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How to Deal With Negative Comments on Social Media [+ Examples]

While brand-bashing is nothing new, the internet and social media platforms make the comments from these meanies even more lasting and impressionable.

And because some social networks like Yelp and Twitter make it easy for people to set up fake profiles, the anonymity that people can achieve on the internet makes some more comfortable with losing all sense of decency, respect, and good manners.

So what’s the best way to deal with the negative comments that crop up from time to time? Let’s find out.

Let’s discuss these strategies in detail.

1. Respond to the comment as soon as possible.

Don’t delay. Don’t let negative comments linger. The more time you let them go unanswered, the more time others have to see that someone has complained and you haven’t responded.

Instead, address negative comments as quickly as possible to prevent them from bubbling up into something potentially more damaging. A negative post on your Instagram post or a tweet at your company’s Twitter account, for example, is much less of an issue than a nasty blog post, which can have a much longer-lasting effect.

Responding quickly will show the naysayer you’re listening, and you care. It will also alert others of your dedication to your community members.

2. Be apologetic.

If someone is complaining about your products, services, or anything else, say you’re sorry. It doesn’t matter if their complaint is warranted or not; you’re better off taking the “customer is always right” approach.

It doesn’t make sense to get in a public cage match over just one complaint, and others will respect you for apologizing upfront. If the person you’re dealing with is complaining over something silly, others will realize that, too, and won’t think anything of it.

3. Discuss the problem privately.

React publicly first, then take it privately. For example, if someone is being particularly difficult, take your communication with them to a private channel.

First respond publicly, whether it’s via a tweet or a comment on their Facebook wall post, and then send them a private message so you can chat with them over email or the phone, explaining to them you’d like to discuss the matter in a way that offers them a more personal experience.

This way, you give them the attention they’re vying for without making your interaction public for all to see.

4. Appreciate their feedback.

Treat complaints as constructive criticism or feedback. Sometimes that’s all they are. People want to be heard, and they want to know they’ve been heard.

So after you’ve apologized for their unsatisfactory experience, let them know their feedback is appreciated and that you’ll seriously consider their suggestions for improvement.

Then actually follow through. Send their feedback to your product team or the appropriate person within your organization. By responding to negative feedback, you can turn angry customers into happy, loyal ambassadors.

5. Ask them how you can help, and help.

If the comment you’re dealing with is blatantly offensive and lacks context, tell the commenter you’re sorry they feel the way they do and ask them how you can help make the situation better.

Then, one of two things will happen: They’ll reply with something you can actionably deal with, or they’ll be so taken aback that you replied and have nothing more to say. Either way, you’ll have responded tactfully.

6. Don’t delete all negative comments.

There are some times when it’s fine to delete negative comments. For example, if they use offensive language or are commenting off-point, there’s no danger in deleting the comments.

However, if they have genuine complaints, deleting their comments is a huge mistake. Those with legitimate complaints can be incensed by your censoring, and remember, current and potential customers are also watching. If you delete their comments, it’ll look like you’re hiding something which isn’t good for your brand.

7. Pick your battles.

Some people make noise just for the sake of making noise. They’re attention-seekers, and they just want to stir up some controversy.

It’s important to decide what’s worth responding to. Does this person have a following? Are other people responding to what they’re saying? It’s essential to keep these people on your radar and monitor what they’re saying, but it might not always be worth engaging with them.

Here’s what each type means and tips on how to handle them.

1. Customer Complaints

These are the most common negative comments you’ll receive and the most important of the four. As the name indicates, these comments are from customers that have problems using your product or service.

How to respond to complaints:

You should respond swiftly to all customer complaints. Apologize for any inconvenience, verify the problem, and offer customers a solution.

2. Trolling

Trolls are the bane of social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. These people (or robots?) just want attention and cause problems for you. Their outrageous comments are oftentimes untrue and intend to get other people riled up. This, in turn, detracts from your social media posts and redirects attention onto themselves and their ridiculous comments. Unfortunately, they aren’t genuine customers with real complaints and are pretty annoying.

How to deal with trolls:

Engaging them might be your first reaction, but that’s exactly what they want. So, once trolling has been identified, ignore the comments altogether.

3. Malicious Comments

Comments that contain profanity and offensive language fall into this category. This goes a bit further than trolling – malicious comments are mean and insulting and may attack your brand or the character of your staff or leadership. The intent of malicious comments is to inflict emotional distress on your team.

How to deal with malicious comments:

Have clear rules of engagement and enforce these rules. For example, you can have a “no profanity” rule and enforce it by deleting any comments that contain them. Repeat offenders can be reported and blocked.

4. Threatening Comments

These comments harass or threaten your social media team, leadership, or staff. They may even target customers and other followers of your social media accounts. Threatening comments are typically violent in nature — physically, emotionally, or otherwise.

How to deal with threatening comments:

You may be tempted to respond to threatening comments by sharing your boundaries as a brand or even informing the commenter about the terms of use of the social media platform, but it’s best to refrain from engaging. Hide the comment if you can, then, screenshot the comment and report it to the social media platform, local authorities, and your legal team.

Snappy Responses Wins The Battle, But Kindness Wins The War

It may feel good in the moment to make a snarky comeback and put a troll or negative person in their place. But the majority of the time, it’s just not worth it to respond.

You can stay on top of negative comments on your social media pages by using the tips we’ve provided in this post. You can also create a social media crisis management plan to help you turn nasty comments into positive PR.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2011 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Strategies & How to Improve Your Digital Presence

Would it be correct to assume a major part of your marketing strategy today is digital? Probably.

