The biggest challenge for today’s B2B marketer is “generating high quality leads”. Of course, you can have 10,000 subscribers to your blog, but how many of these are actual, high-quality leads? This is where webinars come into place. A lead-generating webinar won’t bring you just a list of email addresses; it will bring you top quality leads.
It’s quite simple. White papers, e-books, and blog posts are also great lead generation machines. But neither of them provides such a close connection to your leads as webinars do. Just think about it: the participants of your webinar get to see and hear you speak, not just read something that you and your team wrote.
Other Reasons to Get Serious about Your Lead-Generating Webinar RIGHT NOW
Yes, lead generation is a powerful enough reason to get you working on your next webinar right away. But there are several others, too:
- Webinars establish you as a thought leader. And when I say “you” I don’t just talk about the host of the webinar. The company also becomes a trusted brand in the field. Offering people professional advice on solving their problems established you as a reliable source of information. And, who else would you rather buy from than reliable vendors?
- Webinars are a great way to diversify your content marketing. Everybody blogs, but not so many companies organize webinars. This can be your chance to leave your competitors behind. Better yet, you can easily repurpose the content in your webinar into blog posts, white papers, podcasts, e-books and so on.
- Webinars are great for establishing partnerships. The best, most engaging of webinars have more than one host. Reach out to thought leaders in domains that are complementary to yours and ask to pull your resources together. You will double your attendee rate and your leads! Plus, it can be the beginning of a fruitful partnership.
- Webinars have no borders. International expansion can be quite expensive if you go about it the traditional way. But a webinar can bring you viewers from all over the world with a minimum effort. Talk about brand awareness!
Now that we know what some of the reasons to organize webinars are, let’s take a look at how you can create a killer, lead-generating webinar.
Find a Topic People are REALLY Interested in
This is the first thing you need to worry about. No one will come to a boring webinar. On the other hand, your ultimate goal is to generate leads and new business for your company.
Finding the right topic might be difficult. It needs to be at the intersection of your business offerings and the public’s interest.
How do you find that sweet spot?
First of all, find out what people are truly interested in. Here are some resources that can help you narrow it down and come up with a great subject for your lead-generating webinar:
- Social listening
- BuzzSumo – type your subject of interest and find out which articles on it received the most engagement or traffic. Make sure to narrow the search down to the past few months – you need to be relevant NOW.
- Quora – the same drill as for BuzzSumo. Quora is divided into topics, so you can easily filter what is of interest to you. Take a look at the questions that have the most followers – this is where the goldmine lies.
- Ask your audience – if you’re still not sure, why not ask them directly? If you have a large email list or social media following, create a poll with your shortlisted ideas and ask your audience which webinar they’d be more inclined to attend.
Make it Educational and Engaging…without Giving it All Away
You may think that the first part is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people forget that a webinar’s first purpose is to educate, not to promote products and services. In order to avoid falling into this trap:
- Do your research: yes, you are already an expert on the subject, but even the most seasoned expert needs to refresh his knowledge.
- Include recent statistics and facts.
- Make sure that at least 90% of your webinar is educational (this includes the Q&A section).
- Give actionable advice. Instead of simply saying: “98% of Internet users hate banner ads”, offer advice on how people can leverage this information to their benefit. Try something along these lines: “98% of Internet users hate banner ads, but are very likely to buy from someone who offers relevant content instead of nagging pop-ups.” Now your audience knows what to do with that statistic.
- Use visual aids: slides and infographics will help your audience understand and remember the information better.
- NEVER, EVER skip the Q&A section: it’s great of both your attendees and your business. The Q&A session can help you identify more pain points of your clients’ and it can help them fix some of them on the spot.
Now, how do you make sure your attendees will still need your services after the webinar is over? In other words, how can you stay informative without giving it all away?
Let’s see an example: among other things, Idunn offers social media marketing services. Now, if we were to organize a relevant, actual, and lead-generating webinar on this topic, what would we do?
