A webinar is an effective but often overlooked tool for those, looking to promote their B2B business, build the reputation, keep the old clients, and attract a new audience. In this article, I will discuss how to start integrating webinars into your business promotion strategy, the stages of preparation and the main benefits.
The Advantages of Webinars
Webinars’ main advantage is that you get to build a brand and get immediate feedback in regards to the offer. In addition, a webinar is basically video content, which is known to be better at keeping people’s attention. So why else should you do webinars?
Webinars Help Present Complex Products
It is hard to promote programs, medical equipment, marketing, and SEO software with a single announcement or even a good website description. Imagine that you need to sell a programming product. Let’s assume you already have a potential buyer who, however, doesn’t quite understand how to use your product.
You can, of course, suggest that they figure everything out on their own, hoping they can cope without any extra help. Alternatively, you may try explaining how to make the program work for them. It is not always possible to do it over the phone, whereas a webinar is always a viable option. You can just invite the potential buyers to a webinar room and show how the program works on your computer screen.
To make sure the client understands, you may ask them to share their screen and work on your program as you watch and give tips.
You may also use Skype if you don’t have a lot of clients, and they don’t mind installing the program. However, webinars are a better option, as they offer a free trial period and do not require any software or accounts to work in browser. The webinar format is especially fitting when you need to gather a small group of potential new clients and showcase your product to them all at the same time.
Webinars Engage the Cold Target Audience
You will need the help of all the channels to engage the cold target audience. However, webinars make the process feel much more natural:
1. Invitation to a webinar
2. Webinar link sharing
4. The webinar itself
5. Thanking for participation
6. Emails with extra info and bonuses
7. Invitation to the next webinar, website or the order page
8. Link to webinar recording
This way all your attempts to connect with the client will look natural, and you won’t need to think up yet another awkward reason to write or call them.
Such invitations never get old, plus leveraging all webinar benefits will help you significantly reduce the conversion time from leads to clients.
Since webinars are held in real time, participants don’t need to wait to have their questions answered, murky details explained and doubts dispelled.
It will be easier for you to gain your viewers’ trust, as you present yourself not as a salesperson, but rather as an industry expert sharing objective truth.
Webinars Serve as a Lead Generation Tool
If you are looking to boost your leads and subscribers – launch a webinar registration.
Webinar registration is one of the most effective tools if you want to get new clients. In Adobe report, marketing experts claim that webinars are the third most effective method of lead generation.
Webinars Reduce Event Marketing Costs
You don’t need to be a business guru to figure out that renting a venue would cost a bit more than $30, which also happens to be a monthly rate for a 60-attendees webinar room.
Webinars Are Perfect for Employee Training
Employee training is important, but not easy to organize. You’ve got to establish the study goals, find a coach, carve out time in a busy work schedule, while at the same time ensure that the employees’ temporary absence doesn’t cause a ruckus. Webinar platforms offer various tools for training and testing, solve the venue issue and save everyone time and money.
When Webinars Can Backfire
Even though the idea of doing business online, outside your office, does seem tempting, it’s important to realize that webinars are not an invitation to rest on your laurels. To make online events work, you’ve got to prepare and rehearse your presentation in front of the camera, find competent guests and do active promotion. It’s worth noting that sometimes webinars are not a good choice at all.
Webinars Can’t Substitute a Personal Meeting
Sometimes it’s better to talk in person. For instance, a face-to-face meeting is a must if you are to sign an important agreement. This way, it is easier to decrease the emotional (and physical) distance and gain trust. What is more, it is definitely easier to try the product in-person rather than through the monitor (unless your product is a software tool, of course).
Webinars May Have Technical Problems and Interruptions
It takes time to get used to something new, plus, even the most intuitive webinar platform may confuse the older generations. Just imagine how frustrated your client would feel if they find themselves sitting in front of the blank computer screen, trying to figure out which button to press. In addition to that, your internet connection may be shaky, or your target audience may simply hate “all that newfangled technology”.
How to Prepare a B2B-Friendly Webinar
Nobody likes this part. Of course, you can just skip preparation, but don’t be surprised by the poor results. Let’s consider what must be done.
Select and Word Your Topic
To select and word your webinar name, you need to know your target audience as well as the issues that you can help them solve.
The topic must clearly inform your participants about the value they will get in exchange for their time. Try to make it narrower and more relevant to your product’s specific features. You won’t get more sales with a broad topic. You will definitely attract more participants and suffer greater cost, but there will be little payout.
It’s worth looking over the clients’ emails and feedback for ideas. If you have a blog or a social media group, analyze its statistics and comments. What do people read? What topics raise many questions?
Prepare Materials and Presentation
Everybody loves pretty pictures and illustrative data sets. They are crucial for the success of your webinar. After all, how long can you listen to the lecture before giving up and taking a brief glance at your phone? While people would be hesitant to check their Instagram during a live event, it is not an issue in the webinar room, where no one can see you.
That is why you should make slides not only to display the product but also to attract your audience’s attention. If you asked a question and got nothing but dead silence in the chat, it’s a clear sign that your participants are bored. As a countermeasure, find pictures of cute kittens. Those never fail to win back the audience.