Consumers and businesses alike are almost always online and on the go – and you want to be able to reach them and observe their behavior where they spend their time.

But when you’re growing a business, this ever-changing digital landscape can quickly become an overwhelming one. With a number of other responsibilities and tasks that you need to do, how can you also efficiently create, fine-tune, and maintain an agile digital marketing strategy?

We’ve put together this guide about marketing strategies to help you improve your digital presence and grow better.

If you’re a small business and you’re unsure how to jumpstart your strategy, this digital marketing strategy template will help you get there. It includes actionable tips and templates to set you up for success.

Now back to this — are you confused about the difference between a marketing strategy and marketing tactics? We cover that below.

Marketing or not, there are three parts of any strategy:

A diagnosis of your challenge
A guiding policy for dealing with the challenge
A set of targeted actions that are necessary to accomplish the policy

Depending on the scale of your business, your marketing strategy may include several moving parts, each with different goals. With that said, working on your strategy can become daunting at times.

So, if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed about your marketing strategy, refer to these three steps to keep you focused on achieving your objectives.

Now, let’s look at digital marketing strategy.

A strong digital marketing strategy helps your business achieve specific digital goals through carefully selected mediums. Similar to marketing strategies versus marketing tactics, “digital marketing strategy” and “digital marketing campaign” are also often interchanged. So, how do they differ?

We cover that in the following sections.

What is a digital marketing campaign?

Digital marketing campaigns are the building blocks and actions within your digital marketing strategy that move you toward a specific end goal.

For instance, if the overarching goal of your digital marketing strategy is to generate more leads through social media, you might run a digital marketing campaign on Twitter. You may share some of your business’s best-performing gated content on Twitter to generate more leads through the channel.

1. Build your buyer personas.

For any marketing strategy – digital or not – you need to know who you’re marketing to. The best digital marketing strategies are built upon detailed buyer personas, and your first step is to create them.

Organize your audience segments and make your marketing stronger with templates to build your buyer personas.

Buyer personas represent your ideal customer(s) and can be created by researching, surveying, and interviewing your business’s target audience.

It’s important to note that this information should be based upon real data whenever possible, as making assumptions about your audience can cause your marketing strategy to move in the wrong direction.

To get a rounded picture of your persona, your research pool should include a mixture of customers, prospects, and people outside your contacts database who align with your target audience.

But what kind of information should you gather for your own buyer persona(s) to inform your digital marketing strategy?

That depends on your business — it’s likely to vary depending on whether you’re B2B or B2C, or whether you sell a high-cost or low-cost product.

Here are some starting points that you can fine-tune and tailor to your particular business.

Quantitative and Demographic Information

Location: Use web analytics tools to easily identify what location your website traffic is coming from.
Age: Depending on your business, this may or may not be relevant information. But if it is, it’s best to gather this data by identifying trends in your existing prospect and contact database.
Income: It’s best to gather sensitive information like personal income through persona research interviews, as people might be unwilling to share these details via online forms.
Job Title: This is something you can get a rough idea of from your existing customer base and is most relevant for B2B companies.

Qualitative and Psychographic Information

Goals: Depending on what challenge your product or service solves, you may already have a good idea of the goals of your buyer persona. Cement your assumptions by speaking to real customers and internal sales and customer service reps.
Challenges: Speak to customers, sales and customer service reps, and any other customer-facing employees to get an idea of the common challenges your audience members face.
Hobbies/Interests: Ask customers and those who align with your target audience about their hobbies and interests. If you’re a fashion brand, for example, it’s helpful to know if large segments of your audience are also interested in fitness and well-being to inform future content and partnerships.
Priorities: Talk to customers and target audience members to find out what’s most important to them in relation to your business. For example, if you’re a B2B software company, knowing your audience values customer support over a competitive price point is very valuable information.

By combining all of these details, you’ll be able to create buyer personas that are accurate and highly valuable for your business.

2. Identify your goals and the digital marketing tools you’ll need.

Your marketing goals should always be tied back to the fundamental goals of your business.

For example, if your business’s goal is to increase online revenue by 20%, your marketing team’s goal might be to generate 50% more leads via the website than the previous year to contribute to that success.

Use a high-level marketing plan template to outline your annual marketing strategy, identify top priorities, and more.

Download the Template

Whatever your overarching digital marketing goal is, you must be able to measure the success of your strategy along the way with the right digital marketing tools.

For instance, the Reporting Dashboard in HubSpot brings all of your marketing and sales data into one place, so you can quickly determine what works and what doesn’t to improve your strategy for the future.

3. Evaluate your existing digital channels and assets.

When reviewing your existing digital marketing channels and assets to determine what to incorporate in your strategy, it’s helpful to first consider the big picture — this will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or confused.

Gather what you have, and categorize each vehicle or asset in a spreadsheet, so you have a clear picture of your existing owned, earned, and paid media.

Owned, Earned, Paid Media Framework

To do this effectively, use the owned, earned, and paid media framework to categorize the digital “vehicles,” assets, or channels you’re already using and decide what’s a good fit for your strategy.

Owned Media

This refers to the digital assets your brand or company owns — whether that’s your website, social media profiles, blog content, or imagery. Owned channels are what your business has complete control over.

This can also include some off-site content you own that isn’t hosted on your website (e.g. a blog you publish on Medium).

Earned Media

Earned media refers to the exposure you earn through word-of-mouth marketing. Whether that’s content you’ve distributed on other websites (e.g. guest posts), PR work you’ve been doing, or the customer experience you’ve delivered. Earned media is the recognition you receive as a result of these efforts.

