The Power of the Modern Webinar
Marketing departments have access to a near-bottomless bag of tricks today, including in-depth webinars in which they lay out the features and value of their products. Especially in the B2B world, these presentations are a critical source of connection between prospects and sellers. As with any tactic, however, there is a right and wrong way to host a webinar.
Webinar marketing today is all about setting specific goals, ones that webinars are uniquely well suited to achieving. These presentations are distinctive, and therefore companies should have no trouble finding a niche for them within their overall marketing efforts. With goals in sight and practices tuned to achieve these aims, marketers can gain both temporary and long-lasting advantages.
All in the same (virtual) room
There is real value in getting prospects and sales team members into the same room to discuss a product in depth. As Entrepreneur contributor Sheila Eugenio recently explained, this process almost never occurs in today’s business environment. Launching a good webinar is a way to bridge the gap and create a simulated version of contact between an organization and its prospects. The human factor of a conversation between brand and audience can shine through, even though the audience and presenter are far from one another.
Search Engine Journal singled out the feeling of connection as perhaps the best element of webinar marketing from a brand’s perspective. It can be hard to humanize a company when it communicates solely in short bursts of paid advertising. A webinar, with its question-and-answer format and extended run time, allows prospects to get comfortable with the product. Information gathering gives viewers two things: raw data and peace of mind. With these two kinds of knowledge, buyers will be able to make good purchasing decisions.
Meeting now, content forever
Webinars work in multiple stages, with each one providing a different kind of value. Tech.co contributor Joe Liebkind pointed out that there is an evergreen nature to web presentations. The first time through, a webinar is an interactive way to generate a connection with clients. From then on, it joins the roster of content the brand can point to when its prospects are interested in learning more about a solution. That solid hour of information will be available on demand.
Liebkind added that just as webinars can be transformed into brand content, their creation involves taking data from older assets. Building a webinar means gathering the most salient parts of older materials – imagery, facts and more – and reassembling that raw information into a presentation format. That process shows the symbiotic nature of content in a well-organized marketing department. In such a setup, every individual asset has its own role, and they all inform one another.
Another interesting element of hosting a webinar is the potential to engage more with attendees over time. Liebkind noted that combining webinar attendance with mailing list sign-ups is a good way to convince prospects to join. Gathering information about the potential audience for a product or service is another major priority for today’s objective-based marketing teams, and webinar sign-up forms provide a quick census of buyers. People interested in the subject matter will find their way to the relevant page.
Prospects who reach out to a company via a webinar enter the ecosystem with plenty of relevant knowledge due to their attendance. From there, the organization can keep up marketing efforts and guide those potential buyers down the path to a purchase. Targeted email follow-ups can ensure attendees address any questions they still have after seeing the presentation, or invite them to take the next step and speak directly to a sales representative. This next step will depend on the nature of the company hosting the webinar.
Part of a varied marketing environment
Completing customer education and making a sale is a complex process that calls for many different valuable marketing assets. Webinars are part of this ecosystem. Their double role as both an immediate and evergreen asset just increases their potential use for organizations. When educating customers is a priority, or when building close connections with a wide swath of potential buyers is essential, it’s hard to go wrong with a webinar. A company uses something it already possesses – knowledge about its own products – to connect with its audience.