February 5, 2020
A recent Marketing Charts survey among B2B marketers ranked webinars as the #1 digital channel for generating qualified leads for the top of the funnel.
Developing an effective business-to-business (B2B) marketing mix requires careful planning, experimentation, and measurement in order to generate the data you need to know which tactics and channels generate the highest return on your marketing budget.
Further complicating matters, sales processes in the B2B world are more intricate, vary by product category, and carry with them differences in optimal resource allocation across different phases of the buyer journey. Much like a carpenter needs to have a variety of tools in his/her toolbox, a B2B marketer needs a variety of tactics and channels, as each can play a helpful role in a specific situation. For B2B marketers in virtually every industry, webinars are an important tool. But where are they most helpful?
MarketingCharts.com recently published a report detailing the results of a survey of 160 B2B marketing executives, primarily with companies with more than $10M in revenues, and skewed toward the software/tech industry. The B2B marketers surveyed ranked webinars as the #1 digital channel for generating qualified leads for the top of the funnel. Overall, webinars were ranked #2, just behind in-person events.
B2B webinars grant companies an opportunity to address and educate a specific audience, with a specific pain point, on the approach, benefits and advantages that a company brings to solving the audience's problem. Using B2B webinars in your marketing strategy offers several invaluable advantages including:
Webinars that focus on a specific topic or industry trend not only boost audience attendance, they also offer a relatively effortless way to fill your funnel with new leads and prospects.
As the host of the webinar, you can ask interested guests to register for your event in advance. Customize your registration form to ask for the most relevant lead information such as contact information, job title, and other critical details for follow up at a later date.
Inside your webinar, you can also generate more lead data through polls, Q&A, and surveys.
And by integrating your BigMarker webinars with your Salesforce, Hubspot, Mailchimp, or other CRM account, you can ensure that the leads you generate end up in the hands of the people in your organization best positioned to follow up.
The #1 most effective channel in the Marketing Charts study was live events. But the challenge with the live events channel is how expensive and time consuming it is. Few companies have the budget to host live, in-person events for prospects on a quarterly basis, let alone a monthly one. All companies can afford, however, to run webinars on a monthly, or even weekly basis. And with the automation tools BigMarker provides, we're seeing an increasing number of companies accelerate traction by hosting webinars on a daily basis.
While in person events have budgetary constraints on how many people you can invite, and mass-media channels like email limit the extent of true connection taking place, webinars empower you to create an immersive experience for a large number of people.
A single session allows you to connect with as many prospects as you’d like...up to thousands at a time. Attendees just have to log in at an appointed time wherever they’ll have access to a smartphone or computer.
At the top of the funnel, B2B marketing conversations tend to be more broad, addressing trends, shifts, and emerging solutions to existing pain points. At the bottom of the funnel, the dialogue tends to be more specific and concrete, focusing more on a specific solution for a specific persona at a specific company. Webinars are a flexible tool that allow you to adapt your objective, approach, message, data capture, and call to action across the entire buyer journey.
For example, webinars help you host meaningful marketing-led conversations with 5,000 top of the funnel prospects, going down to the level of acknowledging problems, identifying solutions, and capturing prospect data to inform effective follow up. And the same webinar tool can be used to host meaningful sales-led conversations with 5 executive team members of a deal expected to close this month. And finally, the same tool again can be used to host onboarding sessions with the client team implementing the solution that the aforementioned executive team just bought from you.
Not only can you have directed, meaningful conversations with several organizations at the same time, but you can connect with multiple personas in the same company simultaneously to streamline the sales process and ensure everyone receives the right information at the right time, in a context that is personal and engaging.
Some marketing resources, such as printed materials and emails, only allow businesses to talk at an audience. Webinars grant a chance to talk with an audience.
Highly effective B2B webinars don't just pitch products; they create a dialogue with the people tuning in. The best ones even dynamically pivot the conversation based on feedback they receive from the audience in real time. Beyond general discussions, a well-appointed session also offers designated question and answer segments to enhance attendee engagement and participation.
B2B webinars aren’t only beneficial when cultivating new prospects; this online resource can also be used to nurture and strengthen the professional relationships you already have.