You can earn media by getting press mentions and positive reviews as well as by people sharing your content via their networks (e.g. social media channels).

Paid Media

Paid media refers to any vehicle or channel you spend money on to catch the attention of your buyer personas.

This includes things like Google AdWords, paid social media posts, native advertising (e.g. sponsored posts on other websites), or any other medium through which you pay in exchange for increased visibility.

Since you have a better grasp of what this framework entails, let’s look at an example.

Say you have an owned piece of content on a landing page on your website that’s been created to help you generate leads. You know you want to incorporate different parts of the framework rather than just working with owned, earned, or paid media alone.

To amplify the number of leads the content generates, you make an effort to ensure it’s shareable so your audience can distribute it via their social media profiles. In return, this will increase traffic to your landing page. This is the earned media component.

To support your content’s success, you might post about the content on your Facebook page and pay to have it seen by more people in your target audience.

This is how the three parts of the framework are able to work together — although, it’s not necessary for success. For instance, if your owned and earned media are already both successful, you might not need to invest in paid. So, evaluate the best solution to help you meet your goal, and then incorporate the channels that work best for your business into your digital marketing strategy.

Now you know what’s already being used, you can start to think about what to keep and what to cut.

Keep track of your paid media efforts with this free Paid Media Template.

Download the Template

4. Audit and plan your owned media campaigns.

At the heart of digital marketing is owned media — and it almost always comes in the form of content. That’s because nearly every message your brand broadcasts can be classified as content, whether it’s an About Us site page, product descriptions, blog posts, ebooks, infographics, podcasts, or social media posts.

Content helps convert your website visitors into leads and customers while improving your brand’s online presence. And when this content is search engine optimized (SEO), it can boost your search and organic traffic.

Whatever your digital marketing strategy goal is, you’ll want to incorporate owned content. To start, decide what content will help you reach your goals.

If your goal is to generate 50% more leads via the website than last year, your About Us page is most likely not going to be included in your strategy, unless that page has somehow been a lead-generation machine in the past.

Here’s a brief process you can follow to work out what owned content you need to meet your digital marketing strategy goals.

Audit your existing content.

Make a list of your existing owned content, and rank each item according to what has previously performed best in relation to your current goals.

For example, if your goal is lead generation, rank your content according to which pieces generated the most leads over the last year (such as a blog post, ebook, or site page).

The idea here is to figure out what’s currently working, and what’s not so that you can set yourself up for success when planning future content.

Identify gaps in your existing content.

Based on your buyer personas, identify any gaps in the content you have.

For example, if you’re a math tutoring company and know through research that a major challenge for your personas is finding effective ways to study, create some.

By looking at your content audit, you might discover that ebooks hosted on a certain type of landing page convert really well (better than webinars, for example).

In the case of this math tutoring company, you might make the decision to add an ebook about “how to make studying more effective” to your content creation plans.

Create a content creation plan.

Based on your findings and the gaps you’ve identified, make a content creation plan outlining the content that’s necessary to help you hit your goals.

This should include:

A title
Format
A goal
Promotional channels
Why you’re creating the content
The priority level of the content

This can be a simple spreadsheet, and should also include budget information if you’re planning to outsource the content creation, or a time estimate if you’re producing it yourself.

5. Audit and plan your earned media campaigns.

Evaluating your previous earned media against your current goals can help you get an idea of where to focus your time. Look at where your traffic and leads are coming from (if that’s your goal) and rank each earned media source from most effective to least effective.

You can obtain this information using tools like the Sources reports in HubSpot’s Traffic Analytics tool.

You may find a particular article you contributed to the industry press drove a lot of qualified traffic to your website, which boosted conversions. Or, you may discover LinkedIn is where you see most people sharing content, which increases traffic.

The idea is to build a picture of what types of earned media will help you reach your goals (and what won’t) based on historical data. However, if there’s something new you want to experiment with, don’t rule it out just because it’s never been done before.

6. Audit and plan your paid media campaigns.

This process involves much of the same process: You need to evaluate your existing paid media across each platform (e.g. Google AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to figure out what’s most likely to help you meet your current goals.

If you’ve spent a lot of money on AdWords and haven’t seen the results you’d hoped for, maybe it’s time to refine your approach, or scrap it altogether and focus on another platform that seems to be yielding better results.

Use this free guide for more on how to leverage AdWords for your digital marketing strategy.

By the end of the process, you should have a clear idea of which paid media platforms you want to continue using, and which (if any) you’d like to remove from your strategy.

7. Bring your digital marketing campaign together.

You’ve done the planning and the research, and you now have a solid vision of the elements that will make up your digital marketing strategy.

To review, here’s what you should have solidified so far:

Clear profile(s) of your buyer persona(s)
One or more digital marketing-specific goals
An inventory of your existing owned, earned, and paid media
An audit of your existing owned, earned, and paid media
An owned content creation plan or wish list

To provide a better understanding of what digital strategies entail, check out the following list of basic marketing strategies commonly utilized by teams across a range of industries.

Digital Marketing Strategies

1. Publish a blog.

Blogging is one of the primary ways you can market your business digitally. While a few dissenting voices claim that blogging is “a massive waste of your time,” it’s still a major play for businesses that want to attract customers who are genuinely interested in their products and services.

Why? Because well-written, well-researched blog posts often answer an urgent need for a potential customer. For instance, HubSpot sells marketing software, and our users are typically marketing professionals who create plans, campaigns, and editorial calendars for their employers. For that reason, the topics on our blog directly address these needs:

Don’t blog just because; blog with the intent to solve for the customer. To effectively do so, it’s important to understand your target audience and their pain points. That way, you can write highly targeted content that’s genuinely helpful for readers.

