Your marketing team is always looking for new ways to attract, engage, and convert new leads.
And as a B2B company, you want to be sure the leads you bring in are high in quality. That is, you want leads that are informed, and are prepared to get the absolute most out of the products or services you offer.
Of course, attracting and converting such high-quality leads requires more than just a quick blog article or social media post. Sure, these methods can generate some kind of engagement, but you’re looking to really dig deep with your new audience from the first time they interact with your brand.
This is where webinar marketing comes in.
Webinar marketing is the use of webinars – that is, digital seminars – to attract, engage, educate, and convert new clients.
The key thing to keep in mind about webinar marketing is that it’s not meant to be salesy. Rather, webinar marketing is about delivering valuable information, wisdom, and experiential knowledge to your audience to help them overcome a common problem or reach an initial goal.
As you help your audience reach this baseline goal via your webinar, you’ll also be preparing them to face the next step in their journey, which will require the use of your premium products or services to accomplish. Since you’ll have already proven your worth to these prospects, they’ll be much more likely to take you up on your premium offer.
Conversely, a brand that spends an entire “webinar” promoting their products probably won’t even have an audience to sell to by the end of it.
While every webinar is unique in many ways, all webinars typically include:
If your webinars do these three key things well, your business will soon find itself swimming in high-value leads and prospects. In fact, 73% of B2B marketers agree that webinars are second only to live events when it comes to generating high-quality leads.
Some brands report that up to 40% of their webinar audience is made up of qualified leads. What’s more, an astounding 56% of webinar attendees take clear action toward conversion.
And really, this just makes sense. Since webinars are meant for those who have more than a mere passing interest in a topic, the chances of your webinar attendees becoming paying customers will be higher from the get-go.
As effective as webinars are for engaging and converting new, high-quality prospects, there’s an increasing amount of noise they have to cut through by today’s standards. As recent data from Statista shows, more and more B2B companies have hopped on the webinar bandwagon throughout the earlier months of 2020.
To be clear, this means your webinar marketing initiatives will have to do more than meet the status quo if you want to see the type of results we mentioned above.
In this article, we’ll dig into all that goes into creating an engaging and informative webinar for your target audience, and how to inject these initiatives into your overall marketing plan.
Your first step? Choosing a topic.
The topic you choose for your webinar can make or break the campaign from the start. Obviously, choosing a topic your audience isn’t interested in or doesn’t care about isn’t the way to go.
But your webinar needs to do more than just pique your target audience’s interest. As we said earlier, you really don’t want your audience to be full of attendees who are “just checking things out”.
Instead of creating webinars on what your audience is interested in, create them around topics your audience is invested in. Deliver need-to-know information, not just that which is nice to know. Otherwise, your audience will simply move on with their lives without giving a second thought to your brand’s premium offerings.
The question is, then: how do you figure out what these need-to-know topics are?
Your current audience (and even your current customers) are an invaluable resource when it comes to identifying webinar topics to focus on.
For one thing, they can tell you what they’re interested in learning more about. Or, at the very least, they can provide first-hand information regarding the goals they have, the problems they’re facing, and anything else that can help you better understand their needs. In turn, you can develop webinar content that’s laser-focused on these specific areas.
You can collect this information in a number of ways, such as:
This will allow you to create even more advanced webinars for your current audience , which will open the door for additional sales opportunities in the near future.
What’s more, webinars created around these more advanced topics will inherently bring in a more advanced audience, and fewer passers-by. Again, this means a higher chance of conversion across the board.
You can also solicit your current audience’s help when developing webinars for truly “entry-level” prospects. Here, you’ll be looking to reverse-engineer your current customers’ journeys with your brand in order to improve said journey for your new customers.
To this end, you’ll want to ask two key questions of your current customers:
To be sure, these questions (and their answers) are a bit “heavier” and are certainly more personal. So, you’ll want to reserve this approach for when you can engage more intimately with your highly-loyal followers, and really dig deep into the discussion that ensues.
By getting your current customers to help brainstorm topics for future webinars, you all but ensure the event you create will resonate with your target audience as intended. And, as an added bonus, you’ll reinforce in your current audience the idea that you truly care about their needs, and are willing to do what’s needed to help them succeed.
In addition to the information you’ll have solicited from your audience, you can also gather a ton of data that already exists within your industry, as well.
Here, your team will use various social listening tools to monitor trends, ideas, and questions being discussed by your audience, your competitors, and other stakeholders in your industry.
Specifically, these tools will look for:
Modern social listening tools leave no stone unturned when seeking out the needed information, consulting websites, forums, and social media channels on an ongoing basis. What’s more, many AI-powered social listening tools are able to uncover new sources as they come about – providing teams with information and insight that had previously gone unnoticed.
