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Over the past few years, webinars have quietly become an integral part of the marketing landscape. Whether businesses are looking to connect with customers, engage with employees or establish themselves as industry leaders, webinars are increasingly where they are turning to.
That's doesn’t mean that everyone is quite on board; there are still a lot of businesses (and marketers) who either haven’t come around to the idea of webinars as an integral part of their content marketing strategy or are maybe too intimidated by the prospect creating a comprehensive webinar programme.
I’ve written before about how to plan your webinars and create amazing content, but the question still remains - why should you put in the effort with webinars?
Here are just a few reasons why webinars should (quickly) become a key part of your marketing strategy.
Webinars are an easy way to revolutionize the way you communicate with your audience - whether that’s stakeholders, customers, or prospects. What other tool provides you the opportunity to speak to hundreds - maybe thousands - of attendees, essentially face-to-face all at once?
Introducing webinars to your marketing plans means that you can communicate with people on a mass scale while still building a personal relationship with each and every one. For WorkCast, this means putting people like our CEO Stewart Kibby or our Head of Product Experience Lee Farthing, in front of customers, letting them get to know not just the business but also the people behind it.
And the fact it’s not just a one-way communication method - you can include Q&As, chat’s, polls, surveys etc. as part of the webinars - is fantastic.
Also, distributing on-demand recordings means that busy connections don’t need to drop everything on a certain day and time, they can watch anytime, anywhere. Webinars make you as a business more accessible, meaning you can ensure customers are getting communications that are on message and on brand.
A recent survey found that 73% of marketing and sales teams believe webinars are one of the best ways to generate quality, qualified leads. How do they do that?
For one thing, when contacts register for a webinar, they provide their all-important contact information. So even someone who doesn’t attend can still be marketed to (just make sure you’re savvy and adhere to GDPR guidelines). They’re still leads.
Even better, webinar leads tend to be very high quality. These are people who have an active interest in your chosen topic, which is (hopefully) related to your own business.
And once someone makes contact, they can then go through a nurturing process, which can take them from lead to qualified lead with little effort.
At WorkCast we nurture our contacts with collateral such as guides, blog posts and resources relevant to them - even old on-demand webinars. With each interaction, they come even closer to becoming a fully qualified lead for your sales team.
Webinars are also fantastic at meeting customers where they are in the sales funnel (or flywheel). Whether someone is at consideration stage or are ready to buy, a webinar can help them on their journey, turning them from prospect to lead.
Partnerships are a great way to get your brand in front of new audiences. Webinars provide a number of unique opportunities to do this.
One of my biggest pieces of advice for creating great content is to bring in guest speakers on your webinar. While a lot of the time that means reaching out to people in your own organisation, it’s also a great opportunity to reach out to other companies that may have similar audiences and ask them to present.
This not only expands your audience reach, but it’s also great for getting new and fresh content from fresh eyes (namely someone outside of your organisation).
Getting in front of new contacts is also a great reason to look into running sponsored webinars. Sponsored webinars are a great way to both generate revenue from your webinar programme and get in front of your sponsor’s audience.
Webinars then, allow you to build relationships with organizations that complement your service so you can leverage their already established audiences, expand your reach, and improve brand awareness.
Thought leadership is crucial to any content marketing strategy. It makes you more competitive and, of course, more trustworthy to potential customers. That’s because people aren’t just buying your product or service at face value, they’re buying your perspective on how to solve their problem or make their lives/businesses better.
Maybe that’s why 88% of technology buyers said thought leadership was an important factor in making buying decisions.
Webinars, or more specifically a comprehensive webinar programme, are one of the best ways to set your company up as an industry thought leader. It allows you to differentiate your brand, allowing you to share your experiences on a particular topic or perhaps to bring together experts who can provide insight and advice.
The thing to remember with this is not to pick any random topic and try to pass yourself off as a thought leader. Stick to what you know when presenting a webinar yourself, or bring together industry experts if you don’t have the expertise to offer true insight.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again - webinars are one of the best ways to drive engagement. That’s because, by their very nature, webinars are an engaging experience. You have to register and then attend, which may be very basic in terms of engaging but is still an active form of participation in a brand.
Even better, the live video aspect of webinars encourages the audience to pay attention to what you’re talking about, and it also makes them more receptive to your message. According to the stats, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video. This is because an engaged audience is an audience warm to your message.
The ability of webinars to engage prospects goes beyond the video aspect of the medium. While webinars do heavily rely on a presenter(s) talking through a topic or presentation, there are massive opportunities for two-way communication.
Q&As, live chat, polls and post-event surveys all encourage the audience to participate because it gives them a voice.
And the data you get from this engagement is invaluable to your sales team. Using the reporting and data from your webinar you can look into much more detail than simply how many attended. Who is engaging across the webinar? Are there any contacts who are particularly active? This type of information means your sales team can identify hot prospects and get them through that sales journey that much quicker.
WorkCast is a company that is headquartered in the UK, with a sales and support office in the US. But our contacts and customers come from across the globe.
The internet has provided companies like ours a way in which to reach out to global audiences, and webinars it seems have become a universal way in which to communicate. Webinars allow you to address international audiences from your office in Edinburgh or Toronto or Johannesburg or Tokyo. No matter where you are you can run - and attend a webinar (provided you have an internet connection of course).
A comprehensive webinar programme then, is one that reaches across borders and boundaries to connect with audiences no matter where they are. With WorkCast, I’ve found our most successful webinars are the ones that specifically address webinar best practice. Not only is that in our wheel-house, it’s a universal concern for any business trying to utilise a content marketing strategy.
So if you want to address audiences on a global scale for minimal effort, webinars are the way to go.
Webinars are not the only way to connect with a global audience, but you know what a lot of those other methods have in common? A high-price tag.
Think about something as simple as a product demo. Trying to do them in person outside of your local geographic area is cost-prohibitive - you either have to maintain a sales staff in different areas across the world or dole out a LOT of money to send staff abroad.
Webinars cut all that out. WorkCast’s Business Development and Customer Success Teams perform demos daily to potential customers from New Zealand to China to South Africa, all without ever leaving the audience.
The cost savings are not just for sales either, marketing teams regularly turn to webinars but they are a cost (and time) effective way to engage with hundreds (or thousands of people at a time). Besides the platform, any costs you undertake for your webinar are entirely dependent on how much time and money you can spend. Webinars are for teams with any budget and any amount of resources.
I am a content marketer by trade, so I love any piece of content that provides me with multiple uses. Webinars do just this because they are more than just a one-off online event.
Webinars provide evergreen content for everything from social media to email to blogs. Just think about it - once a webinar is finished you can edit it down into sections (provided your webinar platform records it for you) to be showcased on social media, or maybe a campaign-specific landing page.
You can also take any particularly valuable points from that webinar and expand on them, turning them into a blog or even an eBook.
Even the webinars themselves provide you with evergreen content. They can be added to a webinar channel, or even re-run as scheduled-replays. We do this with any webinar that was particularly successful. A few months later, we will re-run to give people another chance to interact with the content and draw it to the attention of new contacts we have.