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The relationship between marketers and webinars has always been mixed. Most see the value in them, but most generally haven’t enjoyed the planning, management and delivery stage.
There are various reasons behind this, but one significant challenge has always been the lack of control over the webinar platform - and particularly the webinar experience - marketers have previously had.
Simply put, the marketer's ability to control, brand and make the attendee experience fantastic is too limited. Far too limited.
Good marketers care about their company reputation too much to accept anything less - and if you can’t deliver a webinar experience that truly reflects the positive reputation of your brand, you’re not going to deliver one at all.
This is definitely true of the standard webinar solutions such as GoToWebinar and WebEx. They offer webinar solutions, but they don’t offer the amount of control marketers truly want, need, and now expect.
At WorkCast, however, we are proud of the way our technology allows the relationship between webinars and marketers to improve.
Webinar software has evolved considerably over the last decade. We’re no longer at the ‘desktop sharing’ stage we once were, and instead we’re able to offer something that’s far more elegant and sophisticated.
The main breakthrough here has been changing the format of webinars themselves. Previously webinars were a piece of software you had to download to your machine or install in a browser, today they are closer to a video that presenters control live.
We know video, including live video, has become ubiquitous on the web and on our mobile devices - even Facebook has started promoting live video updates. And now, the new generation of webinar platforms uses the same method to deliver webinars.
These new style webinars are just like pages on a website with video streams in them. New webinars can be responsive; they can work on mobile devices, tablets and desktops seamlessly without any additional software. This may sound like it should be a given today, but it’s still not commonplace, meaning presenters often require their attendees to install software, apps or navigate other barriers, all of which result in lower and lower attendee rates.
What’s more, creating a webinar is like creating pages on a website, it also means that just like a web page in general, new webinars can be designed easily and with minimal fuss.
Whilst all this is great, one of the main differentiators, for us, with webinars today is the ability for marketers to embed them directly into their websites or marketing automation software.
It’s always been an issue for marketers having to direct attendees from their websites to third party webinar products. It damages the attendees’ journey, and once again sees an increase in fall out rate for actual attendees.
This, genuinely, no longer needs to be an issue. Just like on-demand video, webinars can now be embedded directly into whatever page you need. There are no compromises required or any loss of functionality experienced - all the webinar features, such as moderated questions and polls, still work exactly as you’d expect them to.
So with all of this in mind, if as marketers you do what you do best and get creative, today you should have the tools to remove the barriers to great webinars.
We all need webinars that have the right branding throughout, are creative in appearance and content, and can be a fantastic representation of your company, products and people online.
I’ve been lucky to spend time with marketers who are getting involved in this new way of working, and some of their webinar concepts have really started to shake the norm and challenge our old ‘WebEx’ way of thinking.
Take a look at webinars like SaleCycle’s ‘The A to Z Of Cart Abandonment’ for some inspiration. A multi-functioned webinar, it included a range of features and the now on-demand version goes someway to showing just what is possible today.
And this is just one example. Other great events I’ve seen recently have made really good use of mixed content, essentially allowing marketers to build-up webinar content by adding pre-recorded video (or even recorded webinars) into their slides. In this way, they can move between pre-recorded content and live audio and slides seamlessly.
Getting 30 minutes with a large group of prospects or customers is a rare opportunity these days. When you do get that time, it’s vital to maximise the potential.
Webinars have proven their ability to generate leads, educate and add to your marketing mix - and with these recent improvements in the industry, I am confident that marketers will reimagine the webinar, add a creative edge and utilise them to truly reach their full potential.