What is a webinar and why use it?
Fellow marketers ask me this all the time. And that tells me that webinars are not being used as much as they should be. Of course, webinar as a marketing tool may not be relevant for all types of businesses, but it’s definitely an option for most.
But before I get into the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’, let me tell you what it is (for the benefit of those who are new to this term).
So what is a webinar?
A webinar is a seminar conducted over the internet. It is a presentation, seminar, workshop or a lecture that is transmitted over the web using a video conferencing software.
It is a great way to generate quality leads for your business. At the same time, it is a great nurturing channel as well. This ‘B2B Content Marketing Trends’ report by Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs from 2015 says, over 60% of B2B companies included webinars in their marketing strategy in 2015:
Not just that, since 2010, 50% more people are now viewing webinars according to 2016 Webinar Benchmarks Report – On24.
So you see, webinars are important. They are great for driving engagement and generating quality leads, not just for B2B but for the B2C segment as well, especially the education industry.
Still not convinced? The following reasons might convince you.
Why you should use webinars to grow your business
1. Webinars consistently generate quality leads, every time
Neil Patel reported that he generated 518,399 visitors and 16,394 leads from just 77 webinars! Webinars have generated tons of leads, in our case as well. Last month, 6% of our revenue came in from the leads we’d captured from our webinars.
If you still need some convincing, take a look at this:
2. Regular webinars drive engagement with prospects and customers
Knowing and understanding your target audience, in order to grow your business, is extremely important. As a marketer / business owner, you already know that it’s crucial to understand your audience.
There are two ways of knowing your customers
a) Implicit – by tacking them
b) Explicit – when they tell you something on their own (on forms, etc)
A webinar helps you in this part of knowing the customer / prospect / audience.
It typically lasts an hour wherein, the audience is usually given the opportunity to ask questions, interact with the speaker and so on. Based on the kind of questions they ask, you’d be able to understand
- the kind of pain-points they have,
- what do they want to get out of these sessions, and
- what’s their understanding of the topic at hand,
- what are their expectations
Please note that you won’t experience this from organizing one webinar session. It has to be an ongoing process.
Let me give me give you an example. A student will feel more comfortable discussing his / her pain-points with the teacher only once he / she is comfortable with them. And that happens over time. Similarly, a teacher won’t really be able to pick up on cues or proficiency level of his/her student until some time has passed. This happens over time.
Coming back to the topic, through webinars you can engage with your audience for a whole hour. You have their attention. Make the most of it especially since the ‘webinar viewing time’ of the attendees has been consistently increasing over the last couple of years:
3. Webinars can help you get feedback in real time
At LeadSquared, we organize webinars every two weeks. Post webinar, we share the recorded version of the recently concluded session and a blog post with the Q&A from the session, with all registrants.
Off late, the latter is becoming increasingly hard to do; simply because our numbers have gone up so much that the questions asked during the webinars have doubled. Earlier, we would get about 50 odd questions. Now, that has become almost a 100. You see my problem?
So anyway, naturally, this led to a lot more work in terms of responding to the questions asked, writing out the Q&A piece and then sending it across to everyone who registered for that particular session. It really was a dilemma.
This led to a major brainstorming session internally. We obviously wanted to address the queries that came in during the session (in the form of a blog post) but were also aware of how time-consuming the process had become. The solution was to build an online community.
Now a community can’t thrive if there are no takers for it. So it was absolutely essential for us to know if our audience would be interested in it, especially those who regularly attended our webinars.
So we decided to run a poll in the next webinar (most webinar tools will have an option to run a poll during the session). And unlike an email or a survey where you might have to wait days for feedback, we got feedback instantly:
See how useful webinars are?
4. Webinars help you establish brand authority, brand awareness & credibility:
In the last three to four years, we have been able to generate and nurture thousands of leads through our webinars and now, those leads are our regular attendees. Well, at least most of them. In fact, I get concerned emails from leads if there has been a longer-than-usual break between webinars 🙂
So in a way, we have established ourselves in the minds of some, as a knowledge sharing platform. Our webinars are free and lot of people have found value in them. Therefore, people look out for the webinar invites, knowing that they will be able to attend a valuable knowledge sharing session at no cost at all. They will remember us by that.
Like in this case, where the author of the Quora post recommended LeadSquared webinars:
And here are more comments from Twitter:
Over a period of time, if they find tremendous value in our webinars, they might think of trying out marketing software, with the assumption that since their webinars are great, their product might be great as well 😀 It is also much easier for them to trust the brand now, since they have been associated with the brand’s activities at some level.
5. Webinars are accessible to anyone, anywhere – no geographical boundaries
If your business caters to a global audience and is looking to target leads from different regions, webinars are your best bet. Of course, the timing matters but other than that, nothing really.
We have leads joining in from the UK, Singapore, Dubai, Kenya and of course India, for our webinar sessions. We have the option of engaging and connecting with a global audience, and generating leads at the same time, for the same cost! How many other marketing channels allow you to do that?
Now that you know, ‘what is a webinar’ and it’s benefits, let me tell you how you can do it right. See you in Chapter Two.