For instance, we could piggyback some recent changes in Facebook’s algorithms just as soon as they get implemented. These are always hot topics that gather a lot of leads and attendees. As for the name:
- How create high-performing ads after the recent Facebook algorithm change
- All about the recent Facebook algorithm change and how it will affect your business and your budget
The first version may actually gather more leads. But they won’t be the kind of leads we’re looking for. Most of them will be marketers just like us looking to get better at their job. Plus, if we already mastered the new algorithm, we’d like people to hire us to do their ads, not offer a free course on how to do it on their own.
On the other hand, the second title will appeal to more people, even to business owners and social media managers how have large budgets for Facebook ads. They are our audience and the people we’d like to keep informed about recent developments without becoming obsolete for them.
Start Promoting Your Webinar Early on
A recent study suggests that you start your promotion three weeks before the event itself. You don’t want to start too early: people won’t sign up for fear their schedule might change before that time. Similarly, if you start too late, people might already have their agendas full.
However, even if most of your promotion starts three weeks before your webinar, you can still let some of your audience know about your webinar a bit early. Here’s how:
- Write about it on your social channels, but don’t promote the posts (save that for later).
- Include it in your usual newsletter as a teaser (“Stay tuned to find out the exact date of the webinar you won’t want to miss”).
- Start teasing on social media by showing one of your slides or an infographic.
- Introduce your custom webinar hashtag. Announce that all your fans/followers can use it to ask questions before the webinar and even during the Q&A.
Then, pull out the big guns and:
- Run social media ads that target your specific buyer persona. Don’t be too broad just to make sure you reach more people. You want actual leads, not just views of your ad.
- Email your list twice per week. To those who subscribe, send reminders a week before the webinar and then 24 hours before it.
- Create a sense of urgency. Let people know that you have a limited number of “seats” available in order to get them to refrain from postponing the registration.
- Get your co-host (if you have one) to do the same on his social channels and email list.
- Send confirmation emails to all the subscribers, asking them to share your webinar on their social media profiles.
- Have your attendees ask the questions via Twitter using a special hashtag. This means A LOT more visibility for you. Even if it’s too late for new people to register, you can still capture some leads this way.
Key takeaway: we could literally write a book on how to properly promote a lead-generating webinar. However, the main thing you need to remember is that your buyer persona is the key to success here. There’s no point in having 1,500 attendees if only 100 of them are qualified leads. Better aim for 200 from the beginning – you will invest less time and money in ads!
- Be Helpful Throughout the Webinar
Yes, that includes the promotion section. By the way: ideally, the promotion section should be towards the end of the webinar, right before the Q&A section. This way, you’ll ensure that your attendees won’t tune out before it.
We’ve already covered the need for fresh, relevant data and research. But how can you be helpful after your presentation is over? Here are a few things a lead-generating webinar needs:
During the Q&A:
- Give short and to the point answers so that everyone gets a chance to ask a question.
- If you can’t give all the answers in the allocated time, ask people to write you an email and you will answer them in writing – it’s the best way to strengthen your connection with them.
- Don’t allow one attendee to monopolize the discussion. If they ask more than one question, explain that you will get to them as soon as you’re done answering the others.
During your promotional moment:
- Always stress on the benefits your product or service has.
- Make connections between your product/service and the data you presented in the webinar.
- Ensure that people understand why your promotion is relevant to this specific topic.
- Offer to answer question and inquiries via email or social media.
- Follow Up after the Webinar Has Ended
The work you invest in a lead-generating webinar doesn’t stop as soon as the broadcast ended. On the contrary, this is where the hard work begins.
Here are a few things you can do to capture the leads you’ve gathered:
- Send a few emails after the webinar: one to thank your audience for participating, one to send out the slides and/or the link to the recording of the webinar, one to invite them to join you on social media and follow your blog.
- Ask for feedback via social media: focus on finding out if your attendees found the webinar helpful, if they have additional questions and so on.
- Send additional materials on the same topic: e-books, white papers, even links to your recent blog posts.
- In each of the emails, send a link to the service/product you promoted during the webinar. In the first emails, focus on helpful materials and include the link towards the end. Create a special promotional email a week after the webinar.
Got an excellent idea for a lead-generating webinar, but you’re unsure about the best way to promote it and create the sales funnel? We can help with that (we’ve already done it for dozens of webinar hosts!):