Knock knock, it’s us again - here to shout about all the great things about webinars and in particular, why they work just so darn well for sales funnel targeting.
By that, we mean that the versatility of the format enables you to tailor the focus of your webinar to prospective clients at every stage of the sales funnel. Too often, webinars are considered by marketers in a very black and white way - as only useful at the top of the funnel, or at the very bottom when you’re actually closing some business. But this is far from the case; in fact, webinars can be tailored to nurture leads through every aspect of the funnel, often within one overarching - and often extremely effective - campaign.
Using webinars for lead generation
When it comes to lead generation, webinars are absolutely one of the most effective forms of content. Why? Because the very process of garnering attendees will automatically provide you with extensive market research and a list of prospective clients who have demonstrated actual, relevant interest in your business, product, or at the very least, your industry.
To make the most of this, it’s a good idea to make your sign-up form as personalised as possible (to a degree that is - don’t make signing up to your webinar a task equivalent to climbing Everest or cancelling your phone bill, because the human attention span is a short one). However, it is an opportunity to use a bite-size question to try and size up the attendees own position on the sales funnel, which can be used later to segment your follow-up marketing.
However, it’s not enough just to hook those leads in once you have them. For the most part, these will be pooled at the very top of the sales funnel. Passing them straight onto your sales team is unlikely to lead to instantaneous conversions - especially given that not all attendees will show. Instead, build your content marketing strategy around guiding them further down the sales funnel.
Webinars for those on top of the world (or, the sales funnel)
The format and subject of your webinar is key, and should be influenced by the specific goals you’ve set for that webinar. And let’s be clear, you should always have a goal, even if it’s simply to generate X amount of leads. Otherwise, what exactly are you putting all of this time, effort and budget into? Being long-form content, webinars don’t work as something mindless and shouldn’t be done just for the sake of it when you don’t really have anything interesting to say.
For example, if your overall goal is lead generation and brand awareness, a thought leadership webinar is an excellent place to start. Find a refreshing take on a particular industry pain point or relevant subject, shape the rest of your content marketing strategy and paid advertisement around reaching as many people as possible, and use it as a chance to demonstrate your expertise with a light sell of your own product. Don’t go in too sales-y here - simply create a relationship with prospective customers by proving that you know what you’re talking about and offering a solution.
What makes webinars practical for this approach?
- The personalised touch. A face and a name to the company that goes beyond other forms of branded content builds a speedier relationship, attendees can also strengthen trust by asking questions directly.
- The opportunity for interactivity and engagement. Using the correct tools (which any good webinar provider should have - like we do, for example), attendees can interact via ChatBox tools, polls, social network integration or Q&A sessions to ask questions and get involved.
- Analytics. Use of webinars, including the features we’ve already mentioned, provide granular user data and analytics which are teaming with usable, marketable data. To learn more about your prospective clients and which ones can be used for later sales funnel targeting - becoming enhanced by the seamless integration between FastCast and your own CRM tools.
- Here’s the catch. This won’t work if you’re simply rehashing old ideas or offering out of date research. Ensure you’re working with fresh, innovative thoughts and through research, or risk losing all that juicy credibility before you’ve even started.
Remember, there’s no one set webinar format that works for lead generation. At this stage, a co-marketing webinar could work wonders, allowing you and other industry leaders to pull together your ideas, increase your credibility, and get your name out amongst other areas within your industry.
Training and educational webinars offer a fantastic hook to garner more sign-ups and a larger amount of attendees because there’s the promise of learning something new. Whether it’s offering expertise in a particular area of your chosen field or offering advice on your existing products, these are also excellent for brand awareness, getting your name out there, and establishing you and your business as trustworthy, expert sources in the industry.
Webinars for middle-funnel syndrome
Arguably one of the trickiest stages is trying to gently nudge a prospective client from the middle of the sales funnel down to the bottom - when you can really begin to close some business and see conversions. However, it’s still an important step. While some sales teams decide to go straight for the plunge here, we don’t really see the point - why provide your sales department with leads that aren’t quite ready yet, when just a little bit more work could land you with a much higher success rate?
One of our top tips at this stage is to remember that whilst webinars are incredibly useful on their own, they can often work much more effectively when they’re integrated into your overall content marketing campaign.
For example, following on from your initial webinar, you could take all of your newly generated leads and segment them directly into a specific strategy to guide them all the way down the sales funnel. This can begin before you’ve even launched webinar #1, by shaping a campaign around the release of a webinar - that is, creating a nifty landing page, promoting via social and email marketing, and offering bite-size teasers to incentivise attendees into actually showing up
But it’s much more key after your webinar has actually finished. Utilise those analytics and all that data we discussed earlier. Follow up with those leads, inviting them to share their thoughts, join a discussion on social, or connect with you elsewhere. Repurpose your webinar into other forms of content - we’re talking blogs, whitepapers, infographics or even podcasts as well as email and social to keep the topic fresh in their mind and wow them with all of that super in-depth research you did. (At least we hope you did - no one likes a poorly researched webinar.)
The last thing you want is for your potential leads to forget all about you, so continue to engage them with other forms of content. That’s not to say that webinars can’t be used for middle-ground sales prospects though - far from it. In fact, you could add subsequent webinars to that very same campaign by devising a series, offering a slightly more powerful sell as well as taking the chance to really delve into industry gaps, problems or pain points, demonstrating how your product or service can ease these without going in with a hard sell just yet.
Webinars for sealing the deal
At this stage, whether they’ve been enticed by a series of webinar or you’ve hooked them with some other form of content asset, you’re reaching out to those who are ready to get down to business and are prepared to buy.
Here’s when the salesman hiding inside of you gets to jump out, and if you’ve got something new and shiny to show your attendees then now’s the time to do it. Product launch webinars are fantastic for bottom of the funnel leads, and are especially effective when they come at the end of a campaign launch that has already generated excitement across other mediums.
Even if you’ve not got anything new, product demos and Q&As are super handy to steal a sale with an audience that’s already interested. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate how it works, why it works - and how it helps solve those pesky pain points you’ve already identified. It also gives you a chance to show it off, hype it up and identify its USPs. Q&A sessions give the opportunity to answer direct questions to potential buyers, giving them the final reassurance that they want to make the sale.
The important thing to remember is that there’s no automatic strategy for webinars. What works for some won’t work for all, and that’s fine. Your knowledge of your own business, clientele, and industry will be a huge influence in the way that you use webinars. The versatility of their form and purpose can be tailored to fit pretty much anything.
With that in mind, it’s high time to start planning your next webinar - or your first, if you’ve only just been convinced that webinars aren’t as scary as they seem. In the meantime, check out our webinar checklist to ensure you’re creating great content. Find other handy tips and tricks in our Knowledge Bank, and as always, if you’ve got any questions about our webcasting services, get in touch!