Rocking a live webinar is the marketer’s equivalent of staging a rock concert for a frenzied fandom. Okay, maybe it’s not quite on the same scale, but getting it right can make you a rockstar in the realm of lead generation. During the British Invasion, The Rolling Stones didn’t earn the Recording Industry Association of America’s “Platinum” certification, for 1 million record sales, until after their second American tour in 1965. For the second one, they perfected their live show for this new audience, bolstered their American fan base and sent their record sales skyrocketing. The rest, as they say, is rock-and-roll history.
Today’s marketing professionals who are organizing webinars don’t have the same luxury of fine-tuning their online presentations over several dates through Middle America. They have to rock their webinars right out of the gate. On the upside for marketers, much like throwing a rock concert, hosting a webinar is an unparalleled opportunity to “wow” their audiences, generate highly-qualified leads and drive sales to dizzying new heights.
Webinars are powerful tools for marketers. They create bonus opportunities for multiple “touches” that will help to engage a prospective customer. You get to lay multiple stepping stones on the path of the elusive buyer’s journey. Webinar organizers have to align their online presentations’ content with the parts of the sales cycle they want to affect.
1. Generate New Leads – To generate net new leads for the top of the sales funnel, thought leadership topics are the way to go. Look for experts in their professional network with cutting-edge ideas that are shaping their industry.
2. Nurture Existing Leads – To nurture existing leads, your content should offer practical or strategic tips and advice for stakeholders in your market. This kind of content is more tangible than thought leadership but not as specific as a product pitch.
3. Convert Leads into Sales Opportunities – To convert leads into sales opportunities, content should be more product oriented, delving into specific benefits and features of a particular solution. Consider throwing this kind of webinar at the end of a fiscal period to boost conversions in the next.
Tip: If your goal is net new leads, don’t start with a webinar about your product or solution. Meet your prospective customers on the topics that they care about. Think: the pain they have vs. the pill you want to sell them.
Bootlegging your latest webinar and leaking it back to wider and wider audiences of prospective customers generates even more leads. Record Your Webinars
Content marketing is one of the hottest topics for marketing professionals. Webinars are a great way to build a series of quality content assets quickly.
The savviest marketing professionals record their webinars and follow-up by sending a link to attendees ASAP after the event. Later, they can send the recorded webinar to all of the event’s original invitees. Eventually, the webinar can appear to an even broader audience, as a link on an organization’s website or social media pages. As past webinar episodes pile up, they first form a series, then an archive and then a knowledge base even.
A library of webinars with relevant content for your chosen markets is a gift of leads that keeps on giving, er, leads.
Leverage the content even farther. Depending on the topic, a good writer & designer can turn the content of a webinar recording into a series of blog posts or even an ebook. Each of which can be promoted multiple times over through multiple channels. For example, the ebook can be promoted via email and social channels.
In marketing and lead generation in particular, there’s a new focus on quality over quantity. A tightly focused webinar will produce fewer, but better leads – prospects with greater purchasing intent, who are more likely to convert into a sale. In fact, just by attending a webinar, individuals give organizers tacit permission to market to them further. Those who spend an hour listening to a presentation are likely to buy – and soon. These are just the types of high-intention signals that marketers are looking for and qualifying individuals as hot leads. That’s why, according to experts, webinars are one of the most effective vehicles for identifying valuable prospects that will likely soon convert into new sales.
All great marketing webinars share several things in common:
10. A webinar is one in a series — not a one-hit wonder — and part of an integrated marketing campaign with multiple customer touch points.
9. The “must see” information presented has the potential to be “life-changing” for the webinar’s attendees, meaning it’s highly specialized and timely information.
8. They have a one-step, no-muss, no-fuss registration process and a strong reminder sequence with emails 7 days, 2 days, 24-hours and 3-hours before the event.
7. They drive attendance from a variety of proven sources, including in-house lists, acquired email lists, speaker/partner lists as well as social media and advertisements.
