How to plan Webinars as an effective B2B lead generation strategy
Webinar marketing vs. one off webinars is a strategy that can greatly benefit your business by generating sales qualified leads and adding to your pipeline if done right. The type of webinar I am referring to is not a product focused presentation where one person talks about the company, then uses the rest of the time to talk about features. Those are not very conducive to reaching your goal of generating good leads.
Webinars that share problem solving and expertise
The type of presentation where you share expertise and solve a problem for your audience will get you the best results. Use at least two speakers and include interactive activities throughout the webinar to make it more interactive. And, most important, it’s not a product pitch!
When you share expertise, you build credibility and trust. In a webinar, you get an opportunity to build a more personal relationship with your audience and go deeper into the topics that interest them all the while building your brand and generating quality leads.
When you host a webinar, it positions you as a subject matter expert and helps you stand out from your competitors. Planning and running a webinar requires attention to detail. Today’s attendees have high expectations for the complete process from invitation to follow-up. You will need to plan it carefully to make a positive impression while delivering a strong impact. In order to generate high-quality leads that will convert, every step needs to be carefully planned and executed.
Let’s go through the process and look at all the details to think of when planning a webinar successfully.
Where to start when planning a webinar
1. The topic and content
You need to look at your buyer’s journey and look at the type of audience that will attend your webinar and the type of content that’s most appropriate. This type of audience is more likely in the awareness stage and looking for guidance.They’re likely aware of their business challenges and need help to find solutions on how to address them.
Your presentation content should educate them about issues and introduce them to potential solutions. This will help move them from the awareness stage to the consideration stage. Your topic and webinar description must attract attention while presenting value to your audience.
2. The audience and buyer persona
Determining your audience and the persona you want to attract to your webinar should be done simultaneously. Who is the decisionmaker and buyer of your offer? This is an important step that will help you increase conversions after your event.
Your buyer persona should include pain points, frustrations, and the desired outcomes of your target audience as it relates to the offer you’re promoting in the webinar. To gather this information, there is a bit of preparation work. The following will help you with this.
You can refer to our blog for more details about defining the buyer persona to help you with this step.
3. The landing page and targeted message
The goal of your landing page is to attract attention and get potential attendees to sign up for the event.
4. The Webinar invitation
The invitation needs to have similar but complementary information to your landing page.
5. The Webinar email and calendar reminders
It’s not enough to send an invitation once, you need to remind people to register and also once they have registered, remind them to attend. Your registrants are busy, and like most of us, they need reminders to attend your webinar.
Here are a few suggestions for you to generate more interest to attend your event.
6. Promoting your webinar
The best way to increase the number of registrations is to use multiple channels to promote your event. Don’t rely on your email list on it’s own. However, you need to make sure you promote to your target audience to reach the right people.
Having a recording of your webinar gives you the opportunity to continue promoting the event after the live date and keep generating leads. Today’s business people have limited time to attend events and want to consume content when and where they want it. By offering a replay or allowing registered participants to access your webinar on-demand can encourage more people to sign up. As a follow-up to the event, you can send out a replay link that will help you nurture this audience.
8. Follow-up after the event
Once your event has taken place, the lead follow-up starts and should be made using two channels: Email thank you and phone follow-up.
You should craft two emails: one for participants and one for those that registered but did not attend. They will be similar, but you may choose a different angle for your messaging. Take the time to find out how your participants evaluated your performance. Exist surveys are a great way to get feedback and help you better deliver on expectations next time. Measure the level of engagement by simply asking what people thought of the webinar content. Find out what they thought of the content, the speakers, the platform quality (audio and web).
The next step is to make phone calls. This can be outsourced to your agency to qualify your list further. Keep in mind that participants that attended may not be ready to make purchases right away, but they are contacts you need to stay in touch with and nurture to find out more about their needs and timeline to buy and to increase the activity’s return on investment.
Calling participants after the event is the best method to gather their insights and interests and qualify them further and evaluate where they land in your sales pipeline. Get salespeople or your marketing agency to follow up - it’s worth the investment especially if you want to bump up your conversion rate.
