The word “webinar” is a combination of “website” and “seminar.” Also called webcasts, webinars are simply that: online seminars. Webinars are often broadcast live and include audience feedback, such as question and answer sessions. After the initial live broadcast, though, a webinar does not become obsolete. As long as the information contained within the video is still accurate, webinars can live online and continue to provide value for lead generation as well as content marketing perspective for months or even years.
According to a 2016 Content Marketing Institute report, webinars are ranked second on the list of most effective B2B marketing tactics (behind events). There are several benefits to webinars that make them a go-to content choice, including the following:
- They promote engagement from a brand’s target audience.
- The content contained within a webinar can be used to generate other forms of content, like slide presentations, long-form blog posts, or white papers.
- They help build a brand’s credibility and thought leadership.
- They require little equipment to produce and are cost-effective.
- They can generate and nurture leads long after the initial campaign.
Brands can use many of the same promotion strategies for these online events as they do for tradeshows or in-person appearances, such as generating buzz on social media and encouraging early registration. The two most important factors in producing a successful webinar are topic and speaker. If you have a compelling topic but your speaker holds a sales position at your company,don’t be surprised if you don’t get very many webinar registrations. No one wants to spend 30-60 minutes getting pitched on a product or service from a sales person. Ideally, you would have a speaker from the well-known brand as a presenter or co-presenter to help drive registrations. If your webinar is longer than 30 minutes, consider having two speakers to help make the presentation more dynamic as opposed to listening to one speaker for long periods of time which can cause your audience to fade out.
When marketing your webinar,it’s important to strategically choose a subject and make sure the title of the webinar is specific enough to cut through the online noise. Webinar descriptions should be written with a focus on clarity, brevity, and intrigue—bullet points on key takeaways work well for these purposes. Another key to webinar success is the development of an optimized webinar landing page designed to generate conversions. The more form fields you require a prospect to fill out to register for a webinar, the fewer registrations you will receive. If you are using a marketing automation platform (MAP) you can use progressive forms that will dynamically pre-populate the registration form giving the prospect a better registration experience. Also by pre-populating the registration form you are also providing the prospect with an opportunity to update any outdated or incorrect data you might have on file.This only works for known prospects already in your database but statics in improved conversion rates are very clear, it works.
You can also use a data partner like Reachforce to append data to your registration form reducing the number of fields a prospect must fill out, thus improving conversions. These data points are inserted dynamically into the web form by hidden form fields that can be integrated into your CRM and marketing automation platform.
IMA has a list of webinar and screen sharing solutions on Martec Showcase. You can also reach out Shawn Elledge, founder of the Integrated Marketing Association for advice on webinar best practices. Shawn has produced over 110 webinars since 2010 and will be glad to share his experiences.
Need help creating the perfect webinar presentation? You might want to connect with IMA thought leader Rick Altman, founder of the Presentation Summit. Rick has been helping companies for the past 20 years develop truly remarkable presentations both in-person and online.