by John Hunter Events are a great source of lead generation. As an opportunity for direct interaction between brand and audience, they offer the chance to make positive connections and long-lasting relationships and ultimately help fill the lead gen pipeline for instant sales or longer-term nurturing. So, are webinars for lead generation? Yes, they are.
Webinars offer the same opportunities. And with an audience who has actively chosen to take time out of their day to specifically turn up to see you (rather than potentially passing by at a trade show, for example), you can be assured that there’s already a vested interest in the topic you’re presenting and potentially your brand. Content and Brand Alignment With this in mind, it’s important that you ensure the content of your webinar is aligned with your brand’s offering and position.
Other than very specific circumstances (such as a big new product launch, new feature set, or perhaps Q&As for your existing clients), it’s best to produce webinars focused on thought leadership instead of direct sales messages. You’ll be much more likely to drum up interest if you offer something of real value to your potential audience rather than trying to disguise a sales attempt as something it’s not simple. But of course, you do need to make sure that there is a link between the topic of your webinar and the industry or area of expertise in which your brand operates.
Expertise and Value Consider what pain points or challenges your target audience face – are there areas you could discuss that would demonstrate your expertise? Or how about the shape of the industry – is it changing in light of global shifts? Are there areas that you can see developing that others may not have yet? Think of where your expertise as a business lies and, importantly, where you can provide real value to a potential attendee. You must return something valuable to your intended audience in exchange for their time. But don’t worry – you’ll make all that value back in the lead gen opportunities you can develop from the back of the effort you put into your webinar.
Why Webinars? We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, webinars are an excellent opportunity to build deep trust in your brand within your target audience. And it’s this that makes them a great tool for lead generation.
Focusing on your opinions, capabilities, and thoughts for the future is a great way to demonstrate your brand’s position in the market. It will connect your audience with your brand and the challenges you help overcome. So, whether the next time they need the product or service you offer is tomorrow or next year, you’ll come to mind as an authority in the field and the go-to people.
Webinars offer unique circumstances that can give audiences even more opportunities to get to know the real you.
First up, they provide your audience with a chance to interact directly with your people. For a start, this comforts your attendees that they understand the people behind the brand. It provides a human connection that can help develop a better relationship. The other massive benefit to this is that, as part of your webinar, attendees can potentially ask questions that are then answered on the spot.
This demonstrates that the people that are presenting understand the topic and have a deep level of insight as opposed to having simply taken the time to “learn a presentation”. When questions are fielded and answered well, the attendees feel seen, understood, and part of a conversation. Even if you’re unsure how best to answer the question on the spot, being prepared to offer a follow-up email or chat is a fantastic way to demonstrate your acceptance of the questions and your willingness to help find the right answers.
Another specific benefit to webinars is that while they allow for a certain level of two-way interaction, they don’t demand it from attendees. Generally speaking, as a webinar attendee, you can be as active or passive as you are comfortable with and often can even remain relatively anonymous.
This gives attendees who may feel less inclined to join you at an in-person event or seminar the chance to take part from the comfort of their own office or home while safe in the knowledge they can simply listen if they like without having to commit anything more than that. This can be a big deal for some, especially those relatively new to the brand. Webinars = Lead-gen Data Mines The key advantage of webinars is that they provide an opportunity to gain a deep understanding of your audience and plenty of data for each attendee.
The nature of webinars means that you can capture a lot of key data points around audience interest and pain points throughout the promotion and running of your webinar. This can help build a richer profile for your attendee's specific challenges and needs. And this, in turn, is an absolute goldmine regarding lead generation.
With this data, you can provide highly personalized, tailored marketing communications that resonate much more with each individual. In turn, they’ll feel you and your brand have a much better correlation to the challenges they face and are, therefore, the best place to provide the solutions for them.
Part of the Bigger Picture Of course, as fantastic an opportunity as webinars provide, one webinar in isolation isn’t necessarily enough. They’re not the be-all and end-all. Webinars should be part of your over-arching content marketing – and lead generation – strategy.
Consider your webinar as a part of a user’s journey with your brand. It may be that it forms a relatively early interaction with you, but the chances are your audience will likely have had an opportunity to get to know you in advance. Joining a webinar often means taking time out of busy schedules, so you may find that those attending have already had a range of exposure points to your brand.
Providing consistent content marketing across a range of channels and mediums means you’re effectively setting yourself up for the best possible engagement of your audience with your webinar. Ensuring that your content remains consistent with other brand assets, both in terms of positioning and tone, is also key – it’s no good flip-flopping from one opinion in a written article to another in your webinar. Providing a coherent voice and position will help solidify your brand with clarity in the minds of your target audience.
As you near the start of your webinar campaign, consider what other content you have planned and how your wider content marketing strategy can complement your webinar promotion. Could subjects work in synergy with your webinar topic without giving it all away in advance? Utilize these opportunities to plant the seeds of your webinar’s topic in the minds of your audience and, while you’re at it, offer ways to sign up to attend simultaneously.
After the Event Post-webinar, continuing this complimentary marketing strategy should remain your priority, but you’ll now also have the added benefit of being able to use parts of the webinar itself in follow-up content, whether that’s by sharing first-hand data obtained through polls and Q&A during the webinar, or editing and repurposing clips and soundbites from the day into a range of different formats, such as short videos, blog posts, written articles and so on. You could also consider making your webinar available as on-demand content after the event itself to help improve its ROI and allow it to continue to be part of your lead gen strategy. (link to on-demand articles).
Have a Plan, Have a Platform Put simply; webinars offer a fantastic lead generation opportunity when they’re a planned and considered part of your marketing strategy.
Ensuring you have a comprehensive platform to support your webinar ambitions is paramount. First and foremost, you should think about using a purpose-built webinar platform. This may sound like an obvious point to raise. However, many “webinar platforms” out there are video call platforms in disguise or have been built on one as a starting point.
Finding a webinar-first solution gives you the best chance of a reliable solution built with the real needs of a webinar in mind. You need a platform that provides an intuitive and enjoyable experience for your attendees and allows you to brand it in your way, provide Q&A, break out rooms, and multimedia support, and help you harness that data opportunity that webinars offer in the most efficient possible ways.
Getting the right platform will put you in the best starting position to maximize webinar lead-generation opportunities.
Are you looking for a platform for your webinars in 2023? Try out Cvent for free!
John Hunter John is the Senior Manager of Event Cloud Content Marketing at Cvent. He has 11 years of experience writing about the meetings and events industry. John also has extensive copywriting experience across diverse industries, including broadcast television, retail advertising, associations, higher education, and corporate PR.