6. The email invitations reveal the title, timing, speaker, primary benefits and a sense of urgency for registering.
5. They are timed for when the invitees are most available – usually mid-day and mid-week.
4. They are punctuated with polling questions which create a break in the action and allow for audience input, and, most importantly, an opportunity to gather market and sales intelligence. Think: What do you want to know about your audience?
3. They are 30 to 60 minutes long, including the question-and- answer period.
2. They engage and educate while still providing new sales opportunities. The keynote speaker addresses an overview of issues and best practices while a second speaker follows up with specific tactics to solve a problem and introduces a product or service.
1. They are recorded for re-marketing purposes and made available to the attendees 24 hours after the event. (30% of people who view your webinar will view the recorded version on your website and not the live version. You can essentially double your reach!)
Here’s a rundown of some important numbers to keep in mind as you organize a webinar.
Why Webinars? Prospective customers use them heavily to conduct research. Webinars are one of the best ways for vendors to reach these highly-intentioned buyers.
Driving Registration Start early to get the results that meet your expectations.
During the Webinar Consider booking a dynamic and recognizable guest speaker. Take polls too.
How People View The Webinar It’s important to look at the numbers. Even webinar registrants who didn’t attend the live or on-demand event should still be considered potential leads.
Typical industry statistics breakdown as follows:
But when you follow these best practices, you can expect:
To become a webinar rock star, keep these tips in mind
First things first, marketing professionals have to align their webinar’s content with the perceived needs of their potential clients. They should validate possible topics and content by talking to leads to find out what topics are of interest to them, tailoring their webinars accordingly. Validated webinar topics will always generate more buzz than non-validated ones.
A webinar’s content must also be tightly aligned with the webinar’s marketing messages— delivering exactly what the marketers promised— or attendees will feel duped. Best practices dictate that marketing professionals should stay involved in the webinar’s content development throughout the entire process – at the very least in a quality-assurance capacity.
Webinar organizers should set objectives and hard numbers such as net new leads and early stage leads. They also should differentiate between new and existing prospects – creating awareness among the new prospects and nurturing the existing ones. Setting these objectives will help manage expectations. Generally, organizers can expect more attendees for webinars on broader topics at the top of the sales funnel, like thought leadership, and fewer people for narrower topics in the middle or bottom of the funnel, like for case studies or product demos.
Consider booking a guest speakers perhaps, but be prepared to pay an honorarium. The alternative would be to identify a friend of an organization, who is among its closest contacts and would gladly do it pro bono.
Extend your reach by using social media, ads, and even acquiring lists. This is an especially apt maneuver for webinars with topics at the top of the sales funnel. Always be choosy by insisting on custom-built, highly- targeted lists.
You can’t manage what you don’t count, goes the popular MBA wisdom. With today’s email and marketing automation solutions, marketers are privy to precise metrics that track a webinar invitees’ responses. Did they open the email? Did they click on the link to the event’s website? Did they click on the registration page? Did they visit any other relevant pages? These and other valuable insights will help an organization’s sales team prioritize their follow-up with specific leads.
Prior to the big day, it’s important to practice the emcee-to-speaker transitions, using the webinar application and checking whether the phone’s and room’s acoustics sound alright.
On the day of the webinar, the MC and the guest speaker should dial-in early to allow themselves time to deal with unexpected technological challenges (and they do happen!).
During the webinar, keep things casual. Don’t try to make it as slick as the six o’clock news. Everybody’s familiar with the stress of organizing an event and choreographing its programming. Setting a relaxed, personable tone will put everyone at ease and keep you and the guest speaker relaxed as well.
After the webinar, marketing professionals should follow up quickly, responding to any unanswered questions during the webinar, sending attendees a recording of the webinar and a copy of the slides, within the first 24 hours— on the same afternoon, if possible.
Remember: focus on their pain, not your pill.
Webinars are not new. They are not garnering the hype of other marketing topics lately, but we know from experience and our own proprietary market research that they are still one of the most effective ways of acquiring and nurturing leads.
Use the tips provided here, and you will drive more registrations, greater attendance and higher conversion rates.