Webinars are a tried-and-true method to move prospects further down your B2B marketing funnel. Humans are more engaged by video content, compared to text and other mediums. Webinars, also known as webcasts, are delivered live and may incorporate interactive components such as Q&A or polls. Short of an in-person event, a webinar is one of the most high-touch content formats you can use to engage your audience in a one-to-many context.
Why are webinars often favored by B2B marketers? We all know that B2B products and services typically have a much longer sales cycle compared to their B2C counterparts. There are often multiple influencers involved in making a decision. The contact in your database who is doing the research and due diligence, is often not the final decision maker.
Here are a couple attributes of webinars to consider when deciding if it’s a suitable program from your B2B marketing goals:
- B2B buyers are extremely busy. Webinars give prospects the choice of attending live, or viewing the recording at a later time. As a benchmark, around 25% of attendees who register for your webinar will attend it live.
- A recorded webinar is simple to repurpose as a lead generation tool for your website or nurturing content for existing leads. You kill two birds with one stone: Putting on an engaging, live event for your buyers who are further down in the marketing funnel, and producing a high-value piece of content for future use.
- Webinars can inspire further conversation within your attendees’ respective organizations. You should encourage attendees to share webinar content with their colleagues; Just try to capture the other contacts’ email addresses if possible.
Using a marketing automation tool to attract registrations for your webinar is an effective strategy. From a MAP such as Mautic, you can blast an invitation out to your entire email database, or just to the relevant segments if that makes more sense. Any event marketer worth his/her salt knows that following up before and after the event is just an important as the event itself. Some MAPs have integrations that enable syncing registration data with your webinar platform such as GoToWebinar or ReadyTalk. This allows you to sign up contacts who fill in a form of your choice, track whether they attended and send them confirmation, reminder and follow-up emails right from your marketing automation tool. Besides making it easier to keep track of all of the steps involved in hosting a webinar, you can gain valuable insight into the interest level of each lead and use that data to build lists of cold, warm and hot leads for follow-up.
Currently, Mautic’s integration with GoToWebinar is under development. There are ways to replicate some of the functionality above using Webhooks support and connectors such as Zapier, an area of expertise which should be referred to a Mautic consultant. Without the integration, you can still invite and follow up with webinar registrants manually using Mautic.
In the meantime, here is the timeline that we usually recommend to clients planning a B2B focussed webinar. You can use the following as a work-back schedule to coordinate copywriters, designers and presenters who may need to be involved in producing your webinar:
Time Prior to Webinar
4 – 6 weeks: Initial invitation email
2 – 3 weeks: Registration reminder (Targets who have not yet registered)
1 week: 1 week reminder email to registrants
3 – 5 days: Webinar rehearsal with organizer, event support staff and presenter
1 day: 1 day reminder email to registrants
1 hour: 1 hour reminder to registrants
Time Following Webinar
1 – 3 days: Thank you email with webinar recording (attended and registered but did not attend)
1 – 2 weeks: Follow up emails and/or phone calls segmented by cold, warm and hot leads
As you can see, the communications regimen for a successful webinar extends far beyond the day of the webinar itself. Honestly, webinars are a lot of work so sometimes it makes sense to outsource part of the work to an agency whether it’s pre-and-post-event communications, event moderation or technical setup. The payoff can certainly be worth it though, and if you do most of the legwork yourself, the costs are negligible except your time. For best results, we usually recommend having the presenter involved in creating the presentation, as opposed to farming the content out to a third-party. That way, the presenter is well acquainted with the messaging and puts your brand’s best foot forward with a logical talk-track throughout the webinar.
There are different webinar formats you can opt for, but the simplest is a voiceover the slides being shared with the audience. If you have a webcam, you can do a “talking head” style presentation or a combination of both, with the webinar cutting to PowerPoint when the presenter needs images or diagrams to support his talk. In any case as the organizer, you should review the presentation deck to ensure it’s in-line with your brand’s visual identity, voice and tone.
It only takes a couple of opportunities or better yet, sales to arise out of a webinar and hosting it will have been well worth your time. If your list is growing stagnant, with declining open/click rates on your email marketing, hosting a webinar can bring your truly engaged leads to the forefront instead of you having to search for them like the proverbial needle in a haystack.