Have you ever thought about involving your target audience in a live event where they can actively participate?
Although the world of content marketing is awash with different formats for engaging your audience, none is quite as interactive as the almighty webinar.
Webinars are becoming increasingly popular in the marketing world. So popular in fact, that one survey found 95% of marketers consider webinars a vital part of their strategy.
If you haven’t considered webinars to be a valuable marketing tool, it might be time to reassess! In this article, we’ll reveal everything you need to know about webinars (unfortunately, not in webinar format).
What’s a webinar?
Webinars, short for web seminars, are video presentations or conferences hosted over the internet.
Webinars are highly interactive events conducted using webinar software. When used for marketing purposes, they can be a great way to build relationships with customers by providing valuable, authority-building content.
Whether they’re used for marketing purposes or facilitating internal remote team meetings or workshops, webinars are a highly effective mode of communication.
What does a webinar involve?
Webinars can be used for numerous purposes. No matter what the subject, there are several essential elements involved in a webinar, including:
- An event (presentation, workshop, conference, etc)
- A host or presenter/s
- Attendees (your audience)
- Hardware (computer, laptop, or smartphone device with a camera and mic)
- Interactive element (poll, Q&A, discussion, etc)
- Webinar software (Zoom, Livestorm, Google Hangouts—even Clubhouse can be used as a webinar marketing platform!)
From a business standpoint, webinars are a great way for brands and organizations to connect with their target audience—regardless of their location. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of webinars and how they can help you connect with your audience.
Types of webinars
1. Thought leadership webinar
One of the main reasons businesses use webinar marketing is to provide educational value to their audience, thus establishing themselves as a credible source of information. Webinars are an effective way to educate your target audience about your field of expertise, that is, your particular industry.
Planning a thought leadership webinar? Here are some tips:
- Choose a thought-provoking topic that appeals to your target audience. Do your research and be sure to stay on top of industry trends!
- Create well-prepared slides that are visually appealing and engaging.
- Use the whiteboard tool to help illustrate your points.
- Make the webinar as interactive as possible to prevent your audience from dropping off halfway through.
You can also invite speakers who are experts in your field to participate in your webinar. This is a great way to extend your audience reach.
2. Product/service demo webinar
In today’s digital age, consumers are more empowered than ever to do their research before making a purchase decision. They also have more choices than ever before, which means you need to make sure your product or service stands out in a sea of competition.
Product or service demo webinars allow you to give your target audience an instructional tour of what you have to offer. You can highlight your unique value proposition (UVP) and demonstrate the application and benefits your product or service will bring your audience.
3. Lead nurturing webinar
Just like other types of content marketing, the journey doesn’t end as soon as your webinars start generating leads. Why not nurture those leads with more great webinar content? Now’s the moment to engage them.
Focus on providing leads with high-level information and educational content that showcases your expertise and highlights the unique value of your brand. Approximately 60% of webinars are aimed at creating loyal customers, which is why lead nurturing content is so important.
Here are some lead nurturing webinar ideas:
- Case studies: Demonstrate how your existing customers have used your product/service to solve their problems or achieve their goals.
- Research summary: Share the results of any industry research you’ve conducted and establish yourself as an authority, making them more inclined to convert.
- Live workshops: Ask attendees to share their problems/pain points and demonstrate how your product/service can be the solution.
4. Employee training/team meeting webinar
Webinars are a useful tool for connecting with your target audience (people you want to become customers), but they can also be used to hold team meetings and training sessions.
In a world where 74% of employees expect remote work to become standard, webinars are an effective medium for bringing geographically dispersed teams together.
One study found that 75% of companies surveyed stated that they regularly use webinars for training employees. Webinars allow companies to bring a large number of employees together to pass on knowledge, teach practical skills, and host workshops.
6 key benefits of webinar marketing
1. Provide value to your audience
When done well, webinars are one of the most engaging types of content you can offer your audience. You can plan your webinars to focus on topics that your audience is truly interested in. What really makes webinars stand out is the fact that attendees can
It pays to do your research and develop your buyer personas to better understand who your target audience is, as well as their interests, and their pain points. This way, you can develop webinar content that keeps them engaged and encourages them to interact with your business.
2. Position yourself as a thought leader in your industry niche
Webinars give you a chance to position yourself as a thought leader and credible source of information about topics relating to your industry.
When someone signs up to your webinar, even if it’s free, it means they’re interested. They’re giving up their valuable time to listen to you, so it’s your chance to show them that what you have to say really counts.
