How The Right Kind Of Marketing Can Prevent Webinar Burnout

According to a recent benchmarking report from the Content Marketing Institute, 58% of marketers said webinars are part of their content marketing strategy. Webinars initially gained popularity because they allow businesses to educate their existing customers about products and services and they provide an opportunity to meet prospective customers and gain high quality leads. So, why are webinars getting such a bad rap these days?

Marketers spend a great deal of time developing webinar content and we all get tons of email invites to industry webinars. However, no matter how great your content is, your webinar is intended to be a door opener, not a deal closer. By managing this expectation, understanding the basics of webcasting, building webinars that focus on engagement and including the sales team in the process, marketers can turn webinars into key lead gen opportunities.

Though webinars may seem simple, there are a few best practices you must follow in order to create a quality, lead-generating webinar:

  • Collect key audience information: Building an engaging experience that entices viewers to enter your sales funnel starts with a strong webinar landing page. Include all of the essential information around who is presenting the webinar, what topics are being covered, how viewers will benefit from attending and when the event is taking place. The landing page also needs to include a distinguishable call to action asking viewers to sign-up. And it’s best to use a contrasting color to ensure it’s one of the first things visitors see when they click on your page. The signup form should gather name, email, company and reason for watching the webinar. While you can ask for more information, it’s best to limit the number of fields to around four, since any more may deter sign-ups. Collecting this information will be key for your pre and post-webinar marketing activities.
  • Prioritize digestible content: To ensure your webcast is effective, make the content easy to read, desirable to share, customer-centric and actionable. Allowing viewers to download the slides or other presentation materials encourages them to actively participate and share the materials. Posting a recording of the webinar online will extend the content’s shelf-life and result in more leads over time.
  • Keep it brief: A recent study found that the average on-demand viewing time for webinars was 39 minutes, while the live viewing time jumped up to 50 minutes. If your webinar is shaping up to be longer than that, identify sections that can be modified before presenting or consider breaking up the presentation into two parts.

Engage with the audience
In a discussion with Luis Ramirez, director of marketing at West’s Unified Communication Services, he highlighted that, “Engaging with your audience is not only key to keeping them attentive during the webinar, it’s also a great way to collect real-time lead generation data. You want to elicit reactions, responses and interactions from your audience that can help shed light on their pain points, challenges and business needs.” One easy way to do this is by building in time for a live Q&A. You can ask for questions beforehand or during the webinar using a chat-style messaging board. If you’re unable to answer all the live or pre-emailed questions in the webinar, following up with an email or phone call not only shows the potential customer that you care but it also provides a lead-in for sales talks.

You can also capture viewers’ attention with a live poll during the webinar. This makes viewers feel like they’re impacting the webinar and will ultimately keep them interested longer. Additionally, some platforms, like West’s Webcast Pro, offer engagement tracking tools that measure and score audience participation. This data can then be used to inform your sales approach and improve future webinars.

Sync up with your sales team
Webcasts are a great way to connect with your customers, but at the end of the day, they are intended to create qualified leads. Demonstrate your webcasts’ value by integrating your webcast data including its sign-up form and engagement metrics with your CRM system. Engagement data is particularly great for qualifying leads. For instance, you can segment leads by those who watched the entirety of your webinar and those who watched 50%, and disqualify those who only watched a few minutes. You can also identify follow-up activities based on how participants responded to poll questions.

Since webinars are designed to be lead generation incubators, it’s important to find ways to incorporate your sales team into the process, either by hosting the webcast or leading communications afterward to help connect the dots and initiate potential deals. For instance, it’s a good idea to send a thank you message to those who attended your webinar. However, your sales team can take the extra step and follow up with viewers personally to see if they got the information they were looking for and if they’re interested in learning more about your company.

While companies often treat webinars as just another channel to disseminate information and build out their content, this quickly becomes a wasted investment. To actually gain a return on investment with webinars, companies must master webcasting basics, engage with the audience and align their webinars with their sales tools. Gaining qualified leads is the goal, and companies can use more engaging and interactive webinars to get there.