Recommended Reading

Why Blog? The Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing
How to Create a Successful Blog Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide
Blog SEO: How to Search Engine Optimize Your Blog Content
Blogging Mistakes to Avoid According to HubSpot Bloggers

2. Advertise on specific platforms (e.g. Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or Instagram Ads).

An organic blogging strategy is only a portion of the story. It’s just as important to implement non-organic plays, such as paid advertising. Not only will this help you drive more brand awareness, it will also help you reach audiences who can’t find your business organically yet.

This is an important strategy to implement when you’re still growing your blog and not yet getting as much traffic as you want. There are a few types of advertising you should consider adding to your digital strategy:

Social Media Advertising
Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
Google Ads
Online Advertising

Nearly every platform has an option for you to advertise — either through a display network (such as Google’s) or through its built-in ad system (such as Instagram’s, Facebook’s, and LinkedIn’s self-serve advertising portal).

Here’s one example of an ad on LinkedIn:

The benefit of advertising is that it’s not dependent on a content or SEO strategy. You simply need to write a few lines of copy, decide on imagery, and launch your advertising campaigns. To ensure that your campaigns are a success, you’ll want to create an advertising plan that outlines who you’re targeting, which channels you’ll be using, and how much you plan to spend.

We recommend downloading the following template to create your plan.

Featured Resource: Advertising Plan Template

Download this Advertising Planning Kit

3. Offer free educational resources.

Your digital marketing efforts don’t stop when you get people to visit your website or click on your ads. You also need to offer them additional value in exchange for their email. While the gated content is free, users “pay” with their contact information. This practice is called lead generation, and it’s essential if you want the opportunity to nurture visitors into eventual customers.

To offer free resources, you would create a landing page that offers a single educational resource: an ebook, a guide, a template, or a kit. Think about what your customers need in their day-to-day to do their jobs successfully. Create a resource that will help them do just that. Here’s an example from HubSpot:

Follow landing page best practices to ensure the visitor is driven to download the resource for free. Limit the use of navigation menus, remove extraneous information, and remove buttons and links that lead out of the landing page. Their only option should be to download the educational content.

Recommended Reading

Benefits of Educating Prospects With Free Content
Best Landing Page Design Examples
How to Create an Ebook From Start to Finish

4. Search engine optimize your digital content.

SEO is one of the most important plays you can make in your digital strategy. It will help you rank for keywords related to your products and get more eyes on your blog content, as well as your educational offers.

If your product pages aren’t earning traffic, SEO is your best bet to get those pages in front of those who are searching for those products and services. To ensure that your content engages and converts users, it’s important to invest in an on-page SEO strategy.

Not sure how to get started? Download our starter pack below.

Featured Resource: SEO Starter Pack Download Your Free SEO Pack

Recommended Reading

The Ultimate Guide to SEO
How to Create an SEO Strategy
How to Do Keyword Research for SEO

5. Create an online giveaway and/ or contest.

Image Source

Giveaways and contests are another way to generate brand awareness online and boost your digital strategy. In exchange for a free product, you’ll get hundreds, if not thousands, of new followers and leads who can be nurtured to become customers.

This method is specially useful if you sell a consumer product or if you provide a service with physical deliverables. For instance, a beauty brand might choose to give away beauty products, while a photographer might choose to give away a free portrait session. Businesses that might not benefit from this strategy include B2B businesses or manufacturers — though you can certainly spin it to serve your needs, like including one free box of product for the first customers to sign up for your mailing list. That’s one potential example.

Recommended Reading

How to Run a Social Media Contest That Gets Tons of Engagement
How to Run an Instagram Contest
How to Run a Facebook Giveaway

6. Organize a webinar.

If you don’t feel like a contest is a right fit for your business, then webinars are the next best choice — especially if you’re a B2B company. They’re essential for educating the public about your products and services, as well as giving interested leads an opportunity to hear about your offerings straight from a company representative. That way, they can ask questions and get answers in real time.

Image Source

Sell a complicated product? Then consider creating a dedicated webinar page on your website, where you list both upcoming and past webinars. Your customers will be able to access educational content that benefits them, and prospects will be able to learn more about your products in a more interactive format than a simple blog post or case study.

Recommended Reading

How to Create an Amazing Webinar
Best Practices for Webinars or Webcasts
Webinar Promotion Tips to Guarantee Nobody Misses Your Next Webinar
Best Live Webinar Software

7. Produce a podcast.

Audio marketing has been on the rise — all you have to do is look at the ways Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces have gone head-to-head to earn market share. While platforms such as Clubhouse are different from podcasting, the idea is the same: You get to educate and engage an audience while they’re on the go. All they need is a device that plays audio.

For inspiration, check out the HubSpot Podcast Network:

Podcasts can become an essential element in your digital strategy, allowing you to reach people on platforms other than search engines and social media channels. Plus, it’s a much more unplanned, natural medium — though of course you should plan each episode carefully and ensure you’re delivering content that actually serves your readership.

Featured Resource: How to Start a Podcast Download Your Free Guide

Recommended Reading

Podcasting: What You Need + Steps To Get Started
The Anatomy of a Perfect Podcast Episode, According to HubSpot’s Podcast Expert
The Ultimate Guide to Podcast Audio, According to HubSpot’s Podcast Expert

8. Create an email marketing campaign.

Email marketing is one of the most important digital strategies you can implement today. It gives you plenty of opportunities to nurture customers who are highly interested in your products. After all, you wouldn’t be subscribed to a newsletter of a brand that doesn’t interest you, and a business isn’t supposed to email customers who haven’t signed up to its mailing list, anyway. Not unless it wants to risk diminishing email deliverability.

