We often talk about how to put a digital strategy in place on the programming side of your radio station; but the sales wing of your building should have a digital strategy as well. While programming should be using the web to engage with listeners, the sales team should be using the web to generate leads:
(You may also want to check out our webinar on lead generation for radio stations.)
Webinars can be a powerful tool for generating sales leads. A webinar is just a slideshow presentation streamed over the internet as a live event. By creating webinars around content that your potential advertisers are interested in, you can initiate a relationship with them.
Here's how you do it:
1. Select a webinar hosting service.
You'll need a software service that allows you to host webinars. Zoom, WebEx and GoToWebinar are the two most recognizable names in the webinar game, though a number of smaller vendors also offer services. Here are some factors to consider when picking a service:
- How many people can register
- How many people can attend
- Customer service
- Customizable registration forms
- Integration with your website, email service provider, and other digital tools
- Bells and whistles: Q&A tools, polling, video playback, etc.
2. Pick a topic.
You'll generate higher attendance by creating a webinar that's helpful to potential clients as opposed to one that just pushes people to buy ads on your station. Identify a problem that your potential clients have and create a webinar that helps them solve it. Here are some possible topics:
- A Guide to Understanding the Nielsen Ratings
- Finding the Right Media Mix for Your Advertising Campaign
- The Secrets to Writing Compelling Radio Ads
- What Marketers Should Know About Millennials
- 5 Mistakes First-Time Radio Advertisers Make
- 5 Examples of Awesome Radio Ads (And What Makes Them So Effective)
Consider creating webinars that are aimed at specific types of businesses (car dealerships, beer distributors, retailers, non-profits, event organizers, etc.), specific job titles (marketing directors, agency directors, franchise owners, etc.) or specific times of year (Christmas, the Superbowl, the election, back to school, summer vacation, etc.).
3. Find a partner.
Hopefully, your radio station has an email database for listeners and a separate email database for potential clients. By all means, promote your webinar to the list of potential clients. But these people are already familiar with the radio station, and you'll want to use the webinar to reach out to new prospects.
To do that, you'll want to enlist a partner to help you promote the webinar. This can be any organization that has an email database targeting the same types of clients that you're targeting, but that does not directly compete with your station.
- Local business journals
- Local business groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce, downtown or specific area business associations, or economic development organizations
- B-to-B organizations that target specific industries
Larger radio companies may want to offer webinars at the corporate level rather than the station or cluster level. In this case, you may want to team up with organizations that are bigger than just the individual market.
When selecting a partner, you are looking for an organization that can promote the webinar to their fans, followers, and members. Co-brand the webinar (eg., “The Cincinnati Small Business Association presents ‘Understanding the Nielsen Ratings: A webinar with WKRP'”). You can invite your partner to introduce the presenter on the webinar. They get credit for providing the content and all they have to do is a bit of promotion; your station does all the content creation. Afterwards, share the list of registrants with your partner. It's a win-win scenario.
4. Create your presentation.
Create a slideshow presentation that delves into your topic. Again, the key is to make the webinar helpful, not sales-driven. When they want to buy, they'll come back to you. Aim for webinars that are no more than 30 minutes long. Make sure you slide deck is strong: big on interesting photos but short on wordy slides. Don't just read the copy on the slides. Instead, use them as ways to discuss a topic or transition. If you don't have the skills to build a strong deck, get help in this area. Don't complicate the webinar with live Q&A; instead, I encourage attendees to email us any questions they may have after the webinar.
5. Create a follow-up asset and campaign.
Once people register for your webinar, you now have the ability to correspond with them via email. Create a plan for doing so. It's always a good idea to follow up with an email containing another helpful asset, such as a related white paper, blogpost, or the webinar recording. You will want to create two separate follow-up emails, one tailored to people who attended (“We hope you enjoyed the webinar…”) and one to registrants who did not (“We're sorry you missed the webinar…”)
As with the webinar itself, these follow-up emails should be helpful, not sales-driven. But don't be afraid to give people an option to talk to one of your salespeople if they want. (“If you'd like to talk to one of our account executives, call us anytime at (555) 555-5555.”)
6. Post the webinar recording.
Webinars can generate leads long after the live presentation is over. Make a recording of your webinar available on your station's or company's website. Require people to fill out a form to access it so you capture their email address and include them in the follow-up campaign.
While there are many ways for radio stations to generate sales leads, webinars offer a number of unique benefits. First, they provide an opportunity for stations to connect with potential customers in a interactive and engaging way. Additionally, webinars can be archived and reused, making them an excellent long-term investment. Finally, they give your station's account executives a non-intrusive reason to reach out to prospective clients.. Overall, webinars offer a great way for radio stations to generate sales leads and grow their business.
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