By Chuck Leddy
As B2B marketing professionals, we’re all familiar with the most commonly-created forms of digital B2B content, such as blog posts, white papers, email newsletters, videos, and podcasts. While these content types tend to be passive and one-way, another form of content is emerging to educate and interact with your B2B customers and prospects: the webinar. You get on camera for an hour or so, look your audience in the eye, and share your expertise and actionable insights with them in an interactive setting, maybe even conducting an interactive poll or quiz along the way. All from the comfort of your own home or office chair — no expensive, time-consuming travel or in-person, live events to organize.
Use cases for B2B webinars
Webinars are effective at educating prospects and converting them into buyers. The 2019 Demand Gen Content Preference Survey found that webinars were the second most influential content type, behind only case studies. In terms of content that gets people to share their contact information, webinars were the tops, with a stunning 63% of users willing to exchange their data for content access (white papers were a distant second at 49%). According to the Content Marketing Institute, only one marketing tactic is more effective than webinars, and it’s face-to-face, live events, which are notably expensive and time-consuming to arrange.
As Daniel Waas, Webinar Wrangler and former Director of Marketing at GoToWebinar, explains it, “webinars have a variety of great use cases for B2B marketing. They can be used to increase brand awareness, can position you and your team as thought leaders in your industry, can educate your prospects and build trust, and can also generate great leads for your sales team to follow-up with.” If your B2B offerings require you to educate your customers, if you have expertise and/or actionable insights to share, webinars may be your most cost-effective marketing option.
8 tips on organizing effective B2B marketing webinars
Daniel Waas and his team at GoToWebinar organized over 500 webinars and analyzed over 350,000 webinars organized by customers on the GoToWebinar platform. Part of his job was to help marketers run more effective, lead-generating webinars. We asked Waas to share some of his top tips for organizing and implementing webinars as part of a B2B marketing strategy. He offered the following:
1. Define your webinar’s audience and the key takeaways they’ll gain. You need to know who your webinar content is for and what that audience will learn, says Waas. In terms of the topics, “your audience will want you to address their pain points by offering them actionable insights, or updating them on trends in the industry, or helping them solve work-related challenges.” Focus on offering them value, suggests Waas, and don’t get overly promotional about yourself. If you’re unsure about what topics your customers want most, ask them.
2. Choose the “right” day and time to optimize attendance. The most popular days for optimizing webinar attendance are Tuesday to Thursday, says Waas. In terms of time of day, be aware of time differences among your customer base, and schedule the webinar at or as close to 11am as possible, recommends Waas.
3. Have a good webinar set-up to record the webinar. Waas says you’ll need a quiet place (no dogs barking), a good internet connection, and a quality microphone and camera. “Test your equipment before the webinar and do a dry run on the day of,” Waas suggests. Record your webinar so it can be made available for on-demand viewing later. If some registrants didn’t attend, email them the on-demand video recording and post it on your website.
4. Present your webinar content simply and with enthusiasm. Organize what you’re going to present, but feel free to show enthusiasm during the webinar. If you have a speaker/guest, rave about them a bit during the introduction, explain why you wanted them on the webinar, and preview the key takeaways they’ll be offering. Send the speaker your questions in advance, so they can fully prepare. As for your audience, Waas suggests keeping things simple: “Tell them what you plan to tell them, tell them why they should listen, then tell them, and summarize what you’ve told them.” Waas also suggests having one slide for each idea, and using lots of images.
5. Promote your webinar aggressively and far in advance. As Waas explains it, “you should start promoting as far as four weeks before the webinar and keep promoting the event until the very day of the webinar. Don’t be shy and add some urgency — ‘Only 10 minutes left! Sign up now for [insert WEBINAR NAME].’” The best promotional tool for gaining webinar sign-ups is email. If you can partner with a guest or another company on the webinar, you can also piggyback on their email list and social media channels. “Go find a partner who has a complementary service or product and a similar target audience,” says Waas, “and ask them to co-host the webinar.” Co-promoting, especially via email, works to drive registrations.
6. Craft a great webinar landing page. Waas recommends the following 6 elements to drive registrations through your landing page: “(1) have a compelling webinar title in large font, (2) clearly explain the value for potential attendees in 2-3 sentences, (3) present the 3-5 key takeaways in an easy-to-read list, (4) show an image and short bio of your speakers, (5) ask registrants for the minimum info, just name and email ideally, and (6) end with a clear call-to-action button (register here).” Waas believes that “clear and simple” generally wins the day for both webinar content and webinar promotion.
7. Start the webinar a few minutes early with some friendly banter to relax the speaker(s) and the audience. Have any necessary speaker introductions and webinar questions written out in advance, and refer to them. “Take your time and have a relaxed tone as the host,” suggest Waas, “consider using an ice breaker or two with the audience and/or speakers, and be prepared with a back-up plan in order to navigate any technical glitches.”
8. Follow-up with registrants by email, thanking them for attending, reiterating the webinar’s key takeaways, and explaining how they can keep in touch. These registrants/attendees are now prospects who have a stronger relationship with you based on your sharing value with them via the webinar. Keep the conversation going via email and send the registration list to your sales team for follow-up.
For more B2B webinar marketing tips, you can read Daniel Waas’s 55 Actionable Webinar Tips & Tricks Every Presenter Should Know and his Complete Webinar Checklist.
Need to optimize your webinar programs? Contact us for help! And stay tuned for upcoming posts on how to integrate GoToWebinar with your Oracle Eloqua and Adobe Marketo marketing automation platforms.