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May 19, 2016

Building A Successful On-Demand Webinar Strategy

Webinars are considered one of the top content marketing tactics, second only to videos. In fact, according to recent research, 66 percent of marketers believe webinars to be effective in the B2B world. So if you have created several webinars – especially on video – you’re on the right track when it comes to content marketing. Why not build on that by increasing the size of your audience? The simplest way to do this is by offering your webinars on demand after they have already gone live. Here’s why you should do it and how you can get started.

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Why You Should Offer On-Demand Webinars

It can take weeks or even months to put together a webinar, since you have to research, write, create slides or record a video, and then promote it. If you’re going to put all this work into building a webinar, you might as well get the most return on this marketing tool, and you can do that by making it available for people to watch long after it goes live. After all, only about 42 percent of registrants actually attend the webinar they signed up for, while 25 percent of registrants end up watching the archived version after the live event. So offering on-demand webinars can help you reach a good amount of people who can’t watch the webinar when it airs originally, increasing the number of leads you generate.

The most common way to benefit from recorded webinars is to embed them in your website. You can create a whole section for on-demand webinars so your target audience can find them easily. But you can also enhance your content marketing strategy with your archived, evergreen webinars. For example, you can include them in emails, link to them on your social media pages, and write blog posts based on them. The result is that you’re not only getting more leads with your on-demand webinar strategy, but you’re also boosting your content marketing success without putting in much more effort.

How to Get More Leads with Your On-Demand Webinars

As popular as on-demand webinars are these days, you can’t simply post them on your website for anyone to view and hope to magically get more leads. Instead, experts say you should gate any premium content you have, including webinars. As soon as you post your on-demand webinar, you can make a small preview of it public for anyone to see. You can then market it on Facebook, Instagram, and via email, to name a few ways to market the preview. Then post a form that asks for the contact information of anyone who wants to see the full webinar.

At first, the form you post should request the name, company name, position, phone number, email address, and any other information you want to know about your target audience. But once the webinar has been up for a few weeks, you can shorten the form so that it only asks for the name and email address of your audience. This is because shorter forms tend to attract more readers, since people are more comfortable giving out just a little bit of information than telling their life story on a form. Of course, the result is that you’ll know less about your readers, but you’ll likely end up with more leads in the end.

You also need to promote your on-demand webinar, and you can use the same tactics you would to promote a live webinar. This means you need to combine email marketing with social media marketing. You can start by including a link to the on-demand webinar in the “thank you for attending” email you send after the live version. You can send this email to anyone who registered for the event, so that both those who attended and those who couldn’t make it can see the link. You should then post links to your on-demand webinars via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other social network you use for business. Make sure you highlight why people should check out the webinar, just as you would with the live version, such as by mentioning any expert guests who’ll be speaking and what information viewers will learn — especially in a bulleted list. Readers love bulleted lists.

Know When to Ungate Your Webinar

Gating premium content is a tried-and-true lead generation tactic. But that doesn’t mean you have to use it throughout the life of your webinar. Once you get some good leads from gating your webinar, the purpose of posting that content can evolve from generating leads to getting clicks on your website. Ungating your content can result in hundreds and even thousands of views in a short period of time. Sure, you won’t capture the viewer’s information in the form of a lead, but you’ll make it easy for readers to share your content, leading more people to your website to see what you have to say.

There isn’t a specific time period after which you need to remove the gate to your content. Some people wait three months after posting the webinar, and others wait a year. Some choose to ungate their content only after they’ve reached their lead generation goal. The choice is yours. Just know that if you’ve properly promoted your on-demand webinar and feature a pretty minimal form for viewers to fill out, yet you haven’t gotten much interest, it might be time to ungate it and see how many more views it gets.

Best Practices to Consider Before You Offer On-Demand Webinars

As you start planning your on-demand webinar strategy, you should keep some webinar best practices in mind. For example, webinar marketers often point out that video is usually preferred to slides and audio. After all, video is considered slightly more effective at reaching the B2B audience than the typical webinar is, so a webinar on video can result in the best reach.

An additional best practice to consider is that if your webinar is any longer than about 40 minutes, you should edit it so it’s shorter. After all, BrightTALK’s analysis of webinars found that people tend to watch up to 37 minutes of live webinars, but just 48 percent of people watch recorded videos for more than 30 minutes. This suggests that an on-demand video should be slightly shorter than the live version.

Another insight gleaned from BRIGHTtalk’s research includes the fact that you’ll get most of your views several days after the live webinar. In particular, 31 percent of views occur 10 days after the live event, while nearly 66 percent of views occur 100 days after it. And 35 percent of your views will take place more than 100 days after the live webinar, so be sure to keep your content up for at least 3 months.

And don’t forget to repurpose your webinar into other helpful content, such as infographics, blog posts, podcasts, and social media posts. This way, you can get the most out of the effort you put into creating webinars, and you can always link back to the original content with that form.

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Eric Vidal

Eric Vidal is the Editor and Chief Content Officer of He is also the host of the video series Marketing Mash, speaker and consultant. Catch him on Twitter at @EricVMarketing.

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