Webinars: A BtoB Marketing Win-Win
Belt tightening has caused B2B executives to retool their marketing campaigns in the recession. Coupled with a shift in the media landscape, more B2B marketers are putting their dollars online.
According to MarketingSherpa, the percentage of B2B technology marketers who plan to spend less on tradeshows has more than doubled in the past year – from 35 to 73 percent. Meanwhile, those same marketers’ use of virtual events and webinars has increased by 30 percent in the past six months.
Webinars are a great tool for generating leads, of course, but they can do much more: such as building thought leadership, and nurturing leads between a website inquiry and an in-person meeting during the sales cycle. When developing a B2B webinar, here are some important tips to consider:
Content is king
One of the biggest challenges is striking the right balance in webinar content – between very basic and overly promotional. We’ve all experienced one of those self-serving webcasts that’s essentially a 45-minute product demo. And we’ve all endured one of those annoying webinars where we kept waiting to hear something we didn’t already know. And in both cases, we probably signed off or switched off halfway through.
In B2B technology, it is essential to know your target audience and customize webinar content accordingly. It is acceptable to dedicate a small portion of the webinar to demo your product; however, the majority of your content must be educational in nature – as befits a thought leader.
Case studies are excellent content for engaging webcast attendees. They not only showcase real-life success stories, allowing the attendees to see how they themselves could benefit, but they also highlight how you could help them.
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Not your father’s webinar promotion
For years, B2B technology companies have been using email and direct mail to promote an upcoming webinar, but today, savvy marketers are adding other channels, such as public relations, search engine marketing, and social media to the webinar promotional mix.
In addition to the prerequisite webinar email blasts, we recommend writing a news release announcing the webinar with several hyperlinks that will take traffic to a landing page for registration. If the webinar is more educational, pitching journalists byline article ideas stemming from the topic is an effective way to repackage and reuse webinar content after the fact, in an original way.
You can also promote webinars as the call-to-action of a paid search ad, as well as on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. In an age where user-generated content rules, distributing a social media release about the upcoming webinar will encourage bloggers to re-tweet or re-post the announcement to their online networks.
Practice makes perfect
To deliver an effective, seamless webinar, we recommend practicing the full webinar presentation at least twice. In addition to your speech, you should fully test the webinar hosting technology, as credibility quickly falters if technical issues arise during the presentation.
Encourage a colleague to sign-in as an attendee and listen to your run-through. Have them test the sound, Q&A feature and polling technology if you will be using them. If your webinar has multiple presenters or a moderator, ensure they practice with you.
In your practice rounds, remember to convey excitement as appropriate. If you’re smiling while you’re speaking, webinar attendees can pick up the enthusiasm in your voice, even if they can’t see you. That helps to keep them engaged.
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Your webinar presentation is over... now what? We recommend always sending a thank-you email to attendees, with a link where they can replay the webinar. To the no-shows, a “sorry we missed you” email with the same link allows them to view the webinar at their convenience.
Remember to also post a link to the recorded webinar on your website, and on social networks. If you edit the presentation to 10 minutes or less, you can post that segment on YouTube. And on LinkedIn, you can share the recorded webinar with friends and colleagues through the SlideShare application.
We hope these tips and best practices will help you develop more engaging, lead generating webinars in the future. If you are looking for guidance, or assistance in developing a webinar program and content, we’re happy to help. Contact Arketi at firstname.lastname@example.org.