In short, yes. From the perspective of someone who has organized plenty of webinars, I’ll be the first to admit that they’re a drag to produce. Anything and everything can go wrong – the program malfunctions, the slides delay, the microphone doesn’t work, the speaker doesn’t know how to download the software, and the the list goes on.
Still, I can’t deny that webinars are a great mindshare tool. They broadcast your brand as the thought leaders and experts in your industry. As you consider adding webinars to your marketing mix, here are 5 things your SaaS company should consider:
Nurturing, not acquisition.
Since webinars are a great way to share knowledge and position your brand, they are great for both nurturing potential customers and engaging current customers. Yet due to the brevity of the webinar’s lifecycle (you typically promote two weeks to a month prior), they do not serve as great lead acquisition tools. SEO takes times to build up and the channels for promoting webinars are thin. Send your database two to three invitations to the webinar and they’ll make up 50-75% of your registration audience.
Bottom of the funnel.
Submitting your contact information and setting aside time on your calendar is no small gesture. Compared to filling out a form to receive a white paper, signing up for a webinar is a commitment of time and hence a stronger buying signal. Webinar registrants and attendees should receive higher lead scoring points because of this demonstration of commitment and brands should leverage their higher probability to convert.
The content of the webinar should be, of course, intriguing, compelling and most importantly, valuable. Talk about a new perspective or give your audience actionable tips and insights, yet it is in your interest to stick to content that will be relevant in the long term and won’t go stale. Steer clear from webinar topics that have an expiration date, like reviewing highlights from an event or covering trends for a specific year.
The effort around webinar production doesn’t end after it goes live. There are plenty of opportunities to repurpose the webinar content in order to expand your reach – create a slideshow on slideshare, write up a blog post about it, put the recording on your Resources page, use the webinar recording in email nurturing, give the recording to the sales team for their own prospect nurturing efforts, etc. Probably the best outcome of a webinar is the wealth of content that can be expanded from this single event.
Webinars take up a lot of man power from your team, but once you master a couple the rest can be streamlined out of the factory. Your largest financial commitment is in the webinar software you choose (and there are plenty out there). Neither you nor your audience have to spend a penny.
* Webinars are big business. From startups to Fortune 100s, many brands are recognizing the value of webinars; and where there’s value, there’s money. Top thought leaders in your space that can draw in an audience and promote your webinar to their own network tend to charge for service. If you want to reach out to the top dogs, factor this into your webinar budget.
There are plenty of tools to choose from, some more pricey than others. I have experience using GoToWebinar which is an inexpensive solution by Citrix that can cover most of your bases. Their interface isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but it gets the job done.
If you plan on being a webinar master, I recommend you look into producing simulated or mock webinars (ahem, back to the pain of production) where you can pre-record webinars and publish them as if live. I know this sounds deceptive, but many brands are taking this route. If this sounds like a good option for you, check out ON24 or BrightTalk.
by Veronica French @veronicafrenchy