In addition to pictures and slides, you will need to prepare a survey and handouts.
Prepare a Landing Page
A landing page can either persuade or dissuade your potential clients from participating in a webinar, so you must take it seriously. You’ve got to make the registration button stand out in the sea of content if you want the users to click on it. Getting people to register is, after all, the goal of a landing page.
That is why you need to either create a simple and intuitive landing page or do nothing at all: you may just place a registration form on your website. Webinars that require your personal invitation or corporate meetings don’t need a landing page either. You can just use any messenger or email service to provide your participants with a webinar link.
Learn a Webinar Platform
Even if you don’t have any particular requirements for a webinar provider, you still need time to learn how it functions. In addition to the “Talk” button, find out how to send files to the participants, share your screen or pause a webinar. Check how you can invite participants to present, how to set or change password. Many also forget to add banners, ads, website icons, and CTAs, which are crucial for branding and name recognition.
Write Reminder Emails
Take time to write some email templates reminding your audience of the webinar and following up with them after the event.
Introduce the Offer Carefully
Think of a good way to introduce your offer. It’s much easier to do it, even before they sign up for your webinar, participants are informed that it is a product presentation. If, however, you’re preaching to the new audience, you’ve got to be careful not to turn your webinar into endless advertising.
Channels for Promoting B2B Webinars
If you want your webinar to be successful, you’ve got to not only prepare stellar content but also be able to answer any questions from your audience.
But the truth is, all your efforts will be in vain if you do not gather enough participants. And not just any participants, but potential clients. So I suggest you to start crafting a promotional plan now, even if you are still not ready with your presentation. The more thorough the plan and the faster its implementation, the better. That is why in the MyOwnConference blog we write so much about webinar promotion.
Ideally, you would want to use all the available channels. However, if you want to focus on those most effective, I’d suggest:
- Emailing your audience
- Target advertising in social media
- Working with partners
Let’s review each of those channels in more detail.
Emailing Your Audience
If you already have a strong subscriber base, I’d say you start with them. Send them an invitation for a general webinar or a meeting for friends.
Include information about the upcoming webinar in each email. It’s a good idea to offer a bonus or a discount on your product.
Targeted Advertising in Social Media
Advertising is good in general and for webinars especially. Remember that those who showed initiative in contacting your company would spend 47% more than those, whom you lured in yourself. That is why it is important to make your brand interesting for the public. For example, you can get profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn and regularly share information, useful for your potential clients.
Do not neglect targeted advertising on social media. For example, Facebook recently reduced the number of organic posts from businesses, media and brands in the user’s newsfeed. That is why paid advertising is a great method of breaking through the wall of invisibility.
First of all, you must set retargeting on those users who’ve already been on your website and interacted with your brand. In short, a retargeting campaign can be launched in three stages:
1) Install the Facebook pixel on your website or landing page
2) Create an audience that might be interested in your ads. You may choose those, who’ve already browsed through particular pages or the website upon the whole
3) Launch a campaign
If you need “fresh blood,” Facebook can help you with that as well. For example, you can make your ads target users of a particular age, sex, education, marital status and even job title.
Learning how to work with Google Ads can be a tough job, but it’s worth it, as this platform can ensure your webinar attracts all the right people. You can learn more about setting up a remarketing campaign here.
Partnerships with others in your industry can bring mutual benefits, most notably, a shared client base, subscribers in social media and newsletter readers. Newcomer companies should try and forge friendships with already established brands: they just need to think of something valuable to give in return.
What partners can do together:
- Organize a webinar
- Share newsletters
- Promote each other on social media
- Write guest posts
- Offer discounts for webinars
Improve Your Karma: Get to Know Your Clients
There is one thing worth noting before you start calculating profit from future webinars and deals. You should never forget that a lead is not just a marketing buzzword, but a real person with a real problem that you should help them solve. You need to make an effort to understand your potential client, their needs, fears, and concerns. Discover the barriers that might prevent them from making a purchase and provide a solution – it’s a win-win for you both.
For instance, your client may be scared of integrating new technologies into their business and having to hire IT specialists. To dispel their fears, you may mention that your program comes with clear instructions and video lessons as well as tech support that can help resolve any issue. Thus, the integration will go smoothly, and you won’t need to hire any extra IT personnel.
Webinars are a truly great solution for B2B promotion, as they increase sales, strengthen your reputation and the clients’ loyalty. Online conferences help present difficult products, engage the cold audience, generate leads, and decrease event marketing costs.
It is, however, not easy to garner good results without thorough preparation and active promotion. Fortunately, you don’t need any special knowledge or education to succeed.
The entire webinar preparation process can be broken into just a few steps:
- Select and word a webinar topic
- Prepare materials and presentation
- Learn a webinar platform
- Write reminder email templates
- Launch a webinar promo using social media targeting, Google Ads’ remarketing, partnerships and newsletters.
Tell us in the comments if you’ve already held webinars and what is your attitude to this promotional tool?
MyOwnConference blog. Lifehacks, reviews, useful tips for preparing, holding and promoting webinars and web conferences.