Offering exclusive webinars to existing clients can help you nurture current partnerships and further develop loyalty within your consumer base.
B2B webinars can be used far beyond the sales pitch; many business owners actually use webinars as a powerful resource to train customers on how to use products or even troubleshoot solutions with clients as needed. Your clients will appreciate knowing that they have access to you and your organization whenever they need it.
Many businesses claim industry authority; however, few have the fortitude to prove it at a consistent level, on a consistent basis.
B2B webinars allow you to do just that; you can host as many webinar as you’d like on a slew of hot industry topics and trends. You’ll have the opportunity to connect with, inform, and educate your audience on what’s up and coming in your designated field, instantly establishing your brand as in-the-know experts. In no time, you’ll become a Thought Leader in your industry.
Why simply tell consumers how great your products are when you can use your webinar session to show them. Unlike other marketing materials that only offer static lists and outlines, B2B webinars provide a dynamic forum for live product launches and demonstrations.
Most importantly, the impact of B2B webinars lasts well beyond the event itself.
B2B webinars can be recorded and filed for use at later dates, allowing your business an opportunity to connect and engage with other businesses in the future without having to regenerate new content.
Once you’ve made the decision to leverage the power of B2B webinars, it’s critical to create an initiative focused on reaping optimal return on investment.
When developing your webinar, include a few proven tactics to ensure you maximize results and overall impact, such as:
The logistics and details are just as vital as the content of your B2B webinars. There are a slew of items to consider when putting together your hosting plan.
Once you’ve decided what you’ll talk about, you’re ready to begin crafting together your marketing message for the masses.
Don’t simply regurgitate old promotional missives and slideshows. Instead, pique interest and maximize impact by creating original, thought-provoking content for your B2B webinars.
Effective B2B webinars seamlessly blends visual and audio components. As you create your event, consider utilizing a combination of compelling graphics, statistics, live product demonstrations, and written slides to deliver a multi-sensory experience to your listeners.
Also, don’t miss out on an opportunity to connect directly with your audience when developing your presentation. Always set aside specific times to host question and answer segments. Knowing that they will have time designated for inquiries will help hold their attention throughout the entire session.
Effectively promoting your upcoming B2B webinars will ensure overall event success.
Many attendees will often signup on the actual day of your session. It’s important to start marketing your efforts early and continue them right up until you go live.
Use all resources available to you including social media pages, email invitations, blogs, and even a registration-landing page specifically designed to log attendees as well as their contact information for future lead follow up.
Never go into live B2B webinars without practicing beforehand.
Webinars are user-friendly and intuitive; however, you will still want to go through the hosting process to ensure you know exactly what to do on event day. Additionally, you and any guest speakers you may have will also want to rehearse individual sections of the presentation to gauge duration of event as well as to identify if there are sections that may need some tweaking to ensure you make the best impact possible on listeners.
Remember all the leads you collected during the event registration process? It’s important to follow up on every single one of them.
Reach out to every contact (even multiple contacts at the same organization) to keep the conversation going with prospects.
Additionally, following up allows you to connect with businesses contacts may have registered for the event but didn’t have the chance to actually tune in furthering the reach of your online marketing efforts.
Once you’ve hosted your webinar, be sure to file your B2B webinars in an easily accessible location. As a marketing or sales leader, you are constantly directing new potential customers into your sales funnel.
Recreating relevant B2B webinars with each new prospect can prove a major waste of time and resources. Repurposing recorded webinars as needed to connect with other businesses as a way to maximize results while minimizing expense. Put shorter-form, easily-accessible versions of your webinar on your social media pages, blog, and website to ensure you get the most mileage possible out of this effectively online marketing tool.
With so many digital tactics and channels available to marketers today, choosing the right mix could feel overwhelming. As always, it comes down to hitting the right audience with the right message, via the right channel, at the right time. The hard part is testing and quickly learning to optimize the right mix for your business. The good news is, we're here to help you figure it out. To go deeper on the topic of Webinar Marketing, check out our eBook on the topic. Or if you have a specific question about how webinars can fit into your marketing mix, just send us a message.
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