How to Introduce Webinars Into Your Content Strategy
Webinars provide a crucial connection between you and people who want to know more about your business or service by allowing them to engage and interact with you.
- Popular online webinar platforms let you focus on the content, rather than the technology..
- 76 percent of marketers achieved more leads by running webinar.
- More than a third of your live attendees will wait to sign up until just one to seven days prior to your webinar.
Webinar platform ON24 crunched its own numbers in the early spring months of 2020. They discovered that the number of webinars being hosted increased by more than 330 percent. People attending these online events had doubled year-over-year. There’s no mystery for the spike. COVID-19 has made webinars an indispensable part of marketing.
Webinars were already a powerful and popular marketing tool before we encountered this current pandemic. Webinar facilitators know this is an effective way to showcase thought leadership and to provide prospects with both education and insight during crucial parts of the buyer’s journey. Webinars are taking the place of traditional face-to-face sales and marketing opportunities. They are especially effective for B2B engagement.
The what of webinars
A webinar is a live, web-based event, presentation, seminar, or workshop that uses audio visual
communication to connect presenters and attendees. It provides a crucial connection between you and people who want to know more about your business or service by allowing them to engage and interact with you.
Webinars used to be fearful creatures. They were amazingly powerful, but technically complex and nearly impossible for smaller organizations to successfully pull off without embarrassing and unprofessional glitches. Web conferencing technology advances have disabled these obstacles. You don’t need specialized software, and it’s likely that your laptop already possesses all of the hardware you need.
Big names you recognize – such as Google – have been assembling a robust foundation of standards known as WebRTC, making it possible for us to use our web browsers to access real-time multimedia communications. This makes hosting a webinar easy. You can focus on the content, rather than the technology.
You want to know who’s attending your webinar, and the underlying standards of WebRTC make it possible to keep things secure with peer-to-peer and end-to-end data encryption. Secure meeting links provide access only to your attendees. Combine this with event registration and you have the ability to dive deep into the composition of your audience so you can deliver precisely what they want to know.
Today’s webinar platforms also offer a powerful form of time travel. Record your live webinar and it becomes an evergreen content marketing tool that new prospects access as they join you on the buyer’s journey. Statistics also show that 84 percent of B2B customers prefer to watch webinar replays. That’s important to keep in mind because it’s incorrect to assume your webinar was a failure due to low live attendance.
The list of webinar platforms is growing, and competition is good because the investment for you continues to decrease. Many offer freemium approaches, where advanced features or functionality is the price you pay for admission.
Why webinars must be a part of your marketing strategy, right now
The playing field has been leveled. It’s now possible for anybody to market their product or service with webinars. About 95 percent of marketers responding to surveys about webinars see them as important to their strategy. Akshay Hallur, founder of BloggingX, took a look at statistics on nearly 23,000 webinars gathered by a webinar platform and came away with these headlines:
- 89 percent of the hosts agreed on the webinar as their best platform to showcase and grow their business.
- 95 percent of the respondents agreed on webinars as a key to their lead generation and marketing efforts.
- 75 percent of the respondents reported that they use webinars to build their brand.
- 76 percent achieved more leads by running webinars.
The ROI of a webinar will catch your attention, too. They can cost as little as $100, yet a webinar can convert between 20 percent and 40 percent of attendees into qualified leads.
Online course-creation platform LearnWorlds recently gathered 10 experts to talk about how webinars will continue to grow in strength and popularity even after we leave the socially distanced world created by COVID-19 behind us. Among the conclusions are that webinars are highly cost efficient because they can be reused multiple times, and they take advantage of the dramatic shift in the way people consume content.
But, just because you can facilitate a webinar, it doesn’t mean you should – at least until you examine and adopt some best practices. We’ve captured them here for you.
Serving up a tasty webinar1. Longer is better. With a caveat. Generally, statistics show that the average attendee viewing time is 61 minutes – and this is more likely to happen if they attend the live version of your webinar. The more problems you solve, the longer they will stay with you. Does this mean you should give up on short webinars? Absolutely not. They’re successful when you plan to establish a series of related webinars. Short or long, there’s no mandatory structure or script for an effective webinar. Most, however, share common elements:
- Introduction: use it to set the tone, expectations, and engagement.
- Agenda: “Is this going to be a waste of my time?” That’s what attendees could be thinking, so prove value at the start by sharing an agenda of what’s to be covered, including how to use the platform to interact.
- Proof: Keep it problem-centric and demonstrate how you share this challenge. It sets you up to be the hero with your solution.
- Content: Be a storyteller. Entertain. Offer perspective and insight. Speak with hand gestures if you’re on camera. Use graphics. Engage the senses.
- Call-to-action: There’s a physical thing you want attendees to do at the conclusion of your webinar. What is it? How do you move them to this CTA
2. Promote your webinar. We’ve already seen stats about popularity. You’ve got competition for time and attention, and studies show that most people will only commit to attending one webinar per week. It’s important to be strategic with promotion. Don't be discouraged by an initial underwhelming surge of sign-ups. More than a third of your live attendees will wait to sign up until just one to seven days prior to your webinar. This speaks to the need for a long promotion cycle. Mid-week emails will be the most impactful
3. Mornings are best. “I want to eat up my lunch hour with a webinar,” is not a cry heard around the world. Heed the call – or in this case – the lack of it. Statistics show that people prefer to attend webinars hosted at11 o’clock in the morning. This is good for you, too. It makes your webinar optimally accessible from coast to coast in the US.
4. Avoid Mondays and Fridays. Put yourself in the attendees’ lives. You’d likely take a short vacation by creating a long weekend. Thursdays tend to be best for webinars, followed closely by Wednesdays.
5. Always offer Q&A at the end. Webinar attendees may be reluctant to engage or disrupt the flow of your presentation. They might prefer to wait until you’ve finished. Manage expectations by prefacing that you will offer an opportunity for questions or follow-ups at the end. This is a powerful prospecting tool, as well. An attendee armed with a bunch of questions is someone showing you good buying signals. Factor question and answers into the length of your webinar. Just to be safe, keep a few questions in your back pocket if you need to prime the Q&A pump.
6. Record your webinars. A library of on-demand content is an effective marketing tool that continues to help you accompany new people as they join the buyer’s journey.
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