9. Webinar platforms – What to look for
There are many platforms to choose from today. While some are free, if you’re going to use webinars as a marketing strategy, it may be a good investment to invest into a reliable service and pay a monthly fee to use a webinar hosting platform that meets your needs and benefit of the features that will make you shine. I would place these platforms in 3 categories:
These platforms are your traditional webinar platforms designed for live events without any marketing features. Some of the interesting features can include password protection, file sharing, polls, surveys and chat functions, analytics and tracking. A few examples used in B2B webinars: GoToWebinar, WebEx, Google Hangouts.
The feature rich platforms offer some additional tools to traditional webinar platform such as recording, customized landing pages, pre and post webinar communications with built in autoresponders, streaming to YouTube Live to name a few. A few platforms examples: WebinarJam, ClickMeeting, GetResponse.
Full Feature with Automation, Replay and much more
The full-featured platforms let you schedule and automate your pre-recorded webinars to play at set intervals and the software aims to recreate the live experience for users. The goal is to turn your webinars into a highly effective lead generation strategy. You will increase your attendance and deliver more leads and eventually revenue. Also check out platforms that offer powerful webinar automation tools that help build your email marketing lists and live streaming. They can also integrate with several email platforms such as Mailchimp. And you’ll get dashboards with data insights on the performance of your webinars. A few examples are: EverWebinar, Demio.
10. Key Performance Indicators and Metrics
In order to measure your success, KPIs are a must. These can be based on the number of registrants, registrants vs. attendees, the engagement rate during the webinar, and the response rate to the call to action, leads generated and finally the conversion rate from registrants to leads and eventually to sales generated.
A webinar is a great marketing strategy to build relationships and engage interactively with your target audience no matter the size of your business. Webinars let you build rapport and trust with your audience. You can address questions or concerns in a session while presenting your unique perspective. You will ultimately move prospects into your customer pipeline or turn some of them into customers. And, this is done in a scalable way: One-to-many sales.
There are many moving parts to planning and especially executing an effective and successful seminar strategy. You might find it overwhelming to do it with your limited resources. Consider outsourcing the development of your webinar strategy with all its intricacies such as the persona defining surveys, landing page, email invitations & reminders, email and phone follow-ups to your marketing agency.
Webinars are less expensive to hold than live presentations in a hotel. It may also be easier for your participants to attend because it requires less of their time. It is easier to be a no show, but once your platform is built, you can offer your webinar on demand and continue reaping its benefits. Once the foundation is there, you can run multiple webinars more economically and have a great lead generation program.
Tradeshow marketing is a tactic that has shown amazing resilience over the years. Marketers see no substitute for face-to-face meetings with clients, prospects and key business partners that can make such an impact.
Why Tradeshows and Conferences are worth the investment
A few statistics from the industry convey the strength of Tradeshows and Events being part of a marketing strategy. (See more at: Bizzabo, 2018)
Most (41%) marketers believe that events are the single-most effective marketing channel over digital advertising, email marketing and content marketing. This reflects a 32% increase since 2017. (Bizzabo, 2018)
68% of B2B marketers agree that live events help generate the most leads, while case studies help convert and accelerate the most leads. (Marketing Charts, 2018)
You may have been participating at Tradeshows and Conferences year after year, but how much return on investment has it generated? What can you do to improve the number and quality of your leads?
Best practices to turn your event into a lead generation success
In order to maximize your investment into this event marketing strategy, here are a few tips to achieve success.
1. Establish Your Goals Success means different things to different people…therefore when you plan an event, establishing objectives is an essential part of your strategy to assess return on investment. What do you want to accomplish at this event?
Define your key performance indicators and this will help you develop an action plan for your event. Your objectives can extend beyond sales and marketing such as:
Generate awareness Build Brand notoriety Present new products Offer product demos Target specific audiences Meet new prospects Meet face to face with customers Meet new channel partners
2. Set Key performance indicators
Determining KPIs to provide quantifiable data outlining how an investment will yield measurable returns is an important part of your planning process and results reporting. Also make sure your target audience and decision makers are part of the attendance before selecting a tradeshow.
Here is a short list of some of the best indicators for measuring trade show success.
Value of leads – Set a timeline and process to track revenue generated over a predetermined time period to evaluate your ROI. Make sure your post-show process to distribute leads to sales is done quickly. A timely follow up should be done within 2-3 days of the end of the show
Customer meetings – You’ll need to measure customer meetings held during the trade show event, but also track the ones that will take place after the event.
