COVID is causing a webinar explosion – here are our tips for using webinars as a lead generation tool
Since lockdown began physical events have become but a fleeting memory. Gone are the days of telling work you were off to an exhibition, hanging around for 2 hours and then going home to watch Netflix. You can’t even get a free lunch out of an ‘Executive Roundtable’ these days.
As such publishers and event companies have tried to fill the gap – and their answer, by and large, has been webinars. It hasn’t just been publishers and event companies. Every tech company and their mum has gone into hyperdrive to host more webinars. If I were a CIO at a FTSE 250 I wouldn’t have time to manage the average 25% drop in value of my business since COVID began, because I’d be watching so many webinars.
Getting webinars right
Webinars can be a really useful tool in a B2B marketer’s armoury. They are also great for running distance training courses at scale. But for the purposes of this blog I’m assuming the role of a performance marketer. Ultimately that means looking at the benefits of using webinars for lead generation on a standard effort/reward scale:
Firstly it is worth considering the content that will be used for a webinar:
- Have you used this content before?
- If a publisher is hosting how will content and talk time be divided and what speakers will they provide?
- How will you engage the audience with polls and questions?
- Do your slides have more design flair than the ones used in the UK’s daily Coronavirus conferences?
- Why is a webinar the best method to get this content across?
- How much work will go into creating the content?
- How much time will my team and I expend creating content and what is the financial value of that time?
Live Vs On-demand
It’s also worth looking at the user journey for a webinar – much of which will be defined by whether you decide to run live or on-demand. My personal preference is always live. If a webinar isn’t live then it’s usually a 45 minute recording behind a gate on the publisher’s website. No one would run a 45 minute video on any website without serious prior user engagement and doing so as a 1st touch lead gen tool doesn’t make sense to me.
It’s also worth noting that an on-demand webinar opens publishers up to lead brokering. These are often heavily tele-marketed from countries that possess different data protection laws. You also don’t receive any of the view time/polling data which ultimately makes a webinar lead valuable.
If the webinar will be live then these are some questions to consider asking:
- What platform is the webinar hosted on and what functionality does the platform have?
- What does the user journey for a lead look like?
- What channels will be used to generate leads?
- Will I receive all the leads to the webinar or just the ones that meet my specification?
- What is your average registration to attendance conversion rate?
- If I promote this webinar to my customer data and they register on your platform will you own the rights to re-use this data to promote other content?
COVID-19 may have forced performance marketers to ask more questions around webinar fatigue – but the reality is these same questions should have been being asked before.
The Good Vs The Bad
A good webinar today will do well. One that has independent and well-known speakers, one that is done in collaboration with a well-known publisher and where you get a picture of all the attendees (including competitors and recruitment consultants) and not just those that meet a tight account list.
A bad webinar today will be forced. Push channels will be required for a publisher to get an audience to attend and poor, rushed & re-hashed content will likely do more to make customers switch off than switch on. Putting their data into your nurture journeys won’t achieve very much.
The biggest thing to remember with a webinar is that you’re asking for a minimum of 20 minutes of someone’s time. If 90% of the audience switch-off after 5 minutes, something went drastically wrong and attendees decided you weren’t worth 20 minutes of their time. A live webinar – run well – comes with lots of stats. Analyse those stats and try to make improvements based on them.
Finally, before using a third party webinar supplier always run one internally yourself first – you’ll learn an awful lot in the process that will shape what questions you ask suppliers and who you decide to work with.