When collecting data via social listening, it’s important to always dig past the “on-paper” information seen. Your goal is to contextualize this information to better understand what it means as far as what you can do for your audience, and how your next webinar can help bridge the gap for them.
Your current content: your webinars, white papers, blog posts, and more – can be used as a jumping off point for your next webinar marketing campaign, too.
For starters, you might simply decide to repurpose and/or add to any top-performing content you’ve created in the past. For example, you might create a full-blown webinar based off of a blog series that was highly-engaging to a specific audience segment. Or, you might simply update your three or five best webinars from last year for relevance and accuracy based on more current information.
You can also look to the info gleaned from your audience members throughout and after your past webinars, as well. Any questions, comments, or concerns your audience raises during your webinars will help you identify the next big thing they want to learn about. Additionally, the path they take after attending your webinar can help you figure out what more to add to the content in order to better resonate with new audiences in the future.
Once you’ve chosen a topic to focus on, you can start creating your next webinar. Of course, a strategic approach is necessary to create a webinar that engages your target audience and moves them closer to converting. Here’s what that entails.
The preliminary steps you’ll take when creating your next webinar will put you and your audience on the path to success from the start.
Before you even get started, you first need to be able to answer the following questions:
You also want to define the “need-to-know” information that should be included in a webinar on your topic of choice.
Here, you’ll want ask yourself:
It’s worth mentioning here that your webinar shouldn’t include so much information that it becomes overwhelming. Remember: The goal is to help your audience solve a more surface-level problem and lead them toward your premium offer; the extra info can come later.
With all this information nailed down, the optimal format and structure for your webinar should become clear.
Some common webinar formats include:
You also want to plan how you’ll be rolling out the information to your audience. Many of the above formats (e.g. instructional sessions) lend toward a more sequential rollout, while others (e.g. interviews) may be more suited for open discussion or topic-by-topic conversation.
Finally, it’s important to plan for audience engagement throughout your webinar. Specifically, you want to think about how you’ll:
Though all webinars will look at least somewhat unique, they all follow the same general template. This template typically includes the following sections:
Regardless of the format your webinar takes, it should follow some kind of script.
In some cases, it’s best to write an entire script from soup to nuts (minus any moments meant for audience engagement). Instructional or how-to sessions are best delivered with a concrete script to ensure the right information is delivered in the right sequence, and done so in full.
In others, you might not necessarily need to read from a script, but you should still create one, anyway. For one thing, certain parts of the webinar (e.g. the intro, offers, CTAs, etc.) should be developed well in advance to ensure clarity. Secondly, your full script can act as a guide to ensure you hit all the major ideas you wanted to while also building in space for flexibility and extemporaneous discussion.
When creating your script, there are a number of best practices to follow:
First, write with your audience in mind. Think about how they speak and how they expect you to speak to them. Use a personable, yet professional, tone; this will allow you to empathize with your audience while also positioning your brand as an authority on the topic in question.
If aiming to attract a global audience, be sure to make the webinar available in multiple languages as necessary. Also, avoid the use of idioms or any other phrases that your international viewers may not be familiar with.
Whether going off a script or not, aim for short, quick-hitting sentences. Stick to the important information; don’t get sidetracked in discussing topics your audience doesn’t need to know. Remember: You only need to provide enough information to get them to take the next step toward conversion; they can dig deeper from there.
Along that same line, you should also break down your information into digestible snippets. For the customer, this allows for better comprehension and retention of information. For your team, it becomes easier to repurpose these smaller snippets into other types of content – which can in turn be used to entice new leads to your webinar.
It’s also key to provide proof and anecdotal evidence backing the claims you make in your webinar. Social proof in the form of customer stories, case studies, and the like can humanize the information you’re providing, as it allows your audience to see themselves in your successful customers’ shoes. And any other data you can provide from around your industry will only further solidify your claims.
Finally – and this last step is not optional – you need to read your script out loud, timestamp it, and edit it accordingly. Your key goals here are to ensure:
Throughout the creation of your webinar script, and especially during this final review stage, it’s important to get your entire team involved. For one thing, the more eyes you have on your script, the less likely it will be to miss any mistakes or missteps throughout.
You’ll also generate feedback from various team members with various skills, knowledge, and experiences behind them – enabling you to optimize your webinar in ways a single employee may not have come up with.
Once you’ve solidified your webinar’s script, you’ll be ready to create your presentation’s slides and accompanying content.
These slides, of course, are meant to align with your script in order to enhance your audience’s understanding of the topics discussed. Your slides, then, should convey the most important information for the given moment via quick, concise text, or hard-hitting, engaging multimedia content.
