Webinars: Growing Your Content Marketing Toolkit

Webinars are the top lead generation tool for marketers, according to Forrester research. What makes them so effective? Webinars (or web seminars, to some) are a great way to reach your audience with relevant, valuable information without asking more than (usually) an hour of their time or requiring them to travel. It’s the preferred method for many professionals to learn something new, delve deeply into interesting ideas, engage with peers, and do it from their desks. For marketers, it’s a cost-effective and engaging way to present your brand, deliver value, build credibility, and drive business.

Having used webinars as part of my lead generation toolkit, I’ve learned a few lessons over the years about how to make them more effective and, lucky for you, it’ll written down here:

  1. Build Your List—The entire point of any lead generation effort is to grow your list of contacts and people you can market to, but you have to start somewhere.

  1. Don’t Abuse Your List—Your contacts could become your customers, but only if you don’t make them happy. Spread out your emails and webinars so as not to wear out your welcome in their inboxes.

  1. Target Your Message and Content—Learn as much as you can about your contacts so that you can segment

  1. Choose Your Technology—There are many platforms you can use to broadcast webinars: WebEx, Citrix, GoToWebinar, Google Hangouts, are all great options. Whatever you choose, make sure it works with your hardware and connection, and requires minimal effort from attendees to set up and connect.

  2. Consider a Partner—You can lower content creation overhead, share lists, boost credibility, and learn something new when you partner with someone who can offer information that is a good complement to your offering.

  1. Prepare Slides and Script in Advance—There is no winging it in a webinar. No matter how casual the tone seems, good presenters know their material well and have practiced with their content to ensure engaging and dynamic delivery.

  1. Remember You’re Not Selling—Your audience is coming to you looking for valuable information, not a sales pitch, and if your webinar is all about you and your product, you will have wasted their time and lost their patience.

  1. Have a Dry Run Always—This is especially critical if you’re presenting with a partner or co-host, and gives you the opportunity to identify any issues with flow, content, or technology. You can practice handing off the reigns, switching up presentation order, and work out any kinks prior to your live broadcast.

  1. Use a Land Line—Analog is still more reliable for audio, and even though your attendees might choose to connect via web or phone, or both, it’s best that your presentation’s clarity and speed aren’t at the mercy of your internet service provider.

  1. Have a Plan B—Consider Murphy’s Law scenarios and be prepared for how to deal with them because the show must go on.

  1. Encourage Conversation and Be Social—Leave enough time for questions and if something good comes through, don’t be afraid to go a little off plan. Use a dedicated hashtag to coordinate a Twitter conversation during your webinar to help amplify the most interesting points from your presentation.

  1. But Have Your Questions Ready—Even behind the veil of online anonymity, wallflowers still exists. Rather than face ten minutes of silence, come up with “seed” questions ahead of time that you can feed to your presenter if audience questions are slow to trickle in. Chances are, someone wants to ask the same question anyway.

  1. Tell Us About Yourself, Afterwards—The respectful thing to do for your audience is to assume they’re busy and treat their time as valuable, therefore getting to the meat of your presentation faster. The closing is a great time to tell them more about yourself, your company, and if appropriate, invite them for a demonstration or consultation.

  1. Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose—Your webinar is a magical moment in time, but can also live on forever in the form of a video, slides, blog posts, or e-books. You can probably find more than one way to repurpose a single webinar, allowing the content you worked so hard to create to reach new audiences regardless of their schedules.

  1. Share the Goods—Not everyone who signed up for your webinar will attend because things can get in their way. That doesn’t mean they don’t have interest in your content. Make sure you send them the slides or a link to a recording of your webinar so they don’t feel left out and still have a positive impression of you after receiving something of value.

  1. Follow Up—Now that you’ve held a successful webinar and added a bunch of new leads to your prospect pool, make sure you have a follow-up campaign ready to go. Ensure you thank them for attending, and contact them (or have your sales team contact them) to gauge right away whether there’s potential business in your future.

Developing a strong webinar program takes time and effort initially, but will help you establish credibility and build trust for your brand. It will also help you build up a bank of valuable content that will yield cumulative rewards over time.

Alexis Karlin

About the Author: Alexis Karlin

B2B marketing professional, Alexis Karlin, brings high quality experience to the table at Percussion Software as the Digital Marketing and Operations Manager. Her creative marketing skills help drive high quality leads to the sales team. She imparts her passion for social media to other team members, to help promote brand awareness for the organization. Through organization and enthusiasm she is able to show marketing isn’t just about process and technology, it is about the passion behind the brand.

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