You can earn subscribers through your blog, through contests, and even through webinars. Any time someone gives you their email — and every time they give consent to receive communication from you — you have full permission to target them with an email marketing campaign.

Featured Resource: Email Marketing Planning TemplateDownload Your Free Template

Recommended Reading

Benefits of Email Marketing Your Marketing Team Must Know
The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing
Examples of Brilliant Email Marketing Campaigns

Now it’s time to bring all of this together to form a cohesive marketing strategy document. Your strategy document should map out the series of actions you’re going to take to achieve your goals, based on your research up to this point.

Let’s discuss how our digital strategy template can help.

Digital Marketing Strategy Template

While a spreadsheet can be an efficient format for mapping your digital marketing strategy, that approach can quickly become messy and overwhelming.

To plan your strategy for the long-term – typically between six to 12 months out, you need a reliable digital marketing strategy document. But, where to start? With our free digital marketing plan template.

This template will walk you through your business summary and initiatives, help you build your target market and competitor information, and flesh out your marketing strategy — including your budget and specific channels and metrics.

Use this digital strategy template to build out your annual digital marketing strategy and tactics. By planning out these yearly plans, you can overlay when you and your team will be executing each action. For example:

In January, you’ll start a blog that will be continually updated once a week, for the entire year.
In March, you’ll launch a new ebook, accompanied by paid promotion.
In July, you’ll prepare for your biggest business month — what do you hope to have observed at this point that will influence the content you produce to support it?
In September, you’ll focus on earned media in the form of PR to drive additional traffic during the run-up.

This approach provides a structured timeline for your activity which will help communicate plans among colleagues.

Finally, here are some examples of digital marketing campaigns and their strategies to inspire you.

1. Béis: Paid Ad

Travel accessory brand, Béis, recently launched a social media campaign to announce feature updates to one of its products. And they did it in the best way: by showing instead of telling.

In a 34-second clip, the brand showed how their product performed before and how it performs now following some changes to the material.

This is a fantastic campaign as it not only highlights an improvement on a product but it also shows customers that the brand is constantly iterating and improving. Secondly, they make sure to include captions in the video to ensure that it’s accessible without sound.

2. Omsom: Social Media

Asian food brand Omsom leverages its TikTok profile to share behind-the-scenes content, recipes, and culturally relevant content.

In a recent video, the brand’s co-founder shared how it sources one of its key ingredients and how they chose the more difficult route to preserve the integrity of the food.

@weareomsom

here’s why we choose to make our lives harder as food founders! #business #sourcing

♬ original sound – Omsom

Here’s what Omsom did right: They highlighted their brand’s values while still building excitement around the product.

Sharing behind-the-scenes content is a great way to connect with your audience and share details that will simultaneously highlight your mission and/or values.

3. The General: Paid Advertising

After reports that consumers thought the brand was untrustworthy due to its low-budget ads, The General decided to revamp its entire marketing strategy.

In a commercial featuring basketball superstar, Shaq, the brand addressed the elephant in the room and introduced a new-and-improved look.

In addition, they also emphasize their credibility by mentioning how long they’ve been in business and how many people they’ve helped.

By addressing negative perceptions head-on, brands can not only change how consumers view them but also show that they are in tune with their target audience.

Grow Better With Marketing Strategies That Improve Your Digital Presence

Your strategy document will be very individual to your business, which is why it’s almost impossible for us to create a one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy template.

Remember, the purpose of your strategy document is to map out the actions you’re going to take to achieve your goal over a period of time — as long as it communicates that, then you’ve nailed the basics of creating a digital strategy.

If you’re eager to build a truly effective strategy to help grow your business, check out our free collection of content marketing templates below.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How to Create an Amazing Webinar in 2022

Creating and conducting webinars is one of the best ways to engage with potential customers in an increasingly remote world.

Since the rise of remote work, people rely on technology for education and social interaction more than ever. This means more Zoom meetings instead of in-person meetings, more walks to a home office instead of commutes to a high-rise, and more webinars instead of live events.

The B2B webinar platform BrightTalk reported a 76% increase in video, webinar, and virtual events uploaded to their platform from March to June 2020. From April 2019 to April 2020, ON24 saw a 167% increase in monthly usage of its webinar platform. If there was ever a time to create a webinar, it’s now.

Are webinars dead?

In a word: no. While webinars may seem outdated, they have proven to be invaluable during social distancing. Most companies are moving toward a telecommuting model, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. The new “working from home economy” guarantees that webinars remain a cornerstone of companies’ marketing and sales strategies.

Because companies are turning to webinars to replace their live events, the market is experiencing an over-saturation. As a result, it’s even more challenging to make your virtual event stand out from the pack. Luckily, HubSpot and GoToWebinar teamed up to bring you the ultimate webinar planning kit that can help you create a compelling, effective webinar that will engage potential customers and drive lead generation.

1. Brainstorm webinar ideas.

Before you can start making your webinar, you’ll have to decide on the topic.

The topic you choose should answer questions that your audience typically asks and preferably be highly specific. For example, if you’re hosting a webinar on email marketing, you can choose to focus on subject lines in particular.

Overall, your webinar should provide value to your audience. Think about your company as a whole and your unique value proposition. What topics do you have expertise in and can provide value on? Consider choosing an educational topic, as this content performs well.

Align the topic with the goal of your sales team. A successful webinar hinges on sales and marketing alignment. If the marketing team creates content that isn’t helping their sales conversations, it won’t successfully drive high-quality leads to sales.

