Webinars have been a popular B2B marketing tactic for a while. Typically lasting between 30 minutes and an hour, webinars are video streams that educate viewers on a topic through a slideshow presentation being narrated by speakers. Marketers typically gate both webinars and webinar recordings in order to use the media as a lead generation tool.
However, in light of newer content offers like interactive e-books and calculators, webinars have started to be viewed as stale and less effective. In our experience, they can be really effective for lead generation when done right, in large part due to their capability for interactivity.
Don’t Host a Webinar for Viewers to Watch; Create an Experience They Can Participate in
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of a webinar might not be “entertaining” or “engaging.” And, if your idea of a webinar is a single person reading a script into the camera, that format is stale. In this day and age, simply sharing information isn’t enough; that information needs to be presented in a way that is compelling and intriguing.
To utilize the webinar format effectively, create a video that is personalized, entertaining and engaging for viewers.
Promote your webinar in a thought-provoking way
Instead of just announcing an upcoming webinar, promote it by asking a question about the topic you’ll be covering.
An intriguing post on social media allows you to start building rapport with potential attendees. Plus when people interact with your post, their networks will see that, amplifying the reach of your promotion.
Additionally, leverage your partners to gain more traction in your webinar promotion and drum up additional excitement.
Attach real people to the webinar
Instead of saying your company is hosting a webinar, say that a person from your company is hosting a webinar. Highlighting a person instead of a company makes it easier for viewers to form a human connection, and if you have a well-known guest or co-host, their inclusion can interest people.
It’s also worth considering having a consistent host for all your webinars. Seeing the same person in each piece of content helps build loyalty because viewers will get to know the host over time. If that host can also encourage that connection and continue conversations, they’ll be nurturing leads for your company too.
Encourage viewer interaction throughout
Because webinars are live, people can submit questions and get them answered in real-time by an actual person. Instead of waiting to do a Q&A at the end, encourage viewers to ask questions throughout the webinar and answer them as they’re asked. Interacting with the audience constantly keeps from tuning out.
To enable viewers to comfortably interact with you, start engaging with them from the get-go. Spend a few minutes at the beginning of your webinar asking icebreaker questions and read responses out loud to everyone else watching.
You can also spur interactions by incorporating polls into your presentation and ensuring you have an engaging slide deck. Slides are great to reinforce technical topics, but they can also hinder conversation if sticking to the slides is prioritized above audience interaction.
To take the conversational atmosphere one step further, you could also forgo a slide deck entirely in favor of a more fireside chat-esque format.
Make a webinar recording available after the fact
Not everyone can take the time out of their day to watch a webinar, so make a recording of the webinar available after the fact. Communicating that a recording will be available in your promotion lets interested parties know they can still gain value even if they can’t attend the webinar when it happens and can increase registrations.
Follow-up on social media
Once your webinar is over, follow-up with the attendees. Webinar presenters should give out their contact info so viewers can follow up with questions or just provide feedback.
Emailing a recording to all webinar registrants is a general best practice, but you should conduct personalized outreach too where it’s applicable. If 100 people attended your webinar, you might not be able to reach out to all of them, but if there were five highly-engaged viewers send them a message thanking them for their participation.
Webinars can be stale and ineffective, but if they’re done right they can convey complex information to your audience and generate leads for your company.
For example, about 35% of the leads New Breed generated in June came from webinars. So, when webinars are used to engage with people instead of just talk at them, they can be quite viable for B2B marketers.
Amanda is a former New Breeder.
Connect with the author