Webinars have taken the world by storm in recent years, but they’re anything but “one size fits all.” These online education tools can be live or recorded, free or paid, and geared toward solo presentations or designed for audience engagement.
Essentially, when it comes to webinars, if you can dream it, you can do it. They’re a fantastic way to educate and connect with your target audience, and they help thought leaders in a variety of industries position themselves as expert resources. If you’re looking for a unique lead generator, bringing curious would-be clients to the table, webinars are a great place to start.
How Do Webinars Work?
The versatility of webinars makes them a valuable resource in many industries. You may think of webinars as lead magnets — and they are! — but they can also be used to nurture current client relationships, onboard new employees, host a virtual conference, or demo a new product or service.
So what separates webinars from a simple online presentation? In short, their ability to offer audience participation and engagement. Most webinar platforms offer a chat feature for attendees to interact with one another and the host, as well as a spot to submit real-time questions, participate in surveys or polls, and download additional content or resources.
Webinars provide a way to gather a lot of information from your audience while providing them with valuable information from your business. To sign up for a webinar, attendees will need to enter their contact information, which can serve as a solid lead generator even after the webinar ends. They also allow you to get to know your audience in a controlled setting, which provides insights you may never discover through email lists or social media platforms.
Which industries are finding success with webinars?
When you think of webinars as virtual events, you’ll discover that there are many more uses than you’ve previously imagined! They’re a dynamic tool in almost any marketing strategy. Here at Redstory, we’ve helped companies leverage webinars to grow brand awareness, generate strong leads, unveil new products and features, and nurture current client relationships.
Webinars can be successful in nearly any industry that offers virtual content, but it’s important to build a webinar that addresses a need in your target audience. It can be tempting to offer a webinar with a broad scope — but in reality, you’ll gain more traction if you’re willing to deep dive into a niche topic. For example, a webinar titled “How to Plan Events” seems helpful, but as event professionals know, an hour on this topic is not nearly long enough to offer valuable information about something so broad. Instead, offer a webinar titled, “How to Find the Perfect Event Venue,” or “Why Colors Matter in Marketing.” These titles will attract attendees who are looking for your expertise in a specific area.
Webinars offer something of value to your attendees in and of themselves — but they should also offer an opportunity for a higher buy-in. For example, after attending “How to Find the Perfect Event Venue,” attendees may be ready to book you as an event planner. Based on what they learned from “Why Colors Matter in Marketing,” they may want to hire you for their next branding project.
Are webinars right for you?
The short answer? It depends. Webinars are a great answer to lots of strategic marketing questions, but you should only host one if you have a clear goal in mind. Attracting an audience requires a solid understanding of exactly what you’re offering them, and why it’s valuable enough to warrant their time, contact information, and even money. If you’re not sure how webinars can work for you, consider these options:
This style of webinar is all about increasing your authority and credibility with your target audience. You’ll position yourself as the expert, teaching your attendees how to solve a pressing problem they’re facing. These webinars typically don’t upsell anything at the end — instead, they focus on providing great information and establishing trust, so that you can generate business with this audience somewhere down the road.
This type of webinar is also considered educational, but rather than positioning yourself as a wise expert, you’re positioning your product or service as the solution to your audience’s problem. Many companies use this when they launch a new feature or product line, highlighting all of its advantages and letting customers decide to make a purchase. Often, these webinars will conclude with first access or an exclusive discount to the featured item.
Want to host a virtual training for your team? Ready for a conference, but can’t coordinate travel and lodging for your remote team? Want to teach your employees about a new product? Webinars are a great channel for virtual events within your company. Of course, these types of events are not about external marketing, but we felt they deserved a mention here — they’re a cost-effective way to gather your team and distill important information while everyone is right at their desks.
If you want to try a webinar without paying for a hosting platform or requiring sign-ups, test the waters on social media. You can go live on most social media platforms, and you can share the stage with another expert, panel-style, or simply hop on as a business owner to answer questions or connect with your followers. This is a low-stakes way to get comfortable with a live setting, and while it won’t build your lead generation list, it can offer your audience a solid connection point that will lead them to become customers in the future.
Ready to host your first webinar? We’d love to help you incorporate these virtual events into your marketing strategy to build engagement, establish credibility, and boost your revenue. Give us a shout and see if Redstory is the marketing agency for you.