Press coverage – If you made an announcement at or before the event, you can measure the amount of exposure made in trade publications during and after the event was held. This can be a news article, interview, TV spot, or press release.
Promote. Promote. Promote – By using social media and your website to boost interest in your company and promote your tradeshow participation, you can track social media shares, likes, downloads, new followers, hashtags, and web visitors. Assess the impression you made on attendees!
Direct marketing engagement – Pre-show emails is a great way to drum up some buzz and share what you’re doing in your booth. Is your database ready? If you need help, outsource to your agency.
The follow-up with a post event email to leads with information based on their interests is also a great way to nurture contacts. Make sure you get their permission to receive emails and provide a way to unsubscribe. Measuring their interest by making phone calls is another way to qualify them further and get them in the sales cycle when mature. This can be done by sales or again, outsourced.
Booth visitors – Did your booth attract hot prospects? Did many customers and business partners drop by? Track these visitors to establish if you are attracting your target audience.
Track all your KPIs from trade show to trade show to compare data and evaluate where you are successful and where you are less to gage whether you are getting the ROI you need to justify your participation.
Cost vs. ROI – Another popular way to evaluate the ROI of an event is to evaluate the cost per lead and compare it to the cost of a salesperson going to each of those prospect’s offices for an in-person meeting. Take your total show costs and divide it by the number of leads generated by the show, and this results in your cost per lead. Then figure out how much time, travel costs your sales rep would have incurred and compare.
3. Make a splash! Make an impression on visitors.
A tradeshow is the perfect venue to create excitement and make the experience memorable for visitors dropping by your booth. No matter what your budget is, you can make an impact in many ways.
Here are some basic considerations:
Select the best booth location. You can consider being in a high-traffic and highly visible area depending on your booth size. Selecting a location at the entrance of the event, near a popular company that can bring higher traffic, or even theaters or food stations. If there are competitors you want to stay away from, make sure to alert the event organizers.
Design an impactful exhibit. No matter your booth size, it should stand out in the crowd. An exhibit designer can recommend some budget-friendly but eye-popping elements such as bold graphics, signage, light boxes, interesting or unique elements, audiovisual elements or props. A passerby must also be able to understand in a glance what your value proposition is. Message is also key.
Attract interest by handing out a giveaway or have a draw. Giveaways are a great way to attract more visitors and makes it easier to engage in a conversation. You can qualify them during the discussion and increase your lead generation results. Invest in a cool giveaway and make the process to win interesting.
Get your staff motivated and enthusiastic. One of the most important aspects of your participation is how your employees engage with visitors. Share plans and objectives with them. Make sure they are up to date with products and offer presented. You can even set-up a fun contest to engage them into a performance competition.
When choosing a representative to staff a booth, it’s wise to use a variety of considerations to make your decision. An employee with in-depth knowledge of both your industry and technical features and benefits of your product is an asset. You may find star salespeople are not always be your best bet.
Get the word out and follow-up your leads.
Preparing the database. One of the most important assets your company owns is its database of customers and prospects. If you do not have your house in order and are lacking the resources to develop a solid database and maintain it, you can rely on your marketing partner, an agency that knows your business well. Make sure your database includes fields to enable criteria selection by product interest, region, title, and all that is pertinent to your business.
Developing short but impactful emails. The next step is to prepare your message to be sent by email. This can be done in-house, but again, if you do not have the bandwidth or expertise to do it, this is a service you can outsource to your agency. Keep the graphics simple and focus on promoting your event and letting them know how they will benefit if they attend. Timing the email is also important…send it in advance so they have time to register to attend unless you know they typically attend, then send it the week prior to the event.
Follow-up those leads. This is the most important action that will bring in the revenue. Sending an email after an event with pertinent information is important but leads that are considered qualified opportunities need to be contacted by phone. One way to make sure they have been contacted and further warmed up is to rely on your marketing partner that has resources to support your business development needs and trained to act as pre-sales. This will save your sales team some time and follow-up with the contact at a pre-determined time. This is great teamwork.
At the end of the day, you want to create a memorable experience for your prospects while engaging them in a away that interests them to know more about your offer and consider doing business with you. Then contact them to start a conversation.
VSM works with companies looking to increase the performance of its Business-to-Business sales and marketing activities in North America.
We offer marketing consulting services and a range of services to help organizations find new business opportunities.
Contact us to discuss your marketing needs!
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