Throughout your webinar, you’ll go through a rotation of slides for each topic you discuss. Generally speaking, this rotation will look something like the following:
You’ll also include slides aligning with the introductory phases of your webinar, as well as those summarizing the session and calling your audience to further action.
It’s vital that each slide focus on a single, laser-specific idea or concept even if it means using way more slides than you think you should. This will keep your audience focused and engaged throughout your webinar, ensuring no important information slips through their fingers.
Your slides should also reflect the overall tone of the webinar, as well. Again, be personable, yet professional, and be sure to inject your brand’s “feel” throughout your content. On that note, you also want to match the style of your script and slides to that of your presenter. More on this later.
Regarding creative license, your best bet is to tread lightly. A creative approach that enhances your audience’s understanding of your content can be huge for engagement and conversions, but a creative approach that distracts or confuses your audience won’t lead to a positive outcome for your customers or your company.
Once you have your webinar completely prepped and ready to be presented, your next step will be to grow your attendance list. Here, we’ll discuss some of the most effective ways to promote your next webinar, whether you’re looking to engage a brand new audience or re-engage your current customer base.
No matter who you’re targeting, you must create a landing page for each webinar you host.
Your webinar’s landing page will be the central place your target audience can go to learn all about it and to register for it.
That said, your landing page should always include:
Check out G2’s collection of brilliant landing pages for more on how to use landing pages to convert incoming leads.
If you’re looking to promote your webinar to a brand new audience, ideally bringing in a boatload of brand new customers, you need to go where they are.
If going the paid route, you can begin by creating ad campaigns targeting similar or “lookalike” audiences. With Google Ads and Facebook Ads, you can easily unearth prospective leads whose personalities, interests, and needs align with that of your current audience. From there, you can present PPC ads to this new audience to promote your next webinar.
If looking to generate registrations more organically, there are a ton of avenues to choose from.
First and foremost, if your webinar involves guest speakers or partnering brands, make sure everyone is promoting the event on their various channels. This will help build interest among the segment(s) of their audience that overlaps with your target customer base.
Also, check out any websites, forums, or other online communities related to your industry. Reddit and Quora, for example, are filled with potential leads looking for help with problems your webinar specifically solves. Here, you can engage directly with community members, provide some simple (yet valuable) advice, and ultimately nurture them toward your webinar’s landing page.
Similarly, browse through any communities or hubs within your social media channels that your target audience is likely to be. Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, offer a variety of forums and groups to engage with.
You might also share hashtagged content on your various social media channels promoting your webinar, as well. This can help you generate some serendipitous visibility in front of those following certain hashtags related to your industry and webinar.
Finally, consider promoting your webinar on listing sites (such as TellOnline). Since visitors to these sites are intentionally looking for webinars to attend, you can be pretty sure that the registrations you generate through this method will lead to conversion.
The tactics we mentioned above can also be used to attract your current audience along with a number of additional options. Here, it’s all about using the connections you’ve already forged to promote your webinar to the right audience members. Your website should be your first stop here. In addition to creating an on-site landing page for your webinar, you should be promoting the event throughout your site.
You can do this via site header, as (EX) does here:
Or via popup or exit-intent overlay:
Your on-site content – gated or not – is also prime real estate for promoting your webinar. Here, you can inject CTAs throughout and at the end of relevant blog posts and other such content. You also have a bunch of offsite options for webinar promotion, too.
Remarketing ads can be huge for webinar promotions. In targeting specific customers who have taken a specific action (e.g. downloaded a whitepaper, purchased a product, etc.), you’ll all but ensure your webinar’s attendees will be looking to engage further with your offer.
On the topic of social media, the strategies we mentioned earlier apply here, as well. It’s all about figuring out where your audience hangs out online, and delivering laser-focused value as needed. From there, getting them to register for your webinar is a cakewalk.
Lastly – and perhaps most importantly – you absolutely need to be promoting your webinar to your mailing list. Through targeted drip campaigns, you can generate awareness of and build anticipation for your upcoming webinar, again focusing on those who are most likely to engage with your offer. You can also use email to follow up with your attendees accordingly.
Before we wrap up, let’s go over some universal best practices to follow as you create your next webinar marketing campaign.
The tools you use to develop and present your webinar can essentially dictate how the event plays out in full – and how your efforts impact your business. S, it’s critical that you choose the ones that are best for your purposes and circumstances.
In terms of the actual webinar software, your tool of choice should:
Some key features to look for here include:
It’s also important to ensure your webinar software integrates with the various other tools in your tech stack. This will allow your team to streamline your creative processes and keep everyone on the same page moving forward.