3. Reach a wider audience
Although content marketing in general is a great way to build brand awareness and reach a wide audience, webinars help you go that extra mile.
Effective webinar promotion is a great way to generate new leads, as attendees will typically have to register their attendance by providing their name and email address. It’s no surprise that 73% of B2B marketers cite webinars as one of the best ways to find valuable leads.
Webinars provide you with a platform to have a virtual conversation with hundreds of people who are really listening. Moreover, hosts and attendees can tune in from anywhere in the world, without having to leave the comfort of their home, office, or wherever else they might be.
4. Demonstrate your product or service
Along with providing an educational value to your audience about topics related to your business or industry, you can also provide your target audience with an instructional demonstration of your product or service. This way, you can show them exactly what to expect when they purchase what you have to offer, right then and there.
5. Improve conversions and boost revenue
Webinars are one of the most effective forms of marketing when it comes to increasing conversions. B2B webinar marketing events have been shown to generate a whopping 500 to 1000 leads per event, and the average conversion rate for webinars is 55%.
So what makes webinars such an effective tool for converting leads? They merge the initial stages of the sales funnel, allowing businesses to build trust and provide value all in the space of a single event. What’s more, as they’re hosted online, webinars are an affordable way to market your business and a great way to boost your marketing ROI.
How to host a webinar
So, how exactly does one go about hosting a webinar for the first time? Let’s find out.
1. Plan your webinar content
First of all, you’ll need to outline what’s going to take place in your webinar. Consider the types of webinar mentioned in this article to decide which one aligns with your marketing objectives and the interests of your target audience.
When planning the main event, consider the following:
- The average webinar length is between 39 and 60 minutes, and 44% of attendees prefer them to run no for longer than 45 minutes. So be sure to keep it short and sweet.
- Communication webinars have the highest conversion rate at 67.05%.
- 32% of attendees are only engaged when the webinar host is passionate about the topic of discussion. Consider asking guests to speak, or collaborating with influencers to increase audience reach.
- 82% of attendees agree that Q&A sessions are the most interesting part of the webinar experience. Q&As give attendees a chance to actively participate and get answers to any questions or concerns they might have.
2. Choose your webinar software
There are plenty of free webinar tools to choose from. Compare your options to see which solution best suits your needs. Your budget will also play into things. Some solutions will only allow you to host a limited number of attendees on a freemium plan, so consider how many people you want to reach.
Look for software solutions that offer a range of webinar-enhancing tools like screen-sharing for employee training webinars or virtual whiteboards for thought leadership/lead nurturing webinars.
3. Invite your target audience
It’s time to send out the invites! According to webinar marketing statistics, 45% of marketers agree that email is the most effective tool for promoting webinars. Invite your contact list and wider network to register to attend the webinar, and be sure to indicate the time and date so they can add it to their calendars.
When setting the time and sending out the invites, consider the following:
- Wednesday is the best day to promote a webinar.
- 24% of all webinar registrations happen on a Tuesday (why? It’s a mystery)
- The most successful webinar events begin promotion at least 15 days in advance.
- Between 11 am and 2 pm is the best time to host a webinar.
4. Send out a confirmation email.
Next, it’s time to send a confirmation email to your attendees.
Confirm the date and time as well as any information about the equipment required to participate (internet-connected device, camera, speakers, etc). Also, include a link to “join” or “watch” the webinar if it’s pre-recorded.
You can also use this email to set any expectations about what’s going to happen during the webinar (eg. there’s going to be a Q&A so they can prepare some questions).
5. Go live!
Begin by explaining to your attendees what’s on the agenda. This ensures they know what to expect and sets the expectations for their participation. Keep it interactive and invite the audience to engage by asking questions (you can use the chatbox, or set aside time for a Q&A at the end).
Remember, as long as your webinar is filled with interesting content—your attendees will be engaged right up until the last minute!
6. Measure your webinar success
No marketing strategy is complete without measuring the results. Once your webinar has finished, measure how successful it was using some key metrics including:
- Attendance rate
- Leads generated
- Audience engagement
- Audience retention (how many attendees stayed until the end)
- Audience feedback
You can use these results to assess how well the webinar went and to make adjustments to your strategy for next time.
Enhance your content marketing strategy with webinars
Webinars are an extremely effective way to reach your target audience, engage them, and encourage them to convert. If you’re considering adding webinars to your content marketing repertoire, we’re 100% onboard.
Your content marketing strategy likely already includes blogging, social media, email marketing, and more. It’s time to start populating your editorial calendar with webinar content that attracts, engages, and converts!
Ready to get started? Download our editorial calendar template today.