By Nichole McIntyre, marketing coordinator for Heinz Marketing

Are webinars already a core component of your 2013 marketing strategy? Not only do your events need to stand out from the mass of others out there, it is also critical to do so cost effectively with measurable results of Marketing Qualified Leads.

There are some important steps while preparing and following up that can increase your effectiveness and ROI down the line.   Here are four worth keeping in mind at all times.

Desired Outcomes
First, ask yourself, “What is the end goal of this webinar?” Is it to generate leads, to use in your nurture campaign, or to establish thought leadership and credibility?  All have their uses and purposes, but the reason will determine your audience, layout and metrics to measure success.

Target Audience and Promotion
Now you can determine the ideal audience, and what they know about your company. Get creative on your invitation; don’t stick to the overdone simple letter format. It is important for the invitation to address the audience correctly, and share information they don’t know without providing info they many already know.

If the webinar is targeted for your in-house list, an intimate, personalized invitation will work great and fits the relationship. Whereas, if inviting new contacts from a purchased list, or first contact, an informative and well branded layout will be more appealing and provide more insight into your brand.

Email invitations aren’t the only way to promote your webinar. Post details to your social networks, such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Even asking any co-workers or co-presenters to spread the word to their network is a great way to reach new contacts. Some Webinar service providers (such as BrightTalk) may also have marketing channels you can use, such as newsletters, banner ads, etc.

Extended Webinar Lifecycle
Don’t forget how to up-cycle your webinar after the live version is completed. Record your webinar to be used in other campaigns, such as nurture campaigns, or assets to gate throughout your site!

It is also important to offer the recorded version to all who registered for your webinar but were unable to attend; they could still be very interested in viewing the webinar. Another great way to repurpose your webinar is to use the manuscript to create white papers, best practice guides, fact sheets or infographics. Get creative!

Follow Up
Lastly, determine the appropriate follow up steps, not only to take with those who attended, but those who did not attend as well. If you have a lead scoring program in place, determine the appropriate change in score based on attendance. Based on your desired outcome from above decide the best follow up.

If your webinar was an intimate, product specific event for hot leads, it makes sense for sales to follow up with calls. If the webinar was to establish credibility, the attendees should be sent into a nurture campaign to further qualify the leads.

These are just a few ways to increase your webinar effectiveness. What other ideas and tips do you use for effective webinar execution?