Luckily, you have experts at your disposal who can come up with content ideas that will complement and aid the sales conversation: the representatives themselves.

Ask your sales team what they might want a webinar’s focus to be. Get the representatives’ buy-in for a webinar before you plan it. Set up a meeting to discover new content ideas and find out what pain points they need to help solve. This will go a long way toward ensuring the sales’ follow-up with registrants is seamless once the webinar is over.

2. Choose a webinar format.

When considering how to structure your webinar, you have countless options. The four most common types are panel discussions, Q&A, single-speaker presentations, and interviews.

Panel Discussions

For panel discussions, you can invite industry experts to discuss a niche, current topic within your industry. They encourage roundtable conversations, focus on building a dialog around the topic, and offer various viewpoints. The experts’ differing perspectives can expand your attendees’ understanding of the topic in ways that wouldn’t be possible with one speaker’s input.

Because panelists will be speaking to each other rather than directly to the audience, panel discussions may encourage speakers who are camera shy to participate in your webinar.

When you organize a panel discussion webinar, it’s important to choose the best moderator for your topic. Your moderator is responsible for establishing the rules of the discussion, keeping track of time, and keeping the panel on topic.

Choosing the most engaging panelists to present your topic is also important. Panelists must be able to volunteer key points and concrete examples during discussions. Your panel needs to represent the demographic of your audience and offer different perspectives to encourage interesting discussion. At least one of your panelists should be an authority on the webinar topic who can establish credibility with the audience.

Q&As

For Q&As, you only need your team’s product experts to answer your customers’ questions. Q&A webinars allow attendees to participate in the webinar, help you to learn more about the attendees’ needs, and enable your team to showcase your knowledge about the topic.

Live Q&As can be unpredictable. Your attendees may be hesitant to ask questions or may ask questions your team is not prepared to answer, so it may be helpful to develop a list of potential questions. Rock Content recommends making a list of doubts and curiosities that your audience may have and using it as a guide for the Q&A.

Single-speaker Presentations

Single-speaker presentations involve one presenter delivering the webinar and answering attendees’ questions. We recommend holding a single-speaker presentation if you plan to have a small audience for your webinar.

Interviews

Interviews are also a great choice. You can either interview an industry expert or a current customer about their experience with your company. Interviewing someone who has a large following may encourage people to sign up for your webinar and help you reach a new audience.

Before your webinar, prepare a strong portfolio of interview questions to keep the conversation flowing and ensure that your interview runs smoothly.

3. Pick a webinar tool.

There are many webinar hosting platforms you can use to create your webinar. Popular platforms include ClickMeeting, GoToWebinar, and Zoom.

When you’re researching a tool to use, consider your objectives. For example, how many people do you think will attend? Do you need a tool that could allow over 1,000 attendees? How much does it cost? How easy is it to use? You should look into these questions when deciding what webinar tool to use.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure the tool can handle the type of webinar you want to host — can it handle video chatting for panels or Q&A webinars? The right tool for you will depend on the overall objectives of your event.

4. Assign roles to your team members.

After choosing the platform, assign roles in your team. Typically, you’d need to choose four people:

The organizer handles all facets of planning, from ideation to content creation. They are usually the primary contact in the webinar platform.

The presenter is the subject matter expert, either on your team or in the industry, who will present on the topic you’ve chosen.

The moderator is required for panel discussions but not for single-speaker presentations. This person will help stimulate conversation among panel participants. You can also assign a moderator if you expect to receive a lot of questions from attendees.

Assistants are the team members at hand in case of emergencies. For example, if there’s no sound, an assistant can step in to resolve this problem. Like moderators, assistants can also manage the chat box during the event.

5. Produce the content.

Once you find a tool and know the topic you want to present, it’s time to create the content, depending on the type of webinar you want to host. For example, will it be a PowerPoint and talking head presentation? Or perhaps you want to do a live panel Q&A? Either way, you’ll have to produce the content and prepare for the big day.

For example, if you’re creating a PowerPoint, you’ll need to create your slide deck. Make sure that the slides emphasize your points, but don’t include a script. These slides should be visually appealing and include interesting graphics, such as images or GIFs.

If you’re hosting a discussion-style webinar, plan out your speakers, gather audience questions, and prepare any other questions you might have so you can prioritize your time during the webinar.

6. Choose the best time for the webinar.

To select a time and date for your webinar, you’ll want to consider where your audience lives. Use tools like Google Analytics to see where people are so that you can choose a convenient day and time zone.

ON24 reports that Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to host webinars, with 11 a.m. being the best time. Another popular time is 10 a.m.. Both are great for a wide range of time zones and should avoid most commute times or work hours. Typically, these times prevent conflicts for the greatest number of people.

However, if your audience is solely in the United States, you won’t need to worry about global time zones. Instead, you can focus on planning a time when most people aren’t commuting. For example, early afternoon or after work hours are generally good times.

7. Create a contingency plan for your webinar presentation.

When hosting a live webinar, it’s crucial to have a contingency plan. Setting up a backup internet connection, prerecording content, and printing out a copy of your presentation can save your webinar in case of outages, interruptions, or other unforeseen circumstances.

If you lose your internet connection while hosting a webinar, a wired internet connection or wireless hotspot can be used as a backup.

Prerecording content for your webinar ensures that your attendees have something to watch while you troubleshoot technical issues that may arise.

You may not be able to view your notes on screen while presenting your webinar, so you should consider printing out a hard copy of your slides and notes. That allows you to continue presenting if your computer screen freezes or you lose your video connection.

