As a brand, getting facetime with Leads and Visitors is a big advantage. Today, we all run against time and still are unable to catch up with as many leads as we would have liked to.
In-person meetings are not just inconvenient but also limited as we are bound by geography, climatic conditions and public transport.
Doesn’t matter if you are a big business or a small startup creating connections worldwide, keeping in touch with your existing clients and maintaining healthy relationships is a task!
This is where - Webinars come in.
Webinars are not just for 1 time online events but rather can be used day-to-day to give your brand the traction that it deserves.
Webinars go way back to the 1980s, typically around the early stages of the Internet. Earliest hints of webinars appeared in real-time text messaging apps. In the ‘90s, web chats and instant messaging apps were on the rise like ICQ, AIM, Yahoo Messenger, etc.
It was in 1999 that WebEx Meeting Center software was developed - it offered the possibility to hold webinars for up to 1,000 simultaneous attendees. From the year 2000, many webinar service providers came into the picture and got more and more functional and interactive.
In today’s world, if you have a business, you’re expected to HAVE a website and blogs at the least. A full set of lawyer-approved terms and conditions, tutorial videos featuring professional animation, and live customer chat are just other MUST add-ons.
And now, webinars are a part of this list too!
What are webinars?
The term “webinar” comes from the words “web” and “seminar”; and as the name suggests, it means a seminar conducted online. In other words, it is an online meeting or presentation that is held in real time. Attendees join the webinar by connecting remotely via internet. Presenters can work through a PowerPoint style slide deck, share live screen, or just simply go live.
Attendees usually interact with the presenter in some way, either through live voice or video, or through instant chat messenger.
Webinars are a great platform for discussing current industry trends as well as offering instructional how-to for hot topics relevant to the given community.
Not just that, Webinars :
- Provide an easy way to handle pre-sales objections face-to-face.
- Boost traffic, increase Brand Awareness, Create Authority and increase subscribers
- Speed up the sales cycle
Although only around half of the people actually attend the webinar from those who registered for the same, the statistics proves the webinars to be a success either ways.
Who can host a Webinar?
Earlier, software vendors, sales trainers and other industry thought leaders used to hold webinars. However, today, any and every business with a following can host a webinar.
Another advantage of hosting a webinar is that your content can be made available to replay it, as long as the information is relevant. So, as long as you have a group of followers who you wish to provide useful information to, you’re good to go and host a webinar and build a community!
Make sure to have a topic that addresses a need or pain-point that your customers are facing. This ensures that you position yourself as a thought leader who can help the customer or lead.
Marketing a Webinar
Webinars are a gateway to reach to a wider audience who may become your customer at some point..
Most marketing webinars are lead generation tools that provide free, valuable(read useful, helpful) information in the hope that participants will see the need to upgrade to paid products or services offered by that company.
Webinar Marketing is one of the best ways to build trust with your audience. This is powerful as we move our leads through the buyer’s journey, trust is one of the biggest factors that will determine whether they will buy your products or services or your competition’s.
Webinars are a different kind of lead magnet, with the potential to offer even more value and better leads than a downloadable checklist or e-book.
Webinars usually consist of a presentation followed by a quick Q&A session. As they are a visual & auditory medium, webinars help presenters connect quicker and better to their participants. This helps people grasp information faster than when it’s just written down.
Companies use webinar marketing to:
- Demonstrate products and services
- Elaborate on content published in a blog post
- Showcase expertise
e.g.- Marketo’s webinars
Although at times, webinars can get attendees interested in buying products and services, it is important to remember that if you’re using it to lead generation, it can NOT be a sales pitch.
The best webinars are those when they are not about you or your company. Rather, the focus is all on the customer and their place in a digital ecosystem.
However, showing that value is also the reason why webinars provide the perfect opportunity to market. In essence - focus on building relationships.
Webinar Marketing Statistics.
Before we dive into greater depth of webinar marketing, let us first juggle with a few numbers!
- Although only around half of the people actually attend the webinar from those who registered for the same, the statistics proves the webinars to be a success either ways.
- According to Content Marketing Institute, 58% marketers use webinars, and around 32% of them think that it will be crucial for their success.
- According to MakeSocialMediaSell, webinars retain 40% of the viewer’s attention.
- According to ReadyTalk, between 20%-40% of the participants become qualified leads.
- According to Branded Solopreneur, 2%-5% attendees are likely to buy from you.
Plan your Webinar.
Just like any other marketing initiative, it is important to plan your webinar before execution, to give you the best possible success.
Let’s see how to go about the planning process:
1. Set your webinar goals.
Ask yourself, “what is the purpose of this webinar?” , “why am I running it?”
the most common answers are:
- I want to attract new leads.
