As marketers, we all have our favorite techniques and tools. The ones we’ve tried and tested over the years. And for years, the webinar, particularly for B2B brands, was one of these go-to favorites. When a B2B brand was interested in engaging with its audience, whether to promote a new product or to deliver an updated message, webinars were always the most popular choice.
But in recent years, their use as a general marketing tool has waned. They’ve still been popular with certain industries and brands — particularly in terms of managed webinars — but the whole process of setting up, running, and delivering a webinar hasn’t aged well. That’s because webinars tend to be clunky and cumbersome, employing outdated technology. They also don’t always match up in terms of aesthetics or functionality when compared to other options available.
So while some stubborn marketers are still try to benefit from webinars, most savvy marketers have already started to phase them out entirely. This is because they know that for those on the other side of a webinar CTA, an invite can feel as unwelcome as a cold sales call.
But what if I told you the webinar isn’t dead? That webinars are, in fact, still one of the most favorable B2B marketing tactics today? What if I told you that the reality is that they aren’t dead, but that most people just do them all wrong.
Stop speaking to your audience and start chatting with them
While webinars give you a powerful platform to speak to your audience, the traditional focus has always on the presentation, rather than the conversation.
When most of us think of webinars, we imagine audiences sitting at their screens, listening to what you are saying, while watching static slides on the screen. As there was never any real way for your audience to engage with you, your presentation skills were the focal point. And no matter how brilliant you are at presenting, keeping an audience in their seats, watching and listening, without any type of engagement on their behalf, is extremely challenging.
But today, this doesn’t need to be the case. Engagement has always been key for any marketing process, and the more engaging you can make a webinar, the more results you’ll see. For example:
- Solicit Questions: Interact with your audience by asking them to submit questions during your webinar.
- Run a live poll: Why not ask for your audience’s thoughts on a specific component of your presentation? Most webinar products these days offer polling or use the many standalone polling tools currently available.
- Include video: Design your presentations with short video segments to break up the static presentation and keep people interested.
- Use animation: Like video, visual stimulation via animated sections keeps things visually different and interesting.
These are all completely possible within webinars today, and are all key ways to increase engagement. But there’s even more.
Embed your webinars into your landing pages
Once you’ve taken care of engagement, it can be tempting to take a step back and see your new-found knowledge play its part perfectly. Yet, this is really only the beginning.
Traditionally, webinars required your audience to head to a third party application or site. As soon as they left the email you’d sent inviting them to the webinar, you stopped having control over what they were doing, seeing, and taking action on (or at least losing control in a way that was most beneficial).
And for years this was the norm. In fact, it is still is the norm for some. However, it is completely unnecessary. By embedding your webinars into your landing pages, you can retain complete control over your audience’s engagement with the entire webinar process from start to finish; from completing the registration page through to watching the on-demand version.
Plus, if you embed them into your marketing automation software, you also have full control over your customer’s entire journey. Whether them signing up to the webinar is their first engagement with your brand or not, you have invaluable data, which you can utilize to influence your entire marketing activities moving forward.
For example, my colleagues just ran a webinar on the topic of “how to run a great webinar.” They set up their landing page in their marketing automation software (HubSpot) and used a form created in the same marketing automation software (HubSpot). As a result, all registrant data was immediately available to utilize as part of a wider, or even separate, marketing campaign.
Plus, once a user has registered for the webinar, the webinar (now the on-demand version in this example) is instantly available to watch without a user having to visit another site, download any plugins, or, in fact, do anything extra at all.
Webinars have always been a favorable tool, particularly for B2B marketers. And they’re always going to be. They provide a level of engagement that is almost unrivaled, provided you’re creating and delivering them correctly.
And as long as you take advantage of all the tools and processes that are available to you today, you’ll find that webinars are far from dead. In fact, they’re actually just getting a new lease of life.