Additionally, emailing your attendees a printout of your slides before the webinar can help them stay engaged if they have technical issues while viewing the presentation.

8. Practice your webinar before the event.

Practice is essential for a successful webinar, and it can help you get acquainted with the platform if you’ve never used it before.

We highly encourage creating a fake event on your webinar platform. Publish it, send a link to another one of your team members, and practice as if you were presenting a real webinar. Your team member would watch it as an attendee and should tell you what the presentation looks like on the other end.

9. Promote your webinar.

Now that you’ve done the backend work, it’s time to ensure you have people who want to attend.

To promote your webinar, you can create a landing page where people can sign up and then distribute and promote that link in several ways.

For example, consider running ads through social media and search engines. Additionally, you’ll want to use free promotion tactics — you can post on your accounts and website, and send an email to your subscribers. It’s important to use your follower base to get people interested.

Reminder emails are also helpful. Consider sending “Don’t Miss Out” or “Seats Are Filling Up” emails as the day gets closer.

When people do sign up, you’ll want to remind them leading up to the day of the webinar. You should send them the webinar link about an hour before, so it’s top of mind, and they don’t have to go looking for the link in their registration email.

10. Follow up with your audience.

Webinars are a great sales opportunity, and you don’t want people to leave your webinar and never think of you again.

That’s why you’ll want to send them a thank you email and gather feedback from attendees so you can plan better webinars in the future.

Remember that attendees generally like to have a recording. If you send them a link to the recording afterward, they don’t have to take vigorous notes during the webinar. This also means you can send it to registrants who weren’t able to attend.

Once you’ve come up with relevant content topics for your webinar and set up the event, it’s time to get that webinar in front of as many eyes as possible.

With webinars, it’s not just about generating initial excitement. You have to build excitement and encourage engagement once the webinar goes live.

1. Set up a landing page that is optimized for search engines.

The first step in your webinar promotion strategy is to create an optimized landing page that can organically jumpstart registrations.

According to Karthik Shetty, a field and performance marketing specialist, you have only seven seconds to convert a prospect who has visited your landing page, so you must strategically structure the landing page for your webinar.

Your landing page should have a target keyword in the title, a sign-up form, and optimized copy. Ideally, the form should integrate with your other marketing and sales tools, automatically turning registrants into contacts or prospects.

2. Promote your webinar to current subscribers and contacts via email.

Now that you have a landing page to direct users to, it’s time to target your first attendees: people who already know about your company and customers who have previously engaged with you.

After sending a personalized email to your contacts, take the following steps:

Create automated email reminders that will be sent to prospects who have been invited but not yet registered.
Create manual email templates reps can send in their one-on-one communication with prospects.
Set up an automated email to notify reps when one of their prospects has registered for your webinar. This will help them engage and close those prospects down the road.

3. Promote your webinar via LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

LinkedIn is an excellent platform to promote webinars. They’re usually created for other businesses, and LinkedIn is the ultimate B2B marketing platform.

LinkedIn now has an option for virtual events, which allows you to add the webinar access link. Registrants can also jumpstart discussions on the event page, giving you potential topics to address during the presentation or Q&A.

You can also advertise the webinar through display ads on Google, Instagram, and Facebook, though we encourage keeping the bulk of your investment on LinkedIn.

4. Send reminder emails to registrants.

Even though you’ve gotten registrants, that doesn’t mean they’ll show up. After all, if you promote a webinar one to two weeks in advance, some of your registrants are likely to forget when the live date comes around.

Remember to send out reminder emails the day before and the day of the live event to ensure a high live attendance rate.

Adding an “add to calendar” button to your emails will encourage registrants to block out time in their busy calendar, making them more likely to attend.

5. Offer a certificate of completion, professional development hours, or continuing education credits.

An easy way to entice registrations is to offer something in return. Certificates of completion, PDHs, and CEUs are credentials attendees will want to receive after the webinar. This also entices people to stay until the end.

Services like Certifier can be used to create certificates of completion for your webinar attendees. They can be offered to virtually any professional. Industries such as engineering, architecture, software engineering, and marketing require professionals to continue their training after starting their careers.

6. Consider co-marketing the webinar.

Try your hand at co-marketing. One of the best ways to get new expertise, generate interest for a piece of content, and expand the reach of a campaign is to run a co-marketed webinar.

Instead of running a webinar with speakers internally, try working with another company that’s going after a similar buyer persona and can bring their expertise into the conversation. Doing so creates more interesting content and gives you the opportunity to get your webinar in front of another company’s established audience.

7. Survey participants after the webinar.

The only way to get better is to know how you can improve. By sending an after-event survey, you can refine your next webinar. Hosting a better event can help you confidently market it to prospects.

You can schedule a survey in Zoom that will appear to attendees at the end of the webinar. This survey can include a link to the next webinar you’re hosting, driving registrations for that event.

8. Deliver necessary information to sales.

A considerable part of the pre-webinar and post-webinar process is ensuring the right information gets delivered to sales. That’s why GoToWebinar and HubSpot recommend creating one webinar hub that’s easily accessible by sales with the following information:

On-demand recordings of all webinars.
A calendar with past and future webinars.
Documentation that details the webinar’s goals, title, target persona, funnel stage, key points, speakers, and logistics.
Promotional and follow-up emails.
Collection of graphic and text CTAs sales reps can drop into their communications.
Mechanism to collect suggestions from sales reps for new topic suggestions and general feedback.

However, once the webinar has concluded, it’s time to ensure the sales reps are ready to close those leads. Send a follow-up email to your representatives and include the following information:

Leads who registered
Leads who attended
Leads who registered but didn’t attend
Leads who never registered
New SQL leads from post-webinar lead scores
Any other relevant webinar data
Send email templates sales can use to send to leads based on their webinar behavior. Include other relevant content they can use to continue to nurture leads in the coming weeks.

