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Webinars are powerful communication and promotional tools—perhaps the most effective method for effectively promoting a message to a target audience. No other method is more engaging, further-reaching, or as cost effective to set up.

Regular webinars are essential to modern competitive business growth strategies.

That said... webinars can only ever be as good as their invitations. If people don't show up, does it even matter that there was a webinar?

So, how do you write the most effective email invitations for your business's webinars?

Optimal Structure of Webinar Invitations

Webinar invitations should answer the questions of what, where, who, and why, usually in that order.

1. What

"This is an invitation to [your company]'s webinar about [X]."

Immediately, the invitation should identify itself, usually in the title of the email invitation. It's the main filter. If the invites are going out to the right people, then there will be people interested enough in the topic to at least open the email. More important, people who are not interested in the topic of the webinar won't open the email.

From that point on, it's safe to assume that the person who opens the email is a good lead. That's why it is important to write this part as plainly as possible and not trick people into opening the email with a catchy headline.

2. Where?

"It's going to be at [this link], at [this time]."

Immediately following the title, provide where and when to attend, because most of the people who opened the email to begin with are already interested and may just need the details of when and where to be, without needing any other information.

3. Who?

"This is for our industry partners, current customers, and third-party developers."

If people are interested enough to open the email invite but they are ambivalent about whether they should attend or not, here is where you help them decide. The best way is to name whom you are targeting with your webinar invitation. If you name something that readers identify with, then there is a good chance they will be convinced they should attend.

4. Why?

"Learn about the upcoming product releases from renowned guest speakers, receive promotional offers, and get a chance to meet and greet."

This last portion is where the benefits that attendees should expect to receive should be listed. Perhaps there is a guest speaker or a coupon code, or it's a good opportunity for attendees to network.

People make decisions emotionally and then justify those decisions with rational reasoning. The "why" section helps them provide that reasoning to themselves. The earlier sections set up the emotional conditions for invitees to attend, and this last section cements their decision and increases the strength of their commitment to attend.

When reminders come up and it's time for invitees to tune in and attend the webinar, attendees will most likely remember only that they decided to attend and that there were reasons they made that commitment. They will forget what those reasons specifically were.

Three Types of B2B Webinars

B2B webinars come in three major varieties.

1. Sales

You are hosting a webinar to earn conversions from the attendees. It's important to recognize the word "conversions" here, because webinars shine when you focus on convincing the audience to think a certain way. Selling a product or service happens as a result of the webinar, at the closing point in your marketing funnel.

Don't get it mixed up and try to sell prematurely during your webinar. Nobody likes to be sold to, but plenty of people are buying, and those people need help and guidance. Webinars are excellent tools for helping your audience members decide whether they are trying to buy and what channels they can access to get help with the buying process.

Let's look at an example:

Title: You are invited to [Company]'s exclusive product launch webinar.

First statement: Thursday, 6 PM GMT —> [registration link]

Second statement: For our corporate clients and select industry figures, we will be offering early access to our upcoming product launch.

Third statement:

  • Be the first to see our new product demonstrated.
  • Ask your questions directly of our developers, live.
  • Get granted exclusive early access tokens.

Final statement: Any questions before registration? Reach out to our contact team.

This template for an invitation to a product launch or sales webinar immediately filters for its target audience from the invite list. Only the relevant, truly interested people will even open the email. It then guides readers through the process of considering why they should attend the webinar, without even mentioning any details about the product or announcement. Finally, it provides a channel for invitees to get in touch.

Notice that this template focuses only on the strengths that webinars have—mainly using the invite itself to filter the audience for the best attendees, and then setting up a framework to build enthusiasm and earn conversions during the webinar.

Invites to webinars and the webinars themselves are downstream from lead generation but upstream from the point of sale in most marketing funnels.

2. Market Research

Modern webinars are feature-rich, highly interactive channels of communication between the hosts and the live audience. That makes them the most powerful market research tools available today.

Market research webinars are similar to sales webinars, but they are much more reliant on close interaction between the host and the audience.

Market research webinars are also flexible because they can be part of an R&D process, a multistep sales process, a lead-generation process, or another function unique to your business needs.

