Put Webinars to Work in Your B2B Marketing
More than 60 percent of marketers are using webinars in some form as part of their marketing program (Content Marketing Institute). According to CMI’s 2017 Webinar Benchmark Report webinars can be one of the strongest lead generation tools in B2B marketing, maybe second only to websites. They can be used to train, educate and engage audiences on a wide variety of topics. According to a survey conducted by ReadyTalk, between 20 to 40 percent of webinar attendees can even convert qualified leads.
Webinars are convenient for participants and presenters alike and can be recorded for later use to grow audience share. With some planning, promoting and practicing, they can engage audience members while increasing exposure and credibility for your business. Sounds great, right? Even though many companies are turning to webinars, it can often be a challenge to conduct a successful one. Never fear. We’ve helped clients conduct dozens upon dozens of webinars, and I’ve put together some tips and tricks to ensure you’ll get the best possible results.
When Should You Hold a Webinar?
Let’s start with the basics. Webinars typically achieve the highest attendance and engagement Tuesday through Thursday. The same days of the week are best for doing the bulk of your online promotion as well. The best time of day? 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. How long? Research shows engagement stays strong up until the 55-minute mark, on average. After that, viewership begins to decline. As such, try to keep your webinars to under an hour.
Promoting Your Webinar
You’ve probably already spent a ton of time and resources planning the content of your webinar, but have you thought about how you’re going to get people to engage? Companies have more success garnering attendees when they use a longer promotional cycle, so give yourself at least four weeks to promote your webinar. Usually this is done through email marketing, but when budgets or campaigns allow, integrating promotions into your digital advertising efforts is always a good consideration. Do you have a strong social media following? Then, make sure your upcoming webinar is a consistent part of your posts. Twenty-five percent of registrations occur the day of, so it’s important to ramp up social media promotion that morning and early afternoon. Remember to share a link to registration within your postings.
Just because someone registers, it doesn’t mean they’re coming. Make sure to send out a reminder email a few days out and then again on the day of the event. Additionally, make it easy for your contacts by including an “add to calendar” option within your confirmation email. Then, send an email or two the day of the webinar to both registered and non-registered prospects. In addition, don’t forget your blog. It’s an effective practice to write blogs to supplement your webinar. Blog postings can be shared during your promotion to give potential viewers an idea of what the webinar will cover. After your presentation, you can write a follow-up blog post that includes the key webinar takeaways and a link to the recording. Once your follow-up blog is live, you can also email your contacts the key takeaways from your webinar.
Promotion doesn’t end when the webinar is over. It’s also a great go-to resource for future viewers. To keep your webinar alive, consider an on-demand strategy; that is, host a recorded version of the webinar and share it. But sharing once the on-demand link is available just isn’t enough. In the weeks that follow, you should email attendees, non-attending registrants and non-registered prospects who may find your content useful. Also, continue to share the link on your social media channels. You can also take clips from the webinar and post them to your landing pages. Doing this encourages people to view the entire webinar.
How to Engage Your Audience
I’ll state the obvious: Great content makes a great webinar. Information that informs and educates always draws a better audience and produces better engagement. Turn it into a sales pitch and you’ll lose your audience for good. Be insightful. Offer a point of view. Discuss an industry issue. Include an objective third party as a participant. Once you’ve got a content strategy, there are some simple tools that can keep the presentation engaging.
Polling is a great engagement tool to use during the webinar. Better yet, the answers can be a wonderful resource to educate your sales and marketing teams. Just be sure to keep questions simple so that choosing an answer is painless for your participants. It should also be clear to your audience as to how and where to answer questions to keep the results optimally organized for everyone.
Integration of video is on the rise as well. Eighteen percent of webinars now incorporate video, a 9 percent increase from 2014. Be smart about how you include video in a presentation. It should be used whenever appropriate, but playing two or three clips in a row may cause a drop in viewership. If you do include clips, try to keep them as short as possible; anything more than a minute may be too long (LinkedIn).
Integrating social media within your webinar keeps users engaged. You can add a custom hashtag you want attendees to use. The hashtag allows the audience to connect with others in conversations and gives you insights as to what your viewers are talking about and which topics are most interesting to them. Additionally, including a hashtag can make it easier to measure your reach and strategize for further promotion (HubSpot).
Finally, during your webinar, be sure to provide an option to “contact us” if the platform has this feature. It will allow your attendees to schedule a meeting with the sales team or connect with a subject matter expert.
If you’re thinking about implementing your own webinar but need some advice, feel free to contact us. You can also find examples at the links below.