasting live to the attendees
- Will there be intros - how long and by whom, etc.?
Follow Up, Measure and Track
The work isn’t done once the webinar has concluded. Instead, this is when you begin measuring and tracking the success of your webinar.
18. Follow up with priority attendees - Prioritize those contacts interested in learning more about the product launch.
- For net new demand generation efforts, sync with sales to review the attendee list, discuss follow-up and assign contacts as needed.
- For customer audiences, Customer Success and account managers can use the recording for QBRs or send it to customers who missed the webinar.
19. Measure, track and evaluate results - Create a dedicated report or dashboard to review with your sales and/or Customer Success partners during regular syncs. This leads to a qualitative conversation on how contacts progress through your pipeline (net new, up-sell, or cross-sell) against your webinar goals.
20. Review, learn and optimize - As a best practice, do a post-webinar review with everyone involved in the webinar. While this may be uncomfortable, you’ll glean valuable insights on how to improve your webinar process.
Lights. Ready. Camera.
Since I previously worked in the event technology industry, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many industry experts on virtual events and webinars. Through this experience, I’ve accumulated many webinar tips and best practices that I’ve leveraged for product launch webinars.
With these best practices in mind, we hope you’ll be able to plan a product launch webinar that accelerates your revenue goals.
Did you know? Continue engagement with your customers by sharing webinar recordings via a digital sales room. Learn how Enable Us can support your product launch needs.