At NewsCred, we’re big believers in webinars. For us it’s more than just an effective lead generation channel, it’s a vital tool to help make marketers better at their jobs
However, building content and an effective webinar strategy can seem like a daunting task. Where do you begin? What is worthy of a webinar? How do you measure results and overall effectiveness?
Whether you work in an industry that’s fully matured or are creating a whole new one, what’s certain is that you’ve got knowledge that can educate your target audience in a way that is meaningful to them and highlights your expertise in your field. This knowledge is the ideal beginnings for creating a winning webinar.
Before we begin however, we need to establish one very important fact:
This is a point I cannot stress enough. Webinars may feel like a perfect opportunity to showcase your product or service, but this strategy will fail in the long term and may ultimately hurt your reputation. This is not to say there isn’t an opportunity during a webinar when you can highlight what you do, but ultimately a webinar must provide true and independent value to an attendee.
When someone registers for a webinar, they’re not signing up for a demo. They’re looking to learn about a particular topic, and they’re placing trust in your brand as a thought leader. So what should you present?
Create Meaningful Content That Informs + Educates
This is much easier said than done, I know, but it’s important that you start here. Before you commit to presenting content, take a step back and ask yourself:
· Will attendees learn something valuable by attending my webinar?
· Will this knowledge make them better at their jobs?
This will help to eliminate overly “salesy” material and will provide you with a north star. You may already be developing white papers that establish thought leadership, and have great material that can be converted into a presentation format. But, what if you don’t have any relevant content to begin with? There are two easy starting points that may help you get to a topic that hits on these points.
What has your company learned about your industry on its journey?
Your product may be the ultimate solution to a pain point in your industry (hopefully it is!) but what actionable things have you learned about these pain points that you can pass on to others today? Are there first steps that people can take that will make their job easier, more effective, less stressful?
These are real takeaways that can make a genuine difference to people in your target audience. You’re the expert, but many are still learning and your knowledge can help them take the next step that will ultimately lead to a need for what you provide.
What specialized knowledge have your employees developed about the industry?
People buy from people, and giving your employees a chance to showcase their specific knowledge helps build trust and credibility for your company. Their knowledge may seem niche, but there are many things your employees have learned about the issues faced by your customers every day.
Your sales team understands the finer details of the market pain points, R&D understands how customers truly use the product, and the list goes on. Throughout your company are employees and departments who hold valuable knowledge. Tap into these resources and you’ll have more thought leadership than you know what to do with! So now that you have direction for your webinar content…
How Do I Begin Webinar Promotion?
Promoting a new channel is certain to present a challenge, particular when you have to fight for every marketing dollar. With no proof of performance, where do you begin?
Well, the good news is that webinars are a highly effective channel across the lead funnel so the best place to start is with your own database. No matter what size your database is, you will have leads who have gone cold, have plateaued in conversation with sales, or have not provided enough information to rate them, such as blog subscribers. This is prime testing ground for webinars.
NewsCred recently hosted a webinar with BuzzFeed, and without spending a marketing dollar generated over 3,000 registrations. This single campaign provide sales with hundreds of new leads to speak to – many converting from unknown email addresses subscribed to our blog – and it accelerated many who were already known to sales.
By setting up some triggers in our marketing automation software, we were able to keep sales informed about which of their leads had signed up for the webinar, giving them a valuable conversation opportunity to reach out again and generate meetings.
Measuring the effectiveness of a webinar can be tricky depending on your particular CRM setup, but a simple place to start is to assign registrants (and attendees) to a campaign and look at meetings/opportunities/deals generated by that campaign. There will be outliers, but working with sales will provide valuable insight into how the webinar affected their conversations.
Also, you can look at how many leads were previously unknown or were in a status of inactivity to learn how effective it was at lead generation and reactivation. Seeing the holistic effect of a webinar is as important as the meeting and opportunity generating effects.
Whatever way you choose to measure the effectiveness of your webinars, one thing is true – starting with quality content and looking at your webinar content marketing as a vehicle for education will set you up for a successful new channel that drives real results across the funnel.
Originally published on Oct 5, 2015 9:59 AM, updated Sep 6, 2016