- I want to convert leads into customers.
- I want to build stronger relationships with my leads and customers.
- I want to show that I am an expert on a topic.
- I want to build an email list.
Once you have listed down your goals precisely, you will know exactly how to go about it.
2. Understand your audience.
Just like any other marketing, you need to know your audience. Keep in mind your target audience with each webinar so that when you create and promote it, you’ll ensure you appeal to the appropriate audience.
Since webinars take more investment from the attendees’ perspectives, the more relevant your topic, the more likely you will be to attract some registrations.
3. Choose a topic.
It is very important to choose the most appropriate topic for your webinar. To attain this, you can:
- Go through your blog for popular topics that can make good webinars. If people ask questions and make comments, that suggests they are interested in a related webinar.
- Check your social media profiles and find out if there are any particular questions that are constantly asked.
- Learn what other webinars are taking up, and choose a webinar that you can present in a better way.
Last but not the least, a catchy title. Like all literary materials, webinars too can attract larger registrations with a title that piques people’s interest.
e.g.- A webinar on SnapApp
e.g.- A humorous title on Facility Executive:
How to Create a Webinar
As repeated earlier, do not make your webinar a sales pitch, but deliver it in a way that is:
- FOR the participants
- Your product is the ultimate solution to the problem your webinar is dealing with. (However, do not stress on it much)
- Webinars are usually 60 minutes long, with 45 minutes devoted to the presentation and the rest 15 minutes for the Q/A round.
- Keep in mind your target audience and then choose an appropriate time, when maximum people will be free to join in.
e.g.- If most of your customers are in the Eastern time zone, there’s no point in holding it in the evening, Pacific time.
Adopt the best practices:
Who would purposely deliver an average webinar? To play safe, adopt the following format and create an awesome webinar.
- Take Aristotle’s advice, “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them.”
In other words, first introduce your topic, the cover it and again recap it for them.
- Another way is to: outline the problems your customers are facing, share your own experience, show them what the solution is, and show how they will benefit from the solution.
Right between the last two sections is where you make your low-key pitch.
- Have a high quality video and audio.
- Look straight at the camera, so the viewers feel you’re looking at them and in turn has a greater impact.
- Depending on the audience size of the webinar, you can automatically mute the attendees’ audio so as to not be interrupted by every cough, sneeze or dog bark heard in the background.
- Mary Jakch suggests to move through slides quickly, or the participants might lose attention. This means, the matter on the slide must also be short and crisp.
e.g.- Hubspot’s slide
- Your language must be simple and easy to understand as the attendees join in from any part of the world.
- Include stories and customer examples to explain any concept.
- Do not hesitate to use pictures! It is a great way to break your text and keep the audience engaged.
e.g.- Hubspot’s slide
- Near the end, make your pitch but do not break the flow and interrupt the connection you just made with your participants.
At the end of your webinar, you can practice reciprocity (link to psychology blog):
a) Provide a free gift to attendees.
b) Declare a discount on the services you provide and want them to purchase.
c) Use Scarcity (hyperlink to the same blog) and call them to action.
Promote your Webinar
Most people begin to promote their webinars at least three weeks before the run date. This means, that the planning process begins even before that.
It is very crucial to choose the most appropriate service to host your webinar.
Look out for services that they provide:
- Integrations with other software you use, like your email marketing service provider.
- Free call for participants from different parts of the world.
- Allowing you to share your screen and show videos.
- Options for registration
- Automatic recording
Here are some of the platforms you can try out:
- Cisco WebEx
- Instant Teleseminar
Webinar Marketing Plan:
- Create a registration page with an optin form.
- The main page will include the webinar title and description, and a few pointers
- that tell your customers what will they learn from it.
- Highlight the speakers and their areas of expertise.
- You can tell how long the webinar is expected to last. (optional)
- When you mention that it is a FREE webinar in your promotion, it does attract more registrations.
- If you have social proof about the speaker or your company, include them. This will reassure the participants that you are the right person to connect with.
Other optional tactics:
- Have guest posts published or appear in interviews to enhance your authority and allow you to promote the topic of your webinar.
- Create a promotional video for your webinar.
- Have promotional banners on your website.
- Edit your regular thank-you message to subscribers and include a link to your next webinar’s registration page.
- Invite an influential guest to speak or co-host your webinar.
Marketing after the webinar is over
After the webinar is over, you still have other chances to convert your audience. Send all the participants a link to the replay video, and create a new email message.
Finally, change your registration page to a replay page and get people to sign up so they don’t miss your next webinar.
The benefits make it clear that webinar marketing is a trend worth adopting.
Now that you have all the knowledge regarding webinar marketing, so when are we going to see your webinar scheduled?