There is a misconception that market research is all about consumers. This is not the case. Market research webinars in B2B settings behave a lot more like tradeshows, and many business representatives want to attend them simply to know what's going on in the industry, and to network.

Here's an example template for an invite to a market research webinar.

Title: You are invited by [Company] to attend our quarterly industry summit webinar.

First statement Tuesday, 7:30 PM EST —> [Registration link]

Second statement: For our partners and peers in the hospitality industry, we are hosting our quarterly industry summit.

Third statement:

  • Hear announcements from other industry players.
  • Participate in a live Q&A with our expert panel.
  • Give feedback.
  • Meet and greet.

Final statement: Questions or comments before registering? Contact our PR representative.

The purpose of sales webinars is to earn conversions, whereas the main purpose of the market research webinar is to generate leads. That's why the invitation formats are similar.

Market research webinars themselves emphasise attendee interaction and user feedback more than other types of webinars. It is important to have robust, feature-rich webinar software for hosting market research webinars, because features such as breakout rooms, whiteboards, live user polling, and structured Q&As are important to how those webinars operate and gather valuable market data.

Live chat and the ability for preregistered users to use moderated message boards is a huge perk for hosting market research webinars as well, because the main consideration value for attendees is networking.

It's actually the value in the networking aspect of market research webinars that allows the group to snowball and grow. Because there is value in networking over a specific topic or industry, attendees and hosts can invite more interested prospective attendees.

For that reason, many market research webinars are periodic, which actually brings us to our next and type of B2B webinar.

3. Webinar Series

Similar to how market research webinars are often periodic, webinar series are more regular and may cover specific topics in great depth over several episodes; or they can be an ongoing media publication similar to a blog but with a live presentation and audience.

Webinar series are excellent for educating audiences and cultivating a rich content base over time that can be referenced or used later on. Webinar series in a B2B setting behave a lot like college lectures. The main benefit for the host is content creation, and the main benefit for the attendee is information.

Let's take a look at an example.

Title: This week's Cyber Security Webinar: "Social Engineering and How to Spot It," with Guest Speaker Johnathan Chaipis, senior cyber security engineer and former NSA Signals Intelligence Operative

First statement: Wednesday, 6:00 PM GMT —> [registration link]

Second statement:

  • Hear our guest speaker present on the threat of social engineering from a cyber security standpoint.
  • Stay tuned for the live Q&A.

Final statement: Suggestions or questions? Reach out to us here.

The invitations for webinar series are much less involved than other types of webinars because the hosts are already fulfilling their goal of generating content by providing information, and they do not have further stipulations such as a target audience or additional attendance offers to deliver in the invite.

There is one caveat: Did you notice that the title is interesting by itself? That is no accident. For one, the hosts are interested in producing the most interesting and informative content. Webinar series are often converted into online course lectures, podcasts, vlogs, etc.

The email invitations to the webinar series that become those courses, podcasts, or vlogs are a pivotal tool for developing audiences for said publications, because viewership of those publications is the goal. That's why the invitations make no effort to filter out attendees who can't follow further down a marketing funnel to a point of conversion or purchase—attending or watching the publications is the end of the marketing funnel in such cases.

That's also why the invitation title itself is the only conversion point in the invitation. If people are intrigued enough by the topic to attend, then they are already a completed conversion.

Final Recap

The general structure for writing effective B2B webinar invitations:

  • What
  • Where
  • Who
  • Why
  • How to contact

Answering those questions in that order will produce a reliably good webinar invitation.

There are also a few different types of B2B webinars, each with their own separate set of goals and behaviors. The formatting for invitations to those different types does not change by much, but those small changes in how the invitations are structured or understood by the hosts can make a substantial difference over time, or at scale.

More Resources on Webinar Invitations and Promotion

10 Ways to Make Facebook Your Most Powerful Event-Promotion Tool

Seven Ways to Increase Your Webinar Registrations

Webinar Benchmarks: Promotion and Attendance Trends

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Robert Strobl

Robert Strobl is the CEO and founder of Digital Samba, a videoconferencing software company.

LinkedIn: Robert Strobl