Putting the extra effort in will go a long way toward ensuring the webinar is a success from both a sales and marketing standpoint.

Webinar Examples

1. Western Forestry Conservation Association’s “Benefits and Drawbacks of Hot Planting, Summer Planting, and Fall Planting” Panel Discussion

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In the Western Forestry Conservation Association’s “Benefits and Drawbacks of Hot Planting, Summer Planting, and Fall Planting” webinar, a tribal nursery specialist moderates a panel discussion among fellow nursery specialists. The panelists discuss the effects of hot planting, summer planting, and fall planting on nurseries and reforestation efforts.

Each panelist is given an equal amount of time to present their research and views on the discussion topic. This webinar handles a large audience well by enabling a setting that automatically mutes attendees’ microphones and turns off their cameras to limit distractions and interruptions. While the panelists give their presentations, the moderator answers the attendees’ questions via chat.

2. ActualTech Media’s “Mitigating Ransomware in 2021” Live Q&A Webinar

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In ActualTech Media’s “Mitigating Ransomware in 2021” webinar, David M. Davis of ActualTech Media moderates a live Q&A with Roger Grimes, a security expert and data-driven defense evangelist from KnowBe4. The webinar focuses on the latest ransomware threats, the signs of a ransomware infection, and the best ways to prevent the spread of ransomware.

ActualTech Media designed a landing page where registrants could submit their questions in preparation for the webinar. Attendees were also encouraged to ask questions during the webinar.

It provided value to the attendees after the webinar concluded by offering them a handout and links to free ransomware mitigation tools.

3. Vanessa Van Edwards’ “2022 Goal Setting” webinar

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In her “2022 Goal Setting” webinar, behavioral investigator and author Vanessa Van Edwards breaks down the science of goal setting and offers tips for setting and achieving goals in the new year.

At the end of the webinar, Van Edwards encourages attendees to enroll in a monthly workshop that expands on the webinar’s topics, allows attendees to practice the concepts, and includes a live Q&A session.

Useful Webinar Creation Tips

Not sure how to set your webinar apart from the rest? No worries.

Single-speaker presentations are admittedly overdone. In a time when webinars are commonplace, it’s even more important to use different tactics to engage your viewers.

Think about ways to mix up how the information in your webinar is presented. Here are some tips:

Try a discussion-style webinar.

We’ve found unscripted, discussion-style webinars effectively engage our audience. In many of our live events, we’ve foregone the slides completely and instead brought two speakers together and had a host ask live questions on air. It’s effective for encouraging Twitter participation via a hashtag and keeping the content conversational but informative.

Answer your customers’ questions throughout the event.

Try building a webinar around your prospects’ questions. Send a call for questions to be answered live on-air. This will help build engagement and excitement for what’s to come. Hopefully, the people asking questions will be more likely to show up on the day of the webinar.

Engage prospects beforehand by adding interactive features to the webinar sign-up page.

You can also use a landing page like this that includes a voting feature for people to upvote their top questions. This will also help you prioritize the material your audience is most interested in.

Webinar Statistics

According to ON24, 68% of marketers say webinars are one of the best ways to tie marketing activity to revenue. Webinars can also help generate quality leads. Why?

Webinar Engagement Statistics

According to GoToWebinar, the average webinar attendee viewing time is 57 minutes. However, the attention spans of webinar attendees differ depending on the webinar’s length and topic. For example, attendees view marketing webinars for 52 minutes and training webinars for 61 minutes on average.

They work across the entire customer journey.

From thought-leadership panel discussions to weekly live demos, webinars are a dynamic and effective way to move prospects down the funnel from awareness to closed deals and beyond.

Webinar Lead Generation Statistics

Webinars come with a ton of information about your prospects you can use to identify high-quality, sales-ready leads. With each webinar registrant, you can collect lead and engagement data that your sales team can use to initiate personalized outreach.

Webinar Consumption Statistics

Twenty-seven percent of consumers watch a webinar that teaches them more about a passion or a hobby, while 24% reported watching webinars for the entertainment value. Eighteen percent of consumers watch webinars to further their knowledge about their profession. Nearly a quarter reported watching webinars for all of the above.

Webinar Thought Leadership Statistics

Thirty percent of consumers report feeling more engaged when a webinar teaches them something new. And when it’s about your product, it’s safe to assume that they’re highly interested in converting.

Webinar Lead Conversion Statistics

According to ON24, a good registrant-to-attendee conversion rate falls between 35% and 45%. ON24 reported a 61% increase in registrant-to-attendee conversion in April 2020. In 2019, it was 55%. For events with over 100 attendees, the average conversion rate was 53% in 2020, up from 43% in 2019.

Featured Resource: Free Webinar Planning Kit

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We know planning and promoting a webinar can be difficult if you’ve never done it before. So we’ve compiled a guide, template, and checklist for you to get your webinar off the ground — whether it’s your first or 40th. Click here to download the kit for free.

It’s All About Alignment

Webinars are seeing a timely resurgence. They’re not just an effective marketing tool. They’re also effective sales tools — but only if your sales team has the information, content, and tools to use them to move prospects down the funnel and close deals.

Creating the kind of alignment you need to make this all a success isn’t easy. So HubSpot and GotoWebinar made this ultimate guide for creating a successful webinar and included a checklist to guide you through pre-, ongoing, and post-webinar communications.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and was updated in January 2021 for comprehensiveness.