On that note, you certainly want to use these other tools to supercharge your webinar marketing initiatives. Your tools for communication, visual collaboration, knowledge management and more should all play a role in your webinar-related efforts.
Canva, for example, provides presentation slide templates free of charge.
Finally, don’t skimp on technical hardware. At the very least, you should invest in a quality headset, microphone, and camera. As you gain experience creating webinars, you might then dive into more advanced equipment, such as green screens, lighting, and dedicated recording space.
Read that subhead again. Knowledge and charisma. It’s a package deal when it comes to your webinar host.
On the knowledgeable side, you obviously want your host to know what they’re talking about. Your webinar’s host should be someone who knows so much about the topic at hand that they can speak extemporaneously about it at length, and can do so with confidence.
On the charismatic side, you need to be sure your host will keep your audience’s attention throughout the webinar. As interesting as the content may be, a little humor and excitement injected at the right time will always be welcome by your audience.
Now, depending on the format of your webinar, you may decide to go in-house when looking for a host, or you may look outward. In either case, your host (or hosts) should be those who are well-known to your audience and/or your industry. This can add a sense of authority to your webinar from the moment you start promoting it.
Timing is everything in marketing, and marketing via webinar is no different. For one thing, you need to know when the optimal time to present your webinar is.
To figure this out, you’ll need to dig into your data related to audience engagement. It’s a balancing act between figuring out when your target audience is active online and when they’ll have the time to participate in your webinar.
This is another case in which simply asking your audience can help. Survey your current high-value customers who fit the persona you’re targeting to get an idea of when (day and time) people such as themselves would want to attend a webinar.
While you will be making your webinar available for replay after the fact, you’d much rather see higher numbers during your live showing.
In a broader sense, your webinars should be timely in terms of addressing current events and trends in your industry. The more applicable your webinar content is to your audience’s current situation, the more likely they’ll be to check it out.
This all goes back to our earlier discussion on identifying prime topics for your next webinar. You’ll want to start promoting your webinar about two weeks in advance. This will give you ample time to notify your target audience of the event, inform them as to what to expect, and get them excited to attend.
Still, don’t over-promote the event ad nauseam to your audience. If they get sick of hearing about your upcoming webinar, even those who are interested in attending might think twice about doing so.
Because you’ll be presenting your webinar to a live audience, there’s zero room for error.
That said, you’ll want to do a dry run of the event from beginning to end to ensure everything goes according to plan. There are a number of things to pay attention to as you go through this dry run.
First, be sure that all involved team members know exactly what they’re responsible for at all times. An overlooked task or missed assignment can easily throw your live webinar off track, which will immediately cause your audience to lose interest.
Also, have your team assess the quality of the information presented within the webinar. While you’ll have spent a good chunk of time creating the script and accompanying content, this will be your last chance to add, remove, or otherwise improve any of it before you go live.
It’s also important to ensure the equipment, software, and other technology you’ll be using function as planned. Even a somewhat minor technical glitch, if encountered while broadcasting live, can derail your webinar and cause your audience to think twice about engaging further with your brand.
This practice run-through should be an exact replica of what you hope your live event to be. As tempting as it will be to gloss over parts of the process that seem straightforward, an overlooked problem during your dry run will lead to major problems during the real thing.
Once you’ve presented your webinar in full, your focus should shift toward assessing the impact of the overall campaign.
On a macro level, you’ll want to know whether the event generated the interest, attendance, and engagement you’d hoped for. Moreover, you’ll be looking at how your attendance and engagement metrics correlate to actual conversions. Basically, you want to know that your audience found the webinar valuable and that it spurred them to do more business with your company.
On a more granular level, it’s important to know when and why audience interest and engagement fluctuated throughout the webinar. Take note of what was happening during these fluctuations to further solidify your understanding of your audience’s needs and expectations – as well as what they don’t need to hear from your team.
The overall goal, of course, is to make laser-focused improvements to all areas of your webinar marketing processes.
A few examples of improvements to be made:
To be clear, there will always be something to improve during your next webinar campaign. By taking an objective and comprehensive look at how your past events went, you’ll always know where to focus your energy moving forward.
Webinar marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate new and increased business for your B2B company.
While increased conversions are your ultimate internal goal, your main focus should always be on presenting highly informative and helpful webinars to your target audience. In doing so, you’ll prepare them for the next big step in their journey toward success – and will likely gain a loyal customer in the process.
Josh Brown is part of the marketing team at Helpjuice. Helpjuice enables you to easily create a comprehensive knowledge base that can help you scale your customer support as well as collaborate better with your team.
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